2023-24 Edition

Sociology, Ph.D.

The Department of Sociology offers a Ph.D. program in Sociology. Particular emphases include social networks, gender, race/ethnicity, labor, social movements, family, migration, population, political economy, and states and global transformation. The program provides structured training in sociological theory, statistics, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. While the core of the program is sociological, it may also include an interdisciplinary component, incorporating links to anthropology, education, law, political science, history, criminology, and urban planning. Small entering cohorts ensure personalized attention for each student and guarantee access to professors, allowing for close mentorship relationships. Program faculty take diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to a variety of substantive issues, are committed to empirical research addressing central sociological issues, and are open to intellectual cross-pollination from cognate disciplines.

Graduate students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of interdisciplinary research units, including the Center for the Study of Democracy; the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies; the Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy; and the Center for Demographic and Social Analysis. The Sociology Department maintains ties with Gender and Sexuality Studies and various ethnic studies programs, such as Asian American studies, Chicano/Latino studies, and African American studies. Research and funding opportunities are also available through UC-wide programs like Pacific Rim Studies and the Humanities Research Institute located on the UCI campus.

Students in the program come from diverse educational, ethnic, geographical, and social backgrounds. The deadline for applications to receive full funding consideration for fall admission is December 1. Students are admitted for winter and spring quarter only under exceptional circumstances. Admission is based on application materials and evidence of scholarly potential, including grade point average, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

Students must complete a two-quarter proseminar, a course in research design, a three-quarter statistics sequence, one seminar each in classical and contemporary theory, an advanced sociological methodology course, and nine Sociology seminars selected in consultation with the student’s advisor, in order to build competency in two areas of specialization in the discipline. Course work prepares students to complete an independent research project, which is presented in oral and written form during the winter quarter of their second year. Students must pass a formal evaluation at the end of their second year involving assessment of course work and the second-year research project and evaluation of teaching or research experience.

Knowledge of one foreign language is required. All required course work must be completed prior to advancement to candidacy. The normative time to advance to candidacy is four years. The advancement-to-candidacy examination is based on field examinations in two broad areas of sociology and an oral defense of a dissertation research prospectus, contextualized in the appropriate literature and including a discussion of data collection and methods of analysis. In preparation, students usually take at least the required one quarter of the Dissertation Seminar course during the third year. After advancing to candidacy, students are expected to work in close consultation with their advisor and dissertation committee. Committee approval of a satisfactory dissertation follows a final oral defense of the document. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is six years, and the maximum time permitted is eight years.

Program in Law and Graduate Studies (J.D./Ph.D.)

Highly qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate research and/or professional qualifications in Sociology are invited to undertake concurrent degree study under the auspices of UC Irvine’s Program in Law and Graduate Studies (PLGS). Students in this program pursue a coordinated curriculum leading to a J.D. from the School of Law in conjunction with a Ph.D. in Sociology. Additional information is available from the PLGS director’s office, 949-824-4158, or by email to plgs@law.uci.edu. A full description of the program, with links to all relevant application information, can be found at the School of Law Concurrent Degree Programs website.