2009 - 2010 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Sociology, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline has passed.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with academic competence, wherever possible.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

An applicant's undergraduate and graduate coursework is evaluated.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in Sociology, Criminal Justice, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, Urban Studies, among others, is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should provide the reason the applicant wants to attend graduate school and describe her/his career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required.  A combined score of 1,000 on the quantitative and verbal sections is expected.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.

Writing Sample:

The writing sample should be a paper on a sociological topic.  It should demonstrate your ability to conduct research and to write a scholarly paper. This writing sample should be 15-25 pages in length.


A personal resume or curriculum vitae is required.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 18

Required Courses:

Two courses in social theory:

SOC 8111:  Classical Social Theory

SOC 9111:  Contemporary Sociological Theory

Two courses in methods of inquiry:

SOC 8011:  Logic of Inquiry

SOC 8221:  Qualitative Methods

Two courses in statistics:

SOC 8211:  Inferential and Multivariate Statistics

SOC 9211:  Data Analysis

SOC 9998:  Pre-Dissertation Research (3 s.h.)

SOC 9999:  Dissertation Research (minimum 6 s.h.)

Nine electives, including three in research

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Pre-Candidacy Evaluation:

The Department evaluates doctoral students at the end of their second year using the Grade Point Average (GPA) as a main criterion for advancement to doctoral-level coursework.  A student with a GPA below 3.4 is ordinarily not allowed to continue in the doctoral program.  However, the student can petition the Graduate Committee for re-consideration.  After a petition is submitted, the Graduate Chair requires a written evaluation from each faculty member in the Department with whom the student has taken a class.  The student is permitted to continue in the Ph.D. Program if at least five faculty members write in support of the petition.  Those not allowed to continue can graduate with an M.A. upon completion of the requirements.

Preliminary Examination:

After completing the required coursework, doctoral students are expected to take a Preliminary Examination in the Spring semester of their third year.  The Preliminary Examination consists of two parts: the written area examination and the research proposal paper.

Written Area Exam:  The Department has identified three broad examination areas that are consistent with its mission and self-defined areas of strength: Race & Ethnicity, Gender & Sexuality, and Urban & Globalization.  However, students may request to take the exam in another area under the following conditions: (1) the student has taken at least two graduate-level courses in the Sociology Department in the requested area, one of which may be an Independent Study course; (2) two faculty members are willing to sponsor the exam; and (3) approval of the Graduate Chair is secured.

No later than the second Monday of November prior to the Spring semester when the prelims will be taken, students must fill out the Department Preliminary Examination Application Form and indicate the selected prelim area.  At the beginning of the Spring semester, two faculty members from the prelim area are appointed by the Department Chair to form a Prelim Committee.  The Department Chair also appoints a tie breaker to read the exam if the committee does not agree on the evaluation.  That Spring semester, students are also required to take a 3-credit proposal seminar (SOC 9998:  Pre-Dissertation Research).  The performance of a student in the preliminary examination is evaluated based on both the written exam and the research proposal paper.

The written area examination consists of four questions, and students must answer two in a week.  They receive the questions the second Monday of April and the answers are due the third Monday of April.  The Prelim Committee members have two weeks to evaluate the exam, assigning a grade of “Pass” or “Fail” to each question.  A total of at least three “Passes” from the two graders is needed for a student to pass the exam.  If there are two “Passes” and two “Fails,” the tie breaker is called on to grade the exam; two passing grades from the tie breaker allow the student to pass the examination.  Grades with comments shall be submitted to the Graduate Chair.

Research Proposal Paper:  The research proposal paper is the main assignment of the Proposal Seminar.  Every student selects a faculty member with expertise in her/his research area to serve as a proposal reader.  On the official last day of classes, students submit their proposal paper to the instructor and the reader.  The paper should demonstrate mastery of the existing body of literature on the proposed topic and the ability to formulate important scholarly research problems, as well as the appropriate methods to investigate them.  It should not exceed 20 pages and have no fewer than 12 pages.  The instructor and the reader have a week to grade the papers, and each must submit a detailed, descriptive evaluation of the paper to the Graduate Chair, indicating whether it is “acceptable” or “unacceptable.” 

Based on the written area exam grade and the evaluation of the research proposal paper, the Graduate Chair assigns an overall “Pass” or “Fail” to each student for the Preliminary Examination.  Students are notified of their prelim results at the end of the semester.  Students need a “Pass” on the written exam and an “acceptable” evaluation on the proposal paper to successfully complete the Preliminary Examination.  Those who fail both the area exam and the proposal paper are not allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program.  They are instead eligible to receive a master’s degree.  Those who do well on one part but fail the other may retake the part they failed.

Following the Preliminary Examination, the student selects the Chair of her/his Doctoral Advisory Committee.  The remaining two or more members of the committee are selected by the student in consultation with her/his Chair.  The majority of the committee must be from the Department of Sociology.  Other members may include faculty from other departments within Temple University or from other universities, as well as doctoral-level expert advisors from outside university settings.  The Doctoral Advisory Committee meets at least once a year to review the candidate's progress and provide advice to the candidate.

Dissertation Proposal:

The dissertation proposal is a brief statement of the dissertation research.  It should contain a review of the literature, a statement of the research problem, and a comprehensive description of the research strategy to be employed. 

Normally, proposal defenses are held during the academic year.  All members of the committee must be present at the proposal hearing, but an alternate member may be requested with prior approval from the Graduate Chair.

The dissertation proposal is accepted only when members of the dissertation committee vote unanimously to accept it.  An approved dissertation proposal must be filed along with the Dissertation Proposal Transmittal Form to the Graduate School.  After defending the dissertation proposal, a student is formally advanced to Ph.D. Candidacy.

Dissertation Defense (Ph.D. Final Examination):

The dissertation defense consists of the oral defense of the thesis.  Any discrepancy between the final version of the dissertation and the dissertation proposal should be explained and defended.  Two copies of the dissertation are available in the Department at least four weeks before the dissertation defense.  An abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding 10 pages, must be given to all faculty four weeks before the defense.

The Dissertation Examining Committee is formed to evaluate the quality of the dissertation and conduct the oral defense (see the Announcement of Oral Defense Form).  The committee includes the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one outside examiner.  If the outside examiner is not a member of Temple's Graduate Faculty, the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee must request approval by submitting the Nomination for Service on Doctoral Committee Form and the outside examiner's current curriculum vitae to the Dean of the Graduate School at least four weeks in advance of the scheduled defense.  Approval must be received prior to posting the oral defense.  The Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty but may not be the Chair of the candidate’s Doctoral Advisory Committee.  This person, responsible for coordinating the defense, must be identified when the defense is posted with the Graduate School.

All dissertation oral defense examinations are publicly announced by the Department in writing at least 10 days in advance of the examination.  The written announcement must be sent to all members of the Dissertation Examining Committee, all graduate faculty in the candidate's department, and the Dean of the Graduate School and posted in the college.  All dissertation examinations are open to the entire academic community. 

Normally, the dissertation defense is held during the regular academic year.  A Summer defense may be scheduled only if all members of the committee agree.  The entire dissertation committee must attend the defense.  If one or more committee members fail to attend the defense, the Departmental Chair will not sign the form certifying the defense.  All faculty members and students are invited to participate in the dissertation defense.

The Dissertation Examining Committee must vote unanimously that the student has passed the Ph.D. Final Examination.  A dissertation defense passed after the Graduate School deadline in the Spring qualifies the student for receipt of a degree in August.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Sociology
713 Gladfelter Hall

1115 West Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


Pamela Smallwood


Program Coordinator:

Dr. Shanyang Zhao


Graduate Chairperson:

Dr. Shanyang Zhao



Dr. Robert Kaufman

About the Program

The graduate program in Sociology is devoted to the training of research scholars and educators in the discipline. Students have a variety of career goals, ranging from academic research and teaching to research and administration in private or public agencies. The Department offers two distinct programs of study in Sociology. The master's program provides students with advanced training in policy-oriented research skills with a regional emphasis on the Philadelphia metropolitan area. It is specially designed for those who already work in agencies where such skills are used and who wish to upgrade their qualifications. The doctoral program prepares students for research, teaching, and advanced work in applied settings. The program allows students some flexibility in developing additional specialties within the Department, in special cases incorporating studies in related disciplines.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Main, Center City

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.  Students are also able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of Sociology
713 Gladfelter Hall

1115 West Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program encourages students to participate in seminars in other social sciences, including Anthropology, Criminal Justice, History, Political Science, Psychology, Urban Education, and Urban Studies.


The program is affiliated with the American Sociological Association.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

The faculty have three main areas of expertise and research interest:

Race & Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are central components of many societies.  Although race and ethnic differences are present in many parts of the world, in the United States they are central to the functioning of society and are responsible for what some scholars have called a “racialized social formation.” At the same time, race and ethnicity are complexly intertwined with other types of identity, more prominently with gender, class, religion, and sexual orientation.  Overall, racial thinking is closely linked to how some societies function and sociologists have developed methodologies that are unique to this subfield. The race and ethnicity area encompasses sociological perspectives on ethnic and racial identities, inequalities, and interactions.  Emphasis is placed on the long tradition of sociological research, from the early 20th century to the present, including but not limited to research on assimilation, racial stratification, prejudice and discrimination, immigration, and racial formation.

Gender & Sexuality:

Gender provides a lens through which to understand the social construction of similarity and difference and the sociological, historical, political, and economic forces that both shape and reflect women’s and men’s roles, statuses, resources, physical traits, and relationships with others. One major focus, gender and inequality, investigates the relationship between sex and gender and the socioeconomic rewards distributed through the labor market and the welfare state.  We attend to how sex and gender relate to poverty, women’s relative position in the income distribution and occupational hierarchy, the operation of work organizations, and the construction of social policy. Another area, kinship, explores global changes in families, competing theoretical perspectives on the role of kinship structures in gender inequality, parenting and childhood, and social networks as well as the impact of public policy on the welfare of modern families. Gender also encompasses body and sexuality, which includes the social construction of sexual identity, historical changes in identity construction, and the social and cultural shaping of bodies and gender differences in this.  In all of the above, we pay attention to gender’s intersection with race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, and immigration status.

Urban & Globalization:

The area of urban and globalization comprises the study of the structures and processes that shape urban life.  Globalization deals with the global interpenetration of national, regional, and local economic, social, and political processes.  Consequently, each area requires competence in the other.  The urban sociology field focuses on how the organization of space produces and reproduces inequality by race, ethnicity, gender, class, family type, and sexuality.  It features analyses of competing theoretical explanations for urban spatial patterns linked to inequalities that include power and politics, culture, racial and ethnic discrimination, and economic and political institutions. Urban sociology is oriented toward social problems, looking at the manifestation and production of inequality in a wide range of areas, including homelessness, poverty, racial segregation, crime and delinquency, unemployment and underemployment, and environmental problems.  A unique feature of the urban sociology field is its ability to link the physical dimensions of space (location, neighborhood, housing, access to place-based amenities) to social inequality.  A major feature of urban sociology looks at mechanisms accompanying globalization, the development of world cities, the ways in which cities are integrated and exploited within a global economy, and the role of immigrant flows in shaping global cities.

Job Placement:

Graduates are typically employed as either teaching-research scholars in an academic setting or as applied researchers and administrators in private and public agencies.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students may take as many as 9 credit hours of coursework. These may be applied toward degree requirements upon matriculation. The particular courses taken on a non-matriculated basis must be approved in advance by the Graduate Director.

Financing Opportunities

The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant include assisting faculty members in classroom and laboratory instruction, conducting tutorial and discussion sections, and grading quizzes.

Updated 3.11.10