Graduate Program Curriculum

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Curriculum Guidelines

  • For students admitted at the pre-master's level, completion of the master's degree and thesis within four semesters
  • Completion of remaining course requirements within five semesters of advancement to the Ph.D. level study
  • Satisfaction of requirements pertaining to the two areas of specialization
  • A dissertation proposal and oral comprehensive examination
  • A final dissertation and oral defense thereof
  • First two years of enrollment: required to enroll in 9 credit hours of coursework per semester
  • First semester: required to take three graduate seminars, in addition to any GTA requirements.
  • After oral comprehensive examination and defense of the dissertation proposal: required to enroll at least 6 credit hours each fall and spring until 18 post-comprehensive hours are completed or the student graduates, whichever comes first. 
  • If Ph.D. degree isn't completed after 18 credit hours of post-comprehensive enrollment, you must continue to enroll each semester until all requirements for the degree have been met.
  • Ph.D. students are required to complete 14 graduate seminars in Sociology, of which at least three must be graduate-level research methods courses including SOC 812, and at least three must be graduate level sociological theory courses including SOC 802 and SOC 902.
    • SOC 810 and 995 are also required.
    • A list of courses that satisfy the theory, methods, and substantive seminar requirements can be found in the Academic Catalog
  • If you completed the thesis-option M.A. in the Department of Sociology at KU, the graduate-level theory, methods, and sociology seminars taken while earning the M.A. count towards meeting these requirements.
  • Students who do not complete Sociology 812 (Analytic Methods) at the Master's level are required to do so at the Ph.D. level.
  • Students need to demonstrate their two areas of specialization in sociology and their preparation to undertake dissertation research by creating artifacts to be part of their Professional Portfolios.
  • Two sections of the Professional Portfolio are designated as Area Specialization Dossiers (ASDs) and are devoted to materials that demonstrate mastery in the students' specialty areas.
  • Students need to demonstrate their competency in their chosen areas by receiving a satisfactory grade (B or higher) in a minimum of two courses in each area and placing materials from those courses in their ASD.
  • At least one of the two ASDs will include a Critical Review Essay (CRE).


  • An ASD will be a part of the student’s Professional Portfolio. 
  • At least one ASD must include a Critical Review Essay that is no longer than 10,000 words (40 pages) in length, excluding the bibliography and cover page with committee members signatures.


  • The CRE is a broad assessment of the area, starting with a conceptual mapping of the area that includes its foundational literature, theories, and relevant work produced in the past 10 years.
  • This essay might also highlight the student’s specific interest in the area, especially pertaining to the dissertation.
  • You may refer to the Annual Review of Sociology for examples of the style and content of a critical review essay.
  • After having satisfied the requirements pertaining to the second ASD, students must complete an oral comprehensive examination and defend a dissertation proposal.
  • The comprehensive oral examination (which covers student's specialization areas) and the defense of the dissertation proposal take place within the same examination period.  
  • The focus of the examination and defense will be on the feasibility and quality of the proposed research as well as the student's two areas of specialization.
  • Students must present a dissertation that demonstrates the development, execution, and results of original research. 
  • The doctoral dissertation is a coherent, logically organized, scholarly document. 
    • Material previously published by the candidate may be incorporated in the dissertation.
  • Completion of the dissertation is the final phase of a doctoral program and is followed by the final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.
  • Upon satisfactory completion of the final oral examination and approval of the dissertation by the dissertation advisory committee, the student proceeds with final submission of the dissertation.


Some graduate courses listed are not offered every year. Check with the Sociology Department Office to see which courses are available for each semester.


Course Numbering System 

Course NumberStudents that take these courses

Courses designed primarily for juniors and seniors, but can also be taken by graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit. (A petition is required to count this level of courses toward a graduate degree in Sociology.)


Courses designed primarily for graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit, but can also be taken by undergraduates.


Courses designed primarily for graduate students who have fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit.