Visit the registrar’s site for the Sociology’s course descriptions


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

Admissions Requirements


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.

Computational Sociology; Conversation Analysis; Economic Sociology; Ethnographic Methodology; Ethnomethodology; International Migration; Political Sociology; Race/Ethnicity; Social Demography; Social Stratification and Social Mobility; Sociology of Culture; Sociology of Education; Sociology of the Family; Sociology of Gender; Urban and Suburban Sociology.


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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sociology 204, topics in sociological theorizing.
  • 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.
  • Four additional 200-level courses (16 units) in Sociology as electives (i.e., not 201A-201B-201C, 202A-202B, 204, 210A-210B, and two-quarter methodology sequence).
  • 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 doctoral 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, which is S/U grading only. 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.

Not required.

Not required.

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.

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 master’s paper is reviewed first by the master’s committee, which is comprised of the two master’s paper advisers and overseen by the Director of Graduate Studies; then it is reviewed by the Graduate Committee, which is comprised of the Director of Graduate Studies and at least two additional faculty members; finally, the paper is reviewed and approved by the full faculty. 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 are: 1) acceptance of the paper and award of the M.A. degree, with eligibility to continue in the Ph.D. program; 2) recommendation for academic disqualification from the doctoral program, with the M.A. degree awarded; or 3) recommendation for academic disqualification from the doctoral program without awarding 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 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. The standards for the quality and content of such M.A. papers is consistent with all other M.A. papers as described above. This review is carried out by an M.A. committee in accordance with the standards for all M.A. committees described earlier, and, similarly, is in turn reviewed by the Graduate Committee and the full faculty. Students with M.A. degrees from prior institutions may consult with their selected committee about whether their prior M.A. paper meets the standards of our department (or if, instead, an additional paper needs to be done, which will also be the case by default for students with M.A. degrees that did not include a paper requirement). Aside from the M.A. paper, students with a prior M.A. are also expected to consult with the Director of Graduate Studies by no later than early in the first quarter at UCLA in order to assess additional courses that may be needed for breadth purposes, which courses taken at prior institutions may substitute for departmental course requirements, and initial plans for field examinations.


Students are allowed two years from entrance into the department to complete the M.A. requirements. This means that students must submit their M.A. paper and complete all related requirements no later than the sixth quarter of residence, regardless of the state of the paper. In exceptional cases, the department may permit an extension on the M.A. paper into the seventh quarter of residence; such extensions require approval by the Graduate Committee and the full faculty.






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.

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.

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

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 244A, 244B, 244C, and C258

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 260.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 217A, 217B and one substantive graduate course that uses ethnographic studies. 

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 597 co-mentored by at least two of the field exam faculty members.

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.

  • Requirements: 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 courses: Sociology 236A, 236B and at least two quarters of Sociology 295.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 233.

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.

  • Requirements: 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 courses: Sociology 235A, 235B.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology M213A-M213B or M213A-M213C, 226A-226B.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 239A-239B.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 245.

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.

  • Required courses: Sociology 239A, 240.

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.

  • Required courses: At least two courses from: Sociology M238, 241, M252, M253.

Sociology of Gender and Sexuality. 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.

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

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.

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

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

  • Required courses: Sociology C297.

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

There is no departmental foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree. However, students may choose, in consultation with their faculty advisers, to take additional language study depending on their area of research.

Doctoral students should complete the M.A. coursework (12 courses, or 42 units) as well as the master’s paper review before completing the doctoral coursework listed below.

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 the oral qualifying examination. 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. All required courses (210A and 210B, and the two courses of an additional methodology sequence) must be taken for a letter grade. 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.

In addition to the department-wide course requirements listed here, students must also complete the required coursework for each of their two selected field examinations, as specified above under “Major Fields or Subdisciplines.”

Not required.

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.

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 above and a time table for completing these examinations. These plans must be consistent with program benchmarks, which specify that students are expected to complete their first field examination by the end of the third year and the second field examination by the first quarter of their fourth year. 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. 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.

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; the department expects that this will be completed by no later than the end of the student’s fourth year in the program. This examination covers general sociology, and the student’s specific fields and plans for the dissertation. In addition to a project abstract, a full-length dissertation proposal is required at the time of the oral qualifying examination.

In the event of a major revision in the topic or methodology of the dissertation, a revised dissertation proposal approved by the committee is required. Minor changes in the methodology and hypotheses, which normally take place as students carry out the dissertation research, do not call for a revised proposal.

When the field examinations, dissertation proposal, and oral qualifying examination are successfully approved, students are advanced to candidacy by the Graduate Division.

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

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.

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): three quarters for students entering the program with an M.A. in Sociology; six quarters for students entering the program without an M.A. in Sociology.
  2. From completion of the master’s paper to field examinations: four quarters.
  3. From field examinations to advancing to candidacy: 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.





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 academic disqualification 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. In the event of such a recommendation, the student would be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies. A recommendation for academic disqualification 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 (within two weeks of notification by the Director of Graduate Studies) 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 academic disqualification 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. Such unsatisfactory progress may involve 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.

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