UMass Boston

Sociology PhD

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Embark on a journey of critical inquiry, rigorous research, and social transformation.

The Doctoral Program is an innovative approach to sociology and its application to resolving national and international issues. Taught by faculty actively engaged in research and advocacy, students will be prepared for academic careers as well as for leadership roles as applied sociologists in public / private agencies and research organizations.

The program is heavily grounded in research methodology and students engage in detailed study of theory, methodology and statistics as well as their own individual areas of focus. Doctoral students will find a community of scholars and numerous opportunities to work collaboratively with each other and with faculty through conference presentations, journal articles and fieldwork.

In this program, you will:

  • Apply theoretical concepts to empirical issues
  • Analyze data to address a research question
  • Demonstrate scholarly expertise in a substantive area(s)
  • Design and execute a research project of their own
  • Demonstrate scholarly independence.

Career Possibilities

Teach sociology courses and conduct research in academic institutions as a professor. Work as a policy analyst and analyze social issues to provide evidence-based recommendations. Or, engage in activism and advocacy work, promoting social justice, equity, and the rights of marginalized communities. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Professor/ Researcher
  • Policy Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Nonprofit Manager
  • Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Start Your Application

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

  In addition to the criteria below, applicants must complete general graduate admission requirements.

  • Applicants for the 36-credit post-MA PhD program must have an MA degree in sociology or a related field from a nationally accredited college or university or its international equivalent. The review committee will admit applicants with degrees in other disciplines at their discretion. Note: Students who apply for admission to the PhD program without an MA from a nationally accredited college or university or its international equivalent must first complete requirements for UMass Boston’s 30-36 credit MA degree in applied sociology.
  • Preference will be given to all applicants whose transcripts show completion of these courses with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25 and graduate GPA of 3.50, taken within the past seven years.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons with whom the applicant has had extensive academic and/or professional contact
  • Academic writing sample
  • An essay of no more than 1,500 words addressing the following:
    • Specific interest in a PhD in sociology and rationale for pursuing the PhD
    • Current major research and interests in the field of sociology
    • Description of professional post-PhD goals

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: December 1 for fall

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Required Courses (12 Credits)

  • SOCIOL 607 - Contemporary Sociological Theory 3 Credit(s)
  • SOCIOL 609L - Qualitative Methods and Field Research 3 Credit(s)
  • SOCIOL 652 - Advanced Quantitative Methods 3 Credit(s)
  • SOCIOL 700 - Proseminar I: Introduction to Graduate Sociology 1 Credit(s)
  • SOCIOL 701 - Proseminar II: Planning a career in Sociology 1 Credit(s)
  • SOCIOL 702 - Proseminar III: Developing professional skills and preparing for job market 1 Credit(s)

Electives (18 Credits)

Complete 18 credits of additional graduate SOCIOL courses.

With approval of the graduate program director, up to six credits from another graduate program may be applied toward this requirement.

Dissertation (6 Credits)

Complete a minimum of six credits from the course below.

  • SOCIOL 899 - Dissertation Credits 1-9 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete a minimum of 36 credits from ten or more courses including six required courses, 18 credits of electives, and at least six dissertation credits.

Students admitted without an MA in sociology must also complete the requirements for the Applied Sociology (MA) program.

Dissertation: Compose and defend a dissertation based on original research.

Doctoral candidacy:
 Passage of two comprehensive examinations taken in two parts; theory/methods and substantive area concentration.

Statute of limitations: Ten years.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply theoretical concepts to empirical issues;
  2. Analyze data to address a research question;
  3. Demonstrate scholarly expertise in a substantive area(s);
  4. Design and execute a research project of their own;
  5. Demonstrate scholarly independence. 


Graduate Program Director Cinzia Solari
cinzia.solari [at]

Applied Sociology Department
sociology.gradprog [at]

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