The doctorate in sociology allows you to design a personalized course of study or to choose a concentration in Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies.

Application Deadlines for Fall 2017

Deadline for full funding consideration: January 15, 2017

Deadline for international students: April 1, 2017

Final application deadline: August 1, 2017

What You WIll Study

Ph.D. students must complete 60 hours of coursework and 30 hours of research. If the student has an MS or MA degree from another university, up to 24 hours of coursework taken at another university can be transferred and counted toward the 60-hour requirement. Students are required to have classes in classical and contemporary sociological theory and an advanced theory course. They are also required to have a course in research methods, two graduate-level statistics courses, and an advanced methods or statistics course.

Ph.D. Students must also successfully pass a preliminary examination which is taken after the student has completed approximately 45 hours of coursework. The preliminary exam is comprehensive and tests a student's ability to integrate, synthesize, and apply sociological concepts in two concentration areas (listed below) selected by the student. The exam may also test any aspect of theoretical sociology or research methodology. The student should meet with his or her advisory committee prior to preparing for the exam to discuss the exam and evaluation procedures. More information can be found in the Graduate Handbook. For old exam questions, please see Tish Glosh (514 McBryde Hall).

Africana Studies (interdisciplianry)
Graves (Chair), Polanah, Seniors

Indigenous Studies (interdisciplianry)
Cook (Chair), Harrison, Seniors

Crime & Deviance
Peguero (Chair), Agozino, Hawdon

Wimberley (Chair), Calasanti, Graves

Hughes (Chair), Brunsma, Cook

Mental Health
Vogt Yuan (Chair), Hughes, Kiecolt

Vogt Yaun (Chair), Fuller, Kiecolt

Qualitative Methods
Harrison (Chair), Bailey, Cook

Calasanti (Chair), King, Smith

Reed (Chair), Brunsma, Cook

Global Political Economy
Smith (Chair), Cook, Copeland

Women's & Gender Studies (interdisciplinary)
Smith (Chair), Gillman, King

Vogt Yuan (Chair), Hughes, Reed

Wimberley (Chair), Calasanti, Smith

Steps to Apply

Start Your Application

Application Deadline: August 1

Deadline for International Students: April 1

Deadline for Full Funding Consideration: January 15

  • Complete the online Application for Graduate Admission:
    • select sociology from the alphabetical list of degree programs
    • upload a personal statement of academic and professional goals
    • upload required writing sample
    • submit the names and contact information of three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation
    • upload resume/CV
    • pay applicaiton fee ($75)
  • Submit transcripts from all colleges or universities where you completed undergraduate or graduate coursework or degrees
  • Send GRE scores: our code is #005859
  • Send TOEFL scores (for applicants who are not native speakers of English)


In addition to the admission standards prescribed by the Graduate School, you must meet the following requirement:

  • A "B" overall grade point average (3.0 on a 4 point system) in all Sociology courses previously taken

Additional Notes

  • Our application deadline is August 1, but international students should apply by April 1. For funding consideration, the deadline is January 15.
  • Applicants to the Ph.D. program with less than 15 hours of Sociology course work will be required to take courses at the 4000 level or above in Sociology to equal 15 semester hours; these hours must be taken in addition to the minimum of 30 hours of course work in Sociology.
  • All admitted students must begin their graduate studies at Virginia Tech during the fall semester. 


Graduate Assistantships

Details about Assistantships

Graduate assistants are graduate students who provide academic and program support to academic, adminitrative or service units of the university. GA responsibilities may be administrative in nature and consist of duties not directly related to teaching or research (such as academic advising, program planning, advising student groups, and assisting with the administration of student services offices). GA responsibilities may also be academic in nature and include grading examinations, problem sets, and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures or laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections.

Each year the department awards assistantships on a competitive basis.  Assistantships are slightly higher for students entering with an M.S. degree.  In addition, students on assistantship receive full tuition remission, which includes the academic fee and the out-of-state differential is waived. Graduate students are responsible for paying the Comprehensive Student Fee each Fall and Spring semester.

Other opporutnities for graduate teaching assistantships or graduate research assistantships are available across the university. 

Duration of Funding

Contracts are for one year, with renewal depending on progress in the degree program and satisfactory performance of assistantship duties. The majority of our students are funded for two years. 

Benefits of Assistantships

Assistantships provide these benefits:

  • tuition waiver
  • stipend
  • health insurance program (see the Graduate School benefits page for details)


You can find details on benefits and fees under "financial matters" at the Graduate School website:

Graduate teaching assistants receive a stipend for teaching undergraduate courses, usually public speaking. Other campus-wide opportunities are avaialble. See additional assistantship information avaialble through the Graduate School.

Students pay non-academic fees. Students are advised to apply for Virginia residency as soon as possible (after one year in residence). 


Applying for Funding

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for a teaching assistantship. If you check yes, you will automatically be added to our list of candidates. All new positions begin in the fall semester.

Travel Support

Graduate students are encouraged to seek funding for their work from other resources. Students should also consider applying for scholarships that offer research funding. 

Graduate Student Organizations

In addition to the university's Graduate Student Association, our graduate students operate a departmental Graduate Student Association. The Department of Sociology is also a member of the national sociological honor society, AKD.


Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Neal M. King

642 McBryde Hall

(540) 231-8174

Graduate Coordinator

Ms. Tish Glosh

560 McBryde Hall

(540) 231-8972

Sociology Office

(540) 231-8971