We expect our students to complete their PhDs within six years. The 3-6-9 plan provides program guidelines which we expect our students to follow. However, the plan provides our students with up to 9 years (and no longer) to deal with unexpected personal or family issues, or time-demanding methodological approaches and research projects.

Expected Program GUIDELINES

Second Year Paper sign on – by November 15th of Year 2 (facilitated by Second-Year Seminar)

Second Year Paper sign off – by June 15th of Year 2    

Final Qualifying Paper sign on – by November 15th of Year 3

Final Qualifying Paper sign off – by November 15th of Year 4  

Dissertation Proposal Defense – by November 15th of Year 5  

Dissertation Defense – by August 15th of Year 6

Program Continuation DEADLINES

Although we expect students to meet these guidelines and remain on track to finish the program by the end of year 6, to remain in good standing in our program each student must MEET EACH CONTINUATION DEADLINE or the student will face program discontinuation:  

Year 3 Deadline – To continue in the program, each student must sign off of the Second Year Paper by the end of academic year 3, no later than June 15th.  

Year 6 Deadline – To continue in the program, the student must defend their dissertation proposal no later than June 15th of academic year 6. This plan provides students with considerable flexibility in the timing of their Final Qualifying Paper, but the Second Year Paper deadline and dissertation proposal defense deadline are firm.   

Year 9 Deadline – To receive their degree, the student must complete all requirements of the program, including a successful dissertation defense, no later than August 15th of academic year 9.   

The School of Graduate Studies requires all Ph.D. students to complete their program in 7 years and within a maximum of 10 years. Students beyond 7 years are required to fill out yearly “Extension of Time” forms that the GPD must approve, along with the Dean of SGS.  For more information, see the SGS Graduate Student Handbook and the Sociology Graduate Student Handbook - IX. Reasonable Progress.

Summary of Guidelines and Deadlines

  Guideline Dates       Deadlines Dates  
Second-Year Paper sign on                      11/15/Y2  
Second-Year Paper sign off  06/15/Y2  6/15/Y3 
Final Qualifying Paper sign on 11/15/Y3  
Final Qualifying Paper sign off 11/15/Y4  
Proposal Defense 11/15/Y5       6/15/Y6       
Dissertation Defense 08/15/Y6 8/15/Y9

1. M.A. Requirements (see Appendix A for an M.A.–Ph.D. timeline)

a.    Five required courses with a grade of B or above

•    Soc. 501 - Sociological Research Methods I
•    Soc. 503/504 – Second Year Paper Seminar
•    Soc. 515 - Classical Sociological Theory
•    Soc. 516 - Contemporary Sociological Theory
•    Soc. 541 - Statistical Methods in Sociology I

b.    Five elective courses: 1 may be an Independent Study, 1 may be outside the department.

c.    First-year and second-year proseminar (register with GPD for 1 research credit each semester)

d.    Second Year Paper

2. Ph.D. Requirements (see Appendix A for an M.A.–Ph.D. timeline)

a.    All requirements for the M.A. degree

b.    Two additional required courses with a grade of B or above

•     Soc. 542 - Statistical Methods in Sociology II
•     One other methods/statistics course from the following

  • Soc. 520 - Comparative Historical Methods
  • Soc. 573 – Ethnographic Methods
  • Soc. 615 - Qualitative Research Methods
  • Soc. 570 - Social Network Analysis 
  • Students may request to use an intermediate/advanced statistics courses at RU-Newark in the Criminal Justice program to fulfill this requirement

c.    Four additional elective courses; 1 may be an Independent Study, 1 may be outside the department, and 1 may be the Writing Seminar if this was not used as an elective for the M.A. degree (see section V.3 below for more details on the writing seminar)

d.    24 research credits (these do not substitute for course or independent study credits. See section V. 4 below for more details.)

e.    Final Qualifying Paper (see section VI on Qualifying Papers for details)

f.     Dissertation proposal defense

g.    Dissertation with successful defense

3. Second Year Paper Seminar (503/504) and Writing Seminar (703)

Starting in fall semester 2020, second-year students are required to the take the Second Year Paper Seminar which fulfills the writing seminar requirement. Second-year students will register for the Second Year Paper Seminar for course credit (503 fall semester/504 spring semester – each for 1.5 credits). After the Second Year Paper Seminar, students are encouraged to enroll in the Writing Seminar (703), as interested, but will do so for research credit. The Writing Seminar for research credits (703) will be offered ever spring semester for all students. The Second Year Paper Seminar (503/504) is designed to assist students in the process of researching and writing their second year papers (i.e. MA thesis). The Writing Seminar (703) supports the development of writing skills for completing and polishing a piece of sociological work (e.g., final qualifying paper, dissertation proposal, manuscript for submission for journal review). This course is graded only as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

4. Research Credits

Students must complete 24 research credits to graduate with the PhD degree. The department advises that students complete 20-24 research credits by the end of their 5th year in the program, although the exact number for each student depends on his or her pace to completion of the Ph.D. Subsequently, students should register for 1 research credit per semester while completing their dissertations. Since these credits are paid for by the department, SAS, or the student, it is important to try not to exceed 24 total research credits through the completion of the Ph.D., if possible.

Below is the suggested timeline for an incoming student in the program who does not transfer any course credits and who plans to complete the Ph.D. at the end of the 6th year.  Note that this timeline will vary based on a variety of individual circumstances that students can discuss with the Graduate Director or Administrator.

Year in Program Fall Semester Spring Semester
1 1 1
2 1 1
3 3 3
4 6-8 6-8
5 1-2 1-2

Students should register for research credits with one of their advisers, that is, with either the primary adviser or the lead reader for a QP (except when taking the Writing Seminar for research credits). Students should inform faculty that they are signing up for research credits with them and should agree upon the level of communication and work expected in order to earn an S grade. This generally involves making tangible progress on research and producing some piece of writing (e.g., a draft of a QP, dissertation proposal, dissertation chapter, or article for submission). The student and adviser should stay in regular contact about the student's progress over the course of the semester.

ABD students are required to register for a minimum of 1 research credit per semester and should plan research credits accordingly. Once a student’s funding package is complete, research credits will be need to be paid by the student or external funding arrangements. Note: SAS will not provide financial support beyond 75 credits.

Any unapproved lapse in registration will be considered a voluntary withdrawal from the program and the student will be terminated. In extenuating circumstances, students may request a formal leave of absence or register as Matriculation Continued (maximum 2 semesters) with the permission of the Graduate Director.

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