A Tour of the Program: Academic Life


Academic Life

Our program is consistently ranked within the top-20 Sociology programs. Joe Galaskiewicz, the interim Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), aids graduate students with everything, from adjusting to their first year to finding a job. Jane also teaches the first-year seminar, which introduces students to the school and to the various fields of study available. The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) is made up of five faculty members and two graduate students. It designs our Graduate Program Requirements, admits new students to the program, and deals with individual student concerns and/or needs.

The school offers graduate seminars across a wide range of substantive areas. To view a complete list of Sociology course offerings, check out the school information in the UA General Catalog.

In addition to formal courses, the school sponsors informal seminars which bring together students and faculty with an interest in a particular area. Informal seminars meet several times per semester and allow students and faculty to present works-in-progress, practice conference presentations and practice job talks. These informal seminars give us the opportunity to get feedback from other grad students and faculty and polish our professional skills -- all in an informal, relaxed setting. Our informal seminars include: Cultural Sociology; Social Movements/Political Sociology; Social Organization; Feminist Theory; Social Inequality/Political Economy.

Many graduate students give presentations at professional conferences, including meetings sponsored by the American Sociological Association, the Pacific Sociological Association, and the Southwestern Sociological Association (among many others). In addition, students attend specialized mettings on their subfields, including meetings on topics such as Organizations, Networks, and Consumption. In recent years, a number of students have won graduate student paper awards from several ASA sections, including Social Psychology; Science & Technology Studies; Work, Occupations, and Organizations; Sociology of Religion; and Animals and Society. These presentations often become single- or co-authored publications, and graduate students from our school have published in journals such as Social Forces, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Gender and Society, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Annual Review of Sociology.

Graduate students also get the opportunity to teach. Some of us are assigned as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in our first few years, which generally requires grading and/or leading discussion sections under the supervision of a professor. After meeting our school's teaching requirements, we are eligible to teach our own classes. Many graduate students find teaching rewarding, and the experience is useful as we enter the job market later on. In the last several years, several grad students from our school have won the Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding GTA award for excellence in teaching.

The faculty formally recognizes our hard work through several awards. The Bowers Award is given annually to the graduate student who authors the most outstanding grad student paper (as evaluated by the faculty). The award includes a monetary grant toward travel expenses (to attend professional meetings) and a great deal of warm, fuzzy recognition. The William K. Bunis Graduate Student Teaching Award is given annually to two graduate students who have exhibited excellence in teaching; grad student teachers are nominated for this award by their students, grad student peers or faculty. The program prepares us for careers in academia. Recent graduates have found positions as assistant professors at Stanford, Duke, Ohio State, Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, the University of California at Davis, and many other schools around the country.

Computing Resources

Arizona has strong computing support. Mac and Windows computers are available in the Social Sciences Data and Software Library (DASL) and in the Instructional Computing Laboratory (ICL), both of which are located in the Social Sciences Building. The labs provide internet access, word processing, statistical and other software free of charge. These computer facilities are very well supported. DASL is part of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute (SBSRI). Thus, DASL not only offers computers to work on, but also access to grant information and a number of important data sets. All graduate student offices have ethernet connections, computers and laser printers for student use. There is a campus-wide wireless network. More specialized computing facilities are also available at various centers on campus.

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