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. By the end of the first-year, students decide on an advisor for their master’s thesis. After the master’s thesis, students decide on an advisor who will guide them through the dissertation stages. Students may switch advisors at any time, but should inform old and new advisors, the student affairs coordinator, and the Graduate Committee of their decisions.
Students are evaluated at several points. 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 Department of Sociology 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.