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Graduate Program

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in the doctoral program in sociology at the University of California, Riverside. Training graduate students for successful careers as scholars and teachers of sociology is a core part of the Department of Sociology’s mission. The graduate program at UCR is designed to grant the Ph.D. degree, with the Master’s degree awarded along the way as students meet requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program. We do not have a Masters-only option.        

Our vibrant department has 20 faculty, including leading experts in their subfields of sociology. Each student works with a faculty mentor to chart their course of study and facilitate their development as a sociologist. Many faculty offer opportunities to graduate students to participate in faculty research projects and/or work on collaborative projects. Such opportunities help graduate students gain experience with various aspects of the research process, including research design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of research findings.

To provide our graduate students with the most solid foundation in the field, the graduate program gives students a strong background in sociological theory and methods (both qualitative and quantitative), as well as in any two of the department’s seven areas of specialization: Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies, Gender Studies, Organizations & Institutions, Political Economy & Global Social Change, Race & Class Inequality, Social Psychology, and Sociological Theory & Evolutionary Sociology. Students normally complete the core program in theory and methods during the first year of study, finish all requirements for the MA by the end of the second year, and pass their qualifying exams in two areas of specialization and commence work on the doctoral dissertation by the end of their fourth year in the program. Normative time for completion of the PhD is six years. During the course of their graduate studies, students are encouraged to present papers at professional conferences and publish scholarly articles both independently and with faculty.

Resources available to our students extend well outside of the department and include the Institute for Research on World Systems, the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, and the Social Psychology Research Lab, as well as interdisciplinary academic departments and the schools of medicine and public policy. Our students and faculty conduct research in the communities around UCR, as well as around the globe.

Opportunities for professional and instructional development are also available through the department and on campus through the GradSuccess program (http://graduate.ucr.edu/success.html), University Teaching Certificate Program (utc.ucr.edu), and the Teaching Assistant Development Program (http://tadp.ucr.edu/), which offers a certificate in college-level instruction. Our program is supported by extensive resources of the Graduate Student Resource Center of the Graduate Division which offers a number of services to promote student success:  travel and research funding, Peer Mentorship Program, International TA Support Program, Graduate Writing Center and GradQuant research methods consulting.

Graduate students typically work as a Teaching Assistant for one or more quarters during their time in the program, and many also work as Instructors, either during summer session or the normal academic year, in the later stages of the program. Students thus enter the job market with experience teaching undergraduates at a highly diverse public university.

Sociology graduate students participate in self-governance through the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA), which elects representatives who attend faculty meetings, serve on departmental committees, and participate in campus and university-wide organizations. The online iLearn site Sociology Graduate Community provides students resources on grant funding, publishing, awards, mentoring, job searching, and other topics related to success in and beyond graduate school.  The department hosts an annual Sociology Graduate Student Research Forum. Students also have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse and exciting communities of southern California, including Riverside, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and San Diego. Riverside, in particular, is known for its affordable housing relative to other areas of Southern California.

Recent graduates of the doctoral program in sociology at UCR have had exceptional success in attaining academic positions following completion of the PhD. Since 2008, recent PhDs have gone on to hold postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA, UC San Diego, University of South Florida, University of Utah, and Stanford University. Recent PhDs have also accepted tenure-track positions at several California State University campuses, Central Michigan University, Indiana University at Fort Wayne, University of Idaho, University of Illinois-Springfield, University of Nebraska-Kearny, and Rutgers University, as well as at liberal arts colleges and community colleges. Some of our students have taken administrative or research positions in academia, such as at Chaffey College, Northern Michigan University, College of the Desert, and UC Riverside. Others have taken applied positions outside of academia, such as at the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, MYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and ACES.

UCR is one of the nation’s most diverse universities and is known for its celebration of diversity. For more information about diversity resources at UCR, go to https://diversity.ucr.edu/.

We invite you to explore our website for more details about our faculty and current graduate students. You can learn more about recent department news through our newsletter, Veritas Vincit. Our website also includes information about application procedures and about the University of California, Riverside. The Graduate Division webpage also includes detailed information about the graduate admissions process at UCR, including information for international students.