Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology


The mission of TWU's sociology programs is to provide sociological training primarily for non-traditional, female, minority and underserved students, though students from all backgrounds are welcome.

The objective of the sociology program is to produce intellectually well-rounded graduates capable of (1) analyzing human social groups and relationships between groups, (2) evaluating the influence of social factors on social situations, and (3) functioning effectively in either an academic milieu or in a sociological practice setting. Doctoral students are required to study core sociological theory, social research methods, and statistics, and must concentrate further in one major area.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Apply main sociological theories in analyzing social phenomena, interpreting social events, and solving social problems.
  2. Choose appropriate statistical techniques to answer more complex research questions, perform intermediate-level statistical analysis using computer software, and interpret results.
  3. Design an advanced research project, carry out the research, write a report, and present findings that make an original contribution.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

The academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

Total SCH Required

At least 72 semester credit hours (SCH) beyond the baccalaureate, including at least 9 SCH for dissertation, or 42 SCH beyond the master’s degree. The number of hours from the master's degree that may count towards the 72 SCH required for the Ph.D. is no more than 30 SCH (either taken at TWU or transferred from another accredited institution, and approved by the department). Students admitted with a bachelor’s degree can earn their M.A. degree during the course of study. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the transfer of courses with the Graduate Program Director. All students must take SOCI 5113, SOCI 5313, and SOCI 5473 (or their approved equivalent) either as part of their master’s degree program or as part of this doctoral degree. These courses are required for first-year students entering the Ph.D. program, except when waived by the Graduate Program Director through a written appeal.

Master's degree (up to 30 SCH, with committee approval)30
Required Courses
SOCI 6123Advanced Classical Sociological Theories3
SOCI 6133Advanced Contemporary Sociological Theories3
SOCI 6323Pro Seminar in Sociology3
SOCI 6353Qualitative Research in Sociology3
SOCI 6363Intermediate Social Statistics (or equivalent)3
SOCI 6373Quantitative Methods and Design3
Sociology Electives6-9
Students are encouraged to take their electives in Sociology; however, they may take up to 3 SCH of electives in other academic disciplines or take up to 3 SCH of independent study in sociology. A student may elect to take a 3 SCH independent study course to prepare for the qualifying exam paper. Students may count SOCI 5113, SOCI 5313, and/or SOCI 5473 toward their electives in Sociology if they did not enter the program after taking these courses (or their approved equivalent) as part of a master’s degree program.
Major Area9
A minimum of 9 SCH chosen in consultation with the advisor and advisory committee. Working with their advisory committees, students determine a substantive concentration and take a minimum of 9 semester hours in that concentration. The approved major areas are Gender and Sexuality; Global and Transnational Sociology; Inequalities and Stratification; Medicine and Illness; Race and Ethnicity; Research Methods; and Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance.
Students can expect to enroll in a minimum of 9 SCH on the dissertation.
Dissertation (to be taken once or twice)
Dissertation (to be taken twice or three times)
Total SCHs72-75

Qualifying Examination Paper

Working with their major advisor and the doctoral advisory committee, students are required to choose one of the approved major areas and take a minimum of 9 SCH in that area. Students must have completed all the coursework in the major area before submitting the qualifying exam paper. Guidelines for writing the qualifying exam paper are incorporated in the Sociology Ph.D. Student Handbook.

Dissertation Defense

An oral examination covering the area of the completed dissertation and areas related to it is required.

Research Tools

All required 12 SCH of research tools may be completed by successfully taking the required methods/statistics courses. Six of these 12 SCH must be in one of the following areas: statistics, research methods, pedagogy, information retrieval, or foreign language, and the other six SCH may be across two other areas.