The program prepares students for research and for teaching. While it does offer an M.A. degree, the program is designed primarily for students who are seeking a Ph.D. The M.A. degree is seen as a stepping-stone to the Ph.D.
Requirements for the Ph.D. include 21 research credits, a writing seminar worth 3 credits, and 48 credits of approved course work. To meet the course requirement, students may include courses that were taken to satisfy requirements for the M.A. degree. Students may transfer as many as 24 credits from other institutions. Of the 48 credits, 6 must be in theory, 6 in methods, and 6 in statistics.
In addition to course work, students must complete three qualifying papers of publishable quality or submit two such papers and take a qualifying examination in one area of specialization. They also are required to take a writing seminar, defend and win approval of a dissertation proposal, and submit and defend a finished dissertation.
Students generally receive the M.A. degree when they have completed 30 credits of approved course work. Required courses include 3 credits in methods, 3 credits in statistics, and 6 credits in theory. Finally, they must submit one of the qualifying papers for the Ph.D. Upon approval, students may transfer as many as 12 credits earned from other institutions.
Applications for September admission should be submitted no later than February 1 by students seeking financial assistance. In other cases, the deadline is May 1. Official transcripts, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation are required. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) also is required, but applicants need not take the advanced test in sociology. Students for whom English is not the first language must take the TOEFL examination if their undergraduate degree was not obtained in the United States.