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Department of Sociology

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Ph.D. Program - Department of Sociology

Students seeking the Ph.D. degree typically anticipate a career that involves teaching, research, administration, planning, or consulting in either the public or private sectors. Departmental requirements for the Ph.D. degree emphasize general competence in sociology as well as special expertise within an area of concentration.

PhD students develop the capacity for original and creative research. Students engage in either independent or group research under the direction of faculty members.  In addition to formal class work and conducting research, students work toward intellectual independence while developing an integrated grasp of the field. The integration of materials from courses and research activities is a primary goal of the Ph.D. dissertation. The Department and the POS Committee share responsibility in guiding the student toward the graduate degree.

Ph.D. Core Degree Requirement | Minor and Co-Major Requirements | Ph.D. Examinations
Thesis and Dissertation | Petitioning Procedures | P.O.S. Committee


Ph.D. Core Degree Requirements

Although responsibility for determining the student's course work resides with the POS committee, the Sociology Department has core courses that must be taken by all students. A graduate course taken elsewhere can be substituted for the Ph.D. core requirements with approval by the Departmental Officer of Graduate Education (DOGE) in consultation with the faculty.

A minimum of 72 semester credits (including master's degree credits) is required for graduation.

Required Courses for the Ph.D. Degree

  • Stat 404 (3 cr) Regression for Social and Behavioral Research
  • Soc 506 (3 cr) Classical Sociological Theory
  • Soc 511 (3 cr) Research Methodology for the Social Sciences
  • Soc 512 (3 cr) Applied Multivariate Statistics for Social and Behavioral Research
  • Soc 513 (3 cr) Qualitative Research Methods
  • Soc 520 (3 cr) Social Psychology: A Sociological Perspective
  • Soc 534 (3 cr) Race, Class, and Gender Inequality
  • Soc 591 (1 cr) Orientation to Sociology
  • Soc 607 (3 cr) Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • Soc 699 (8 cr) Dissertation Research
  • No more than 12 credits of 590 (special topics) may be applied toward the Ph.D. degree requirements (72 credits).

Ph.D. Minor / Co-Major Requirements

Required Courses for the Ph.D. Minor

  • Soc 506 (3 cr) Classical Sociological Theory
  • Soc 511 (3 cr) Research Methodology for the Social Sciences
  • Soc 607 (3 cr) Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • One of the following three courses (3 cr):
    • Soc 512 (3 cr) Applied Multivariate Statistics for Social and Behavioral Research
    • Soc 513 (3 cr) Qualitative Research Methods
    • Soc 613 (3 Cr) Structural Equation Models for Social and Behavioral Research
  • And other Sociology courses (at least one of which must be at the 600 level) for a total of 24 credits in Sociology.

Required Courses for the Ph.D. Co-Major

  • Stat 404 (3 cr) Regression for Social and Behavioral Research
  • Soc 506 (3 cr) Classical Sociological Theory
  • Soc 511 (3 cr) Research Methodology for the Social Sciences
  • One Course in Advanced Methodology:
    • Soc 512 (3 cr) Applied Multivariate Statistics for Social and Behavioral Research
    • Soc 513 (3 cr) Qualitative Research Methods
    • Soc 613 (3 cr) Structural Equation Models for Social and Behavioral Research
  • One Course in Advanced Sociology
    • Soc 520 (3 cr) Social Psychology: A Sociological Perspective
    • Soc 534 (3 cr) Race, Class, and Gender Inequality
  • Soc 591 (1 cr) Orientation to Sociology
  • Soc 607 (3 cr) Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • Soc 699 (8 cr) Dissertation Research

Co-Major Requirements for the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture
The Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture (GPSA) develops student competence and expertise in the design, implementation, and evaluation of sustainable agricultural systems.  The program's curriculum satisfies the formal requirements for the MS and Ph.D. degrees, as established by the ISU Graduate College, and fosters transdisciplinary and systems-level thinking.  

The Department does not offer double majors in sociology.
For admission to the co-major program contact the graduate program coordinator.

 


Ph.D. Examinations

English Examination
To ensure competence in written English, all graduate students must take English exams that are required by the Graduate College. In addition, nonnative speakers of English who will have teaching responsibilities are required to take the SPEAK/TEACH tests.

First Year Evaluation
All first year graduate students in Sociology will be reviewed near the end of their first year of study by the Director of Graduate Education in consultation with the core course instructors. Advisors will be informed by the Graduate Coordinator if student performance is considered marginal or unsatisfactory. The advisor will inform the student of the evaluation.

Ph.D. Preliminary Examinations
Ph.D. candidates must successfully complete the written and oral preliminary examinations.  These examinations are described in the Appendix to this document.

PDF logo Preliminary Examination Guidelines


Thesis and Dissertation

A written proposal for the dissertation must be accepted by the POS committee before the candidate begins his or her research work.  The alternative thesis or dissertation format is allowed by the Graduate College with an approval of the POS committee. The guidelines are found in the Graduate College Thesis Manual.

Time Limitations for Completion of Degrees:
A student beginning a Ph.D. degree program at ISU with a master's degree is expected to complete the program within five years, while a student beginning a Ph.D. degree program without the master's degree is expected to complete the program within seven years. If warranted, the POS Committee may request by letter that the Dean of the Graduate College extend these time limits.


Petitioning Procedures

Students may request a waiver of any of the procedures, rules, and regulations described in this document and appeal decisions based on these procedures, rules, and regulations. Such requests are to be submitted to the Department Chair and should take the form of a written document that presents the student's rationale for requesting the waiver or appealing a decision, accompanied by an evaluation of the request by the student's advisor or major professor. The Chair will examine the issue, seek advice from departmental committees as necessary, and make the final decision. These petitions will be approved only under highly extenuating circumstances.

 


P.O.S. Committee

The POS committee for a doctoral program consists of five members of the graduate faculty. It must include at least three members, including the major professor, from within the student's major or program. At least one member of the Ph.D. POS committee must be outside the student's major or department. There should be at least one member representing the declared area of Ph.D. concentration.

Only Graduate Faculty currently employed by Iowa State University can serve as major professor. The major professor must be a member of the graduate faculty in the student's declared major. See Graduate College Handbook for detailed information on committee makeup.

The Graduate College recommends that the committee be formed as early as the second semester of graduate study. In no case can the committee be formed later than the term before the final oral examination or preliminary oral examination.