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With about 25 full-time faculty members, and other visitors and part-time faculty, the Chapel Hill Department of Sociology offers students a wide range of intellectual choices.
Students may concentrate in any of the major areas of sociology. Strengths include organizational studies, work and occupations, sociology of the economy, social movements, comparative and historical sociology, life course and family studies, social stratification, social psychology, sociology of religion, quantitative methods, social theory, demography and human ecology.
The doctoral program emphasizes preparation for research in both academic and applied settings, as well as for teaching at the college and university level.
All students complete a common core of courses in social theory (one semester) and research techniques (three to four semesters). Course work usually takes five semesters.
Students also must pass a comprehensive examination in two areas of sociological specialization (e.g., political sociology, social theory, work and organizations, family studies, or social psychology). This exam is usually taken in the beginning of the third year of graduate study.
In the first two years students also usually complete a master's paper and receive the M.A. degree. By the end of their third year, students should have developed a research proposal for their doctoral dissertation and formed a committee of five faculty members to supervise and examine the dissertation.
Most advanced students continue to participate in both formal and informal seminars and other aspects of departmental life.
The department offers courses, research opportunities and informal training in all major areas of social organization, population studies, and social psychology. Students are also encouraged to pursue their own interests through independent research projects.
Currently enrolled students may develop a formal concentration tailored precisely to their own interests, or join in one of the more established programs.


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