Coursework & Teaching


The required coursework, normally taken in the first year of graduate study, focuses on theories and methods of sociological research. The required coursework includes a two-semester sequence on theory (SOC 2040: Classical Sociological Theory; SOC 2050: Contemporary Sociology), a course on the logic of inquiry (SOC 2430: Fields and Methods of Social Research), a qualitative methods course (SOC 2210: Qualitative Methods), and a two-semester sequence covering basic applied statistics (SOC 2010: Multivariate Statistical Methods I; SOC 2020: Multivariate Statistical Methods II).

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. 1870-level seminars and courses between 1000 and 1860 may count toward the 24-credit requirement with DGS approval. 

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 enrollment/tuition credits). 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) course credits in partial fulfillment of both the residency requirement at Brown and the department’s 24 course credit requirement. After completing all course requirements students must be registered in at least one course in order to remain an active student. Please see below for the listing of the two zero course credit options available.


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 one full year (two semesters) of a teaching assistant assignment. Students who have been unable to TA by the penultimate year (due to receiving multiple fellowships that prohibit teaching) should enroll in a 1-unit teaching practicum [(SOC 2500 (fall) / SOC 2510 (spring): Teaching Practicum in Sociology] with a sponsoring faculty. TA assignments include regular attendance at class, class lecturing or leading discussion sections, and some responsibility for course activities and grading. In addition, we strongly encourage students to complete the Sheridan Center (Level One) teaching certification program early in their time at Brown.