Why choose Penn State for your graduate training?

If you are excited about social science research, interested in learning cutting-edge methods, and want to work closely in a supportive environment with world-renowned faculty on some of the most important questions in sociology, demography, and criminology today, then Penn State could be the right program for you, and we encourage you to apply.

Known for excellence in research and graduate education, Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Criminology was ranked overall among the top-3 sociology programs, ranked 2nd on research activity, and 4th on student support and outcomes in a recent report by the National Research Council.

We offer our students:

  • Multiple Degree Options, allowing students to choose among 4 PhD programs: a PhD in Sociology; a PhD in Criminology; a PhD in Sociology and Demography; or a PhD in Sociology and Social Data Analytics.
  • Strong Mentoring, by pairing students with faculty advisers and directing professors, who guide students’ intellectual development, help them make informed career decisions, and educate them in professionalism, ethical practice, and the importance of service.
  • Research Experience, through faculty-student collaborations that allow them to learn the research process—from developing initial ideas to reading page proofs when those ideas culminate in co-authored papers. 
  • Secure Funding, by offering research assistantships and competitive fellowships that allow students to focus on their studies. Both academic year and summer funding is provided.
  • An Exciting Intellectual Environment, with more than 40 faculty who offer a wide range of seminars, have research expertise in wide range of areas, and provide methodological advice across a variety of analytic approaches.
  • A Safe And Easy-To-Navigate Community, with good public transportation, beautiful vistas, sustainability-minded development, and a commitment to diversity, service, and mutual respect. 
  • Student Accomplishments that grow as cohorts move through the program. Out students earn fellowships and scholarships, write award- winning papers and award-winning dissertations, are elected to positions in national associations, receive summer internships, and publish regularly. 
  • A Strong Record of successful graduates who move into prestigious post-docs, tenure-track faculty positions, and positions in highly-respected non-Academic settings, including Census, Facebook, and AID.