2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    May 07, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Sociology PhD

College: Sciences Degree: PhD
Department: Sociology Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: https://sciences.ucf.edu/sociology/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Sociology PhD program provides training in the skills necessary to secure research careers in academic and nonacademic professions and emphasizes applied research in community-based settings.

The Sociology PhD program is organized around a curriculum combining strong grounding in the acquisition of methodological skills with advanced study in one of the department’s four areas of concentration: the Sociology of Crime/Deviance; Domestic Violence; Social Inequalities; and Health, Families, and Communities.

The program is one of only a few in the United States focusing on applied research. Students are trained in specific applied research skills such as data analysis and program evaluation. Combined with course work in one of the four substantive areas, graduates will be trained for employment in academic settings, industry, business, government, and nonprofit agencies. The program provides training in the skills necessary to secure research careers in academic and nonacademic professions and emphasizes applied research in community-based settings.


The Sociology PhD requires a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, with 15 credit hours coming from required core courses, three credit hours from a restricted elective in theory, and three credit hours from a restricted elective in research methods and data analysis. Students select a minimum of 12 elective credit hours in one of the department’s four areas of concentration, Sociology of Crime/Deviant Behavior; Domestic Violence; Social Inequalities; or Health, Families and Communities.

Total Credit Hours Required: 60 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master’s Degree

Students must earn a grade of “B” (3.0) or better in the program’s required courses. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade; however, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their program of study.

Required Courses: 15 Credit Hours

Theory: 3 Credit Hours

Select one course from the list below.

Research Methods: 3 Credit Hours

Select one course from the list below.

Elective Courses: 24 Credit Hours

Major Area of Concentration Electives: 12 Credit Hours Minimum

Students will select a minimum of 12 credit hours of unrestricted electives in one of the department’s four areas of concentration.

  • Sociology of Crime/Deviant Behavior
  • Domestic Violence
  • Social Inequalities
  • Health, Families and Communities

Unrestricted Electives: 18 Credit Hours Minimum

The unrestricted electives provide students with an opportunity to expand their doctoral training beyond the program’s core courses and the electives in the student’s major area of concentration. Unrestricted electives may include formal course work, graduate-level courses in programs outside the Sociology Department, independent study courses with a highly focused student/faculty research component, directed research, doctoral research and a research practicum, which enable students to gain valuable research experience in a nonacademic setting. At least 9 hours from concentration electives and unrestricted electives must consist of formal course work, exclusive of independent study. Unrestricted electives may be taken at any point in the student’s program of study. The research practicum and courses from other departments must be approved by the student’s adviser and the Graduate Director.

Dissertation: 15 Credit Hours Minimum

  • SYA 7980 - Dissertation Research 15 Credit Hours



Section 1: Theoretical Foundations of Sociology

All students will answer two of three questions. All students who take the exam in the same area of concentration in a given semester will receive the same three questions. One of the questions will require students to trace the connections between classical and contemporary sociological theories and a second question will require students to discuss the three central theoretical paradigms in sociology.

Section 2: Methods and Statistics

All students will answer two of three questions. All students who take the exam in the same area of concentration in a given semester will receive the same three questions. One of the questions will require students to interpret statistical results in tabular form.

Section 3: Major Area of Concentration

All students will answer three of four questions covering general information within the area of concentration. All students who take the exam in the same area of concentration in a given semester will receive the same four questions.


The Qualifying Exams will be graded by a committee of three faculty members who teach or do research in the area of concentration. Prior to the final faculty meeting of each spring semester, four separate qualifying exam committees will be formed by faculty choosing to become a member of one or more areas of concentration. Each qualifying exam committee will create the exam to be used for the next academic year and select the three members who will be the Grading Committee.


The Qualifying Exam will be offered to students twice during the academic year (once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester). Students must notify the Graduate Director by June 1 to take the exam in the fall semester or by October 1 to take the exam in the spring semester. They will select a major area of concentration. The exam will be distributed by the Graduate Director via email on the Monday of the week prior to the beginning of the fall semester and the Monday prior to the start of the spring semester. Students will have four days (96 hours) to complete all sections of the exam and return the exam to the Graduate Director via email. The Graduate Director will then distribute the exam to the appropriate grading committee.

Students are expected to work on the Qualifying Exam alone, and all exams will be submitted to turnitin.com.

Each grading committee will have three weeks to notify the Graduate Director of the student’s grade on the exam (High Pass, Pass, Conditional Pass, or Fail). A grade of conditional pass on an exam will require the student to revise and resubmit one or more questions identified as insufficient by the Grading Committee. The student will have one week to complete each question that must be rewritten.

If a student fails the exam, he/she must retake the exam the next semester it is offered. If the exam is failed a second time, the student will be dismissed from the Ph.D. Program in Sociology.

Candidacy Examination

The dissertation proposal hearing constitutes the program’s candidacy examination, and students who successfully pass their proposal hearing along with other requirements shall be admitted to candidacy. The proposal will encompass an overview of the dissertation topic that includes an in-depth review of relevant literature, a precise statement of the research question, and specific research design (planned methodology and analysis). The student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee will supervise the preparation of the dissertation proposal and the proposal hearing.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved program of study.


A dissertation is required for completion of the PhD, along with an oral defense of the dissertation proposal and completed dissertation through a minimum of 15 credit hours, which students use to accomplish original research on a topic approved by their adviser and three committee members. One committee member must be from a relevant field outside the Department of Sociology. The dissertation must conform to standard disciplinary, institutional, and departmental practices. Students may not enroll for dissertation credit until they have completed all examinations in their program of study.

Applied Research Practicum (Optional)

An important component of the Sociology PhD program is the research practicum. The practicum is three to six credit hours of directed research experience in a nonacademic setting, which will provide a “hands-on” approach for advanced doctoral students. Although completion of a research practicum will not be required for all doctoral students, it is expected that some students, including most of those seeking employment in research positions in public and private agencies, will take advantage of this opportunity. Doctoral students must pass their qualifying examinations before being eligible for a research practicum. The student’s graduate adviser and the department’s Graduate Director must approve the research practicum. Hours completed in a research practicum will count as unrestricted electives in the student’s program of study.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Sociology PhD program pay a $39 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $19.50 per semester.

Independent Learning

As with all graduate programs, independent learning is an important component in the Sociology doctoral program. Students will demonstrate independent learning through research seminars, directed research and the dissertation.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Master’s degree in a related field from an accredited institution (Note: Official, preliminary transcript reflecting Master’s degree in-progress may be submitted prior to first semester of enrollment. Final, official transcripts are required post admission to document completion of master’s degree.). 
  • Official, competitive GRE scores taken within the last five years.
    • NOTE: The GRE has been removed as an admission requirement for this graduate program for applicants applying Spring 2021 through the Fall 2021 term. This is a temporary measure in response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two from academic sources regarding the applicant’s potential for success in the program.
  • A 250-500 word personal statement identifying the area of research interest, faculty with whom they would like to work with and a description of the applicant’s academic and professional experiences and goals.
  • Résumé.
  • A writing sample, at least 2,500 words and demonstrating the ability to complete advanced graduate work.
  • Applicants to this program, except those that have earned or will earn a Masters or Doctoral degree from an accredited U.S. institution recognized by UCF, who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Applicants’ records will be reviewed on an individual basis for academic deficiencies and evaluated to assess their potential for success in the program. Supplemental course work may be recommended. Consult the graduate program director whenever questions arise.

Meeting minimum UCF admissions criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is also based on evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program to the applicant’s career/academic goals, and applicant’s potential for completing the degree.

Application Deadlines

Sociology PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 1 Jan 1    
International Applicants Jan 1 Jan 1    
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Timothy L. Hawthorne, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Telephone: 407-823-3744
HPH, RM 403

Graduate Admissions

Anthony Tufano
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230  
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address
UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL  32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241