Program Milestones

For incoming students without a master’s degree, the first phase of the program involves completing an MA. This phase includes required coursework, the appointment of an MA chair and a full MA thesis committee, and the completion and defense of a master’s thesis. After completing your MA, your committee will make a recommendation regarding your advancement to the Ph.D. 

If you entered the program with a master’s degree, you can petition to have your previous MA approved. If approved, the committee will make a recommendation about your advancement to the Ph.D. All students, regardless of previous degrees, complete the required first-year coursework.

Once you advance to the Ph.D. program, your focus will be on designing, writing, and defending a dissertation. Here are your Ph.D. milestones:

  • Appoint the Chair of your Ph.D. committee
  • Develop and submit a Ph.D. training plan  
  • Pass the comprehensive exam
  • Register for dissertation hours (SOC 800)
  • Complete a minimum of 4 SOC electives
  • Appoint your full Ph.D. committee
  • Pass the general exam (dissertation prospectus)
  • Identify a subset of your Ph.D. committee as a reading committee
  • Pass the final exam/dissertation defense
  • Submit your dissertation and required paperwork
  • Graduate with a Ph.D.