Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree in the joint doctoral program must be admitted to either Kent State University OR the University of Akron. The degree is earned at the university to which the student was admitted, but coursework is offered at both campuses and faculty and students interchange freely.
The Department of Sociology at Kent State University no longer offers a terminal master's degree (i.e. students do not enter our graduate program with the intention of earning an M.A. only). For students entering our program with a B.A., the Master of Arts in Sociology is an intermediate degree required of students as they work towards a Ph.D. in sociology.
In order to be considered for admission, a student must hold a baccalaureate or master’s degree. For admitted students with a master’s degree in sociology from an accredited institution, up to 12 credit hours of relevant coursework with a grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4-point scale) can be accepted for transfer towards the doctoral degree, subject to approval by the Sociology Department and college dean.
All applicants must submit official transcript(s) indicating at least a 3.2 overall undergraduate GPA (on a 4-point scale) from an accredited institution. Students cannot be unconditionally admitted into graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences without an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. For applicants with a master's degree, a GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4-point scale) for all graduate work is desirable. Applicants must submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores taken within the last five years. GRE scores above the 60th percentile in all three areas are preferred. Three letters of recommendation from current/former professors who can adequately evaluate the applicant’s past work and potential are required. Applicants must also submit a 2-3 page personal statement describing research interests, long-range career goals, and a description of how admission to the Department of Sociology at Kent State University will facilitate the achievement of these goals. We use personal statements to evaluate applicant "fit" with our program. Writing samples are not required but may be included as part of the application.
Doctoral program aspirants who do not hold the M.A. must complete 34 credit hours, including 14 hours of required courses, 14 hours of electives, and 6 hours of Thesis I. The MA thesis should be defended by the end of the second year of the program.
Requirements for the Ph.D. degree include 14 additional semester hours of required coursework and 15 additional hours of elective coursework (18 if the student did not complete Professional and Ethical Issues in Sociology at the M.A. level), completing the process for advancing to candidacy (see the Graduate Handbook, available here, for details), and 30 credits hours of Dissertation I toward completing and successfully defending a dissertation. In total, the Ph.D program involves 96 hours of required and elective coursework, thesis hours, and dissertation hours. Students entering the program with a B.A. can complete it in five years. Students entering with an M.A. can complete it in less time.