Program Evaluation and Completion
By virtue of our size, students are closely mentored from the first weeks in the program through to the final stages of the program, including in the job search process. Students are assigned an advisor upon starting the program, based on stated interests in the application. After the first year students should decide on an advisor for the Masters’ Thesis, as well as a second reader. After the Masters’ Thesis students should settle on an advisor who will guide them through the stages of the dissertation. Students may switch advisors at any time, but should inform the Graduate Committee of their decisions.
Students are also evaluated at several points in their career. In addition to successful completion of program benchmarks (masters’, prelims, brownbag), students are formally evaluated by the graduate program at the end of each year, with special attention devoted to the first year evaluation. These evaluations focus not only on timely completion of program requirements but also overall progress and professional development. Specifically, the committee considers the development of each student’s conceptual and analytical thinking skills, including the ability to make theoretical abstractions, to link theoretical material to empirical methods, and to critique conceptual arguments and empirical approaches. Additionally, the committee considers a student’s demonstrated potential to execute an independently crafted research project that can make a contribution to the discipline. Lastly, the committee also considers a student’s overall awareness of professional behaviors.
The graduate school currently provides five years of funding to students in good standing. The course of study for the sociology PhD is designed to be completed in five years and students are encouraged to do so. We recognize that in certain cases, especially when involving primary data collection, the course of study may extend into a sixth and seventh year. Students who need to extend the course of study beyond five years must remain in good standing and will be expected to secure external funding.