Doctoral Program

Comprehensive Phase | Overview Phase | Dissertation Phase

Students who begin graduate study in this department without a master's degree enter the doctoral program only when they have fulfilled the requirements for the MA degree and have been recommended for doctoral study by their MA committee.

A student entering with prior graduate study from another institution may be approved for a transfer of up to six credits toward the requirements for the MA degree and up to 24 credits toward the PhD degree. A student who transfers 24 credits due to completion of a master's degree in sociology at another institution is not eligible to receive an MA degree in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.

A student requesting exemption from particular required courses must submit relevant course syllabi and other pertinent information to the graduate office. The graduate committee will review the submitted materials to assess the petition for transferring credits towards departmental requirements.

The Department of Sociology is part of the School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) at the University of Pittsburgh. Students in Sociology are also bound by all of the rules and polices of A&S and the university. It is the student's responsibility to know these rules and polices, which are summarized in the A&S Graduate Programs Bulletin.

Requirements for the PhD Degree

The timeline to PhD (PDF) outlines a sample plan for earning the PhD Degree.

For the PhD degree a student must earn 72 credits in approved graduate studies (less if credit is transferred from graduate study at another institution). This includes study for the MA degree. Study for the PhD comprises the following required and recommended courses and credits:

Social Theory 3 Credits
Qualitative Methods 3 Credits
Quantitative Methods 3 Credits
Seven Elective Sociology Courses 21 Credits
Three elective courses; these may include individualized Directed Study
and/or graduate courses in either Sociology or other departments
9 Credits
Master's Thesis 6 Credits
Faculty Development Seminar (required for solo teaching) 3 Credits
Comprehensive Examination Preparation (Recommended) 6 Credits
Overview of PhD (Recommended SOC 2990 Independent Study; Admission to PhD Candidacy) 6 Credits
Completion of Dissertation and Defense of Dissertation (Recommended) 12 Credits












Sequence of Studies for the PhD

The studies, earning also the MA on the way, may be sequenced as follows:

First Year

  • Quantitative Methods
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Social Theory
  • 3 Elective courses

Second Year

  • Master's Thesis (6 credits)
  • 4 Elective Courses

Third Year

  • 4 Elective Courses
  • Elective Course
  • Comp Preparation (6 credits)*

*May be distributed over two terms,

Fourth Year

  • Directed Study for PhD (6 credits)
  • Overview of dissertation
  • Defense of Dissertation

Phases of Study for the PhD

There are three phases of advancing towards the PhD: