John V. Skoretz, Interim Chair of the Department
Andrew Billingsley, Ph. D., Brandeis University, 1964
Shelley A. Smith, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1986
Shane R. Thye, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1997
Distinguished Professors Emeriti
David L. Hatch, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1949
Charles W. Tucker, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1966
The Department of Sociology offers high-level quantitative and theoretical programs of study in three main subdisciplines of sociology: social psychology, demography, and structural sociology. Courses are taught, and students are mentored, by an internationally esteemed faculty, whose research spans patterns of interaction in families; parental investment in children; the problems of social organization; network power structures; suicide; experimental social psychology; gender inequality in income, mental health, race and achievement; African-American life course; the statistical analysis of interpersonal ties; correlates of infant mortality; ethnic immigrant communities; the effects of aging on quality of life and disability; and the cross-national comparative analysis of social structures. Graduates of its masters program have been employed by a variety of state and local governmental agencies or have gone on to attain advanced degrees at prominent universities. Graduates of its doctoral program have gone on to prestigious postdoctoral fellowships and tenure-track university appointments.
For admission to full standing, an applicant must submit all application forms required by The Graduate School, including scores on the general section of the GRE. Additionally, an applicant should submit a statement of academic interests, at least one example of recent written work, and any other materials that will be helpful in evaluating the application, to the director of graduate studies, Department of Sociology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Applications that are completed by February 15 will receive priority in decisions about assistantships.
The graduate committee will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the dean about admission. The minimum combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is 1000. The minimum grade point average for admission to the M.A. program is 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work. The minimum grade point average for admission to the doctoral program is 3.50 on all graduate courses. Meeting minimum standards does not guarantee admission to the program, nor does failure to meet a particular minimum disqualify an applicant if there is sufficient evidence that the failure is not an accurate indication of ability.
The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits, including six hours of thesis preparation. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 36 additional credits, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation.
Master of Arts
The minimum requirements for the M.A. are:
1. SOCY 701
2. Six hours of theory
3. Six hours of statistics
4. Six hours of substantive areas (SOCY 500789)
5. SOCY 796
6. Six hours of SOCY 799
Students must maintain a B average on all courses attempted for graduate credit. Grades below B are generally unacceptable in graduate school. Students receiving a grade of C+ or below are subject to review by the entire faculty. To remain in the program, a majority of voting faculty must approve the students continuation. Students receiving a third grade of C+ or below are dropped from the program without further review.
All students at the completion of the first year will be reviewed by the instructors of their courses and the graduate committee of the department. Depending on the students performance and progress, the review panel will recommend (a) that the student not continue further in the program, (b) that the student must complete all requirements for the M.A. before being reviewed to see if continuance in the program is indicated, or (c) that the completion of all requirements for the M.A. is optional in pursuing the Ph.D. Even if alternative (c) is recommended, completion of the M.A. is strongly encouraged in order for the student to gain experience in the preparation and defense of a substantial research project.
By the end of the second semester, the student will select a thesis committee, composed of at least three members of the faculty who agree to serve on the committee and read the thesis. The student will choose one faculty member to serve as director. The director of the committee will notify the director of graduate studies in writing of the composition of the committee. Working with the committee, the student will prepare a thesis proposal. An examination committee, composed of five faculty members appointed by the director of graduate studies (ordinarily including the three members of the thesis committee ), will conduct an oral examination of the student based on the thesis proposal. This examination usually occurs in the first semester of the second year of study. The committee will attempt to determine if the student has acquired the historical, theoretical, and methodological background in sociology required to do the proposed research. The proposals design will also be examined to determine whether it is likely to lead to research of high quality. The exam committee may recommend any changes it feels are warranted on the thesis proposal.
If the committee approves the proposal, all five members will sign a letter stating that the student has been examined and has successfully completed the comprehensive examination requirement. This letter will be given to the chair of the sociology department and the director of graduate studies, who will notify the dean of The Graduate School that the student has passed the comprehensive examination.
Upon completion of the proposed work, the director and readers of the thesis will conduct an oral examination of the student to determine if the proposed work has been successfully completed. The committee members have the right to approve, request revisions and further analysis, or reject the thesis. When the approved thesis is accepted by The Graduate School, and all other requirements have been met, the M.A. degree will be granted.
Doctor of Philosophy
The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. are:
1. SOCY 701
2. nine hours of theory: SOCY 710, 711, one additional course in the theory block (SOCY 712729)
3. six hours of methods: SOCY 720, one additional course in the methods block (SOCY 721729)
4. six hours of statistics: SOCY 730, one additional course in the analysis block (731739)
5. three courses from the demography, social structures, and social psychology area blocks (SOCY 740769)
6. SOCY 796
7. twelve hours of electives (SOCY 500891)
8. six hours of SOCY 799
9. twelve hours of SOCY 899
In accordance with The Graduate Schools regulations, admission to degree candidacy is normally expected to occur concurrently with completion of the masters program or in the first semester of residence for those who enter with the masters degree. Admission to candidacy depends on successful passage of a written examination. This examination is composed, administered, and evaluated by the graduate program committee.
At the time of admission to candidacy, a Ph.D. advisory committee will be constituted to oversee the subsequent progress of each doctoral candidate toward the Ph.D. degree. Normally this committee will be composed of the faculty serving on the departments graduate program committee at the time of a students advancement to candidacy along with a graduate faculty member from outside the department selected by the graduate director.
After advancement to candidacy and formation of the Ph.D. advisory committee, each doctoral candidate must file an approved program of study. All these actions are to be completed before the end of a Ph.D. students first year in the program.
For entrants with a bachelors degree only, a minimum of 60 to 66 credits are required. For an entrant with an M.A. degree, some course requirements can be waived if the student has taken a course or its equivalent in graduate work elsewhere and earned a grade of B or better and the student has a 3.50 average in all graduate courses taken elsewhere. The graduate committee will evaluate the files of all students to determine which requirements to waive and whether any deficiencies require additional course work. (Generally, SOCY 796 and 799 requirements will be waived for entrants with an M.A.).
The progress of all students will be reviewed at the end of each spring semester by the departments graduate committee. The criteria for assessment includes completion of all graduate course work with an average of 3.50 (B+) or better and no more than two grades of less than B in graduate courses from the USC Columbia Department of Sociology. Failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree objectives results in the student being placed on probation. Students who remain on probation for two consecutive semesters will be reviewed by the full faculty to determine whether they will be allowed to remain in the program.
The student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language by passing an examination administered by one of the foreign language departments at the University. English may be accepted as a foreign language for students whose native language is not English, with the approval of the dean of The Graduate School and the chair of the department. This requirement must be satisfied before the student takes the oral comprehensive exam.
In addition to successful completion of course work and subsequent to admission to candidacy, comprehensive exams must be passed. Normally, these exams follow or coincide with the completion of formal course work included in the students program of study. The exams should be completed no later than the end of the fourth year (second year for students entering with an M.A. awarded outside the University). Comprehensives consist of written exams in three areas and an oral examination on these written products. The three areas are structural sociology, one of either social psychology or social demography, and an area that reflects the students specialized interest.
The core area exams are intended to cover both key theoretical ideas and methodological techniques found in the core area as well as the areas basic substantive issues. The exams themselves are developed and graded by a committee of at least three faculty in each area. Reading lists for these areas are available from the director of graduate studies.
The third requirement, a specialty exam, is on a particular topic related to the students principal research interest. The specialty requirement can cover a theoretical area (for example, symbolic interaction), a methodological or statistical area (for example, the analysis of categorical data), or substantive area (for example, stratification). A listing of topics for which reading lists exist is available from the director of graduate studies. For the specialty requirement, a research paper of publishable quality may be substituted for the written exam. Students wishing to submit a paper or to take exams in areas that are not listed should contact their dissertation director or the director of graduate studies, who will consult with faculty to determine if a committee can be formed. The committees composition is subject to the approval of the director of graduate studies and the chair of the department. As with all other comprehensive exam committees, members of a properly constituted committee have complete authority with respect to composition and grading of each exam.
The director of graduate studies schedules and administers the written exams. An examination in each core area will be offered once each semester. Exams in the specialty areas will be offered as needed. Should a student fail a written requirement, a revision of that paper may be requested or the exam may be taken later in the semester. After the student has demonstrated competence in the three areas and the language requirement has been satisfied, a committee for the oral examination on these areas shall be formed in accordance with The Graduate Schools regulations. The committee, to be appointed by the chair of the department and approved by the dean of The Graduate School, is to consist of no fewer than four members, at least one of whom is from outside the department and all of whom agree to serve on the committee. Normally, this committee will serve as the students dissertation committee. The oral examination must be scheduled within six months after completion of the written requirements. All parts of the comprehensive, written and oral, should be completed before the end of the students fourth year.
The dissertation committee shall consist of at least four members, one of whom is from outside the department. The committee is to be appointed by the chair of the department and approved by the dean of The Graduate School. Normally, the comprehensive examination committee will serve as the students dissertation committee. The dissertation committee will evaluate the students dissertation and administer the oral defense of the dissertation, which is to be a piece of original research of high professional quality. The committee members have the right to approve, request revisions and further analysis, or reject the dissertation. When the approved dissertation is accepted by The Graduate School and all other requirements have been met, the Ph.D. degree will be granted.
Course Descriptions (SOCY)
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