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Details About the Graduate Program in Sociology

Back to Overview | Thesis Option | Non-Thesis Option | Graduate Courses | Sample Timeline |
Comprehensive Exam | Teaching Assistantships and Aid | Application Guidelines

Thesis Option

Course Requirements

➢ Professional Socialization: 5101 (1 hour; in addition to the 36 required hours specified below)
➢ Sociological Theory: SOC 5303 (3 hours) and SOC 5308 (3 hours)
➢ Sociological Research Methods: SOC 5334 (3 hours) and SOC 5394 (3 hours)
➢ Elective Courses (18 hours)
➢ SOC 6000: Master's Thesis (6 hours)

The Master’s Thesis is supervised by the student’s major professor and the thesis committee. The thesis committee must include at least one other sociology faculty member, chosen in consultation with the major professor. The thesis committee may also include a faculty member from another program with the approval of the major professor. Students are advised to consult with the graduate program director in selecting a major professor and thesis committee members. Students must pass a publically announced defense of the thesis before it is submitted to the Graduate School. The date for the thesis defense should be early enough for required revisions (if any) to be made prior to the Graduate School deadline for submission. The thesis must conform to all Graduate School requirements.

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Non-Thesis Option

Course Requirements

➢ Professional Socialization: 5101 (1 hour; in addition to the 36 required hours specified below)
➢ Sociological Theory: SOC 5303 (3 hours) or SOC 5308 (3 hours)
➢ Sociological Research Methods: SOC 5334 (3 hours) or SOC 5394 (3 hours)
➢ Electives (27 hours; 2nd course in theory or methods may be included as elective)
➢ Field Research: SOC 5331 (3 hours)

In the last semester of a student's program, he or she must write and defend a paper on some topic of special interest, to the satisfaction of a committee of sociology faculty chosen by the student. The student will enroll in Sociology 5331 (Field Research), which will be directed by the student's non-thesis paper committee chair. The major professor for the non-thesis paper should be chosen in consultation with the graduate program director.

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List of Graduate Courses in Sociology

5101. Professional Socialization (1). Practical issues in sociological research, scholarship, and teaching. Required of first-semester graduate students and teaching assistants through their appointment period. Pass-fail grading.

5303. Seminar in Contemporary Sociological Theory (3:3:0). Study of contemporary approaches to society, including conflict theory, functionalism, symbolic interaction, and ethnomethodology.

5308. Seminar in the Origins of Social Theory (3:3:0). Development of sociological theory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Topics may vary, but emphasis usually will be on the work of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber.

5311. Seminar in Criminology (3:3:0). Critical review of theory and research on selected topics in criminology.

5312. Seminar in Urban Problems (3:3:0). Extensive analysis of the process and consequences of urbanization, with emphasis upon causation and critiques of proposed solutions.

5313. Seminar in Minority Relations (3:3:0). American and world patterns of interethnic relations are covered with emphasis on recent and current trends.

5315. Seminar in Social Change (3:3:0). Linear and cyclical theories; analysis of the idea of progress, stage theories, dialectical materialism, and the lag hypothesis.

5316. Seminar in Social Gerontology (3:3:0). Theory and research on aging, covering demographic, sociocultural, economic, individual, and societal factors. Interdisciplinary aspects are stressed.

5320. Social Psychology: Symbolic Interactionism (3:3:0). Central ideas of social psychology are analyzed and integrated in a contemporary model of symbolic interactionism, with focus on affect.

5325. Seminar in Deviant Behavior (3:3:0). Critical review of current theory and research in deviance.

5327. Seminar in Demography (3:3:0). Theory and skills of population analysis including use of census data in sociological and social science research.

5331. Field Research (3). Individual research project off campus, covering entire term or longer. Research plans must be approved in advance by the student’s major advisor. May be repeated for credit with permission.

5332. The Research Organization (3:3:0). Participation in campus-based organized research project. Required at least once of research assistants; open to other students.

5334. Quantitative Methods in Sociology (3:3:0). Decision making skills (from test selection to inferences from data) for quantitative analysis in sociology.

5335. Seminar in Family Violence (3:3:0). Advanced examination of definitions, prevalence, and theories of family violence. Focuses on impact of variation in definitions of family violence and societal responses to family violence.

5336. Seminar in Family Change (3:3:0). Analysis of how the family institution has changed, in relation to other institutions and society in general. Family is treated as both a dependent and independent variable.

5381. Seminar in Medical Sociology (3:3:0). Theory and research on conceptions of health, illness, and medical care from the sociological perspective.

5382. Seminar in Psychiatric Sociology (3:3:0). An examination of theories of mental illness, the commitment process, mental hospitals, mental health professions, and alternative treatment programs.

5384. Seminar in the Sociology of Religion (3:3:0). Examination of the religious institution focusing on its sociological meaning, organizations, presence as a force in western society, and relationship to other social institutions.

5394. Seminar in Sociological Research Methods (3:3:0). An examination of the research process including problem formation, case selection, data collection, and data organization.

6000. Master's Thesis (V1-6).

7000. Research (V1-12).

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Sample Timeline for Graduate Students

Semester 1, Fall (10 Hours)

• Professional Socialization (SOC 5101)
• Seminar in the Origins of Social Theory (Soc 5308)
• Quantitative Methods in Sociology(SOC 5334)
• Elective (3 hours)

Semester 2, Spring (9 Hours)

• Seminar in Contemporary Sociological Theory (Soc 5303)
• Seminar in Sociological Research Methods (SOC 5394)
• Elective (3 hours)

Semester 3, Fall (9 Hours)

• Master's Thesis (SOC 6000, 3 hours)
• Elective (3 hours)
• Elective (3 hours)

Semester 4, Spring (9 Hours)

• Master's Thesis (SOC 6000, 3 hours)
• Elective (3 hours)
• Elective (3 hours)

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Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam will include questions that relate to the student’s chosen specialty area and may include applications of theory and methods. The examination committee is comprised of two faculty members, with one member chosen by the student and the second selected by the graduate director on behalf of the Graduate Committee. A third reader may be appointed in the event that the two examiners disagree on their evaluation. The length and time limits for the exam are set by the examining committee.

In keeping with the recommendations of the Graduate School, the Graduate Committee strongly suggests that the exam be written during each student’s final semester of study. It may be taken one semester earlier with the approval of the Graduate Committee.

Students who do not satisfactorily complete the exam the first time may, with the approval of the Graduate Committee, re-take it after a waiting period of three months. A third attempt is not permitted by the Graduate School.

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Teaching Assistantships and Financial Aid

The Department provides funding for a limited number of Teaching Assistants (TAs). Most of these are usually available in the fall semester. In addition, Research Assistantships are sometimes available with faculty members in the department or within one of the University's institutes or research centers. These awards are available on a competitive basis and are based on the Sociology Graduate Committee’s evaluation of the applicant’s overall academic record and other relevant information provided as part of the application process.

The Graduate School also awards various types of scholarships. In addition, various employment opportunities are sometimes available within the University.

New or returning students may apply for a departmental Teaching Assistantship by contacting the Sociology Graduate Program Director:

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Application Guidelines

Applications are submitted online to the Graduate School [] of Texas Tech University and must include:

Additional materials may be submitted through regular mail or through an e-mail attachment to:

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the following:

The Department adheres to the Graduate School policy of evaluating applicants in terms of holistic admissions criteria. The expected grade point average (GPA) for admission is a minimum of 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale). Scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE are also considered if provided. In addition to the GPA and GRE, applicants will also be evaluated in terms of additional criteria as reflected in the materials listed above. These materials are particularly important for the Graduate Committee to consider if your undergraduate GPA is lower than indicated above or if your undergraduate major is in a field other than sociology.

GRE Scores

The Graduate School no longer requires GRE scores as part of the application process. However, if you have taken the GRE (or plan to do so) and want the results to be considered, they can be sent to the Graduate School OR to the department’s graduate program director.


Your application for admission will not be evaluated until all of the materials listed above have been received. Deadlines for applications to be completed are as follows:

Early applications are encouraged, especially if you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship.

Follow this link to check your application status: Select the “Applications” tab to check the status of your application.

Please contact the Sociology Graduate Director if you have any questions about the application process or would like to receive additional information regarding the program.

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