Graduate Program Guidelines

Master of Arts—Sociology

Degree Requirements

The M.A. degree follows the university’s Plan 1, culminating in a thesis, with the following additional requirements: 44 units of coursework including the department’s graduate-level theory (Sociology 207A-B-C), qualitative methods, quantitative methods (Sociology 205A-B), one professional development seminar (Sociology 290A), and three electives. These courses must be passed with a grade of B or better with the exception of the 4-unit professional development seminar, which must be passed satisfactorily.  All students are expected to write and defend an original M.A. thesis. Following successful submission of the thesis, the student undergoes a thesis defense. Required coursework must be completed by the end of the quarter in which the thesis is submitted. The student’s Master’s Committee supervises the thesis research, administers the thesis defense, and certifies completion of required coursework.

The M.A. program should normally be completed by the end of the second year. Any student who does not complete the M.A. course requirements and thesis in 3 years must petition to continue in the program with the approval of his/her faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. These petitions will be evaluated by the Graduate Program and Admissions Committee resulting in either continuation or recommendation for academic dismissal that will be forwarded to the Graduate Division.

Doctor of Philosophy—Sociology

Degree Requirements

Before being advanced to candidacy, the student must fulfill an additional 20 units of graduate coursework in sociology beyond those required for the M.A., designed to (1) demonstrate competence in a major area of sociology by completing three seminars on topics related to that area; (2) complete one Logics of Inquiry course; and (3) complete a Ph.D. professional development seminar, Sociology 290B. All coursework for the Ph.D. must be completed with the grade of B or better with the exception of the professional development seminar, 290B, which must be passed satisfactorily. No foreign language is required, but a student whose specialty requires knowledge of such a language will be required to demonstrate competence. Service as a Teaching Assistant and/or Teaching Associate for a minimum of four quarters before completing the doctoral degree, is required.

In addition to the required Ph.D. coursework, students must demonstrate current knowledge of the dissertation research field by completing a qualifying area exam paper which typically focuses on the student’s major area of specialization and proposed research. After the student has fulfilled the Ph.D. coursework and the qualifying area exam paper, he/she is expected to satisfactorily pass an oral qualifying exam to be advanced to candidacy. Within two quarters of being advanced to candidacy, students will prepare a final dissertation proposal to be presented and approved by the doctoral committee. The student’s doctoral committee will normally require an oral hearing prior to approving the proposal. The final dissertation proposal is filed in the Graduate Program office. The final requirement for the doctoral program is for the candidate to complete a dissertation, which must be an original work based on independent research and an oral defense.

Sociology Graduate Program, Student Handbook (available below): These guidelines are designed to be used in conjunction with Graduate Division’s Graduate Handbook, for detailed requirements, policies, and procedures specific to the University and the Sociology Graduate Program.

The Graduate Division’s Graduate Handbook is available online at: {}

Dates and Deadlines: Please visit the University Registrar’s Page for important registration dates and deadlines.