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Graduate Studies

Graduate program overview
The Sociology Program has offered the MS degree since 1927 and a doctorate degree since 1957. Over the last two decades, the program has graduated an average of 5 to 6 MS and 2 to 3 PhD students each year. The program is respected and growing in its national reputation.

A hallmark of our graduate training includes deep training in social theory and sociological research methods (both qualitative and quantitative), an overarching focus on issues of social change and inequality, sustained personal interaction between faculty and students, and substantive in-depth graduate training in three specific specialty areas:

Environment and Community
Social Inequality


The Sociology Program houses two active research units including the Population Research Laboratory and Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources which offer opportunities for students to participate in ongoing research projects, learn valuable applied research skills, and gather data for their theses and dissertations.

The sociology program has a particular strength in environmental and natural resource sociology and is one of the top programs for these areas in the United States. In this area, the department collaborates with faculty in natural resources, water engineering, and other physical and social sciences. There is also a strong emphasis on teacher development, with a required teaching seminar for doctoral students, opportunities for students to teach their own courses, and teaching mentoring from faculty.

Graduate students in the Sociology Program can pursue two types of degrees:

The Master's of Science (M.S.)

This degree is focused on foundation courses in sociological theory, research methods and statistics, and a set of electives consistent with a student's career goals. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, at least half of which are taken in Sociology. Successful defense of a research-based master's thesis is required for graduation.

M.S. Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (Ph.D.)

The Sociology PhD degree is available to students who have already completed a master's degree in sociology or a related field, and also on a selective basis to highly qualified students with a strong sociology background who have completed the bachelor's degree.  All doctoral students take general coursework in sociological methods and seminars in theory & research in inequality and social change. Doctoral students take a single written comprehensive exam in one of the three established department specialty areas: Demography, Environment & Community, or Social Inequality. Graduation requires 48-51 credits of post-master's coursework or 69 credits of post-bachelor's degree coursework (up to 24 of which can be dissertation credits) and successful defense of a research-based doctoral dissertation.

PhD Degree Requirements

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Still have questions?


Graduate Student Handbook

If you have any other questions, please contact:

Dr. Richard Krannich

Professor of Sociology
Director of Graduate Studies

0730 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan UT 84322-0730