Sociology Graduate Program
Areas of Study
The Ph.D. degree in Sociology is offered jointly with the University of Akron (Ohio) located approximately 8 miles from Kent. The degree offers specialties in four areas:
- The Sociology of Health and Mental Health
- Social Psychology
- Social Inequalities
- Criminology and Deviance
Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree in the joint doctoral program must be admitted to either Kent State University OR the University of Akron. While the degree is earned at the university of admittance, once admitted to the program, students, faculty, and courses are treated as a single graduate department. Coursework is offered at both campuses and faculty and students interchange freely.
Applications for admission are accepted from those who will have a completed baccalaureate or master’s degree upon starting the program. It is limited to students whose records clearly indicate both scholarly and research potential to do doctoral level work. For applicants who will have a completed master’s degree from another institution upon starting the program, the master’s degree/thesis and up to 12 credit hours of relevant coursework with a grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4-point scale) or better from accredited institutions may be accepted for transfer towards the doctoral degree, subject to approval by the Sociology Department and college dean.
All applicants must submit official transcript(s) indicating at least a 3.2 overall undergraduate GPA (on a 4-point scale) from an accredited institution. That is the department's expectation. At the university level, students cannot be unconditionally admitted into graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences without an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. For applicants with a master's degree, a GPA of 3.5 (on a 4-point scale) for all graduate work is required for admission to the doctoral program. In addition, all applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the last five years (ideally above the 60th percentile in all three areas), three letters of recommendation from current/former professors who can adequately evaluate the applicant’s past work and potential, and a 1-2 page statement describing the applicant’s current academic interests, research interests, long-range career goals, and how admission to the Department of Sociology at Kent State University will facilitate the achievement of these goals.
Doctoral program aspirants who do not hold the M.A. upon starting the program must complete all the requirements for the (intermediate) master’s degree, which amount to 32 total credit hours, including 14 hours of required courses, 12 hours of electives, and 6 hours of Thesis I (62199) toward completing and successfully defending a master's thesis.
Requirements for the Ph.D. degree include 14 additional semester hours of required coursework and 14 additional hours of elective coursework, passing the doctoral candidacy examination (involving an evaluation of theory, methodology, analysis, and other topics relevant to the student’s specialty areas), and 30 credits hours of Dissertation I (SOC 82199) toward completing and successfully defending a dissertation. In total, the Ph.D program involves 90 hours of required and elective coursework, thesis hours, and dissertation hours. Students entering the program with a B.A. can complete it in five years. Students entering with an M.A. can complete it in less time.
A Ph.D.-level teaching fellowship or graduate assistantship carries an award of $15,500 per academic year, a remission of tuition, and health benefits.
Master's Program (only as part of Ph.D. program)
The Department of Sociolopgy at Kent State University no longer offers a terminal master's degree (i.e. students do not enter our graduate program with the intention of earning an M.A. only). Rather, for students who will enter our program with a B.A., the Master of Arts in Sociology is an intermediate degree required of students in our department as they work towards a Ph.D. in sociology.
Doctoral program aspirants who do not hold the M.A. upon starting our doctoral program must complete all the requirements for the (intermediate) master’s degree, which amount to 32 total credit hours, including 14 hours of required courses, 12 hours of electives, and 6 hours of Thesis I (62199) toward completing and successfully defending a master's thesis.
In short, all students interested in our graduate program should apply to the doctoral program. As mentioned above, students accepted into the program that enter with a B.A. will earn an M.A. along the way toward completing the doctoral degree.
See our Doctoral Program page for more details, including admission standards and basic program requirements.
An M.A.-level graduate assistantship carries an award of $14,500 per academic year, a remission of tuition, and health benefits.