College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
In addition to coursework in sociological theory and methods, doctoral students are expected to concentrate in and pass a written comprehensive examination in one major specialty area, with additional depth coursework in a second area. Specialty areas are distinct but are also highly integrative. One line of integration involves the department’s continuing emphasis on Rural Sociology, which links elements of all three specialty areas. The program is sufficiently flexible to permit students with a strong interest in an area other than the established specialty areas to select that area as their second specialization, with the approval of the supervisory committee and the department head or his or her delegated representative.
This specialization explores issues of population change, migration, and health outcomes. Graduate coursework is provided in social demography, techniques of demographic analysis, population health, migration, and various special topic seminars. The orientation is twofold: (1) basic and policy-oriented research on sociological aspects of demographic structure and processes including migration, marriage and fertility, morbidity and mortality, and technical demographic topics such as population estimates and projections; and (2) the provision of demographic training to domestic and international students relevant to their respective settings. Demographic topics tend to overlap with issues of central concern among the department’s faculty, including issues pertaining to social change and inequality. Active faculty research endeavors encompass a broad range of local, regional, national, and international projects in the areas of migration and population redistribution, population health and mortality, family demography, the life course and aging, and relationships between population and environment.
Environment and Community
This specialization focuses on the sociology of natural resources, environmental sociology, community theory, and applied community development. The faculty in the Environment and Community Sociology area maintain active research in areas such as natural resource development and social change, global environmental change, coupled human and natural systems, resource dependency patterns, landscape and land use planning, public participation in environmental planning, social responses to hazardous technologies and events, energy resource development, water resource development and water use, environmental equity and environmental justice concerns, public land management policies, linkages of environmental conditions with population change, and a variety of other natural resource policy and management issues. Faculty members are engaged in numerous cooperative research ventures with colleagues in natural resource sciences, water engineering, and other physical and social sciences.
The area specialization in social inequality allows graduate students to explore how states, policies, organizations and labor markets come together to create differing opportunities and outcomes for diverse groups within society, as well as across societies. Department faculty conduct research on gender, racial, and class inequalities within the United States and other countries, as well as comparative, cross-national research. Many important topics studied by faculty within the department are integrally linked to various forms of social inequality and include migration behavior, the effects of job quality on family stability and child well-being, health outcomes, environmental problems, labor market outcomes, the promotion of women and minorities to leadership positions, and community development.
For students with a Master’s degree
A minimum of 48 credits beyond the master’s degree are required for the doctoral degree for students who receive the MS degree in Sociology at USU. A minimum of 51 credits beyond the master’s degree are required for those who receive the master’s degree from another institution, or whose master’s degree is in a field other than Sociology. Specific minimum requirements for a PhD in Sociology include completion of 6 credit hours of theory (SOC 6760 and one additional theory-intensive graduate level Sociology course to be selected from a list of approved options), nine credit hours of methods (SOC 7100 , SOC 7110 and SOC 7150 ), and at least 21 credits of electives (including at least 12 credits in a major specialization area, and at least nine credits in a minor specialization area). In addition, doctoral students must take a minimum of 12 and no more than 21 credits of dissertation research (SOC 7970 ). Doctoral candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination in their major area of specialization, and successfully write and defend a dissertation proposal and dissertation before their supervisory committee.
For students entering with a Bachelor’s degree
Exceptionally well-qualified applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology or a closely related social science discipline and who demonstrate outstanding potential for success in the pursuit of doctoral-level training may be considered for admission directly into the PhD program. A minimum of 69 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree are required for the doctoral degree for students who enter the program without first completing a master’s degree. Specific minimum requirements include the completion of 9 credits of theory (SOC 6010 , SOC 6760 , and one additional theory-intensive graduate level Sociology course to be selected from a list of approved options), 15 credits of methods (SOC 6100 , SOC 6150 , SOC 7100 , SOC 7110 and SOC 7150 ), completion of a three-credit second-year project (SOC 6900 ), and at least 30 credits of electives (including at least 12 credits in a major specialization area, and at least 9 credits in a minor specialization area). In addition, students must take a minimum of 12 and no more than 21 credits of dissertation research (SOC 7970 ). Doctoral candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination in their major area of specialization, and successfully write and defend a dissertation proposal and dissertation before their supervisory committee.