Sociology PhD Doctoral Programs

If you want to pursue a research or teaching career in the field of sociology, you will need to enroll in a sociology doctoral degree program. Many colleges and universities that offer a PhD in sociology require students to have completed a bachelor's degree and master's degree in the field, and then take a pro-seminar course that introduces them to the field of sociology, the research department and faculty members who will be teaching the sociology PhD programs. In most cases, it takes between one to two years to complete a sociology doctoral program, but students may choose to take additional courses beyond the basic requirements to participate in research projects and contribute to the academic field even further.

Details of Sociology PhD Programs

Most sociology PhD programs are focused on sociological theories and applications. Students learn advanced research methodology, theory and research design, and also take courses on various sociology theories. A strong background in statistics is needed for the rigorous methodology courses in a sociology doctoral program, so some students may need to take remedial courses to improve their skills in this area.

Sociology PhD programs are also comprised of survey courses that command a range of sociological literatures and theories. Survey courses are fairly broad in nature, but will cover a specific area of study such as political sociology, social stratification, race and ethnicity in social institutions, gender meanings and process, or even organizational ecology.

Students enrolled in a PhD in sociology program are also required to attend workshops, and these may be offered on both a credit or non-credit basis. Workshops give students an opportunity to work with faculty members and present their finished research. Workshops may be focused on certain areas of study such as economic sociology and organizations, social movements and collective actions, comparative studies of educational and political systems, or social networks. Students are typically required to create dissertation proposals, write articles, develop book proposals, use datasets and apply various methodologies as part of their workshop requirement.

Types of Courses and Research in Sociology Doctoral Programs

Sociology doctoral programs are heavily focused on research and methodology, but students are still required to take some survey courses that provide a more general overview of different applications of sociology today. Examples of courses and research projects that make up sociology PhD programs include:

  • Foundations of Social Psychology
  • Social Interaction, Social Structure and Social Exchange
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Gender Meanings and Processes
  • Gender and Social Structure
  • Comparative Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Immigration and Assimilation
  • Sociology of Immigration
  • Foundations of Organizational Sociology
  • Organizations and Environments
  • Seminar on Organizational Theory
  • Organizational Ecology
  • Perspectives on Organization and Environment

Sociology PhD programs are deeply interdisciplinary and students will have a chance to obtain plenty of hands-on research experience in the field and work with world-renowned faculty members, in some cases. Sociology doctoral program s train students how to use cutting-edge methods and statistical applications as part of their research process, and how to produce research studies that can resolve or remediate some of today's most significant social problems. Some schools are affiliated with other departments, such as the School of Education or the School of Business, giving students a chance to focus on a particular industry and collaborate with faculty members on various research projects in a particular field.