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Phone: (414) 229-4388
Fax: (414) 229-4266
E-mail: sociology@uwm.edu

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School/College: College of Letters and Science

Degrees Conferred:

  • M.A. in Sociology
  • Ph.D. in Sociology



The Department of Sociology offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs. The Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree Program in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers a flexible and varied program of study to students who wish to specialize in one of the discipline's subfields. The program provides students with balanced and comprehensive training in sociological theory, research methodology and social statistics, which will prepare students for a variety of careers as well as continued study leading to the Ph.D. degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology provides study and training for entry into academic and professional careers that would require theory-driven basic or applied research on social issues and phenomena. The program develops student expertise in general sociological theory and advanced methodologies for the analysis of social data, with particular emphasis on expertise in the analysis of social inequalities and social institutions.

Graduate Faculty

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Mathiowetz, Nancy, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Montgomery, Rhonda, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Roberts, John, Ph.D., Cornell University
Velez, William, Ph.D., Yale University
Wilson, Frank H., Jr., Ph.D., University of Michigan
Associate Professors
Aneesh, A., Ph.D., Rutgers University
Chesley, Noelle, Ph.D., Cornell University
Costello, Cary, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Green, Donald, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Chair
Jordan, Jennifer, Ph.D., University of California-San Diego
Oliker, Stacey J., Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Redding, Kent, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Assistant Professors
Britton, Marcus, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Gauchat, Gordon, Ph.D. University of Connecticut
Mirosa, Oriol, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Roberts, Aki, Ph.D., University of New Mexico
Shin, Heeju, Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin

Master of Arts in Sociology


New graduate students are admitted to the M.A. Program in Sociology only for the fall semester. Completed applications should be received by the department no later than January 15 of the year the applicant intends to start.

Applicants whose grade point averages are below the minimum 2.75 required by the Graduate School may be admitted on probation if there is substantial evidence of their ability to do satisfactory graduate work. Performance during the first semester of enrollment must convince the members of the Graduate Committee of the students' capacity to do graduate work.

In addition to the materials required by the Graduate School for admission, the Department of Sociology requires the following for admission:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic background. The Department provides a cover sheet that should accompany all letters of recommendation. The form is signed by both the applicant and the person providing the reference. Letters should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201.
  2. A sample of scholarly writing, a minimum of five pages in length.
Financial Aid

The major source of financial assistance for graduate students in sociology is employment as a teaching assistant. Assistantships are granted every academic year on a competitive basis. To apply for a teaching assistantship, students should complete a Teaching Assistantship Interest Form and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies. The deadline for receipt of that form is January 15th.

Students with teaching assistantships are usually appointed at 40% of full-time work during their first year. When feasible, the department attempts to appoint 2nd year students at 50%. Tuition is remitted for all teaching assistants with a 33% or higher appointment.

Graduate students also are eligible for fellowships awarded by the Graduate School on a competitive basis. Additional information on the types and availability of fellowships may be obtained directly from the Graduate School.

Advising Procedures

Upon admission, the Director of Graduate Studies will serve as the student's advisor. An initial advisor will be assigned in the student's first semester in residence. The initial advisor assists students in planning their course programs, and in scheduling other degree requirements. When the M.A. student begins to formulate a topic for a thesis, a master's paper, or M.A. examination, the student selects a member of the Sociology Graduate faculty as her/his committee chair. This person then becomes the student's main curriculum advisor for the remainder of the time in the program.

Credits and Courses

The M.A. in Sociology requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits. Thirteen (13) credits are fulfilled by the following required courses:

701 Professional Seminar (1 cr)
715 Systematic Sociological Theory (3 cr)
750 Research Methods in Sociology (3 cr)
760 Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology (3 cr)
900-level sociology seminar course (3 cr)

The student, in consultation with his/her advisor, will select the remaining 17 elective credits. Up to five credits of Sociol 790, Master's Level Thesis/Paper, may be taken by students who elect the thesis/paper capstone option.

With permission of the student's advisor, up to six graduate credits may be taken outside the department in courses related to the individual's plan of study. No more than six credits of undergraduate/graduate courses (excluding those previously taken as an undergraduate), taken at the graduate level, may be applied toward meeting degree requirements. No more than six credits in 799, Master's Level Reading and Research, may count toward the degree.

Good Standing

To retain good standing in the Department of Sociology, an enrolled graduate student must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and demonstrate progress toward completion of the course and/or thesis requirements each semester.

Thesis, Master's Paper, or the M.A. Examination Options

The student must write and defend an acceptable thesis, a master's paper, or write an examination in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Sociology.

Thesis or Master's Paper

The thesis or master's paper is intended to be a relatively limited research exercise, focused on a manageable topic. It does not necessarily have to involve original research. It is completed through enrollment in Sociol 790. Acceptable thesis or master's paper options include, but are not limited to, collection of data for hypothesis testing or exploratory research, secondary analysis of available data, theoretical critique, conceptual analysis and library research on a clearly defined problem. In general, students are encouraged to utilize existing data rather than collect new data unless they are confident that they have adequate resources (including time) to collect data sufficient for their purposes.

By the end of the third semester, students should complete a proposal for the M.A. thesis or paper. The proposal will reflect the formulation of a research problem and the development of a plan for its empirical investigation. Once a proposal is successfully defended, it constitutes an agreement between the student and the M.A. committee.

Students must prepare the thesis or master's paper under the direction of their committee, receive approval that it meets professional standards, and defend it at an oral examination. The master's paper is normally the length of a journal article (about 30 pp.). Students who choose to write a thesis should consult the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Formatting page. The thesis must be prepared according to these format requirements.

M.A. Examination

The Master of Arts examination option is based on a bibliography developed by the student in consultation with his/her committee. The bibliography will represent both classical statements and recent debates in at least one area of sociological specialization. Students are encouraged to develop the bibliography by the end of the third semester of residence.

The examination itself will be a set of three questions developed by the M.A. committee, from which the student must choose two. The student will have two weeks to write a take-home examination. The advisor and two other faculty members will grade the examination. Within two weeks of the completion of the written examination, there will be an oral examination on the same material.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology


An applicant must meet the UWM Graduate School's requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program in Sociology. In addition, applicants to the Ph.D. program must:

  1. Possess a master's degree in Sociology or be in the process of completing a master's degree at the time of application, with the expectation of completion of the degree prior to beginning the Ph.D. program. Students without a master's degree in sociology are eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program if (a) they have a bachelor's degree in sociology or a related field and they show exceptional preparation for graduate school or (b) they have a master's degree in a closely related field. In addition to the requirements for the Ph.D., all students must (a) complete the required courses for the master's degree in sociology or comparable courses from other institutions and (b) earn or transfer 24 credits in graduate-level work in sociology or a closely related field. If fewer than 24 credits are ruled acceptable for the doctoral program, the student will have to make up those credits.
  2. Submit a copy of the applicant's M.A. thesis or paper, or, if an applicant did not complete a thesis, a scholarly writing sample of original sociological research.
  3. Provide three letters of recommendation from persons, preferably faculty, familiar with the applicant's scholastic achievement and potential.
  4. Submit a cogent personal statement detailing the individual's reasons for pursuing doctoral study in Sociology.

Students who receive the M.A. in Sociology from UWM must reapply to be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program.

Major Professor or Advisor

Each new student will be assigned an initial advisor from among the department's faculty. By the second year in the program, students will be expected to select their own major advisor and, in consultation with this advisor, a committee for preliminary examinations and the dissertation. The major advisor for each student, assisted by the student's dissertation committee and the director of graduate studies, will take primary responsibility for guiding the student successfully through the program and into the labor market and career opportunities.

Course of Study

The program will require 36 graduate credits of course work at the post-master's level. We expect entering students to have completed the following courses or their equivalents in the process of earning a master's degree:

  • Sociol 715, Systematic Sociological Theory (3 cr)
  • Sociol 750, Research Methods in Sociology (3 cr)
  • Sociol 760, Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology (3 cr)

Students who have not taken these courses prior to admission to the Ph.D. program will be required to complete them in the first year of their pursuit of a doctoral degree. Credits earned in these courses will not count as part of the 36 credits required at the post-master's level.

At the Ph.D. level, students must complete the following coursework:

  • Sociol 910, The Sociology of Inequality (3 cr)
  • Sociol 911, The Sociology of Institutions (3 cr)
  • Sociol 982, Methods of Research and Social Analysis for Urban Social Institutions II (3 cr)
  • One additional elective course in social science methodology (3 cr)
  • Beyond the above core requirements, students must choose to specialize in either social inequalities or social institutions and complete 9 credits (3 courses) designated in that specialty area (9 cr)
  • Electives (nine or more credits) and dissertation (up to six credits) (15 cr)

In addition, those Ph.D. students with Teaching Assistant positions must complete the following one-credit course which is offered each spring:

  • Sociol 794, The Teaching of Undergraduate Sociology, is required for those Ph.D. students with Teaching Assistant positions

Doctoral students may not accumulate more than 6 credits in U/G courses nor more than 6 credits of independent study without the approval of the Sociology Director of Graduate Studies. Of the 60 required credits, no more than 12 credits outside of Sociology may be counted toward the doctoral degree without the approval of the Sociology Director of Graduate Studies.

Foreign Language or Specialized Skill

This requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating one of the following:

  • Proficiency in a foreign language useful in the student's career, indicated by the completion of two courses at the upper division level (numbered 300 and above or requiring junior standing) with at least a B average. Credits satisfying this requirement will not count toward the credits required for the Ph.D. degree.
  • Proficiency in mathematical, statistical, or computer skills. Completion of the required methods and statistics sequence (Sociol 750, 760, 982—or their equivalents) and an additional 3 credits of graduate coursework in statistics related to the social sciences with at least a B average will satisfy this requirement.
Preliminary Examination

All doctoral students are required to complete preliminary examinations in two specialty areas after completing 27 credits at the post-master’s level. The areas are selected by the doctoral candidates in consultation with their advisor and other members of the graduate faculty. Examination areas are limited to those subfields or subdisciplines that are within the student’s area of specialization and widely recognized areas within sociology. For example, they might be recognized sections of the American Sociological Association or other subfields with similar scope. The disciplinary subfields must be broader than, but related to, the focus of the student's dissertation and must be approved by the Department's Graduate Studies Committee.

An empirical paper may be substituted for one preliminary examination. The empirical paper is read and evaluated by two members of the graduate faculty in sociology. The length and quality of the paper should be similar to that of a journal article.

Students who do not pass an examination on the first attempt will be provided feedback on their performance and be allowed to take the exam a second time but must do so within 9 months of the administration of the first attempt. Students who do not successfully complete the examination upon the second attempt will not be allowed to continue in the program.


The dissertation is a major piece of original research representing a substantial contribution to sociological scholarship. In order to become eligible for dissertation status the student must complete a successful oral defense of a dissertation proposal before the student's doctoral committee.

The dissertation itself, under the supervision of the major professor and in collaboration with a dissertation committee, must demonstrate the ability of the candidate to formulate a research topic and pursue an independent and original research representing a substantial contribution to sociological scholarship. The practices necessary for completion of the dissertation will conform to the guidelines established by the UWM Graduate School. The dissertation committee shall be composed of the major professor and four additional graduate faculty members (at least three of whom must be from the UWM Department of Sociology graduate faculty). The dissertation committee is responsible for assessing the dissertation project, which involves approving the dissertation proposal, reviewing working drafts of research in progress, and, finally, evaluating the candidate's ability to defend decisions made during the course of research and the results of the research. After submission of a reading copy of the dissertation to the faculty dissertation committee, the candidate and the major professor will schedule a committee meeting for the purpose of undertaking an oral defense of the dissertation work by the candidate. At the conclusion of the candidate's oral remarks, the dissertation committee will vote on passing the candidate's dissertation work. A majority of the committee must vote to approve the dissertation and recommend granting of the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Time Limit

All components of the Ph.D. program must be completed within 10 years of matriculation.


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Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.

423 Latino Immigration and Incorporation: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Latino institutional, geo-political, demographic, comparative, and social network theoretical perspectives on migration to and incorporation into the United States. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Latino 423 & Sociol 423 are jointly offered; w/same topic, they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in Sociol at 200-level or above or cons instr; addl prereqs may be assigned for specific topics.
440 Sociology of the Family. 3 cr. U/G.
Family patterns and ideologies in relation to broader social structure and culture, sources of variety and change in household, family, and kinship organization. Prereq: jr st; 6 cr in Sociol at 200-level or above.
442 The Work-Family Intersection. 3 cr. U/G.
Social forces shaping work and family patterns and ideologies; implications of social change for employers, workers, and families; survey of work-family policies. No cr for students w/cr in Sociol 495 w/similar topic. Prereq: jr st; 6 cr 200-level or above Sociol.
443 Organizations, Occupations, and Professions. 3 cr. U/G.
Development of occupations and professions in industrial societies. Study of professional concepts, ethical codes, work norms, specialization, recruitment, education, and work roles in an organizational context. Prereq: jr st & Sociol 101(P) or 104(P); or grad st.
444 Sociology of the Body. 3 cr. U/G.
How the body is shaped by social forces. Relationship between the body, identity, and culture, focusing on gender, race/ethnicity, and disability. Prereq: jr st & any Sociol course; or grad st.
448 Sociology of Children and Adolescents. 3 cr. U/G.
Theoretical perspectives and research methods addressing substantive issues in children's and adolescents' lives, including peer cultures, schooling, families, gender, race, class, health, and work. Prereq: jr st & any Sociol course; or grad st.
461 Multivariate Data Analysis for Social Research. 3 cr. U/G.
Advanced practical training in multivariate regression using real, large datasets (surveys, census data, etc.); how multiple independent variables influence a dependent variable. No cr for students w/cr in Sociol 499 with similar topic. Prereq: jr st, Sociol 261(P) or approved stats course; or grad st.
472 Population and Society. 3 cr. U/G.
Concepts and methodology of demographic analysis. Nature and framework of population theories and research. Consideration of the social and economic determinants and consequences of trends in mortality, fertility, and migration. Prereq: jr st; 9 cr in Sociol at 200-level or above.
476 Sociology of International Public Health. 3 cr. U/G.
Social, economic, and political factors that influence inequality in health at the global level; interacting influence of micro and macro forces on public health. Prereq: jr st; 9 cr in Sociol at 200-level or above; or grad st.
495 Seminar in Sociology: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study in a selected area of Sociology. Designed to encourage discussion, debate, and critical thinking. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 6 cr 200-level or above Sociol or cons instr.
497 Study Abroad: (Subtitled). 1-12 cr. U/G.
Designed to enroll students in UWM sponsored program before course work level, content, and credits are determined and/or in specially prepared program course work. Retakable w/chg in topic. Prereq: jr st; acceptance for Study Abroad Prog.
610 Reproduction of Minority Communities. 3 cr. U/G.
Analysis of the social, economic, and cultural forces behind the formation and reproduction of minority and disadvantaged communities in the United States. Jointly-offered w/& counts as repeat of Ed Pol 610. Prereq: jr st; any Sociol 100-level course.
701 Professional Seminar. 1 cr. G.
Fundamentals of academic and sociological reading, writing, and thinking. Orientation to graduate study, the sociological profession, and the tools of sociological research. Prereq: grad st
704 Seminar in Nonprofit Organizations. 3 cr. G.
Overview of structure, functions, and governance of nonprofit organizations. Comparison with government and for-profit organizations. Nonprof 704, Pol Sci 704, Sociol 704, & Urb Std 704 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
715 Systematic Sociological Theory. 3 cr. G.
A general examination of sociological theories, their construction, problems of conceptualization, and methodological requirements. Prereq: grad st.
750 Research Methods in Sociology. 3 cr. G.
Application of scientific methods to the analysis of social phenomena, methodological orientations in sociology, types of research procedure, and nature of sociological variables. Prereq: grad st.
752 Fundamentals of Survey Methodology. 3 cr. G.
Seminar in the principles of survey design that are the basis of standard practices in the field of sociology. Prereq: grad st.
754 Questionnaire Design. 3 cr. G.
Seminar in the design, evaluation, pretesting, ordering, and formatting of questions and questionnaires. Prereq: grad st.
760 Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology. 3 cr. G.
Review of elementary statistics. Probability theory and its applications. Multivariate analysis. Nonparametric statistical inference. Measurement theory. Selected statistical models for hypothesis testing and theory construction. Prereq: grad st; score of 85 on dept diagnostic examination.
790 Master's Level Thesis/Paper. 1-6 cr. G.
Research or thesis/paper work for students in the master's program in sociology. Prereq: grad st; cons instr
794 Proseminar: The Teaching of Undergraduate Sociology. 1 cr. G.
Designed to prepare and support new teachers of undergraduate Sociology. Prereq: grad st.
799 Master's Level Reading and Research. 1-3 cr. G.
Independent study of a topic selected by a student after consultation with member of graduate faculty. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.
888 Candidate for Degree. 0 cr. G.
Available for graduate students who must meet minimum credit load requirements. Fee for 1 cr assessed. Prereq: grad st.
901 Seminar: Urban Social Structure. 3 cr. G.
Comprehensive analysis of the emergence and institutionalization of cultural and social patterns in urban settings; and future American urban social structures. Sociol 901 & Urb Std 901 are jointly-offered & count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
910 The Sociology of Inequality. 3 cr. G.
Social, economic, cultural, and political forces behind the formation and reproduction of social inequalities in the United States. Prereq: grad st.
911 The Sociology of Institutions. 3 cr. G.
Social institutions as a foundational sociological concept. Theory and research on institutional emergence, persistence, and change. Prereq: grad st
920 (780) Seminar in Race and Ethnic Relations. 3 cr. G.
Patterns of racial and ethnic differentiation and how they originate and change over time. Prereq: grad st.
923 Seminar on the Sociology of Culture. 3 cr. G.
Selected themes in the sociology of culture, including symbols, language, forms of knowledge, power and practice, the arts, and media. No cr for students w/cr in Sociol 927 w/same title. Prereq: grad st
927 Seminar in Sociology of Contemporary Institutions: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Analysis of major social institutions in modern societies in terms of status orders, division of labor, normative systems, processes of social change, and conflict. Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in Schedule of Classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic & cons adviser to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
928 Seminar in Social Organization: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Study of conceptual approaches used in analyzing social organization: social stratification, complex organization, urbanization, small groups in mass society. Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in schedule of classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic & cons advisor to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
940 Applied Gerontology Capstone I. 2 cr. G.
Professional socialization seminar emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of gerontology and exposing students to professional and library resources for continuing professional development. Sociol 940 and Soc Wrk 940 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st; Nurs 760(P) & Soc Wrk 851(P).
941 Applied Gerontology Capstone II. 2-3 cr. G.
Teamwork applied research project conducted in collaboration with a community-based organization that serves the elderly; presentation of findings to a professional audience. Sociol 941 and Soc Wrk 941 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Students who intend to prepare a manuscript for publication enroll for 3 crs; all others enroll for 2 crs. Prereq: grad st; Sociol or Soc Wrk 940(P).
942 The Family and Long-Term Care. 3 cr. G.
Seminar on the role of family in providing long term care. Social values, public policies, and consequences for individuals and society. Sociol 942 & Soc Wrk 942 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
951 Seminar in Research Methodology. 3 cr. G.
Discussion of selected topics in research design, research methods, statistical analysis, and model construction. Retakable to 9 cr max with cons adviser. Prereq: grad st.
979 Qualitative Research Methods. 3 cr. G.
Seminar on logic, design, and presentation of social science research. Inductive and qualitative methods, theory construction, and ethics and procedures of research in natural settings. Sociol 979 & Urb Std 979 are jointly-offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
982 Advanced Quantitative Analysis. 3 cr. G.
Evaluation of different methods of generating data and their applications to the analysis of public policies and programs. Sociol 982 & Urb Std 982 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st; min. score of 85 on dept diagnostic exam.
990 Doctoral Dissertation. 1-6 cr. G.
Prereq: grad st; admission to candidacy for PhD degree; cons major prof.
999 Doctoral Reading and Research. 1-6 cr. G.
Independent study of a topic selected by a student after consultation with member of graduate faculty. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

Page last updated on: 01/29/2014