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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.

  • Sociology Department Requirements and Opportunities

    Admitted students take required courses in sociological theory and methods (both qualitative and quantitative), as well as in any two of the department’s seven areas of specialization:

    1. Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies
    2. Gender Studies
    3. Medical Sociology
    4. Organizations & Institutions
    5. Political Economy & Global Social Change
    6. Race & Class Inequality
    7. Social Psychology

    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. Students are encouraged to present papers at professional conferences and publish scholarly articles both independently and with faculty.

    Graduate students typically work as teaching assistants for one or more quarters during their time in the program. They also work as instructors, either during summer session or the normal academic year, in the later stages of the program.

  • Organized Research Units/Projects

    Organized research opportunities are available to students through the Colleges & Universities 2000 Project, the Institute for Research on World-Systems, the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, and the Social Psychology Research Lab, as well as through the schools of medicine and public policy. Our students and faculty conduct research in the communities around UCR, as well as around the globe.

  • Graduate Student Success Programs

    Opportunities for professional and instructional development are available through the department and on campus through the GradSuccess programUniversity Teaching Certificate Program, and the Teaching Assistant Development Program, 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, the Graduate Writing Center, and GradQuant research methods consulting.

  • Recent Placements

    Recent graduates of the doctoral program in sociology at UCR have had  success in attaining academic positions following completion of the PhD. Recent PhDs have also accepted tenure-track positions at Rutgers University, the University of British Columbia, Virginia Tech University, as well as several comprehensive universities.

    Since 2008, recent PhDs have gone on to hold postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA, UC San Diego, University of South Florida, University of Utah, Stanford University, and Yale University. Some of our students have taken administrative or research positions in academia.  Others have taken applied positions outside of academia, such as at the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the RAPP Marketing Agency, and the Social Security Administration in Washington.

  • Living and Working in Southern California

    UC Riverside is located in inland Southern California, a driving distance from California beaches, mountains, and deserts. Downtown is two miles from campus and includes many fine restaurants, the Fox Theater, and the Culver Arts Center in addition to City of Riverside Museums. Nearby attractions include Palm Springs, Disneyland and other amusement parks in Orange County, professional sports teams in Anaheim and Los Angeles, skiing and hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park, and the beach cities of Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, and San Clemente. The Coachella Music Festival is held in nearby Indio every April. Palm Springs and Riverside both hold international film festivals.

    UC Riverside is one of 10 campuses of the largest and most prestigious public university system in the world, the University of California. UCR is a thriving campus of more than 23,000 students offering more than 60 major fields of study, a medical school, and professional schools of business, education, engineering, and public policy. The university is the home to a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, four University Professors (the highest rank in the University of California), six members of the National Academy of Science, 49 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship winners, 48 winners of Guggenheim Fellowships, and 18 Fulbright Scholars. It is also the home of such well-known writers as Reza Aslan, Laila Lalami, Jane Smiley, and Susan Straight.

    UCR is one of the nation’s most diverse universities and is known for its celebration of diversity. In 2015, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) recognized UCR with its “Project Completion” Award in part for the much higher graduation rates it had achieved over a five-year period and in part for the nearly-equivalent graduation rates of students from the four major racial-ethnic groups on campus. The campus is highly ranked by Washington Monthly for its contributions to students’ social mobility.

    For more information about diversity resources at UCR, go to