Sociology (Ph.D.)

Sociology (Ph.D.)

Sociology Ph.D

Why pursue a Ph.D. in sociology at UNH?

Our sociology Ph.D. program offers you the flexibility to pursue your area of interest while conducting in-depth study and research at an advanced level. You’ll study theory and methodology and will have the opportunity to tailor your program to your experience and intellectual goals. Our faculty specialize in crime and conflict, sociology of the family, social stratification, health and illness, and community and environment. You’ll be encouraged to publish your research and join professional associations such as the American Sociological Association and the Eastern Sociological Society.

Program Highlights

At UNH, you’ll be supported by world-class faculty and outstanding facilities as you advance toward your doctorate in sociology. The Crimes against Children Research Center provides high-quality research and statistics to the public, policymakers, community organizations, law enforcement personnel and child-welfare practitioners. The Carsey School of Public Policy is a resource for research, leadership development and engaged scholarship. UNH’s location near urban and rural communities will give you a variety of research options.

Potential career areas

  • Academia
  • Business
  • Conflict resolution
  • Criminology
  • Law
  • Nonprofit leadership
  • Public policy
  • Research
  • Social work


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Curriculum & Requirements

Our department has strengths in crime and conflict, sociology of the family, social stratification, health and illness, and community and the environment. Students in the doctoral program in sociology may select one of these areas of specialization for intensive study, or they may pursue a different area if two sociology faculty have appropriate expertise.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of three years in residence and take a minimum of sixteen courses in sociology (at least eight as seminars) other than dissertation research.

SOC 900Pro-seminar2
SOC 911Sociological Theory I4
SOC #912Sociological Theory II4
SOC 901Sociological Methods I: Intermediate Social Statistics4
SOC 902Sociological Methods II: Research Design4
SOC 903Sociological Methods III: Advanced Social Statistics4
SOC 904Sociological Methods IV: Qualitative and Historical Research Methods4
SOC 905Research Practicum4
Select three courses in a major area
Select five electives

Students must pass a written examination in the major area of sociological specialization and write and defend the doctoral dissertation.

  • Outcome 1: Students will learn to interpret quantitative and qualitative data in a value-neutral way.
  • Outcome 2: Students will learn to run advanced quantitative analyses.
  • Outcome 3: Students will learn to communicate effectively in writing from a sociological perspective.
  • Outcome 4: Students will learn to produce original sociological research.
  • Outcome 5: Students will learn to deliver effective oral presentations about their sociological research.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: RI VT ME

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores, including waiver requests and current COVID related impacts, please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

Applicants to the Sociology Ph.D. program must provide a copy of either their Master's thesis or, if their Master's program did not require a thesis, a piece of original, empirical, substantive research. All students entering the program must complete the M.A. before admission to the Ph.D. program.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

Some academic departments recommend that international applicants, living outside of the United States, and planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. If your desired program is not on the form, departments prefer a full application be submitted. Preapplication requests will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.