- Meeting course requirements
The Ph.D. requires 90 credit hours of course work, of which up to 30 hours may be Ph.D. thesis credit (S869), including the 30 hours counting toward the M.A.
Required courses include:
- 6 credits of S566/S567 or S569
- S500 (Pro-seminar in Sociology)
- S510, S530, S540 (Sociological Theory)
- S558 (Advanced Research Techniques)
- S650 (Statistical Techniques in Sociology II)
- one advanced methods course (S651, S652, S655, S656, S658, or S659)
- three 600-level substantive courses
- one offering of S700
- two elective courses (chosen from the S500, S600, or S700 level)
With the permission of the director of graduate studies, one of these electives may be satisfied by either S864 (Independent Readings) or S866 (Independent Research) and both of them may be satisfied by courses from outside the department which are approved for graduate credit (these credits may not be used to fulfill the outside minor requirement).
You must maintain a GPA of at least 3.50 for all coursework, and no grade below a B in Sociology will count towards the Ph.D. degree. Required courses that fail to meet this minimum grade standard may be retaken once, if necessary.
You may receive graduate credit for the 400-level courses that are listed in the Graduate School Bulletin, with permission of the instructor and of the director of graduate studies. Graduate students in such a course will be expected to achieve an appropriately higher level of performance than undergraduates also taking the course.
All course substitutions and waivers must be approved by the Graduate School Dean and all requests must go through the DGS to the Dean. The DGS needs to know that your advisor is on board with any exception, substitution, waiver, etc.
- Outside minor requirement
The outside minor must be chosen from an approved list. Currently-approved minors include: African studies, Afro-American studies, anthropology, Asian studies, business, cultural studies, demography, economics, education, geography, history, history and philosophy of science, human sexuality, Latin American and Caribbean studies, law, linguistics, mathematics, political science, population studies, psychology, religious studies, West European studies, and women's studies.
A field not listed may be chosen with the approval of the director of graduate studies. Requirements for the minor are set by the outside department, but usually range from 9-15 hours of course work.
- Qualifying exam process
To qualify for candidacy, you must demonstrate basic proficiency in sociological methods, either by achieving a GPA of 3.50 or above in the required statistics and methods course sequence (S554, S558, S650, one advanced methods course) or by passing a qualifying examination in methodology.
You must pass a written qualifying examination in a research specialty of your choosing. Contact the graduate secretary for details about this examination.
It is expected that these two requirements be completed by the beginning of the fourth year in the program.
Once you complete your qualifying exam, you must register continuously until you finish. This means every fall and spring semester. You do not need to register in the summer, unless you are depositing your dissertation in the summer.
You must have completed your courses within seven years of your last qualifying exam date, including transferred courses
- Graduate students progress to the Department of Sociology's qualifying examination after first completing their Master's degree. Students must successfully complete the Qualifying Exam before being advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. Qualifying Exams may be attempted twice; a student who fails in a second attempt ordinarily will not be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. Appeals may be directed to the Graduate Recruitment and Evaluation Committee, but will be granted only in exceptional cases.
- Students should take Qualifying Exams before the start of their fourth year in the program. Failure to complete the exams by this time jeopardizes a student's timely progress toward the Ph.D., and will be taken into account during Departmental evaluations and funding decisions.
- Each student will form a Qualifying Committee made up of two faculty members from the Department of Sociology. The student will select one member as Chair. A third member-at-large (“generalist”) will be appointed to each Qualifying Committee by the Department Chair in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
- In consultation initially with the Chair of the Qualifying Committee, and later with the other Committee members, each student will prepare a list of appropriate readings. The length of the reading list will vary by research area, but as a guideline it should consist of about 30 books and 100 journal articles/book chapters. Reading lists must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation (if necessary) with the Graduate Recruitment and Evaluation Committee. Most reading lists will continue to evolve as a student prepares for the exam: new items may be added, unnecessary ones deleted. Reading lists submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval must be accompanied by: the names of the first and second readers, preferred dates for the examination, and a 1-2 paragraph description/rationale for the proposed research area.
- The reading list should define a broad substantive area of sociological research, including both contemporary and classical literature. The broad substantive area should be roughly equivalent to a commonly recognized sociological specialty. In general, the reading list should adequately prepare the student to do research and to teach a graduate level substantive course in the chosen specialty. There are no pre-approved areas or reading lists.
Note: Examples of reading lists are available from the graduate secretary upon request.
- A student may not devise a Qualifying Exam exclusively in theory or methods; however, the substantive literature should be linked to broader issues of theory and method in sociology as a whole.
- Qualifying Exams may be scheduled for an exam period mutually agreeable to the student, the Qualifying Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies (who is responsible for administering the exam). Qualifying exams are normally scheduled to be taken during one of four exam periods offered throughout the academic year. Exams may be scheduled for the third week of the fall or spring semesters (including weekends), the week after Thanksgiving Break, or the week after Spring Break. Students may only take exams in the summer if the date is approved by all committee members and the DGS. At least two months before the scheduled exam date, the student must provide the Director of Graduate Studies with a reading list for his or her approval. At that time, the third faculty member-at-large will be appointed to the Committee, and he or she will have an opportunity to propose changes in the reading list.
- Students will answer three to five questions prepared by the Qualifying Committee, reflecting key sociological issues raised by the reading list as well as broader issues of theory and method that may be relevant to the area. The answers together may be no longer than 30 typed, double-spaced pages (references and/or bibliography are not to make up any part of these 30 pages), with one inch margins, using an 11 or a 12-point font.
Students will have 72 hours (three days) to complete the exam. They may work at any site, and are free to use any books and personal notes during the exam period. Students are expected to work entirely on their own during the examination period. The Qualifying Committee will fail an examination without review if a student receives help from another person during the exam period or if a student shares the contents of the examination questions or responses with anyone during the exam period without the express permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. Plagiarism or collusion during the exam period are grounds for expulsion from the graduate program, as per University policy. If requested by the student, the Department will try to provide a quiet place to work and access to a computer.
Note: Examples of qualifying exam questions and answers are also available from the graduate secretary upon request.
A student who, just prior to or during the exam period, encounters an emergency that would affect his or her performance on the exam should contact the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as possible. The Director of Graduate Studies is empowered to consider the situation, as well as other special circumstances outside of the student’s or committee’s control, to determine whether some special accommodation seems fair and reasonable, and, if so, to implement that accommodation.
- If the exam is taken during the academic year it will be evaluated by the Qualifying Exam Committee within three weeks. If it is taken during the summer the Qualifying Exam Committee has until the beginning of the fall semester to evaluate the exam. Available grades are pass and fail. A unanimous vote of the Committee is required for pass. Students are encouraged to seek feedback from committee members about their performance on the exam.
- A successful Qualifying Exam will demonstrate a student's mastery of chosen readings, as evidenced by an ability: to synthesize creatively diverse perspectives and findings in a way that has the potential to extend existing literature; to discuss relevant works at a detail sufficient to demonstrate that they have been read and understood; to think critically about the readings and to provide reasoned judgments about their worth and utility; to write coherent and organized prose. Failed exams will display an absence of these qualities.
- Qualifying Examination procedures and performances will be reviewed annually by the Graduate Affairs Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. Suggestions for minor changes will go to the Executive Committee for approval, while suggestions for major changes will be considered by the full faculty.
- Students who wish to take the Qualifying Exam during the next year should inform the Director of Graduate Studies by the end of the first week of the Fall Semester. Typically, the Qualifying Exam is taken only during the regular academic year -- which includes the fall and spring semesters. Again, only under special, pre-approved circumstances will graduate students be allowed to complete the Qualifying Examination during the summer.
- Submitting an e-doc
This is system for tracking all University Graduate School forms. You will submit an e-doc to submit the request for your M.A. degree, request departmental nominations and apply for Ph.D. Candidacy, nominate your Research Committee, apply for Commencement, submit your Ph.D. Defense Announcement, and submit your Dissertation.
You must initiate all e-docs. The Department and the College Graduate Office cannot do them for you! To do so:
- Log in to one.iu.edu
- Search for forms by name or search University Graduate School forms
- You must hit “submit” when you are done filling it out—The College Graduate Office can’t do anything on “saved” documents.
- The e-doc routes to different people along the way depending on the form.
You can track your e-docs
- Log in to one.iu.edu
- Search for “document search” on the search tab
- In the field “initiator”, search by username (your IU username).
- Click on document ID number to see the document.
- Click on far right to see the route log and where the form is in the routing system.
- Submitting your request for the M.A. degree
To qualify for an M.A. degree, you must have taken 30 course credits, including S554, S510 or S530, 6 credits of the SRP (S566 and either S567 or S569), with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in these required courses, and completed a master’s essay.
How to request an M.A. degree:
- Fill out the Master’s Application for Graduation e-doc on one.iu.edu
- Do you have another M.A. from IU? If so, you may not use any of the same courses for this M.A. that you used for the other M.A. Contact the DGS with questions.
- Courses must have been taken within the last 5 years
- “Graduation date” to list on the e-doc is the date you are expecting the M.A. degree. It does not have to be at the end of the semester.
- Nomination to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree
To be eligible for nomination for Ph.D. Candidacy, you must have:
- Completed all of your course requirements (required Sociology Ph.D. coursework, outside minor coursework, and other credit hours for a minimum of 90 credit hours). A maximum of 30 hours may be Ph.D. thesis credits (S869)
- Completion of outside minor. A minor memo from your outside minor department may be required prior to nomination to candidacy—please check with your minor department.
How to initiate the Nomination to Candidacy or Ph.D. Degree e-doc. (See section on “Submitting an e-doc”)
- Fill out the nomination to Candidacy for the Ph.D. Degree e-doc on one.iu.edu
- The Admit Term is the semester and year you entered the PhD program (the semester following the conferral of your M.A. from IU or the semester admitted to IU if you received your Sociology M.A. elsewhere)
- The Graduate Bulletin year is your admit year or more recent (be aware of changes to the requirements after you
- You may attach your own course list indicating that you met each program requirement; include course numbers, semesters, course titles, and grades. If you do not have a course list, the department will attach a course list for you. The UGS recorder will check this list against the requirements listed in the graduate bulletin for the year you specify on the e-doc.
- Attach all permissions and certifications (individualized minors, course substitutions or waivers, course revalidations, etc.) (See Graduate Administrative Assistant for these documents)
Once your Candidacy eDoc has been approved by the University Graduate School, you have seven years from the date of passing your Qualifying Exam to complete your degree (defend your dissertation, make any required revisions, and submit the final version of your dissertation prior to the expiration date).
You must register continuously until you finish. This means every fall and spring semester. You only need to register for summer if you are either defending your dissertation and/or depositing it with ProQuest..If you lapse in registering, then you will be required to pay retroactive registration (at the rate it was that year), plus fees
You qualify for six semesters of registration at the G901 rate (roughly $150/semester). Choose wisely when selecting when to use these. Some fellowships, RA’s, etc. require you to have G901 available. You may wish to save one for the semester in which you defend. If you do not use G901, then register for S869. How many S869 hours are necessary to take depends on your funding and financial aid status.
- Nominating your Research Committee
After your qualifying exam, work with your advisor to develop a Dissertation Proposal. Once your Dissertation Proposal is approved, you may file the “Ph.D. Nomination of Research Committee” eDoc.
- Your Research Committee must include four IU faculty members - three from Sociology and one from your minor (unless your minor representative has waived their right for representation on the committee).
- Outside (non-IU) members can also be added, but they are in addition to the four IU members.
- you must attach the CV for any member who is outside of IU
- Attach a brief, approved “research prospective” and research permissions (e.g. IRB)
- You MUST have the research committee approved (fully routed) at least six months before the defense
If you make changes in membership along the way, you have to initiate a “Ph.D. Research Committee Change” eDoc.
- Arranging for your Defense
You must initiate the “Ph.D. Defense Announcement” eDoc at least 45 days in advance as it has to be completed and approved at least 30 days in advance of the defense.
Please note the following policies:
- The defense must be held on campus
- Work with your Committee to determine the date and time
- Work with Graduate Administrative Assistant to reserve a room
- You AND your Committee members must be there in person
- one committee member can teleconference in if they cannot be present
- Graduate Administrative Assistant must obtain advance approval from the University Graduate School
- Take the Acceptance page and Abstract page to the defense to get physical signatures.
- All committee members have to physically sign, so if you have an outside member who teleconferenced in, work with the Graduate Administrative Assistant obtain the signatures of that member.
- Everyone has to sign on the same page, no digitized or digital signatures allowed.
- Some faculty advisors like to hold onto these and will not sign until revisions are complete.
- Whatever month you need to graduate, you have to have the dissertation deposited to ProQuest by the 15th. If the 15th falls on a weekend, then submit it the Friday before. If you miss this deadline, your degree will not post until the following month.
- For May and August, the deadline is around the 6th of the month.
- If your candidacy is due to expire on a particular date, then that is the date by which you must submit your content-complete dissertation to ProQuest and your signed abstract and acceptance pages.
- You will graduate whenever your final dissertation is accepted by the graduate school.
- You have to format everything according to University Graduate School rules. Follow their instructions closely.
- Once you submit the dissertation to Proquest and the Grad School, it will be checked by the Ph.D. recorder. This takes approximately two weeks.
- Respond to any formatting revisions requested by the Ph.D. recorder as quickly as possible.
- Once the dissertation is accepted, the UGS will check to see that you have a zero balance bursar bill.
- All S869 and G901 grades of “R” must be removed before the registrar can award the degree. Contact the Graduate Administrative Assistant for this.
- The defense must be held on campus
- Participating in the Commencement Ceremony
You can walk whenever you want, timed to near or before the time of your defense and final submission of your dissertation.
Fill out the e-doc Ph.D. Commencement Participation Application (FYI: M.A. students can also choose to walk.)
- You will have to list which faculty member is going to hood you. Please check with that faculty member to ensure they are available.
- The e-doc is due on February 25 for May graduation and September 25 for Dec graduation. Make sure to apply on time!
- You can walk, but your name will not appear in the program if you officially finished in the fall and you want to walk the next spring graduation. Technically, they consider you a fall semester graduate and there is nothing that they can or will do to change that.
- If you plan to submit the final dissertation over the summer, you will have to register over the summer. If you have G901 credits remaining, you should use those. If you do not have G901 credits remaining, the College will cover 1 credit of S869 (this applies to summer only). Check with the Graduate Administrative Assistant for more information.
- If you continue to make revisions into another fall or spring semester, then you will have register for that semester. These fees will not be waived or covered by the College.