Doctor of Philosophy - Sociology


The Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology offers programs designed for both students holding a bachelor’s degree in sociology or a closely related discipline who have a strong record of academic success, are likely to be highly successful in graduate school, and who have a professional interest in, and commitment to, earning a doctorate in Sociology and for students who have already earned a Master’s degree in Sociology or a closely related discipline, and who can demonstrate evidence of substantial expertise in Sociology. This program trains students in advanced sociological concepts and applications, as well as advanced theoretical and methodological frameworks for conducting original research. In addition, students develop at least 2 advanced areas of specialization from among the department’s core areas of specialization. Sociology doctoral students also have the opportunity to participate in our pedagogy and postsecondary teacher training program.

Graduates of this program are well prepared for academic research and teaching positions, as well as careers in applied and community sociology. Educational outcomes for our doctoral program include: development of expertise in both classical and contemporary sociological theories, mastery of both quantitative and qualitative research methods and data analysis, development of specialized expert knowledge in at least two substantive areas, professional socialization, participation in professional organizations, oral presentation skills, familiarity with the process of academic publication of original research, and cultivation of analytical research and writing skills that culminate in the ability to author an original doctoral dissertation of substantial depth and quality.

Available Options

  • Post-Bachelor’s Track
  • Post-Master’s Track


For information regarding accreditation at UNLV, please head over to Academic Program Accreditations.

Learning Outcomes

Ph.D.'s in Sociology will have knowledge of:

Key Concepts, Debates, and Trends in Sociology
Demonstrate an understanding of the discipline of sociology, key concepts, debates and trends and how these contribute to our understanding of social reality.
  • Students can demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of basic concepts in sociology: culture, social change, socialization, stratification, social structure, institutions, and differentiations by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and class.
  • Students can articulate an understanding of how culture and social structure operate.
  • Students can articulate the reciprocal relationships between individuals and society.
  • Students can articulate the macro/micro distinction.
  • Students can articulate the internal diversity of the United States and its place in the international context.
Major Sociological Paradigms and Theories
Demonstrate the role of theory in sociology:
  • Define theory and describe its role in building sociological knowledge.
  • Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations and paradigms.
  • Demonstrate the historical/cultural context in which these theories were developed.
Methods used in Sociological Research
Demonstrate understanding of the role of evidence in qualitative and quantitative methods in sociology:
  • Identify basic methodological approaches and describe the general role of methods in building sociological knowledge.
  • Compare and contrast the basic methodological approaches for gathering data.
  • Design research studies in an area of choice and explain why various decisions were made.
  • Critically assess published research and explain how the studies could have been improved.


Career Possibilities

Ph.D.'s in Sociology will be able to:

Show Evidence of the Development of a Sociological Imagination
Apply sociological knowledge, principles, concepts and the sociological imagination to their own projects.
Exhibit Confidence in Expressing Ideas Orally and in Writing
Students can demonstrate critical thinking:
  • Demonstrate skills in recall, analysis and application, and synthesis and evaluation.
  • Identify underlying assumptions in theoretical orientations or arguments.
  • Identify underlying assumptions in particular methodological approaches to an issue.
  • Show how patterns of thought and knowledge are directly influenced by political and economic social structures.
  • Present opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses. Engage in teamwork where many different points of view are presented.
Students will develop sound research practices:
  • Articulate the utility of the sociological perspective as one of several perspectives on social reality.
  • Present their work at peer-attended regional, national, and international conferences.
  • Publish their work in peer-reviewed regional, national, and international journals or books.


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Doctor of Philosophy - Sociology

Post-Bachelor’s Track

Post-Master’s Track


Graduate Coordinator

Barb Brents, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology

CBC-B - 210

Department of Sociology

The sociology department teaches courses that concern human behavior, social life and social change. Many topics are examined, including marriage and family, religion, crime and delinquency, deviance, work and occupations, leisure and sports, economic inequalities, race and ethnic relations, and gender.


College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts offers students a well-rounded education in the humanities and social sciences, and provides students with a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning and discovery.