Program Requirements

Updated 3.18.22


1. Credits: MA: 10 courses, 6 in sociology.  PhD: 20 courses, 12 in sociology.
2. Transfer of credit: up to 8 graduate course units may be transferred from other institutions after 1 year at Penn, upon approval of the Graduate Chair and the Dean. At least 12 courses must be completed at Penn, with 10 of these in sociology.
3. Grading of courses: 16 courses must receive a grade of “B” or better. Up to 4 independent study courses may be taken on a pass-fail basis.
4. Departmental activity participation: Weekly attendance at the Sociology Colloquium; membership in at least one cluster workshop.

5.  At the end of each year all students, including students intending to graduate, will submit a progress report.  Student progress will be evaluated by the faculty during the May faculty meeting.

6.  Students are strongly encouraged to submit their thesis, second year paper, and other work to peer-reviewed journals, as per faculty advisors’ recommendations.  


Year 1: Course requirements

  • Soc 5350/5351: Quantitative Methods
  • Soc 5550: Pro-seminar in Sociological Research 
  • Soc 6020: Classical Sociological Theory
  • Soc 6040: Research Methods
  • 2 Sociology Classes

Year 2:

Course requirements
SOC 7070/7071: Second Year Research Seminar, plus 4 electives, of which at least 3 must be in sociology

Additional requirements
Second Year Paper (Equivalent to M.A. thesis; a publishable paper), approved in time for faculty evaluations to be available for the May faculty meeting.  The MA Thesis/Second Year Paper must be advised by a committee of three faculty members, including two standing faculty in sociology. The committee chair must be a member of the graduate group in sociology. 

To maintain good standing, the Second Year Paper requirement must be completed to committee satisfaction in time for faculty evaluations of the papers to be available at the May faculty meeting.  Completion of this requirement at a high standard is required for formal entry into the doctoral program.

Year 3:

Course requirements
Complete all coursework (total 20 courses)

SOC 6200: Sociological Research II

Additional requirements
1. Complete first comprehensive exam (by May 1)

2. Form dissertation committee of three faculty members, including two standing faculty in sociology (by May 1). The committee chair must be a member of the standing faculty in sociology. 

Year 4:

1. Complete second comprehensive exam (by December 15)
2. Defend dissertation proposal (by May 1)

Years 5 and beyond:

1. Dissertation defense and submission of final version to the graduate office.
2. Complete a public presentation of the dissertation research, open to the university community.