About the Program

Why Arizona Sociology?

Our doctoral program is consistently ranked among the top in the nation. All of our faculty members are actively engaged in research projects, many of which are funded by external grants, and all faculty members involve students in these projects. Faculty teaching in the doctoral program vary in their substantive interests and methodological approaches. What they share is a commitment to systematic sociological inquiry and strong research design.

With 19 faculty and about 51 graduate students, we combine the best features of larger and smaller departments. On the one hand, we are large enough to offer training in a wide range of substantive areas in sociology--a particular advantage for students who are uncertain about their specific interests. The major areas of interest of our faculty include (but are not limited to): culture, demography, economic sociology, environmental sociology, gender, globalization/world systems, law and society, methodology, networks, organizations, political sociology, science and technology, social movements, and stratification. Each of these areas is represented in the list of comprehensive examination fields. The emerging areas of environment, health, and law and society are also strengthened by interdisciplinary, university-wide emphases in those fields.

At the same time, we are small enough to maintain a close intellectual community that fosters collaboration between faculty and students. One of our greatest assets is our commitment to the school as a collectivity. Although faculty and students specialize in sub-areas, we have consciously worked to create an environment that transcends our different areas and perspectives. Intellectually, this means we encourage work that bridges and combines different substantive or theoretical interests. Interpersonally, we foster a supportive and collegial atmosphere. Faculty are very accessible to students, and many publish articles with students. Our vitality as a community is most evident in our highly successful brown-bag colloquium series, which brings the entire unit together every Friday at noon for lunch and intellectual nourishment.

The graduate program also provides professionalization vital for obtaining jobs in both academic and applied settings after receiving the degree. In addition to a professionalization seminar in the first year, we also offer seminars on proposal preparation, professional presentations, and job search strategies that students during the course of the program. There are many opportunities for students to present and receive feedback on their work beyond coursework and formal advising, such as in ocassional workshops on themese of common interest to studnets and faculty, a grad-led mentoring initative, and a job market practice talk series. Our placement record evidences the strength of our faculty and students and the effectiveness of our program: in the 2019-20 academic hiring cycle, our recent graduates were hired into full-time faculty positions at Ohio State University, Penn State University, UC Irvine, and UCLA. A complete list of our recent graduates and their first and current job placements is available here.  

The Doctoral Program 

The Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Arizona is intended to be a professional research degree. This program of study prepares students well for careers in sociology, and we have been very successful in placing our graduate students in good positions. In addition to course work, students are expected to gain professional experience through participation in research, both independently and in conjunction with faculty members. Students are encouraged to become familiar with all stages of the research process, from conception to publication. Most students also gain training and experience in teaching sociology at the undergraduate level.

UA sociology admits students who intend to complete a doctoral degree. We do not offer a terminal M.A. program, although our doctoral students do earn an M.A. during their path to the Ph.D. Students begin graduate study in the master's program and enter the doctoral program once they have fulfilled the requirements for the M.A. degree and been recommended for doctoral study by their M.A. Committee. The master's work provides a basis for advanced study, both in coursework and in experience conducting original research. The master's program takes two years to complete, and consists of a core curriculum plus elective substantive course work. The first year of graduate study provides rigorous training in the fundamentals of sociological inquirty. Required courses in theory, research design, and statistics provide a storng foundation for advanced course work. Elective course work typically provides the basis for the student's master's paper, which is based on original research and suitable for publication in a professional sociology journal.

The doctoral program typically requires 3 to 5 years beyond completion of the master's degree. In the year following completion of the M.A., students continue taking advanced coursework and  complete comprehensive examinations in two subfields of their choice. The fourth year and beyond are dedicated to the dissertation, a monograph reporting original research carried out by the student. Dissertations are defended before the student's Ph.D. Committee as the last step in the fulfillment of degree requirements.