Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 52

Required Courses:

Social Theory Courses
SOC 8111Classical Social Theory3
SOC 9111Contemporary Sociological Theory3
Methods of Inquiry Courses
SOC 8011Logic of Inquiry3
SOC 8211Inferential and Multivariate Statistics4
SOC 8221Qualitative Methods3
SOC 9211Graduate Data Analysis3
SOC 9241Qualitative Data Analysis3
Electives 121
Second-Year Milestone Courses 2
SOC 8873Writing for the Social Sciences3
SOC 8883Second-Year Research0
Research Courses
SOC 9994Preliminary Examination Preparation1
SOC 9998Pre-Dissertation Research 33
SOC 9999Dissertation Research2
Total Credit Hours52

Culminating Events:
Pre-Candidacy Evaluation:
The Sociology Department evaluates doctoral students at the end of their second year based on two criteria:

  • First, full-time doctoral students are expected to complete a Second Year Paper, which is due at the end of the Spring term of their second year. Part-time students are allowed to complete the paper within a year after finishing their required Social Theory and Methods of Inquiry courses. All students are responsible for recruiting two committee members to review and grade the paper, which is due the last day of classes in the Spring term. Students may work with their committee throughout the semester to ensure the paper aligns with expectations. Papers can be a journal-quality literature review, a journal-quality theory piece, a journal-quality empirical investigation, a grant proposal, or a research report akin to those put out by research organizations. Students then present their paper to the department. Their committee evaluates the paper based on the student's demonstrated ability to synthesize the relevant literature, conceptualize a research problem, and/or carry out a feasible research design. Both committee members must pass the paper. Any student who does not write a passing paper that term must do so the following semester. Those who are unsuccessful on the second attempt are dismissed from the program.
  • Second, students must earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher to continue in the doctoral program. However, a student may 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 course. 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 its degree requirements.

Preliminary Examination:
After completing the required coursework, doctoral students are expected to take a preliminary examination in the form of a written area exam in the Spring term of their third year. Prior to taking the preliminary examination, students must complete two or more graduate-level courses related to that examination area offered by the faculty within the department. When doctoral students complete the required coursework, they must then take the preliminary examination in one of the broad examination areas identified by the Sociology Department as consistent with its mission and self-defined areas of strength: Gender and Sexuality, Immigration and Globalization, Medical Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, and Urban Sociology. 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. three faculty members are willing to sponsor the exam; and 
  3. the Graduate Chair approves.

No later than the second Monday in August prior to the Spring term when the preliminary examination will be taken, students must fill out the "Department Preliminary Examination Application" form and indicate the selected area for the exam. The Department Chair appoints three faculty members to form area-specific prelim committees charged with grading the exams.

The written area examination consists of four questions, and students must select and answer two of those questions. Students are given one week to complete the preliminary exam. Students receive the questions on an announced Monday in March or April, and the answers are due a week later. The Prelim Committee members assign a grade of “Pass” or “Fail” to each question along with their comments. A student needs at least two passes on both questions to pass the exam.

Based on the written area exam grade, the Graduate Chair assigns an overall “Pass” or “Fail” to each student for the preliminary examination. Any student who fails the written area exam may retake the exam. At the beginning of the following Fall term, three faculty members in the prelim area are appointed by the Department Chair to form a Prelim Committee. The committee submits four questions to the Graduate Chair by an announced date in October. The student receives the questions the Monday of the week before Thanksgiving week, and the exam is due on the Monday of Thanksgiving week.

Doctoral Advisory Committee:
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 the Chair. The majority of the committee members must be from the Sociology Department. Other members may include faculty from other departments within Temple University or from other universities; doctoral-level expert advisors from outside university settings may also be considered as members.

To establish the Doctoral Advisory Committee, the student must submit a "Sociology Department Doctoral Advisory Committee" form to the department's Graduate Coordinator. To include committee members who are not members of the Temple Graduate Faculty on a Doctoral Advisory Committee, the Chair must request approval by submitting the "Nomination for Service on Doctoral Committee" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” and the proposed committee member’s current curriculum vitae to the Graduate School. If a change is made in the composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee, the change must be approved by the Chair of the committee; if the change involves the Chair of the committee, the Graduate Chair should be informed beforehand and the original Chair of the committee must be notified. The change must also be noted on the original "Sociology Department Doctoral Advisory Committee" form and signed by both the Chair of the committee and the Graduate Chair.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee meets at least once a year to review the candidate's progress and offer 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.

A digital copy of the proposal is made available to faculty at least two weeks prior to the oral defense of the proposal. All department faculty and graduate students are invited to attend the presentation of the dissertation proposal. Normally, proposal defenses are held during the academic year. All members of the committee must be present at the proposal defense.

The dissertation proposal is accepted only when members of the dissertation committee vote unanimously to accept it. An approved dissertation proposal along with the "Dissertation Proposal Transmittal for Elevation to Candidacy" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” must be filed with the Graduate School. After defending the dissertation proposal, a student is formally advanced to Ph.D. candidacy.

If a change is made in the composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee after the approval of the proposal, the change must be approved by the Chair of the committee and the Dean of the College. The change must be noted on the "Request for Change in Dissertation Committee" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” and filed with the Graduate School prior to posting the final dissertation defense.

Dissertation Defense/Ph.D. Final Examination:
The dissertation is defended orally. Any discrepancy between the final version of the dissertation and the dissertation proposal should be explained and defended. A digital copy of the dissertation is made available to faculty at least two weeks before the dissertation defense. An abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding ten pages, must be given to all faculty members ten days before the defense.

The Dissertation Examining Committee is formed to evaluate the quality of the dissertation and conduct the oral defense. The committee includes the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one outside examiner. If the outside examiner is not a member of the Temple Graduate Faculty, the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee must request approval by submitting the "Nomination for Service on Doctoral Committee" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” and the outside examiner’s current curriculum vitae to 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 and conducting the defense, must be identified when the defense is posted with the Graduate School on the "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.”

All dissertation oral defense examinations are publicly announced by the Sociology Department in writing at least ten 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 Graduate School. It must also be 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 dissertation defense passed after the Graduate School deadline in the Spring does not qualify the student for a May degree. 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 cannot sign the form certifying the defense. All faculty members and students are invited to participate in the dissertation defense.

The dissertation committee must vote unanimously that the student has passed the Ph.D. Final Examination. Each member of the dissertation committee indicates their assessment of the examination and signs their name to the "Final Examination Report for Doctoral Candidates" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” If the Chair of the Sociology Department agrees that the dissertation meets departmental standards, the Chair signifies approval by signing for the department as well on the "Final Examination Report for Doctoral Candidates" form. The completed form is submitted to the Dean's Office of the College of Liberal Arts.

Information regarding the required format of the dissertation is available in the Graduate School's Dissertation and Thesis Handbook, found at A processing fee must be paid to the Temple University Bursar as shown on the "Dissertation/Thesis Processing Fee" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” Fees may also be required when filing the dissertation electronically, within 30 days of the dissertation defense, at The student should heed the instructions found on the "Final Checklist of Dissertation Materials," identified as Appendix M1 in the Graduate School's Dissertation and Thesis Handbook. Note that the signature page bearing original ink signatures constitutes the only item required to be submitted in hard copy to the Graduate School.

Students must apply to graduate, through the Sociology Department, by the deadline date announced in the graduate catalog each year. The deadline is usually three or four months before graduation. Applications may be obtained from the department's Graduate Coordinator or online. Upon completion of the doctoral program, the student is required to submit a bound copy of her/his dissertation to the Sociology Department, as well as a regular hard copy to the Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee.