The sociology doctoral degree provides rigorous training in public and applied social research, including skills in research design, data analysis, and substantive areas that are pertinent to various sectors in the Washington, D.C. area. Graduates have the theoretical, analytical, and professional skills that prepare them for academic positions in teaching or research. They are also well-qualified for nonacademic positions in the many settings that rely on the expertise of sociologists including human service agencies, marketing research firms, educational systems, nonprofit foundations, and law enforcement agencies.

Admissions

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For specific information, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental web site.

Policies

Reduction of Credit

Students who enter the program with a master’s degree may be allowed a reduction of credit up to 30 credits subject to the approval of the graduate director and the dean.

Banner Code: LA-PHD-SOCI

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 72

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Following completion of all required course work and passing a candidacy exam, students are advanced to candidacy by the dean and complete a dissertation, an original and independent research project.

Foundation Courses

Required Foundation Course
SOCI 601Proseminar in Public and Applied Sociology3
Courses of Theory
SOCI 711Classical Sociological Theory3
SOCI 712Contemporary Sociological Theory3
Writing
SOCI 602Writing for the Social Sciences3
Required Courses of Methodology and Analysis
SOCI 620Methods and Logic of Social Inquiry3
SOCI 636Statistical Reasoning3
Elective Course of Methodology and Analysis
Select one from the following:3
Special Topics in Sociology (when topic is Critical Theory or Feminist Theory, may substitute for this requirement or for one course under the statistics/methods requirement.)
Analytic Techniques of Social Research
Qualitative Research Methods
Statistics/Methods
Select two from the following:6
Special Topics in Sociology (when topic is Critical Theory or Feminist Theory, may substitute for one course under this requirement or for the elective methodology and analysis course.)
Survey Research
Evaluation Research for Social Programs
Qualitative Research Methods
Ethnography
Historical and Comparative Sociology
Historical and Comparative Sociology
Methods in Anthropology
Feminist Approaches to Social Research
Feminist Research Practice
Total Credits27

Two Proseminars

SOCI 803Institutions and Inequality3
SOCI 804Sociology of Globalization3
Total Credits6

Three Courses in a Specialization

Students specialize in either institutions and inequalities or sociology of globalization. Depending on the topic, special topics courses SOCI 633 Special Topics in Sociology and SOCI 833 Special Topics in Sociology (or others) may be applied to the specialization with prior written approval of the director. Up to two courses may be from outside sociology, chosen in consultation with (and with approval of) the student’s advisor or the graduate director.

Institutions and Inequalities Specialization

Select 3 courses toward the degree from the following:9
Gender and Social Structure
Juvenile Delinquency
Sociology of Culture
Racial and Ethnic Relations: American and Selected Global Perspectives
International Migration in the Age of Globalization
Environment and Society
Micro Sociology: Inequality and Everyday Life
New Media and Social Inequality
Work Organizations and Social Inequality
Youth, Schooling, and Popular Culture
Society and Education
Cities in a Global Society
Sociology of Human Rights
Special Topics in Sociology (with prior written approval of director)
Special Topics in Sociology (with prior written approval of director)
Total Credits9

Sociology of Globalization Specialization

Students in this specialization must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language at an advanced level of reading and comprehension.

Select 3 courses toward the degree from the following:9
Sociology of Culture
Racial and Ethnic Relations: American and Selected Global Perspectives
International Migration in the Age of Globalization
Environment and Society
New Media and Social Inequality
Sociology of Development
Globalization and Social Movements
Cities in a Global Society
Sociology of Human Rights
Refugees in the Contemporary World
International Migration in Comparative Perspective
Nationalism, Transnationalism, and States: Local and Global Perspectives
Special Topics in Sociology (with prior written approval of director)
Special Topics in Sociology (with prior written approval of director)
Total Credits9

Elective Courses

Select six elective courses18
Total Credits18

Electives may include up to two courses from outside sociology, chosen in consultation with and approval of the graduate director.

Research Proficiency

Students must demonstrate proficiency in a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods prior to taking the qualifying exams for candidacy. Proficiency is determined by satisfactory course work or an exam.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all course work required on their approved program of study. Students must also successfully pass one written qualifying examination. The comprehensive exam tests students' mastery of the foundations of sociological inquiry, linking research methods and sociological theory to public concerns, as well as material in the student's area of specialization. It is administered by a faculty committee appointed by the graduate program director. Additionally, students must have an approved dissertation committee. Evidence of completed requirements must be on file in the Dean's Office before a student can advance to candidacy.

Dissertation

Once enrolled in SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation, students must maintain continuous registration each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the University Libraries. Once enrolled in SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6.10.6 Dissertation Research. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of SOCI 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and 3 credits of SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation. They may apply a maximum of 12 dissertation credits (SOCI 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation. Because students cannot register for credits of SOCI 999 Doctoral Dissertation until they have advanced to PhD candidacy, they may choose (but are not required) to register for additional credits of SOCI 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal.

Select 12 credits from the following:12
Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credits12