Evaluation, Completion, and Funding

Program Evaluation and Completion

By virtue of our size, students are closely mentored from the first weeks in the program through the program’s final stages, including job search processes. Upon starting the program, students are assigned a preliminary faculty advisor. After the first-year, students should decide on an advisor for their master’s thesis. After the master’s thesis, students should decide on an advisor who will guide them through the dissertation stages. Students may switch advisors at any time, but should inform the Graduate Committee of their decisions.

Students are evaluated at several points in their career. In addition to being notified of successful completion of program benchmarks (i.e., master’s, prelims, Dissertation Proposal Presentation), students are formally evaluated by the graduate program at the end of each year, with special attention devoted to the first-year evaluation. The sociology department uses the graduate school categories for classifying academic standing: good, satisfactory, warning, or termination. The Graduate School Handbook has more information about these categories. These evaluations focus on timely completion of program requirements as well as 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, link theoretical material to empirical methods, and 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. Students who fail to meet program benchmarks in a timely manner, or who do not fulfill the terms of their appointment, are typically placed on warning status and may be terminated if they do not resolve deficiencies by the appropriate deadlines.


The Graduate School currently provides five years of funding to students in good standing. Funding usually consists of a mix of fellowship, TA, and RA appointments. Students awarded a fellowship by the sociology department for a particular year cannot "bank" that fellowship for later use, unless the student receives an external award covered under the Graduate School's incentive plan. The course of study for the sociology Ph.D. 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 encouraged to secure external funding.

ASA Memberships
The Department of Sociology provides ASA memberships to all first-year students, which includes one journal subscription. It is the responsibility of the student to pay for any additional journal subscriptions.

Feinberg Award Funds
The Department of Sociology is fortunate to receive support from the Feinberg family for the purpose of graduate research. The funds can be used for dissertation research-related expenses (e.g., travel to conduct research, purchase data sets, add modules to existing surveys, conduct exploratory fieldwork, travel to archives otherwise unavailable). Funds can also be used for attendance at special training programs. Calls for proposals are sent in September and award notification is in October. Award funds must be used by May 31st.

Department Travel Funds
The Department of Sociology provides $325 for graduate student travel funds to attend conferences for which students are presenting. These funds are available from July 1st-June 30th.

Teaching Fellowships
The Department of Sociology offers a competitive opportunity for graduate students to create and teach a course that she or he has designed for both the fall and spring semesters. The topic of the course is open. Candidates should demonstrate expertise in this topic, either by having passed the appropriate preliminary exam in that substantive area or by having taken advanced courses in the area. Applicants should submit a proposal with a tentative course syllabus for an upper level undergraduate seminar. The syllabus should include a short description of the course, course outline, sample weekly readings, and an evaluation plan. Applicants should identify a faculty mentor who agrees to supervise course design and teaching. This mentor will provide guidance and feedback to the Teaching Fellow and should therefore be familiar with the topic. Eligibility requirements for this appointment include: 1) completion of preliminary exams; 2) completion of the Dissertation Proposal Presentation (by May 15th for fall courses and December 15th for spring courses); 3) status as a sixth year or below student in the coming year; and 4) timely progression toward the PhD. Preference will be given to topics that are likely to generate strong undergraduate interest, enrollment and engagement, and to applicants who have teaching experience and/or training.