Current Students

Please review the Graduate Handbook on the Forms & Resources page and the FAQs below. If you have additional questions, please contact the graduate coordinator, Dr. Susan Roxburgh.

What is an advisor's role? Who should I choose?

Your advisor should be a faculty member whose areas of specialization correspond to your own. Aside from providing general advice and support as you move through the program, your advisor will serve as the chair of your thesis and dissertation.

When should I declare an advisor?

No later than the end of the spring semester of the first year using the form available on the Forms & Resources page.

Can I change my advisor?

Yes, you may do so at any time using the Declaration or Change of Advisor form available on the Forms & Resources page.

What is the process of advancement to candidacy?

Advancement to candidacy is accomplished when the student has written and successfully defended a 9000-word Candidacy Paper. The process and timeline is detailed in the Graduate Handbook, available on the Forms & Resources page.

What classes do I have to take?

All students working toward earning a Ph.D. in our department must take a number of required courses as well as a certain number of elective hours. Please see the Graduate Handbook on the Forms & Resources page for additional details.

What grades do I need to get to stay in the program?

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Furthermore, students who earn more than 8 hours of B- or lower grades or more than 4 hours of grades lower than C are subject to dismissal. Courses where a student earns a C- or lower do not count toward the degree and must be repeated.

What are the minimum and maximum number of hours I can take per semester?

Students normally take 9 or 10 hours (three classes) per semester. Funded students must take at least 8 hours during the fall and spring semesters. A course load above 16 hours is considered an overload and must be approved by both the Graduate Education Committee (first) and  the Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs. Requests exceeding 18 hours will not be approved.  Requests for overloads must be made to the Graduate Coordinator. 

How many hours of 50000-level coursework can I apply toward my degree?

No more than three (3) hours.

How many individual investigations (6/72896) and research hours (6/72898) can I apply toward my degree?

Up to six (6) hours. 

How many hours of courses taken outside the department can I apply toward my degree?

Six (6) hours total, with pre-approval from the GEC (see the Graduate Handbook for more details).  Approval must be obtained before enrolling in the course(s).

Can I take other classes while I am enrolled in Thesis (I or II) or Dissertation (I or II) hours?

Students can take other classes while enrolled in Thesis I or II hours, but students may NOT take other courses while enrolled in Dissertation I or II hours without special approval from the GEC. Students who wish to take other courses while enrolled in Dissertation I or II hours must begin by making a written (e-mail) request to the Graduate Coordinator and include the rationale for the request. Only in rare circumstances will such requests be approved.

Do I need to take hours in the summer, and if so, what do I take and for how many hours?

We do not have summer assistantships (unless a faculty member hires one or more assistants on a grant), so students are not expected to be enrolled full-time during summer. However, if you have already started taking thesis or dissertation hours, you must be continuously enrolled, including during summer. If you have completed 6 hours of Thesis I, then you register for 2 hours of Thesis II during the summer. If you started Thesis I and only completed 3 hours in spring, then you need to register for 3 hours of Thesis I in the summer. If you completed your 30 hours of Dissertation I requirements in Fall and Spring (i.e., 15 in the fall and 15 in the spring), then you take 15 hours of Dissertation II in the summer. If Dissertation I is started in spring (for 15 hours), then you must continue to take Dissertation I in the summer (for 15 hours). The department pays your summer tuition in these cases. However, unless there are extreme, extenuating circumstances, the department does not pay tuition for students who wish to begin taking thesis or dissertation hours for the first time during summer. You can still begin working on your thesis or dissertation during the summer even if you do not take thesis or dissertation hours--e.g., you might begin working on your prospectus or IRB application; however, without being officially enrolled in thesis/dissertation hours, your chair will not be compensated for assisting you with your project. Whether or not they agree to do so is at their discretion. If you begin working on a prospectus or IRB application during the summer without mentoring, be advised that you may be asked to make substantial changes once you enroll in thesis or dissertation hours in the fall and begin receiving committee feedback. And remember: YOU SHOULD NOT BEGIN COLLECTING DATA FOR A THESIS OR DISSERTATION WITHOUT 1) OBTAINING IRB APPROVAL AND 2) SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDING YOUR THESIS OR DISSERTAITON PROPOSAL.

There may be other circumstances in which a student is required to take a certain number of hours in summer (e.g., a certain financial aid agreement).  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are meeting the conditions of their enrollment. 

How many members are required for an M.A. thesis committee?

Three (the thesis chair and two other members).

Do I need to do a proposal/prospectus defense for my M.A. thesis?

Yes. The proposal/prospectus defense should occur no sooner than the semester before you plan to defend your completed thesis. With the approval of your advisor, the proposal should be submitted to your entire committee at least 10 days prior to the scheduled proposal defense. You should also bring a copy of the "Notification of Approved Thesis Topic" form to your prospectus defense and have it signed by all committee members if they approve your project. This form is available on the Forms & Resources page.

What do I need to do in preparation for my M.A. thesis defense?

There are a number of forms that need to be filled out at and after your defense (see the Forms & Resources page). In addition, with the approval of your advisor, your thesis should be submitted to your committee at least 10 days prior to your scheduled defense date. You are also required to advertise the final defense (see instructions on the Forms & Resources page)

When should I defend my M.A. thesis?

By the end of your second year in the program (for adequate progress).

After I advance to candidacy, how much time do I have to complete my dissertation?

Graduate students must complete the dissertation within five years of advancing to candidacy.

What steps are involved in completing my dissertation?

Please consult the Graduate Handbook on the Forms & Resources page for information on this topic. 

How long do I have to complete the entire program?

While we aim to have students complete our program in five years, students seeking the doctoral degree who enter the Sociology graduate program with a B.A. must complete the requirements for the degree in no more than 10 years, while those entering with an M.A. must complete the requirements in no more than nine years. Those who do not may be  subject to dismissal and must submit a written request (preferably via e-mail) to the Graduate Coordinator and include (a) an explanation of why an extension is needed), and (b) a timeline for completion of the degree. The request must be approved by the GEC and subsequently by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.