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updated 8/15/2008

Sociology

Lala Carr Steelman, Chair

Professors
Andrew Billingsley, Ph. D., Brandeis University, 1964
Paul C. Higgins, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1977
Barry Markovsky, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1983
Patrick D. Nolan, Ph.D., Temple University, 1978
Jimy M. Sanders, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1984
Lala Carr Steelman, Ph.D., Emory University, 1981
Shane R. Thye, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1997
Lynn Weber, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1976
David E. Willer, Ph.D., Purdue University, 1964

Associate Professors
Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1996
Brent Simpson, Ph.D., Cornell University, 2001
Shelley A. Smith, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1986

Assistant Professor
Christine Fountain, Ph.D., University of Washington, 2006
Irena Stepanikova, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2006


Overview

The Department of Sociology offers a program of study that provides students with a thorough grounding in the theories and research methods of the discipline. Emphasis is placed on training students to apply theories and research methods while conducting empirical inquiry. Courses are taught, and students are mentored, by a faculty composed of nationally and internationally recognized scholars. The research specialties of the faculty span several areas. It is expected that the master's and dissertation research projects of students will be carried out in specialty areas that fall in the purview of the faculty's expertise. A description of the graduate program, including the specialty areas of each faculty member, is provided at www.cas.sc.edu/socy. Our graduates pursue careers in a wide range of academic and nonacademic fields. Graduates of the master's program often find employment in government agencies or in private firms that require professionals with research skills and experience in data management. Graduates of the doctoral program also work for government agencies and in private firms, but many accept appointments at universities and colleges.

Admissions

Applications should be submitted to The Graduate School, University of South Carolina, 901 Sumter St., Columbia, SC 29208. Baccalaureates should apply to the M.A. program. Those with graduate degrees may choose to apply to the Ph.D. program. The department's Graduate Program Committee will review such requests. Additionally, applicants must send a letter describing their academic interests and an example of recent written work to Director of the Graduate Program Committee, Department of Sociology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Other materials that will be helpful in evaluating the application may be included. Electronic applications are available at www.gradschool.sc.edu. Application deadlines are July 1 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester. The Department of Sociology encourages students to begin their graduate studies during the fall semester. Applications completed by February 15 receive priority in decisions about assistantships.

The Graduate Program Committee evaluates applications and makes recommendations about admission to the dean of The Graduate School. A minimum GPA of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work is required for admission to the master's program. For applicants with a master's degree, a minimum grade point average of 3.50 for all graduate work is required for admission to the doctoral program. GRE scores must be submitted with the application to The Graduate School. The department does not have a minimum GRE requirement, but scores approaching or exceeding 600 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE and 4 on the analytical section increase the applicant's likelihood of being admitted and funded.

Degree Requirements

The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 31 graduate credits, including 6 hours of thesis preparation. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 36 additional credit hours, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation.

Master of Arts

The minimum requirements for the M.A. are:

1. SOCY 701;
2. SOCY 702;
3. 6 hours of theory: SOCY 710 and one additional course from SOCY 711-719, 760, 761, and 814;
4. 6 hours of research methods: SOCY 730 and one additional course from SOCY 720-729, 739, 749, 751, and 841;
5. 6 hours of electives: (SOCY 500-789) a maximum of 3 credit hours earned from other departments may be applied toward this requirement;
6. SOCY 796;
7. 6 hours of SOCY 799.

Students must maintain a B average for all graduate courses taken at the University of South Carolina. Grades below B are generally unacceptable in graduate school. After completing 12 hours of graduate credit at the University, students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 are dropped from the program without further review. Also, students receiving a second grade of C+ or below are dropped from the program without further review.

For transfer students who do not hold a master's degree, some program requirements may be waived if the student has taken a course or its equivalent in graduate work elsewhere and earned a grade of A (excluding A-). However, such waivers may not exceed 6 credit hours to be applied toward the 30-hour requirement for the master's degree. Students requesting a waiver must inform the Graduate Program Committee in writing. The Graduate Program Committee evaluates the files of students to determine whether a waiver is warranted.

As students near the end of their course work, they select a thesis committee composed of at least three member's of the department's faculty. Faculty members have the right of refusal. The student chooses one faculty member to serve as director. The director of the Thesis Committee notifies the director of the Graduate Program Committee in writing of the composition of the Thesis Committee. The director of the Graduate Program Committee informs the chair of the department and the dean of The Graduate School of the composition of the Thesis Committee. Pursuant to the rules of The Graduate School, the department and The Graduate School must approve the Thesis Committee. Working with the Thesis Committee, the student prepares a thesis proposal. The Thesis Committee has the right to approve, request revisions, or reject the proposal. The committee also conducts an oral comprehensive examination to determine if the student has acquired the theoretical and methodological background required to complete the proposed research. For full-time students, this examination usually occurs late in the first semester of the second year of study. Students who fail the M.A. comprehensive examination twice are removed from the program without further review.

If the Thesis Committee approves the proposal and the oral examination, all members sign a letter stating that the student has passed the comprehensive examination. The director of the Thesis Committee provides a copy of this letter to the chair of the department and gives the original letter to the director of the Graduate Program Committee. The original letter is placed in the student's file. The director of the Graduate Program Committee notifies the dean of The Graduate School that the student has passed the comprehensive examination.

After the student submits the thesis for evaluation, the Thesis Committee conducts an oral examination to determine if the proposed work has been successfully completed. The committee members have the right to approve, request revisions and further analysis to, or reject the thesis. The M.A. degree is granted only after the Thesis Committee approves the thesis, all members sign the title page, The Graduate School accepts the approved thesis, and all other requirements are met.

Doctor of Philosophy

The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. are:

1. SOCY 701;
2. SOCY 702;
3. 12 hours of theory: SOCY 710 and three additional courses from SOCY 711-719, 760, 761, and 814;
4. 12 hours of research methods: SOCY 730 and three additional courses from SOCY 720-729, 739, 749, 751, and 841;
5. SOCY 796;
6. 18 hours of electives (SOCY 500-891); a maximum of 6 credit hours in 500-level courses may be applied toward the Ph.D.; a maximum of 9 credit hours earned from other departments on campus may be applied toward this requirement;
7. 6 hours of SOCY 799;
8. 12 hours of SOCY 899.

In accordance with The Graduate School’s regulations, all students entering the Ph.D. program must pass a written Ph.D. candidacy examination. The candidacy examination is taken early in the first fall semester of residence. In passing the examination, the student is admitted to candidacy and may work toward meeting the remaining requirements that lead to the Ph.D. degree. Students who do not pass the candidacy examination will be expected to acquire the needed knowledge by attending courses beyond the Ph.D. requirements or by individual study. In either case, the examination must be taken again at the end of the following spring semester. Failing the candidacy examination a second time will result in removal from the program without further review. Administration of the examination is the responsibility of the Graduate Program Committee. For details, consult the department's Handbook for Graduate Students.

After advancement to candidacy, the Graduate Program Committee, acting as the Program Advisory Committee, oversees the subsequent progress of each doctoral candidate toward the Ph.D. degree. After advancement to candidacy, each doctoral candidate must file an approved program of study. This program of study should by completed before the end of a Ph.D. student's first year in the program.

Students must maintain a B average on all post-M.A. graduate courses taken at the University of South Carolina. After completing 12 hours of post-M.A. graduate credit at the University, students whose cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) are dropped from the program without further review. Also, students receiving a second post-M.A. grade of C+ or below are dropped from the program without further review.

For a transfer entrant with an M.A. degree, some program requirements can be waived if the student has taken a course or its equivalent in graduate work elsewhere and earned a grade of A (excluding A-). However, such waivers do not reduce the minimum number of post-M.A. credit hours (36) that must be completed at the University for the Ph.D. Students requesting a waiver must inform the Graduate Program Committee in writing. The Graduate Program Committee evaluates the files of students to determine whether a waiver is warranted.

The Graduate School's foreign language competence requirement may be fulfilled by passing an examination that demonstrates a reading knowledge of one foreign language. These examinations are normally administered by one of the foreign language programs 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. The foreign language requirement may also be met by completing a fifth research methodology course with a grade of B or higher.

Area Requirements

In addition to successfully completing course work, three area requirements must be passed. Normally, completion of these requirements coincides with the completion of course work. All students must meet both the theory and the research methodology area requirements. Written theory and research methodology area examinations are given once a year, but students with excellent grades in the relevant courses earn a waiver from the examinations. All students must also pass a written and an oral examination in a research speciality of their choosing. Each student forms a Research Speciality Examination Committee made up of at least two faculty members from the Department of Sociology. Faculty members have the right of refusal. The student selects one member as chairperson of the committee. In consultation with the committee, each student prepares a list of appropriate readings. The length of the reading list will vary by research area, but as a guideline it should consist of about 25 books and 100 journal articles/book chapters. Reading lists must be approved by all members of the committee. The reading list should define a broad substantive area of sociological research that is roughly equivalent to a commonly recognized sociological specialty. Normally, students will conduct their dissertation research in the same speciality area that they choose for their research speciality examination. Guidelines for meeting the three area requirements are provided in the department's Handbook for Graduate Students.

Dissertation

As students near the end of their course work, they select a Dissertation Committee composed of at least four members, one of whom is from outside the department. Faculty members have the right of refusal. The student chooses one faculty member to serve as director. The director of the Dissertation Committee notifies the director of the Graduate Program Committee in writing of the composition of the Dissertation Committee. A student's Dissertation Committee assumes the role of the Program Advisory Committee. Working with the Dissertation Committee, the student prepares a dissertation proposal. Once the proposal is submitted to the Dissertation Committee, a comprehensive examination is held. By the rules of the Graduate School, a Comprehensive Examination Committee is appointed by the chair of the department and approved by the dean of The Graduate School. Normally, the Dissertation Committee serves as the Comprehensive Examination Committee. The comprehensive examination includes a written component, usually the dissertation proposal, and an oral component. The content of the examination may include any topics for which the student is responsible. If the Comprehensive Examination Committee concludes that the student has successfully completed the oral examination and approves the proposal, all members sign a letter stating that the student has passed the comprehensive examination. The director of the Dissertation Committee provides a copy of this letter to the chair of the department and gives the original letter to the director of the Graduate Program Committee. The original letter is placed in the student's file. The director of the Graduate Program Committee notifies the dean of The Graduate School that the student has passed the comprehensive examination. Students who fail the Ph.D. comprehensive examination twice are removed from the program without further review.

After passing the comprehensive examination, the student is expected to pursue dissertation research and writing. Once the student is prepared to defend the dissertation, a Dissertation Examining Committee is formed. By the rules of The Graduate School, the Dissertation Examining Committee is appointed by the chair of the department and approved by the dean of The Graduate School. This committee is composed of at least four members, one of whom is from outside the department. Normally, the Dissertation Committee serves as the Dissertation Examining Committee. In addition to reading the dissertation, the committee conducts an oral examination of the student. The committee members have the right to approve, request revisions and further analysis, or reject the dissertation. The Ph.D. is granted only after the Dissertation Examining Committee approves the dissertation, all members sign the title page, The Graduate School accepts the approved dissertation, and all other requirements are met.


Course Descriptions (SOCY)

  • 500 -- Social Networks. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Analysis of personal, social and organizational networks, their structural patterns, practical consequences, and principles of formation and change.
  • 501 -- Cities and Politics. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) The social forces, contemporary and historical, that form the present urban political system.
  • 502 -- Political Sociology. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Theory and research concerning the interrelationship between the polity and social structures.
  • 503 -- Family and Social Stratification. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) An analysis of the contemporary American family emphasizing social stratification, mobility, occupations, and urbanization.
  • 504 -- Social Stratification. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Theory and research in social stratification.
  • 505 -- Social Structures in Communities. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Interrelationships of major social structures within communities.
  • 506 -- Social Organizations. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of advisor) Selected theoretical orientation, methodological procedures, and illustrative substantive issues pertaining to organizations.
  • 507 -- Sociology of Social Control. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Early and contemporary theories, methods, and issues relating to conformity in human interaction.
  • 508 -- Freedom and Determination. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300 or consent of instructor) Sociological theories of voluntarism and determinism.
  • 509 -- Advanced Social Structures. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300) The analysis of core methodological and substantive issues in the study of social structures.
  • 510 -- Human Fertility. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 310) Social influences on patterns of reproduction, impact of public policies, and social consequences of fertility variations.
  • 511 -- Human Mortality. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 310) Changing patterns of death in society, social forces determining mortality, and societal reactions to mortality trends.
  • 512 -- Internal and International Migration. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 310 or consent of instructor) A survey of methods of analysis and research findings with emphasis on the social and economic concomitants of internal migration. Cultural, economic, and historical aspects of international migration. Effects of governmental policies on immigration and emigration. Examination of selected countries.
  • 513 -- Demographic Aspects of the Life Cycle. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 310 or consent of instructor) Theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues in the demographic analysis of life cycle phenomena, including marriage, education, labor force participation, occupational choice, and retirement.
  • 514 -- Urbanization. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 310 or consent of instructor) Analysis of urbanization using contemporary and historical data from developing societies. The demographic components of metropolitan growth and the changing structure of metropolitan communities.
  • 520 -- Social Behaviorism. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) Current theory and research relating to social interaction, communication, group structure, and social control.
  • 521 -- Small Group Analysis. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) A behavioral analysis of small groups.
  • 522 -- Power and Authority Structures in Groups. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) An exploration of theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and substantive issues in the study of interpersonal power and authority.
  • 523 -- Social Processes of Deviance Control. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) A systematic analysis of the interrelation among the creation, involvement, recognition, and control of deviance.
  • 524 -- Interpersonal Behavior in Families. (3) Social psychological perspectives on family behavior.
  • 525 -- Selves and Social Transaction. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) A systematic analysis of interrelationships among social acts, selves, roles, transactions, and language.
  • 526 -- Social Attitudes. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) Analysis of the formation, organization, measurement, and effects of social attitudes including the relationship between attitudes and behavior.
  • 540 -- Sociology of Law. (3) (Prereq: 300-level sociology course, or permission of the instructor) Review of theoretical and empirical developments in the sociology of law, including classical and modern sociological theories of law and selected sociological themes of law in various social settings.
  • 550 -- Sociology of Science. (3) Interrelationships among society, culture, and contemporary science.
  • 557 -- Sociology of Education and Inequality. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 320 or consent of instructor) Advanced inquiry into the relationship between education and inequality.
  • 560 -- Sociological Theory. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 300-level or higher course or consent of instructor) Theoretical perspectives on society and social behavior.
  • 561 -- Sociological Research Methods. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 220 and 300-level or higher course or consent of instructor) Methodological approaches to sociological inquiry.
  • 598 -- Selected Topics. (3) Readings and research on selected sociological topics. Course and content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 698 -- Special Topics. (3) Reading and research.
  • 701 -- Scientific Methods and Sociological Inquiry. (3) Introduction to methods used to answer theoretical, empirical, and practical sociological questions, including scientific inquiry and research design.
  • 702 -- Sociology Proseminar. (1) (Prereq: consent of instructor) This seminar introduces graduate students in sociology to aspects of the sociological profession that are beyond the confines of sociological theory, methodology, and the discipline's substantive interests.
  • 705 -- Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. {=WOST 705} (3) Historical and contemporary dimensions of social inequality centered in race, social class, gender, and sexuality.
  • 710 -- Selected Scholars of Society and Social Behavior: Classical. (3) Survey of theoretical and empirical works of sociological scholars prior to about 1920.
  • 711 -- Selected Scholars of Society and Social Behavior: Contemporary. (3) Survey of theoretical and empirical works of sociological scholars since about 1920.
  • 712 -- Concept Formation. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701) Selected topics in conceptualization of social phenomena and research strategies in sociology. Examples of current sociological research programs are studied to determine whether they yield cumulative knowledge, and reasons why they do or do not. Criteria for assessing ways to produce sociological understanding are developed.
  • 713 -- Theory Construction. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701) Presentation and study of the major theory groups in contemporary sociology, including functionalism, exchange, and consistency theories. Analysis of theoretical perspectives using criteria of logical consistency and adequacy of explanation. Techniques of building formal theory in sociology.
  • 719 -- Selected Topics in Sociological Theory. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 710)
  • 720 -- Critical Survey of Research Methods. (3) Survey of data-gathering techniques used in sociology including questionnaires, interviews, surveys, archival searches, experiments, and observational techniques.
  • 721 -- Topics in Scaling and Measurement Methods. (3) Selected topics in scaling and measurement of social science data emphasizing exploratory and descriptive techniques such as correspondence analysis, proximity scaling and contingency table representations.
  • 729 -- Selected Sociological Topics in Methodology. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701)
  • 730 -- Statistical Analysis in Sociology. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701) Introduction to statistical analysis in sociology, including bivariate and multiple regression, correlation and analysis of variance.
  • 739 -- Selected Topics in the Quantitative Analysis of Sociological Data. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701)
  • 745 -- Human Ecology and Urbanization. (3) Classical and contemporary theories of human ecology, cities, and urban life treated at urban, regional, national and international levels.
  • 749 -- Selected Methodological Topics in Demography. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701) Introduction to selected research methodologies having applications to the study of demography.
  • 751 -- Topics in the Analysis of Social Networks. (3) Selected topics in the theory, measurement, and analysis of social networks.
  • 759 -- Selected Sociological Topics in Social Structures. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701)
  • 760 -- Contemporary Group Processes. (3) Theories and problems in contemporary group processes; primary emphasis on theories of status, power, justice, emotion, and legitimacy.
  • 761 -- Network Exchange Theory. (3) Theory growth and competition in network exchange; how theory is best constructed, how it is tested, and how it is extended.
  • 764 -- History of American Women. {=HIST 764} (3) Selected research topics on the cultural, social, economic, and political roles and contributions of American women.
  • 766 -- Social Psychology of Race. (3) Impact of race and the social psychology of the individual on social life in the U.S. Includes study of self-concept and group memebership as contributors to status attainment.
  • 769 -- Selected Sociological Topics in Social Psychology. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 701)
  • 770 -- Teaching Sociology. (1-3) (Prereq: SOCY 701) An exploration of college teaching of sociology, including goals, means, and challenges.
  • 777 -- Evolution, Altruism, and Morality. (3) Analysis of research on biological and cultural evolution of altruism, and the other moral and prosocial behaviors.
  • 790 -- Special Topics: Reading and Research. (3)
  • 791 -- Special Topics: Reading and Research. (3)
  • 796 -- Research Apprenticeship. (3) Intensive involvement in a faculty research project for the purpose of developing professional research skills.
  • 799 -- Thesis Research and Preparation. (1-9 each)
  • 814 -- Theories of Population Dynamics. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 749) Systematic theories of population dynamics, demographic change as a cause/consequence of other social processes, inherent momentum of population dynamics. Meets department requirements for third theory course.
  • 841 -- Advanced Demographic Analysis. (3) (Prereq: SOCY 749) Doctoral seminar covering data quality evaluation, standardization, life table construction, migration and population projection matrices, and other advanced demographic methods.
  • 890 -- Special Topics: Reading and Research. (3)
  • 891 -- Special Topics: Reading and Research. (3)
  • 899 -- Dissertation Preparation. (1-12)
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