Graduate Programs


Prof. Nancy Ammerman and graduate students at Morris Lecture

Graduate study in Sociology at Boston University includes both Master’s and Ph.D. programs.  Building on core knowledge in Social Theory and in Research Methods, students specialize in various fields within Sociology, pursuing original research that contributes to the field and laying a foundation for careers in research, teaching, and applied sociology.

The interests of our students reach from Boston around the world.  Recent dissertations and current work have explored such topics as the cultural significance of Fenway Park; the post-war coping practices of Cambodian widows; the effects of race and class on women’s experience of domestic violence; networks and attainment among Latinas in Boston’s public housing units; the social determinants of technological innovations at research and development laboratories; well-being among American and Soviet-born Jewish elders; the role of evangelicalism in the changing economic and political situations of El Salvador and South Africa; altruism in Argentina; and AIDS among youth in Malawi.

The program emphasizes core knowledge and theory as well as rigor and innovation in research. The research and teaching interests of the faculty facilitate diverse research agendas for students.

Master of Arts

The master’s program requires eight semester courses including ones in theory and in research methods.  Students also research and write a master’s thesis. The M.A. degree normally requires one-and-a-half to two years of full-time study.

Doctor of Philosophy

At Boston University, the Ph.D. program requires study in two substantive areas, in addition to general competence in theory and methods.  Students who have already completed an M.A. or its equivalent apply for the “Post-Master’s Doctor of Philosophy” and are usually required to take eight seminars.  All other students apply for the “Post-Bachelor’s Doctor of Philosophy” and take sixteen seminars, covering theory, methods, statistics, their two substantive focus areas, and electives.  In addition to coursework, all Ph.D. candidates write a Critical Essay or complete a Critical Exam that surveys their two designated fields of specialization, pass the Comprehensive Oral Exam, write and secure approval of a Dissertation Prospectus, and write and defend a Dissertation at a Final Oral Examination.

Financial Aid

Information on Financial Aid