The PhD program in sociology is designed to prepare the student for a career in sociology that combines both research and teaching in one or more areas of the discipline. A broad general knowledge of sociological theory and research methodology is required of all students. In addition, students should develop a strong specialty area and establish a research program in that area.
It is expected that students learn the skills necessary to produce valuable research and present its results. Typically this is done by developing a close working relationship with one or more faculty members and co-authoring research papers with them. In this way the student begins as an apprentice and finishes with a substantial research record. The goals of this apprenticeship include presenting papers at professional meetings, submitting papers to professional journals, and participating in the preparation of grant proposals for research funding.
The requirements in the right column are viewed as the milestones in terms of which student progress is evaluated. If accomplished in timely fashion, the student will merit continued funding. In the final two years the student is expected to gain experience teaching at the university level.
|First Year, fall term||Coursework: Classical Theory (SOCL 7121), Methods (SOCL 7211), Statistics I (SOCL 7201), and Pro-seminar (SOCL 7903), for a total of 10 credit hours|
|First year, spring term||Statistics II (SOCL 7203), two Electives,* and Pro-seminar (SOCL 7903), for a total of 10 credit hours|
|Second year, fall term||In addition to nine hours of coursework: (1) Establish committee of three members, (2) Determine whether an empirical research paper or MA thesis will be written, and (3) Determine the content of the paper or thesis.|
|Second year, spring term||Nine hours of coursework, possibly including six hours of SOCL 8900 for the empirical research paper or six hours of SOCL 8000 for the MA thesis. Complete the empirical paper or thesis.|
|Third year, fall term||In addition to coursework, (1) Establish General Examination Committee of three members, (2) Determine whether the general exam will be a standard exam or an essay, and (3) Determine content of exam or essay.|
|Third year, spring term||In addition to coursework, general exam or review paper. On completion of the exam/review paper, the committee will recommend for or against admission to the dissertation stage.|
|Fourth year, fall term||Dissertation proposal|
|Fourth and Fifth years||Writing dissertation|
* Although not required for MA degrees, SOCL 7213 (6 credits) and SOCL 7131 (3 credits) are required for PhD degrees. It is recommended that these courses be completed early in the program.
Admission to the Ph.D Program
On completion of the empirical paper/thesis, the MA committee will assign a mark of Fail, Terminal Pass (Pass with a terminal MA degree), or Pass Plus (Pass with automatic admission to the PhD program). Students who pass with Terminal Pass cannot pursue further studies toward a PhD in Sociology from this department even if they had been admitted as “doctoral student” (who has the LSU Degree Code of PSOCL).
Students may be permitted to transfer credits at the graduate level from another institution. To petition for credit transfer the student must have completed the first nine hours of graduate residence at LSU and must be in “good academic standing.” Also, students who received a master’s degree at another institution may request for exemption from the empirical research paper or MA thesis requirement after their first two semesters in the program. The student’s committee will review the student’s request (and have meeting with the student, if necessary) and notify the graduate director of their decision in writing. If approved, the student is exempt from the empirical research paper or MA thesis and awarded 6 hours of Research in Sociology (SOCL 8900) or MA Thesis (SOCL 8000).
Graduate students, at the request of the graduate director, will submit an annual report summarizing their academic activities during the past year.
During the semester in which all course requirements are being completed (not including Dissertation credits), the student is eligible to schedule the General Examination, though exceptions are made depending on the circumstances. The student will submit the Doctoral Degree Audit Form (http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11990.pdf ), which lists all courses s/he took during the degree program, along with the Request for General Examination ( http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11994.pdf ). The Request for Doctoral Examination must be submitted three weeks prior to the date of the General Exam. The Graduate School will choose a Dean's Representative and notify the committee chair before the General Exam (oral defense) so that either the written exam or review paper is made available for him/her.
In consultation with the exam committee, the student may select either of two options to meet the requirement: a written examination or a review paper, as outlined below. Each requires an oral defense.
Written Examination: For written examinations, students begin by selecting a target date for the exam and defense. In collaboration with a major professor and committee members, students create a reading list that helps organize their preparation for the exam. The exam will take up to eight hours, and will be all held during one day, or during two consecutive days. Once the exam and defense are completed, the committee will assign a pass/fail grade. In the event the student receives a failing grade, a second chance may be given at the discretion of the committee. The students should take no more than four months to prepare the readings and complete the written and oral exams.
Review Paper: Instead of the general exam, the student, with the approval of the advisor, may elect a paper option—see suggested guidelines below for procedure and content for the paper option. In the event the student fails the paper option on her/his generals, a second chance may be given, at the discretion of the committee. In that case, the student may be directed to take the written exam, as described above.
• With help from her/his major professor, the student selects an area of research and presents to the student’s committee an initial bibliography, organized in terms of the sections of the proposed paper.
• The committee reviews the bibliography and suggests revisions. After revisions have been made, the student revises and distributes copies of the working bibliography to the committee.
• It is assumed that additional sources will be discovered in the course of the research and that they will be used and cited in the paper.
• This paper should be a critical review of the literature in the area of research.
• It should present and analyze the development of concepts, theory, methodology, and substantive issues in the area, highlighting major turning points and the debates among scholars surrounding them in a chronological sequence.
• It should both analyze and synthesize the literature that addresses various issues in the area of research.
• The concluding section of the paper should: a) Summarize the major points made in the paper, and b) Provide evidence of the author’s own unique perspective on the area and her/his projections of the direction(s) in which research in the area might proceed.
At the General Exam, the committee chair or the graduate secretary has to prepare the Exam Report ( http://gradschool.lsu.edu/files/item11828.pdf). Once the General Exam is finished, this form must be signed and submitted to the Graduate School.
Committee for the General Examination and Dissertation
The student's PhD Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members from sociology department and the Dean's Representative (designated by the Graduate School upon General Exam application). The student may substitute one of them for a graduate faculty member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or graduate advisor. At least one of the committee members has to be a full graduate faculty. A faculty member may decline an invitation to join a committee, in which case the student will invite an alternative faculty member. If the student declares an official minor, a faculty member in the minor field must be included in the committee (in addition to the two sociology faculty members).
Before a PhD student begins the dissertation research, approval of a proposal by the dissertation committee is required. The student should submit the dissertation proposal to each of the committee members at least two weeks prior to a scheduled meeting with the committee. Members of the committee may approve the proposal, suggest changes in the proposal, or reject the proposal. After the committee has approved the proposal, one copy with an approval sheet signed by all committee members must be placed in the student's file. This must be done at least one semester before the final oral exam on the dissertation. Any major changes in the research design must be approved by all committee members.
The proposal should generally include the following items:
- Approval sheet and title page
- Subject of the dissertation
- Preliminary review of the literature
- Conceptual statement of the problem--the hypotheses to be tested or empirical relationships to be examined with conceptual model (if appropriate).
- Research procedure: a) Operationalization of concepts, b) Sampling design, c) Analytical techniques, d) Dummy tables
- Timetable, including: when data are to be collected, when analysis and writing will be done, and target date for completion
- General bibliography (ASR Style)
Final Examination: Defense of the Dissertation
To graduate with a Ph.D degree, the student must submit the following two documents together to the Graduate School:
a. Application for Degree ( http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11985.pdf ) and
b. Request for Doctoral Examination ( http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11994.pdf ).
They must be submitted by the deadline (late January, late August, or early June for Spring, Fall, or Summer, respectively). In addition, Request for Doctoral Examination must be submitted three weeks prior to the date of the exam. The dissertation itself must be distributed to all committee members (including a Dean's Representative assigned by the Graduate School) at least two weeks prior to the final examination. This committee should be composed of the same faculty members that approved the dissertation proposal, though this rule recognizes exceptions.
The final doctoral examination is an oral defense. At the final exam, the committee chair or the graduate secretary has to prepare the Exam Report ( http://gradschool.lsu.edu/files/item11828.pdf ) and Doctoral Examination and Dissertation Report ( http://gradschool.lsu.edu/files/item11829.pdf ). The committee may render one of three decisions regarding the outcome of the exam:
• Passed: The candidate is recommended for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology.
• Failed: The student is not recommended for the continuance of study toward the degree.
• Probationary Continuance: The candidate is required to remedy certain deficiencies in knowledge and/or to do further work on the dissertation. At least one semester must elapse before the granting of the second examination. The outcome of the second examination is restricted to Pass or Fail.
The Exam Report needs to be submitted by late April or early November for the degree to be awarded at the end of the semester. Consult the Graduate School calendar to determine the latest possible date to file in order to graduate in a particular semester.