About the Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. in


Prepare for careers in research and teaching from one of the top sociology programs in the United States.

About the Program

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.

Our faculty includes senior members who are nationally and internationally acknowledged authorities in their fields, and some of the best young scholars in the country. Our placement record for doctoral students in both academic and applied jobs is excellent.

Areas of Study

With 16 graduate faculty and about 35 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. Major areas of interest of our faculty include (but are not limited to):

  • collective behavior and social movements
  • computational social science
  • culture
  • economic sociology
  • environmental sociology
  • family
  • gender
  • global and transnational sociology
  • health
  • law and society
  • networks
  • organizations and work
  • race and ethnicity
  • science, knowledge, and innovation
  • statistics and methods
  • 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.

Academic Culture

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.

Professional Training

The graduate program also provides professional training 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 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 occasional workshops on themes of common interest to students and faculty, a grad-led mentoring initiative, 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 University of Denver, NC State, University of Oregon among other schools.

Graduate Curriculum 

The Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Arizona is intended to be a professional research degree. This program of study prepares you well for careers in sociology. In addition to course work, you are expected to gain professional experience through participation in research, both independently and in conjunction with faculty members. You 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. 

We admit 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.