The required coursework, normally taken in the first year of graduate study focuses on theories and methods of research that characterize sociology.  The required coursework includes a two-semester sequence on theory (Classic Sociological Theory (SOC 2040), Contemporary Sociological Theory (SOC 2050)), a course on the logic of inquiry (Fields and Methods of Sociological Research (SOC 2430)), a qualitative methods course (Qualitative Methods and Field Work (SOC 2210)), and a two-semester sequence covering basic applied statistics (Multivariate Analysis (SOC 2010), Advanced Regression Models (SOC 2020)).

In addition to the required courses, students take advanced courses in theory, research methods (e.g., survey methods, qualitative methods, advanced statistics), and areas of substantive specialization. The goal of these courses is to master foundational knowledge in two or more areas of specialization within Sociology, and to acquire the empirical research skills to complete the dissertation.  The additional coursework is normally selected from graduate courses numbered over 2000. Selected courses should include seminars covering the department’s preliminary exam areas, other advanced courses in Sociology and other advanced courses in appropriate departments.  Additionally, 1870-level seminars and courses between 1000 and 1860 may be taken if appropriate. 

The residence requirement for the Ph.D. is the equivalent of three years of full-time study past the Bachelor’s degree, i.e., 24 tuition units. At least two semesters beyond the Master’s degree must be spent exclusively in full-time study at Brown University. Students who have completed graduate work while in graduate residence at another institution and who have not completed the required number of courses in fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree may, on petition to the Graduate Committee and with the approval of the Registrar, transfer credits equivalent to eight (8) tuition units in partial fulfillment of the residence requirement at Brown.  

Teaching experience is both a fundamental aspect of scholarly development and a valuable signal on the job market.” To provide all students with this experience, the program requires completing an approved teaching experience.  During the semester in which a student is completing the teaching experience, s/he should enroll in a 1-unit R&R (independent study—reading and research) with a sponsoring faculty..  The department provides three options for completing this requirement.  Students may (1) teach the labs or discussion sections as part of their TA assignment in one semester, (2) give three guest lectures to be designed by the student for a class taught by a faculty member in the student’s area of specialization, or (3) complete the teaching certification program at the Sheridan Center.  Other arrangements may be made with sponsoring faculty.