Admission to candidacy for the PhD degree constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to the research and the writing of the dissertation.
The doctoral dissertation presents the results of an original research project. An appropriate research project involves a substantive piece of original and independent research grounded in and contributing to sociological knowledge. Once the dissertation is completed, the student defends the thesis in an oral examination conducted by the dissertation committee.
Graduate study for the PhD degree is expected to take on average three to six years, depending on prior graduate education and transfer of credits. The graduate office records progress toward the degree and progress is evaluated annually by the faculty. The student should check periodically with the graduate secretary to ensure that the record is up to date.