Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer funding for graduate students?
Funding is competitive. The department typically funds 6-8 new students each fall. For students who enter our program with a B.A., a graduate assistantship carries an award of $14,500 per academic year, a remission of tuition, and health benefits. For students who enter our program having already earned an M.A. in sociology, a graduate assistantship carries an award of $15,500 per academic year, a remission of tuition, and health benefits. More details about funding and assistantships are available on this page of our website: Graduate Assistantships.
What if I have a B.A. or M.A. in an area other than sociology? Should I still apply?
In evaluating applications to our Ph.D. program, the Graduate Education Committee considers each applicant's potential to do professional sociological research. As part of this, the Graduate Education Committee looks at whether the applicant has taken classes in social research methods and statistics (in sociology or a related field) and also classes covering sociological theory. Students who have taken such courses and done well in them demonstrate potential to do professional sociological research, which strengthens the application.
What areas of specialization does your program cover?
Medical and mental health, social inequalities (e.g., race, class, gender), social psychology, and criminology and deviance. You should especially consider applying if you want to earn a Ph.D. in Sociology and have interests in these areas. We also provide students with extensive training in classical and contemporary theory, research methods, and statistics.
Does your program provide graduate students with training to be college-level teachers and opportunities to teach classes?
Yes. All of our graduate students are required to complete coursework related to teaching sociology, and all graduate students are given the opportunity to teach their own courses, including courses in their areas of interest if possible.
What kinds of jobs are your graduate students prepared for when they graduate with a Ph.D. in sociology?
We prepare our students for tenure-track jobs at research universities and teaching colleges as well as jobs in social research in both the private and public/government sectors.
How do I apply and what materials do I need to submit?
Start at this page for details about the application process for both domestic and international students:
Apply to the Graduate Program
I only want a master's degree. Should I still apply?
We no longer offer a terminal master's degree. Students in our graduate program earn a master's degree as they work toward completing the doctoral degree.
When do I have to have my application in for a fall admission?
In order to be considered for funding, applications must be received by December 1st for international students (see: http://www.kent.edu/sociology/graduate/international.cfm) and December 15th for domestic students (see: http://www.kent.edu/sociology/graduate/domestic.cfm).
Can I be admitted in the spring semester?
No, the department no longer admits students for the spring semester.
I will be re-locating to Kent, OH. Where can I found out more about off-campus living (e.g., apartments) and other things about the area?
Kent is a vibrant college town. Here is a great website that will help you with many of your relocation needs: http://www.kent.edu/studentlife/resources/area/index.cfm
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?
Ideally by the end or your first semester in the program, but no later than the end of the spring semester of the first year.
Can I choose an advisor from from either campus (Kent or Akron)?
Can I change my advisor?
Yes, you may do so at any time using the Declaration or Change of Advisor form available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page.
NOTE: This section is valid through spring of 2014. The new system for advancing to candidacy begins fall 2014. See the Graduate Handbook available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page for more details on the new system and the transition to it, including whether or not you (as an existing student) are eligible to elect the new system.
When should I take my comprehensive exams?
During the spring semester of the third year (for adequate progress).
How do I declare my major and minor exam areas, and when should I do that?
Fill out the "Declaration of Comprehensive Exam Areas" form by December 1st if you plan to take the exams in the spring, or by April 1st if you plan to take the exams in the fall. The form is available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page of this website. The form should be turned in to the graduate coordinator.
When are the exams given, and how much time do I have to complete them?
Exams will be distributed at noon on the 3rd Friday of October in the fall semester and the 3rd Friday of March in the spring semester. The comprehensive exam process is an 11 day take-home exam. Students will pick up the exams in their respective home department offices at noon on the designated Friday and return them by noon on the Monday of the second week. See the Graduate Handbook available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page for more details on the comprehensive exam process?
Where can I find the reading lists for the comprehensive exam areas?
What do I do when I pass my comps?
Celebrate and then fill out the "Report of Doctoral Candidacy Examination" form available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs 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 certan number of elective hours. You should read the Graduate Handbook for specific details on program requirements, including coursework. Importantly, students who begin the program during of after fall 2014 must take (a) three courses (9 hours) in a first/primary area, (b) three courses (9 hours) in a second area, and (c) at least one course outside the student's first and second areas. Again, please see the Graduate Handbook on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page for relevant 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 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 per semester (except for summer). Anything beyond 16 hours is considered an "overload" and must be approved by both the Graduate Education Committee (first) and then the Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs. Requests exceeding 18 hours will not be approved. Students who wish to take a course overload must begin by making a written (e-mail) request to the Graduate Coordinator and include the rationale for the request. If the request is approved by the GEC, the GEC's recommendation will be sent to the Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs for consideration. Final approval is the perogative of the Associate Dean.
How many hours of 50000-level coursework can I apply toward my degree?
No more than three.
How many individual investigations (6/72896) and research hours (6/72898) can I apply toward my degree?
6 hours total. Starting fall 2014, 3 hours total.
How many hours of courses taken outside the department can I apply toward my degree?
6 hours total, with pre-approval from the Graduate Education Committee (see the Graduate Handbook for more details). That is, you must receive approval from the GEC before enrolling in the course(s).
What should I do if there are no courses offered in my major or minor area during a given semester, and I cannot take courses outside the department or an individual investigation/research hours?
The Joint Program emphasizes the importance of breadth as well as depth in the graduate curriculum. As such, should this situation arise, students should take graduate-level courses in the program that are outside of their major or minor areas.
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 Graduate Education Committee and the Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs. 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. If the request is approved by the GEC, the GEC's recommendation will be sent to the Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs for consideration. Final approval is the perogative of the Associate Dean. 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?
Given that we do not have summer assistantships, you do not need to be enrolled full-time during summer, which would be at least eight hours. However, if you have started a thesis or dissertation, you do need to be continuously enrolled, and that includes 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).
These are the university requirements. You might be required to take a certain number of hours in summer for some other reason (e.g., a certain financial aid agreement), but all students must at least adhere to the university rules.
All students should be mindful of the university deadlines for graduation (e.g., the deadline for defending a thesis in order to graduate in a given semester). Please consult these deadlines prior to setting a defense date with your advisor.
See the Graduate Handbook available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page for further details on the answers given below.
How many members are required for an M.A. thesis committee?
Three (your chair plus two other members).
Can the members of my M.A. thesis committee be from the Akron sociology department?
Yes. In the joint program, the chair and other members of the student's M.A. thesis committee can be partially or entirely from Akron sociology.
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 Graduate Student Forms and Docs 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 Graduate Student Forms and Docs page for these forms). 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 the Graduate Handbook for further details.
To stay on track, 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?
The policies for completing a dissertation are more involved than the policies for completing an M.A. All students should carefully read the section on "Completing the Dissertation" in the Graduate Handbook available on the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page.
What's the next step when my dissertation advisor and I have determined that my dissertation is ready to defend?
Assuming you've already read the "Completing the Dissertation" section in the Graduate Handbook, you and your advisor should also read the A&S document entitled "Dissertation Final Examination Guidelines," which is available on the Arts & Sciences Graduate Forms page. In the latter document, you'll see that when you're ready to defend, your advisor will need to request a Graduate Faculty Representative. Your advisor can do this through the Graduate Affairs website using an online form available here: http://www.kent.edu/CAS/grad/gfr.cfm.
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 are 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 Graduate Education Committee (GEC). If the request is approved by the GEC, must file for an extension with the College (see the Graduate Student Forms and Docs page).