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    May 21, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sociology, PhD

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The objective of the sociology program is to produce intellectually well-rounded graduates capable of (1) functioning effectively in either an academic milieu or a sociological practice setting, (2) analyzing human social groups and relationships between groups and (3) evaluating the influence of social factors on social situations. All doctoral students are required to study core social theory, social statistics and social research and may concentrate in a variety of substantive areas including (but not limited to) social inequality, health and illness, globalization and developing societies, and sustainable societies. UNT houses numerous academic departments such as anthropology, criminal justice, and public administration, providing doctoral students with the opportunity to concentrate in these additional areas of study. The sociology PhD program participates in a consortium with Texas Woman’s University and Texas A&M University–Commerce called the Federation of North Texas Area Universities. Through the federation, doctoral students are able to take sociology courses at these institutions and apply them to their PhD degree, include faculty from the other universities on their doctoral advisory committee and participate in federation professional development programs and events. This further broadens the student’s exposure to sociology faculty and substantive areas of study.

Admission requirements

Before being admitted to the doctoral program, the applicant must meet the requirements for admission to the Toulouse Graduate School specified in the Admission section of this catalog. Admission to the doctoral program in sociology is competitive, as available resources do not permit admission of all qualified applicants.

Applying is a two-part process. First, prospective applicants for the doctoral program must obtain and file an application for admission to the UNT Toulouse Graduate School. Second, applicants for the doctoral degree with a major in sociology must obtain and file a separate application for admission to the Department of Sociology. A competitive score on the general test of the Graduate Record Examination must be submitted at the time of the application and a score on the written essay is recommended.

The following requirements must be met for admission consideration.

  1. For consideration of unconditional admission to the PhD program in sociology by applicants with a master’s degree, applicants must have completed a minimum of 18 hours of sociology, at least 3 graduate semester hours in social research methods, 3 graduate semester hours in an acceptable course on social statistics and 3 graduate semester hours of social theory; have at least a 3.5 (B+) GPA for master’s courses; and have competitive scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). See the department’s web page ( or contact the Toulouse Graduate School for information concerning admission test scores.

  2. For possible consideration of conditional admission for applicants with a master’s degree (requiring an appeal to the graduate school), the applicant must have at least a 3.0 (B) GPA for all master’s credit, acceptable scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (see the department’s web page or contact the Toulouse Graduate School for information concerning admission test scores), and substantial alternative evidence of potential success in graduate studies. Additional course work is typically required when the applicant has fewer than the required number of hours and courses needed for unconditional admission. The sociology department may request additional evidence of the applicant’s ability to do graduate work.

  3. Outstanding undergraduates without the master’s degree who meet all possible unconditional requirements may be considered for admission into the doctoral program. If admitted, a pass-through master’s degree option is available.

The dean of the graduate school will notify the applicant of the admission decision to the sociology program. Applicants receiving acceptance for admission should consult with the department’s graduate advisor prior to the first term/semester of enrollment to schedule courses.

Degree requirements

  1. The minimum program for the PhD in sociology consists of 87 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or 57 hours beyond the master’s degree. All students are required to complete the following:

    1. A minimum of 12 semester hours in research methods and statistics, including one 3-hour course in each of the following: qualitative research methods, quantitative research methods, multivariate statistics and advanced statistics. All courses must be at the 6000 level, and a grade of B or better must be achieved for each.
    2. A minimum of 6 semester hours in sociological theory at the 6000 level, including one 3-hour course in classical theory and one 3-hour course in contemporary theory. A grade of B or better must be achieved for each.
    3. A minimum of 12 semester hours in one of the department’s substantive concentrations (i.e., social inequality, health and illness, or globalization and developing societies), including at least 6 hours at the 6000 level. The core course for the concentration must be taken with the remaining three courses selected from a list of available concentration courses. The core course is not a prerequisite to taking one of the other concentration courses. Readings courses cannot be used to satisfy these requirements.
    4. A minimum of 12 semester hours in a second sociology concentration or a related minor field. The second concentration may be one of the department concentrations or a concentration area selected by the student and approved by the student’s advisory committee. The four courses taken for this concentration must be approved by the student’s advisory committee. No more than one readings course may be taken to satisfy these requirements.
    5. A minimum of 6 semester hours of electives.
    6. A minimum of 9 semester hours of dissertation.
  2. Students may earn limited credit in cooperative education or in an internship as part of their PhD course work.

  3. To fulfill UNT’s residency requirement a student must carry a full load of 9 hours each term/semester for two consecutive long terms/semesters at UNT or 6 hours for three consecutive terms.

  4. The student must establish an advisory committee and prepare a degree plan approved by this committee. The advisory committee is composed of at least three members. The major professor (chair) must be a full-time UNT sociology faculty member. At least half of the committee must be from the full-time UNT sociology faculty. Other member(s) may be from the Texas Woman’s University faculty or represent a second concentration within sociology or a minor outside the program. This committee is appointed by the dean of the graduate school upon recommendation of the student, department chair and graduate advisor. In conjunction with approval of the degree plan, the advisory committee may administer a diagnostic review to assist the student in completing the program. The degree plan of the individual student must be completed during the first term/semester of the second year of graduate work or before completion of 18 semester hours in the program and taking the concentration exams.

  5. Concentration examinations are required of all students. Examinations are written for each of the student’s two concentrations. Each examination must be taken within one semester after the student has completed all course work for the 12-hour concentration. In the case of students completing two 12-hour concentrations, the examination for the department’s concentration is prepared by the concentration’s faculty committee and evaluated by those faculty contributing questions to the exam. The examination for the second concentration is prepared by the student’s advisory committee and evaluated by those faculty contributing questions to the exam. The department graduate advisor oversees the administration of all concentration exams. Preparation for these exams includes, but is not limited to, course work, reading key literature and participating in study groups.

    Students who intend to pursue careers in academic research may apply to their advisory committee for a “research paper option” in lieu of an examination covering the second concentration. The application must include:

    1. a proposed “publishable quality” paper based on a term paper for a 6000-level course in which the student received a grade of A;
    2. a description of the paper including title, specific research question(s), research method(s) to be used, source of data and names of three peer-reviewed journals appropriate for publication of the paper; and
    3. a signature approving the student’s use of the term paper from the faculty member who taught the 6000-level course.

Approval of the application and subsequent paper is determined by the student’s advisory committee. The paper must be between 6,000 and 8,000 words and must be completed within a six-month period. If the paper is not turned in on time or not approved by the advisory committee, the student must take a normal qualifying examination.

The successful completion of these examinations is a prerequisite for admission to candidacy for the degree. Admission to candidacy is granted by the appropriate graduate dean upon recommendation of the student’s advisory committee and department chair, and graduate advisor, and also is based upon the student’s academic record.

  1. Under the direction of the advisory committee the candidate must write a dissertation representing original research. It must make a significant contribution to the discipline of sociology in the student’s area of concentration.

    The student must defend orally a written dissertation proposal that meets with the approval of the student’s advisory committee before the dissertation is written. The final written dissertation must be defended orally before the committee and approved by them.

  2. Students can apply to their dissertation committee to take a research track. This track prepares the student for an academic position at a research university. Requirements include preparing three research papers in the student’s primary concentration. One of the papers must be accepted for publication and solely authored by the student, a second must be submitted for publication and the third must be approved as near-ready for submission for publication. The three papers are organized within the dissertation format for submission to the graduate school.

Quality of work required

The Department of Sociology has the right to dismiss a graduate student from the master’s or doctoral degree program for one or more of the following indicators of failure to make satisfactory progress:

  1. The student earns two grades of C or below in sociological theory, methods, statistics or first concentration (track within sociology) course work that will count in these areas on the student’s degree plan (for purposes of this rule, the first grade received in the course will be used).

  2. The student has 6 or more hours of Incomplete grades that are more than one year old in sociological theory, methods, statistics, or first concentration (track within sociology) course work.

  3. The student’s overall GPA falls below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters or the student is suspended by the graduate school after being put on probation.

  4. The doctoral student fails a comprehensive or concentration exam twice.

  5. The student fails to make any progress toward the degree for at least one full calendar year (e.g., does not enroll, does not sit for the concentration exam, does not make progress on thesis or dissertation, etc.).

  6. The student engages in an act of academic misconduct.

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