Sociology, PHD

At a Glance: program details

Engage in ongoing research projects with individual faculty, research teams, and research institutes and centers from throughout ASU.

Admission standards for this program are changing for Fall 2024 applicants. Interested students should contact the department for more information.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Sociology

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 inequality and power; law and society; race and ethnicity; Latino sociology; health; and children, youth and families.

Applicants are eligible to apply if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in sociology or a related field.

Applications open September 1st and are due by December 1st to begin the program the following fall. Admissions made for the fall semester only.


The coursework requirements for the PhD Program in Sociology consist of 84 credit hours.

A minimum of 84 hours is required.

Requirements and Electives Hours
Total 84

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.

Additional Information

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 Resources:

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 & power
  • Law & society
  • Race & ethnicity
  • Children, youth & families
  • Latinx sociology
  • Health

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 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

Work with Faculty

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

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

Theory (3 credit hours)
SOC 585 Sociological Theory (3)

Methods (3 credit hours)
SOC 591 Qualitative Research Methods (3)

Statistics (3 credit hours)

Other Requirements (3 credit hours)
SOC 791 Topic: Integrative Research (3)

Elective and Research (54 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.

A qualifying exam, a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation are required.

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 bachelor's or 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 evaluate the application.

Three letters of recommendation are required, including at least two from instructors 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.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
December 1st

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate contemporary sociological perspectives in original written work.
  • Conduct research resulting in empirical papers that have an impact on relevant communities that are determined by the subjects of the research.
  • Apply sociological research methods to the analysis of data to create an original empirical research paper.

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

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.