Ph.D. Requirements, Policies, and Forms

Details, details, details.  Successfully completing a Ph.D. is not just about writing a brilliant dissertation, it’s also about crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s.  The Nitty Gritty Manual describes all of the program requirements you will need to meet, and provides you with all the forms you need to submit, in order to graduate with a MA or Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington.

If you feel like you need something and can’t find it, or have other questions about program requirements, email the Graduate Program Advisor.

Overview of Program Structure and Milestones

Most incoming students arrive without having a Masters degree, so the first phase of the program involves completing a MA.  In addition to completing the required MA coursework, you must appoint a MA chair, and then the rest of your MA committee.  This faculty committee will guide you as you write and defend your Thesis, after which you may request your MA degree.  Once you have finished the final draft of your Thesis and submitted it (along with all the required paperwork) to the department and to the Graduate School, you will have completed your MA.  After completing your MA, your MA Committee will make a recommendation regarding your advancement to the Ph.D.  If approved, you will then continue to the Ph.D. portion of the program.

If you arrived at UW with an MA already in hand, your first step will instead be to petition to have your previous MA approved.  If it is approved, the committee who reviews your original MA will make a recommendation to the Graduate Program Committee about advancing you to the Ph.D. program. Students who are advanced to the Ph.D. program without completing a MA degree in the UW Sociology Department must still successfully complete the required first year courses.

Once advanced to the Ph.D. program, your focus will be on designing and writing a dissertation.  The first stages in this process involve appointing the Chair of your Ph.D. Committee, developing and submitting your Ph.D. Training Plan, and preparing for and taking your Comprehensive Exam.  You may also register for dissertation hours at any point after being advanced to the Ph.D. program.  During this period you will also complete any additional coursework necessary for the Ph.D. degree.

As your dissertation begins to take shape, you will appoint your full Ph.D. Committee, including a Graduate School Representative.  Once you have submitted your Ph.D. Training Plan and passed your Comprehensive Exam, you can schedule your Proposal Defense (General Exam).  Note that your Ph.D. Training Plan need only be submitted before your General Exam (dissertation prospectus defense); you can complete the associated coursework after your General Exam.  Once you have passed your General Exam, you will be recognized by the Graduate School as a candidate for the Ph.D.

While writing your dissertation, you will identify a subset of your Ph.D. committee as your Reading Committee.  This must be done before the Final Exam is scheduled. 

When your Advisor agrees that your dissertation is complete, you are ready to schedule your dissertation defense (Final Exam).  Once you have held your defense and your committee has approved your dissertation, you must submit your dissertation (and all related paperwork) to both the Graduate School and the Department.  Once you have done so, you will have completed your Ph.D. degree.  Congratulations!