Sociology Ph.D. Program
What can I expect from the Sociology Ph.D. Program?
The Ph.D. program in sociology at Baylor University is collegial, rigorous, and supportive. A defining feature of the program is mentorship. Faculty and students work closely together in research and teaching. We offer special concentrations in community analytics, sociology of health, and the sociology of religion (see below), but students are free to pursue their own research interests.
The first three years of the program concentrate on coursework. By the end of the second year, students will complete research resulting in a journal article or its equivalent, culminating in a master’s thesis. Upon completing comprehensive exams after the third year of the program, students are admitted to Ph.D. candidacy and spend their fourth and fifth year writing their dissertation.
We also have a two-semester teacher-in-training sequence that all students must complete before they are allowed to teach a course at Baylor. This training will help students understand the many different areas of preparation that are necessary to establish and successfully manage a college course.
What about an M.A. Degree?
The Sociology Department offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Students admitted into the PhD program will also earn an M.A. along the way. The M.A. in sociology is only available to students admitted into the Ph.D. program which is usually completed by the second year of the program. For students seeking to enter the program with previous post-baccalaureate experience, the admissions committee will evaluate the work of the student and may apply a maximum of nine semester hours of previous graduate coursework toward their graduate work at Baylor University.
What Resources are Available?
At Baylor we take academics very seriously so we have made it a priority to offer full graduate assistantships and tuition remission to all whom we accept into the program. This funding maximizes the amount of time that students have to pursue their own independent research. We only admit a small cohort of student each Fall in order to ensure that quality funding and attention will be given to each student. With continued satisfactory progress toward the terminal Ph.D., funding is renewed for five years. All students have their own workspace and desktop computer with access to a wide variety of data analysis software (STATA, SAS, SPSS, GIS, Geoda, HLM, R, Nivio).
All graduate students in the department of sociology of are expected - and financially supported - to attend and present research papers at annual meetings for field-related associations, such as the Southwestern Sociological Association and the American Sociological Association. Students can expect support from the department and from the graduate Graduate school School for two meetings per year.
In addition to cutting-edge sociological research, the Baylor sociology department is recognized for its outstanding pedagogical training. Graduate students participate in a two-semester Seminar in Teaching, equipping them to design, implement, and evaluate their own college courses. While students will teach their own college course at least once during their doctoral studies, financial packages are designed to maximize the amount of time students have to conduct research projects they choose.
Additionally, our department is the home to the nationally-recognized Baylor Religion Survey. Every three to four years we partner with the Gallup Organization to measure the religious beliefs and values of the American population. In the past we have examined the relationships of religion in its varied forms to trust and civic engagement, politics, the paranormal, image of God, consumption patterns, race, gender, family, health, and work to name a few.
What is the concentration in the Sociology of Health?
The Health and Society track in the Department of Sociology at Baylor focuses on understanding how social forces are linked to individual health and health behaviors. As a transdisciplinary area of study, Health and Society infuses sociological theories and principles with allied work in public health, epidemiology, and gerontology. Social mechanisms are emphasized as are sociological approaches to illuminating the roles of biology, genetics, and stress in evolving levels of mental and physical well-being across the life course.
Course offerings include Sociology of Health, Population Health, Health Inequalities in America, and Sociology of Mental Health. Students also learn to use advanced quantitative methods to address key population health issues. Graduate students conduct research independently and in collaboration with our highly-productive faculty. We tailor research mentorship to each student’s interests and goals. In addition, health items have become an integral aspect of the ongoing Baylor Religion Survey [LINK], reflecting faculty and student interest in the link between religion and health.
What is the concentration in the Sociology of Religion?
The Department of Sociology at Baylor University is recognized for its distinction in training sociologists of religion. Our curriculum combines seminars of substantive interests and independent research. Two required seminars introduce students to theory in the sociology of religion. We train all students in advanced quantitative data management and analytic techniques, and a required methods course on doing research with sociology of religion data. In addition, students may choose among six elective seminars on such topics as religiosity, family and religion, religious organizations, religious deviance, and race/gender and religion. It is our belief that students learn best by hands-on experience. Consequently, our financial packages are designed to maximize the amount of time students have to pursue their independent research topics.
Students also have exclusive access to the Baylor Religion Survey, which many students use to write their M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations. This survey is administered every three to four years and is the most comprehensive national religion survey in the United States. All graduate students in the sociology of religion are expected, and financially supported, to attend and present research papers at the annual meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Students also routinely present research papers at the American Sociological Association annual meetings. Students can expect support from the department for two meetings per year.
What is the concentration in Community Analytics?
The community analytics track for a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology provides preparation for a career path in government agencies, institutes and corporations in which specialists in applied research are desired, or for a career path in teaching and research at the college and university setting. Graduates in this concentration are highly trained in mail, telephone, and web-based survey methodology, needs assessment, interviewing and focus group research skills, mock juries and jury selection, demographic modeling, GIS, and the ability to use major statistical techniques and programs to analyze and interpret the results of such research.
Students also work at the Baylor Center for Community Research and Development (CCRD). The CCRD is a multi-disciplinary/method laboratory in which sociologists perform most of the research, while experts from varying fields lend their support. CCRD researchers employ several methods, and oftentimes extend their studies beyond the Waco metropolitan area. The philosophy of the CCRD is to encourage Baylor faculty and students to engage in “hands-on” projects that positively and tangibly change organizations and communities. Students learn to apply community analytics methods to real-life settings and gain an understanding of an exceptional model for relations between community and academia.
How Do I Apply?
Please make your application via Graduate School Online Application.