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Graduate Degrees

The Department of Sociology offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Sociology.

Admissions Requirements

Master's Degree


Entering graduate students are assigned a faculty member as an entrance adviser. Students may change advisers at any time if they find another faculty member who agrees to serve as the new adviser. Students are advised to meet with faculty members as regularly as needed for their level of research, at least once per quarter. Any problems in the adviser-advisee relationship should be discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Areas of Study

See Major Fields or Subdisciplines under Doctoral Degree.

Foreign Language Requirement


Course Requirements

In addition to the departmental requirements outlined below, some field examinations have their own course requirements for students who plan to take that field examination.

Before the Master's Paper Review

Departmental Requirements. For departmental requirements, all students are required to take a total of 42 units of course work (12 courses) as outlined below:

(1) Sociology 201A-201B-201C. These courses introduce students to the range of theoretical and research interests represented by departmental faculty and must be taken in the first year.

(2) Sociology 202A-202B. These courses constitute an examination of the interrelations of theory, method, and substance in exemplary sociological works, and must be taken in the first year.

(3) Sociology 204, topics in sociological theorizing.

(4) A two-quarter graduate-level methodology sequence of which there are several alternatives such as the survey methods course or the demographic methods course. The methodology series is numbered Sociology 208A-208B-208C, 211A-211B through M213C, 216A-216B, 217B-217C, 244A-244B. Students are required to take one methods sequence before the master's paper review and one methods sequence before taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination. Only one of Sociology 212A-212B or 216A-216B may meet the two-quarter methodology sequence requirement. In choosing a methodology sequence, students should note some of the Ph.D. field examinations require particular methodology sequences. If students have equivalent methodological training elsewhere, they should file a petition (along with pertinent evidence and an adviser's recommendation) with the Director of Graduate Studies for exemption from the methodology requirement.

(5) Four 200-level courses in Sociology, excluding 201A-201B-201C, 202A-202B, 204, 210A-210B, and two-quarter methodology sequence.

(6) While there is no statistics requirements for the M.A. degree, Sociology 210A-210B must be completed before students are permitted to take the first field examination, which typically occurs in the third year. Students are advised to take Sociology 210A-210B early in their graduate training. Students whose interests are in areas with substantial quantitative literature should take Sociology 210A, 210B, and 210C in their first year.

All required courses must be taken for a letter grade, except 201ABC. 500 series courses may not count toward the 42 units of course work for the M.A. degree. Students who want to take courses outside the department may petition to count them either as elective units or, in the case of a two-quarter methods sequence, as a replacement method. The petition must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Field Experience

Not required.

Advancement to Candidacy

Candidates have one calendar year from the date of advancement to M.A. candidacy in which to complete all requirements for the M.A. degree.

Capstone Plan

No later than in the sixth quarter of residence students must submit an acceptable master's paper for approval by the general faculty. The paper must demonstrate general competence in sociological theory, methodology, and selected substantive areas.

As early in the graduate career as possible, students select two faculty members who consent to serve as their master's paper advisers. The Graduate Committee comprised of at least three faculty members will approve and administer the M.A. paper. Faculty serving should represent a broad range of professional interests. Formation of the master's committee may not be postponed beyond the beginning of the fourth quarter of residence in graduate work. For more specific guidelines, deadlines, and procedures regarding the master's review, students should contact the graduate adviser.

Under the direction of the master's committee, students develop a paper, often one that was originally written for a course that demonstrates intellectual attainment. For example, the paper may show that the student (1) has an accurate grasp of the intellectual traditions of sociology; (2) can bring evidence to bear on theoretical problems; (3) can describe how some aspect of the social order works; and (4) can adequately handle research and methodological issues. The main concern is with the student's capacity to do Ph.D.-level work.

When the master's committee determines that the paper demonstrates the required level of intellectual attainment, they submit the paper and an evaluation of it to the Graduate Committee. Based on the advisers' evaluation of the paper and their own assessment of the student's academic record, the Graduate Committee makes a recommendation to the department about the awarding of the degree. Recommendations range from acceptance of the paper and award of the M.A. degree to recommendation for academic disqualification from the program, with or without the M.A. degree. Students should consult with the department for specific guidelines, procedures, and deadlines regarding the M.A. review.

In exceptional circumstances, during the student's sixth quarter, their M.A. Committee may request an extension to no later than the beginning of the student's seventh quarter.

Students who enter the program with an M.A. degree in sociology should see Major Fields or Subdisciplines under Doctoral Degree.

Thesis Plan



Students are allowed two years from entrance into the department to qualify under the master's paper system. This means that students must be nominated for faculty review no later than the sixth quarter of residence. The nomination must be made regardless of the state of the paper. All the requirements for the M.A. degree must be completed by the end of the quarter in which students are nominated for faculty review.





Doctoral Degree


When students submit their proposals for the field examinations, they select an adviser. Students may change advisers at any time if they find another faculty member who agrees to serve as the new adviser. Students are advised to meet with their faculty adviser as often as needed for their stage of research, but a minimum of once per quarter.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Students who enter graduate study in this program with an M.A. degree in sociology from another institution normally come up for a master's paper review in the first quarter of residence at UCLA, and under no circumstances later than the third quarter of residence. In this review, the department determines whether or not the student may proceed directly to preparation for the field examinations, if additional courses need to be taken for breadth purposes, if the submitted paper needs additional work or if an additional paper needs to be done, and if the theory and methodology sequence requirements have been adequately satisfied. In addition to a paper of normally no more than 50 double-spaced pages, which can be based on an M.A. thesis written at another university, students should submit for the master's review a transcript from the university at which the M.A. degree was earned so that the department can determine whether the requirements ordinarily constraining students in the first years of this program have been met.

In the first week of the quarter following acceptance of the master's paper, students must submit a proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies specifying two of the field examinations listed below and a time table for completing these examinations. The Director must approve the proposed examinations. The Director assesses whether the two proposed fields, considered in tandem, are rigorous, coherent, and broad; plans that involve fields with substantial overlap will not be approved. Any proposed revision of an approved field of examination plan must be endorsed by the student's adviser and approved by the Director. Such proposals must be submitted to the Director at least four weeks before the beginning of the quarter in which the student intends to take an examination not previously included in the field examination plan.

Field Examinations

Computational Sociology. This field exam is designed for students to demonstrate competence and expertise in the emerging methodologies that fall under the umbrella term “computational sociology.” To accommodate the breadth of approaches, students have the option of pursuing two default recommended tracks, with substitutions at the discretion of the reading committee: social network analysis or data science.

Conversation Analysis. Conversation analysis is a field of inquiry addressed to talk and other forms of conduct in interaction studied through the detailed examination of naturally occurring instances or specimens of its occurrences. Talk-in-interaction is taken to be that primordial site of sociality in which much of what composes the life of a society and its institutions is realized. Although conversation has been the most intensively and extensively examined domain of talk-in-interaction, the field comprehends a broad range of settings and specialized genres of talk or speech-exchange systems, including talk in work settings.

Economic Sociology. This field provides an overview of the major debates in economic sociology, at both the macro and micro level. Topics include precapitalist economies and the development of capitalism; modernization, dependency, development and the world system; globalization; the economic institutions of advanced economies; labor, work, and entrepreneurship; and class, stratification, and inequality.

Ethnographic Methodology. Sociology in the U.S. was largely created through a series of ethnographic studies. Over the last twenty-five years, ethnographic research has been the focus of some of the most probing self-examination in social science as a whole, featuring debates over reflexivity, human subjects' consent in narrow and broad senses of the issue, the importance of context for understanding individual acts and items of culture, social constructionism and relativism, and bias (gender, cultural, and so forth) in research procedures and the conceptualization of data.

Ethnomethodology. Ethnomethodology is a field of sociology which studies the common sense resources, procedures and practices through which the members of a culture produce and recognize mutually intelligible objects, events and courses of action. Studies in the field are directed to the investigation of social processes underlying the construction of social phenomena ranging from factual knowledge, social organization, and attributes such as race and gender, through the acquisition of skills and management of memory.

International Migration. This field is concerned with the causes and consequences of international migration, that is, the movement of peoples from one territorially defined, self-consciously delimited nation-state to another. The actors include not just the migrants but also their descendants, as well as the states that seek to control (encourage, impede, constrain) their flows, and the domestic entities of various kinds that react to the immigrants' arrival in ways both positive and negative. The issues in play involve both migration and its aftermath. In particular, the field seeks to understand both those forms of social inequality that impinge immigrants and their descendants and the new identities and collectivities that the latter effect as settlement progresses. Thus, the field takes up a set of issues specifically associated with migration, denoted by the (contested) terms of integration or assimilation, while also engaging in a broader set of questions involved in the study of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

The study of international migration is, perhaps, unique in its interdisciplinarity and methodologically pluralist nature: stretching from the demography and economics of migration, through political science, sociological and geographical approaches, to the ethnography and oral history of migrants. Migration is also a crucial research site for exploring the possibility of doing sociology beyond the bounded nation-state-society focus of most sociological research. And, while opening the door to a crucial dimension of globalization, the comparative study of immigration and immigrants opens up fresh perspectives on conceptions of nationhood, citizenship, and the state. While the examination and the related courses principally focus on two migration systems, the North American and the European, extension to other systems, such as the Persian Gulf or the East Asian, adds much to our understanding of the phenomenon. Students who previously have taken examinations in the related race and ethnicity or comparative ethnicity and nationalism fields must submit questions previously answered at the time when they declare the intent to take this examination; overlapping questions are not allowed.

Political Sociology. This field examination is organized around a reading list in which the first section, foundations of political sociology, is required. Students are expected to read in five of the following sections: theories of the state; the development of modern states with special focus on democratization; welfare states and neo-liberalism; citizenship, nation-building and nationalism; collective action; revolution; political categorizations - class, race, ethnicity, and gender; and globalization and the nation-state.

Race/Ethnicity. The race/ethnicity field examination focuses on the nature and persistence of ethnic and racial categories and groupings in contemporary societies, and on how these structures relate to social stratification systems and political and economic dynamics. The field includes a variety of perspectives and concerns including race relations, racism, ethnic, stratification, immigration, ethnic economies and ethnic politics. While race and ethnicity in the U.S. today are the central substantive concerns, the field is explicitly comparative historical, viewing contemporary ethnic and racial structures in the context of the spread of European colonialism and imperialism. Students who have previously taken examinations in the related comparative ethnicity and nationalism or international migration fields must submit questions previously answered at the time when they declare intent to take this examination; overlapping questions are not allowed.

Social Demography. Social demography examines key issues and debates related to the biological, economic, social, and environmental causes and consequences of trends and patterns in demographic behaviors such as fertility, marriage, divorce, migration, social stratification, health and mortality. Particular attention will be paid to the rapidly growing literature on racial and socioeconomic differentials in demographic behavior, aging, the causes and consequences of population growth, and family and household structure and composition.

Social Stratification and Social Mobility. The major issues in stratification are the determinants of who gets greater and lesser amounts of scarce resources, in particular, the extent of which those resources are passed on from generation to generation within families, and the extent to which those answers depend on the organization of families, schools, labor markets, and other institutions.

Sociology of Culture. The domain of this field examination is social activity by which people negotiate meaning, express and interpret symbols, and construct the aesthetic dimension of societies. It addresses both the cultural dimension that permeates all social life and the specialized institutions that specifically engage in symbolic expression. The scope of study spans the broadly macrosociological comparison of entire societies to the more microsociological probing of small groups and individual minds. While insisting that all inquiry is theoretically informed, the emphasis is on empirically based analysis using a variety of methods. The field also emphasizes the continuity of culture to other sociological themes such as race, class, gender, institutions, interaction, language, power and change.

Sociology of Education. This field provides an overview of the major debates in the sociology of education, at the micro, macro, and meso levels. The field pays special attention to theoretical approaches and stratification, but students can also focus on a variety of other elements of the sociology of education, including higher education, secondary schools, primary schools, culture, race, gender and sexuality, immigration, measurement, organizations, neighborhoods, and the state.

Sociology of the Family. Sociologists conceptualize the family as a social institution - meaning it involves a set of social roles (such as parent, partner, or child), with some shared understanding of expectations regarding how we should behave in these roles and what kinds of obligations are associated with them. As with any social institution, the family is malleable over time, across contexts, and can be difficult to define at its margins. Students who take this field examination are expected to be familiar with the wide variety of substantive topics and methodological approaches reflected in the work of family sociologists.

Sociology of Gender. This field examination is concerned with gender inequality and gender differences and the social processes producing and reproducing them. It includes both macrosociological and microsociological perspectives on these processes. It also encompasses the growing scholarship on the intersection between race, class, and gender.

Sociology of Medicine and Science. This topic-based field examination draws from the traditional fields of medical sociology and sociology of health and illness and the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies as it relates to knowledge production in health and other scientific fields.

Urban and Suburban Sociology. This field comprises the major topics in urban suburban sociology. It addresses two main issues: (1) historical and comparative perspectives of urbanization, and (2) urbanization and suburbanization in the U.S.

Foreign Language Requirement

There is no departmental foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree. However, specific field examination areas may require students to demonstrate mastery of a language other than English before taking that field examination.

Course Requirements

After the Master's Paper Review

Departmental Requirements. Sociology 210A and 210B must be completed before students are permitted to take the first field examination. Students are advised to take Sociology 210A and 210B early in their graduate training. All students are required to take two courses (eight units) of an additional methodology sequence (Sociology 208A-208B-208C, 211A through M213C, 216A-216B, 217B-217C, 244A-244B), which must be completed before award of the Ph.D. degree. In order to ensure breadth and diversity of methodological training, only one of Sociology 212A-212B and 216A-216B may meet the two-course methodology sequence requirement.

Computational Sociology. Required: at least two courses from a three-course methods sequence: 208A-208B-208C.

Conversation Analysis. Required: Sociology 244A, 244B, C258 and 266. Recommended: Sociology 289A, 244C.

Economic Sociology. Required: Sociology 260. Recommended: Sociology 237, 254, 259, 265, special topics courses in economic sociology selected from 285A through 285N, and Management 259C.

Ethnographic Methodology. Required: Sociology 217A, 217B, 217C, and one substantive graduate course that uses ethnographic studies.

Ethnomethodology. Required: Sociology 597 co-mentored by at least two of the field exam faculty members. Recommended: Sociology 222, 244A, 244B, C258.

International Migration. Students who have previously taken examinations in the related race and ethnicity or comparative ethnicity and nationalism fields must submit questions previously answered at the time when they declare the intent to take this examination; overlapping questions are not allowed. Required: Sociology 236A, 236B and at least two quarters of Sociology 295. Recommended: Sociology 230A, 230B, 235A, 235B, 236C.

Political Sociology. Required: Sociology 233. Recommended: Sociology 211A, 211B, 230A, 230B, 230C, 232, 237, 251, 272, 285 series with relevant topics.

Race and Ethnicity. Students who have previously taken examinations in the related comparative ethnicity and nationalism or international migration fields must submit questions previously answered at the time when they declare the intent to take this examination; overlapping questions are not allowed. Required: Sociology 235A, 235B. Recommended: Sociology 230A-230B-230C, M236B.

Social Demography. Required: Sociology M213A-M213B or M213A-M213C, 226A-226B. Recommended: Sociology M206, 210C, 212A-212B and M225A.

Social Stratification and Social Mobility. Recommended: Sociology 239A-239B.

Sociology of Culture. Required: Sociology 245, 246.

Sociology of Education. Required: Sociology 239A, 240. Recommended: Sociology 239B.

Sociology of the Family. Required: Two courses from: Sociology 205, 226B, M252, 253, M255, 257.

Sociology of Gender. Required: Any two courses from: Sociology M238, 241, M252, M255.

Sociology of Medicine and Science. Required: One course from Sociology 227, 250, 282, or 283 and one Sociology 596 course focusing on an agreed upon topic related to the examination.

Urban and Suburban Sociology. Required: Sociology C297.

Courses in the 500 series (Sociology 595, 596, 597, 599) are normally taken in preparation for the master's paper review, the field examinations, and dissertation research. While these courses may be taken to maintain enrollment, they do not count toward the course requirements.

A student who fails a field examination may retake that examination only once.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

Two specialized field examinations are administered and evaluated according to guidelines specified by each field examination area. Students should consult the department for details regarding field examinations.

If the performance on the field examinations is satisfactory and the foreign language requirement (if stipulated by the field examination area) has been fulfilled, students may nominate a doctoral committee and proceed to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. This examination covers general sociology, and the student's specific fields and plans for the dissertation. In addition to the two-page abstract, a full-length dissertation proposal is required at the time of the oral qualifying examination.

A dissertation proposal approved by the committee must be filed with the department reasonably soon after the oral qualifying examination. In the event of a major revision in the topic or methodology of the dissertation, a revised prospectus approved by the committee is required and is filed in the same manner as the original prospectus. Minor changes in the methodology and hypotheses which normally takes place as students carry out the dissertation research do not call for a revised prospectus.

When both the written and oral qualifying examinations are successfully completed and the required documents are submitted, students are advanced to candidacy by the Graduate Division.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.


(1) From graduate admission to completion of the master's review (i.e., the master's degree stage): six quarters.

(2) From completion of the master's paper to field examinations: four quarters.

(3) From field examinations to first oral examination: two quarters.

(4) The dissertation and final oral examination (if required) should be completed during the fifth and sixth years of graduate study.

(5) Normative time-to-degree for the Ph.D. degree: eighteen quarters





Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

The decision to recommend a student for termination for reasons other than failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 is made by the full faculty at the quarterly master's paper review meeting or the annual student review meeting. A recommendation for termination may be forwarded to that meeting by the Graduate Committee, which serves as the review body making recommendations to the full faculty concerning disposition of candidacies for completion of the master's paper and awarding of master's degree. The elected Executive Committee of the department is the mechanism by which a student may appeal for a review of the disposition of the student's case; the Executive Committee may make a recommendation for reconsideration to the department where it deems such reconsideration warranted. The departmental by-laws provide for an alternative method of appeal to full faculty review of Executive Committee action, by way of two voting faculty members jointly requesting a faculty meeting on any action within the department.

In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, specific conditions that may lead to a recommendation for termination include: submission of graduate work which is, in the judgment of the full faculty review, unsatisfactory for either the granting of the master's degree or further pursuit of the doctorate; unsatisfactory progress toward the completion of the master's paper and/or doctoral work (for example, requiring repeated extensions of time for completion of program requirements, receiving numerous Incomplete grades, and/or failure to remove Incomplete grades; repeated failure to pass any of the required steps of the doctoral program (for example, specialty field examinations, oral examination) or failure to complete the doctoral degree within seven years after advancement to candidacy.

UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University's accreditation may be obtained from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.



The Department of Sociology expects its graduate students to adhere to a general code of conduct.  The following statement of expectations draws heavily from the university’s general policy regarding faculty code of conduct (APM-015) and applies especially to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants or instructors.

Ethical Principles

The integrity of the graduate student instructor-undergraduate student relationship is crucial to the University’s educational mission.  This relationship vests considerable trust in the graduate student, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as mentor, educator, and evaluator. The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heightens the vulnerability of the undergraduate student and the potential for coercion.  The pedagogical relationship between graduate student instructor and undergraduate student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning consistent with the goals and ideals of the University. Whenever a graduate student is responsible for academic supervision of an undergraduate student, a personal relationship between them of a romantic or sexual nature, even if consensual, is inappropriate. Any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.

Examples of unacceptable conduct:

1.    Failure to meet the responsibilities of instruction, including:
   (a) arbitrary denial of access to instruction;
   (b) significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course;
   (c) significant failure to adhere, without legitimate reason, to the rules in the conduct
 of courses, to meet class, to keep office hours, or to hold examinations as scheduled;
   (d) evaluation of student work by criteria not directly reflective of course performance;
   (e) undue and unexcused delay in evaluating student work.
2.    Discrimination, including harassment, against an undergraduate or fellow graduate student on political grounds, or for reasons of race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, medical condition, status as a covered veteran, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulations, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons.
3.    Violation of the University policy, including the pertinent guidelines, applying to nondiscrimination against undergraduate or graduate students on the basis of disability.
4.    Use of the position or powers of a graduate student instructor to coerce the judgment or conscience of an undergraduate student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons.
5.    Participating or abetting in deliberately disruption, interference, or intimidation in the classroom.
6.    Entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with any undergraduate student for whom a  graduate student has, or should reasonably expect to have in the future, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory).
7.    Exercising academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) for any student with whom a graduate student instructor has a romantic or sexual relationship.

[1] Adapted from UCLA faculty handbook.

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