We assess the economic, legal, educational, social and moral status of people of African descent as well as Africans on the continent and throughout the Diaspora.

60 Hours of Coursework for PhD
Qualifying exams in two areas, chosen from fifteen specialties
2:1 Student-to-Faculty ratio
intensive research opportunities
Our Doctoral Program in Africana Studies

Areas of high expertise include: criminology (e.g., studies of racial profiling and indigenous justice), health (focus on racial disparities and mental health), arts and politics (studies of hip hop subcultures and Black women’s contributions to theater and radical activism).

Why Study Sociology Here?

In addition to providing students an interdisciplinary environment, we support the research of scholar-activists, who connect with communities in need and provide research that can help them to shape policies and solve problems.

Faculty Research Interests

- Criminology

- Human Rights

- Medicine


- Ethnography

- Popular Music

- Social Movements


- Criminal Justice

- Health Care

- Social Policy


- Film history

- Appalachian Studies

- Social movements


Africana Studies Research Highlights

2014. "Indigenous European Justice and Other Indigenous Justices" in special issue on 'Indigenous Perspectives and Counter-Colonial Criminology', African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies, Vol.8, issue 1, pp 1-19. Special Issue partly in honor of 10th anniversary of my Counter-Colonial Criminology

Reed, W., Byrd, C., and Graves, E. “Class-Based Policies Are Not A Remedy for Racial Inequality.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Diversity in Academe, September 25, 2011, B36-37. 

"Aesthetic or Movement? Fascism, Italian Neorealism, and Social Activism through Film" (with Thomas Ratliff), in Shawn Bingham, ed. The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social LIfe. (Lexington, 2012)

"Boats and Ships," in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, edited by Hans-Josef Klauck, Bernard McGinn, Choon-Leong Seow, Hermann Spieckermann, Barry Dov Walfish, and Eric J. Ziolkowski. (Walter de Gruyter, 2011)

Related Programs

Students interested in applying to the Sociology (Ph.D.) degree should contact the program director, Neal King, by email at nmking@vt.edu or by phone at 540-231-8174.

Visit our office at 560 McBryde Hall, 225 Stanger Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Domestic Application

*Fall: August 1

International Application

*Fall: April 1

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding: January 15


Contact Us

Neal King

Director of Graduate Studies
642 McBryde Hall

Tish Glosh

Graduate Coordinator
560 McBryde Hall

Department of Sociology
560 McBryde Hall (0137)
225 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: 540-231-8971