Sociology, PhD

Engage in ongoing research projects with individual ASU faculty, research teams and with research institutes and centers from throughout the university in this doctoral program.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: Sociology, PhD

The PhD program in sociology provides advanced training in theory, research methodology and substantive fields to prepare sociologists for teaching and research with special emphasis on family, medical sociology and demography.


The coursework requirements for the PhD Program in Sociology consist of 54 credit hours.

A minimum of 54 hours is required.

Requirements and Electives Hours
Total 54

Courses and electives

Students may choose from a wide range of substantive and methodological elective courses offered in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics or other graduate training programs at ASU.

Graduate students may concentrate their studies in one of the four primary areas of specializations, or may choose another area to meet their specific research interests.

Please see the Graduate Handbook for more information.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (6 credit hours)
SOC 603 Perspectives in Sociological Inquiry (3)
SOC 685 Applied Social Theory (3)

Theory (3 credit hours)

Methods (3 credit hours)

Statistics (3 credit hours)

Elective and Research (57 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
SOC 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
When approved by the student's department and the Graduate College, 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree are allowed to be used toward this degree.

A minimum of 30 credit hours of the approved doctoral program, exclusive of dissertation and research hours, must be completed after admission to the program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a master's degree in sociology or related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. current resume or curriculum vitae
  4. personal statement detailing professional goals and research experiences
  5. writing sample
  6. three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic background
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

A personal statement is required. It must be three pages or less, double-spaced, and it must address the applicant's professional goals and reasons for desiring to enroll in the program; describe strengths that will help the student succeed in the program and reach professional goals; describe research experience (a description of the master's thesis should be included, if applicable) and relevant responsibilities held; indicate personal research interests as specifically as possible; and include any additional information that will help the committee to evaluate the application.

Three letters of recommendation are required, including at least one from an instructor at the applicant's institution where graduate work was completed and at least one from an instructor at the applicant's institution where undergraduate or graduate work was completed. These letters should be from people who know the applicant as a student or in a professional capacity. Letters from family members or friends do not meet this criterion.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.

Career Opportunities

Professionals with expertise in research methodologies and data analysis as well as an understanding of cultural and social change, various social issues and phenomena are sought-after in many areas, including human services, business, education, public policy, and community service and nonprofit sectors.

Career examples include:

  • demographers
  • mediators
  • research professionals
  • social and community service managers
  • sociologists
  • sociology instructors
  • urban and regional planners

Additional Information

Financial Support

Financial Support

The PhD in Sociology students in good standing are usually funded for 20 hours per week (.50 FTE) during the academic year as Teaching Assistants and/or Research Assistants. Funding is usually provided throughout the doctoral career, contingent upon students' adequate progress to degree completion and availability of funds. This full-time assistantship includes a stipend, full tuition coverage, and health insurance.

For more information on TAs and RAs, please see the ASU Graduate College TA/RA Handbook at

International students must pass the SPEAK Test to be eligible for Teaching Assistantships. Please see for more information.

Research Assistantships and Summer Teaching Fellowships provide additional support for some Sociology doctoral students over the summer.

Other Funding Opportunities

  • Summer Funding: Summer Research and teaching fellowships are available from the Sanford School.
  • Fellowships: Students can apply to ASU's Graduate College for Dissertation Completion Fellowships.
  • Travel Funds: Students can obtain travel funds from the Sanford School as well as various other university sources.

In addition to Sanford School fellowships and assistantships, there are various sources of financial aid through the University. Students should contact ASU's student financial aid office or visit for more information.



Primary areas of emphasis:

  • Inequality, poverty, and mobility
  • Race, class and gender
  • Children, youth, family and the life course
  • Community and urban sociology
  • Immigration and Latinx sociology

In addition, students can take advantage of specializations of the affiliated faculty across the ASU campuses. The PhD program in Sociology allows students to develop their own specialization and program of study.

How to Apply

How to Apply

How do I apply to the Doctoral Program in Sociology?

Applications are due by December 1.

Follow these steps to complete the application process.

1. Graduate College Application

Send official materials to Graduate Admission Services

ASU transcripts do not need to be sent

2. Other required supplemental materials

Submit all of the following materials online via the Graduate College Application at

  • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from an instructor at the applicant's institution where graduate work was completed and at least one from an instructor at the applicant's institution where undergraduate or graduate work was completed. These letters should be from people who know the applicant as a student or in a professional capacity. Letters from family members or friends do not meet this criterion.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae that summarizes your academic and employment experiences.
  • One writing sample.
  • Personal Statement. Must be three pages or less, double-spaced, and address the following:
    • State your professional goals and reasons for desiring to enroll in this program.
    • Describe your strengths that will help you succeed in the program and in reaching your professional goals.
    • Describe, in detail, your research experience (include a description of your master's thesis if applicable). Describe the relevant responsibilities you have held.
    • Indicate your personal research interests as specifically as possible.
    • Include any additional information that you feel will help the committee evaluate your application.

Optional: Certified scores on the General Graduate Record Examination GRE (verbal, quantitative, analytical).

As part of the online graduate application you will submit the names and work email addresses for your three recommenders. Your recommenders will be sent instructions on how to electronically send their recommendations.

3. International Students – Required additional materials

International applicants must also meet all of the requirements and supply all of the information requested by the Graduate College at

How are admissions decisions made?

Admission to the Doctoral Program in Sociology is competitive. Applicants will be short-listed based on a review of all submitted materials, including official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work, verbal, quantitative, and analytical GRE scores, statement of goals relevant to the doctoral program, three letters of recommendation, resume or CV, and complete application for admission to the Graduate College. Those applicants who make the short-list will be invited for a face-to-face or online interview. Final admissions decisions will be made following the interview.

If you have any questions about the online application procedures or about the program, please contact

For questions about the Doctoral Program in Sociology contact Nilda Flores-Gonzalez at

Program Faculty

Courses and Electives

Core Courses

  • Perspectives in Sociological Inquiry (SOC603, catalog description to be updated, 3 credits)
  • Applied Social Theory (SOC685, title and catalog description to be updated, or approved equivalent, 3 credits)
  • Integrative Research Seminar (SOC691, title and catalog description to be updated, 3 credits)
  • Research Residency (SOC 792, 6-18 credits) (please follow the link to the left for more information on Research Residency)
  • Advanced Methods and Statistics Classes (9-18 credits; courses should represent at least two distinct analytic approaches)
  • Substantive Course(s) in the student's focal area (6-12 credits)
  • Dissertation Hours (SOC799, 12 credits)

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Program Contact Information

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