D. Course Information: Independent Studies, and Courses Outside the Department

This section contains information on some of the various courses one can take, and restrictions concerning them.

a. Independent Studies

Independent Studies are based on arrangements made between a professor and one or more graduate students to study a mutually-agreed-upon subject for one semester.  In order to register for an Independent Study, the student (in consultation with the professor) must compile a syllabus that specifies the required reading and writing requirements as well as the meeting schedule. This syllabus must be submitted to the Graduate Program Director for approval.  Independent studies are considered as equivalent to seminars in workload and hence they count as elective courses for your degree requirements. They are not meant to give structure to or substitute for an ongoing collaborative project between faculty member and student.  Students may take no more than two Independent Studies during their time in the graduate program, one counted toward the M.A. requirements and one toward the Ph.D. requirements.  [Also please note that Independent Study courses do not count as part of the faculty member’s normal teaching load.]

b. Courses Outside of the Sociology Department

i. Number of outside courses - Students may take up to three courses in total outside of the Sociology Department (in other Rutgers departments, at other Rutgers campuses, or at Inter-University Consortium schools) that count toward their overall elective requirements.  Specifically, that is to say that they may take 1-2 for the M.A. degree requirements and 1-2 for the Ph.D. degree requirements, but totaling no more than three overall.  These “outside” courses include methods or substantive courses in other departments at Rutgers—New Brunswick, courses at other Rutgers campuses (for example, at Newark), and courses offered at other universities through the InterUniversity Doctoral Consortium.  Some certificate programs at Rutgers may require students to take non-Sociology courses; please be attentive to those requirements as you consider your overall program of study, including how you will make use of the InterUniversity Doctoral Consortium.  Please consult the Graduate Program Director at any time if you have questions.  Our goal is to permit each student to pursue a program of study that maximally serves their intellectual needs while also ensuring that a sufficient portion of each student’s curriculum is responsibly delivered by our own department.

ii. Inter-University Doctoral Consortium Courses - Graduate students at Rutgers may take graduate courses at several other universities in the region (e.g., Columbia University, CUNY-Graduate Center, the New School, New York University, Princeton University) at no extra cost.  Many students find these courses to be significantly important in their intellectual development, and we encourage you to seek out stimulating opportunities. Enrollment in courses at other institutions through this program requires the permission of the student’s advisor, the Sociology Graduate Director, and the instructor of the course at the host institution. Students in their first year may not be eligible.  The form required to register for courses in the consortium is available on the Graduate School webpage.  As noted before, these classes count as courses taken outside the department.  

c. Grades and Incompletes

i. Grades - You must receive grades of A, B+, or B in 14 of the 16 required and elective courses to receive a Ph.D. All required courses must have a B or higher. [Note: Rutgers does not have A+ or any minus grades.]

ii. Incompletes - We strongly discourage students from taking an Incomplete in a course. Having an Incomplete frequently impairs a student’s ability to complete subsequent work on time. If a student is unable to complete all the requirements for a course, the instructor may assign a grade of Incomplete if they think the circumstances are warranted. The Graduate School requires that a student make up the work for an Incomplete within twelve months of the end of semester in which the incomplete grade was assigned (e.g., an Incomplete in a course from the fall semester 2023 must be completed and the grade turned in by the end of the grading period for the fall semester 2024).  Excessive Incompletes: Any student with more than two Incompletes in any given semester will face discontinuation from the program. SGS requires that a student with 2 incompletes has only one semester to reduce the Incompletes to one. Any student who has not made-up their final Incomplete within one year will face discontinuation from the program. 

d. Transfer of Credits

Students may apply to transfer up to 12 credits towards the MA degree requirements at Rutgers. Students may apply to transfer an additional 12 credits towards the PhD degree requirements. Often the number allowed is somewhat less, to ensure you are sufficiently engaged with the curriculum we offer.  These credits may be used for required or elective courses in the degree program upon approval of the Graduate Director.  All transfer courses must be regular numerically graded or letter-graded classes (not courses graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory or pass/fail).  Courses with grades below B cannot be transferred for credit in our program.  Individually arranged reading courses are also not accepted for transfer credit.  Please note: The transfer of credit can only be made after completion of 12 graduate credits at Rutgers.  However, speak with the Graduate Program Director in advance to start making plans for the transfer of credits to take place once it can be effected.  Also please note that the School of Graduate Studies generally does not approve any credits to be transferred for the degree at Rutgers for courses that were taken more than 6 years before the transfer request.

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