The Graduate Program in Sociology

Ranked among the top sociology programs in the nation, the Penn State Graduate Program in Sociology offers students the flexibility to study a wide range of topics, reflecting both the size and intellectual breadth of the faculty.  The department provides strong academic and financial support to our graduate students in the form of multi-year funding commitments during the academic year and summer.  This foundation of support allows students to build both their research and teaching skills over the course of the program.

Student mentoring is a program priority.  We pair students with faculty advisors who guide students’ intellectual development, help them make informed career decisions, and emphasize the goals of a Penn State education—research, teaching, and service.  

The Sociology Program is an important node in an active and creative University research network that spans the globe.  Whether through dual degree programs, training grants, or formal minors, Sociology students can choose to strengthen both their disciplinary knowledge and the cross-disciplinary connections that provide important insights into social problems.

Our faculty occupy prominent positions of leadership in Penn State Research Institutes that facilitate multidisciplinary work.  In addition, they provide service to the discipline as Editors, Deputy Editors, Editorial Board members, and reviewers for the top journals in Sociology, Family Studies, Quantitative Methodology, Social Theory, and Demography; they are elected as officers and to advisory boards of national and international organizations; and they receive prestigious award recognizing them as outstanding scholars, teachers, and mentors. 



During a typical year, approximately 55 students are engaged in full-time graduate-level training in sociology.  Students in the MA program complete 36 credits, including classes in Social Theory, Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, and seminars in our areas of concentration listed above.  Most of the coursework occurs in seminars with six to twelve members.  A thesis prepared in journal-article format is required to complete the M.A.

Ph.D. students can work towards their Ph.D. in Sociology or they can choose one of our unique Dual-Title Ph.D. programs—the Dual-Title Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography or the Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Data Analytics.  In addition, students can earn formal minors in Social ThoughtStatistics, andSocial Data Analytics.   Students in any area of specialization may earn a Certificate in Quantitative Methods or a Certificate in Survey Methodology.

Why choose Penn State Sociology?

Student Research