Student Handbook

(These requirements apply to all students entering the Rutgers Sociology Graduate Program in the fall semester of 2013 and any time thereafter)

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

The Master’s degree requires completion of the following:

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

•    Soc. 501 - Sociological Research Methods I
•    Soc. 515 - Classical Sociological Theory
•    Soc. 516 - Contemporary Sociological Theory
•    Soc. 541 - Statistical Methods in Sociology I

b.    Six elective courses; 1 may be an Independent Study, 1 may be outside the department, and 1 may be the Writing Seminar.

c.    First-year and second-year proseminar (attendance required but there is no course registration)

d.    One qualifying paper (QP) (see section VI on Qualifying Papers for details)

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

The Ph.D. degree requires completion of the following:   

a.    All requirements for the M.A. degree listed in section V.1   

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

o     Soc. 520 - Comparative Historical Methods
o     Soc. 573 – Ethnographic Methods
o     Soc. 615 - Qualitative Research Methods
o     Social Network Analysis
o     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.    Second qualifying paper (see section VI on Qualifying Papers for details)

f.    Dissertation proposal defense

g.    Dissertation with successful defense

3. Writing Seminar

Students are required to the take the Writing Seminar once to earn the Ph.D. degree.  Students may register for the Writing Seminar for course credit (503/504) or for research credit (703). Either registration fulfills the Writing Seminar requirement. Note that enrollment in 503/504 counts toward elective requirements while enrollment in 703 counts only toward the required 24 research credits. Please note that students may only receive course credit for the Writing Seminar once. All subsequent registrations must be for research credit.

The Writing Seminar supports the development of writing skills for completing and polishing a piece of sociological work (e.g., QP, dissertation proposal, manuscript for submission for journal review).  This is a single Writing Seminar that is designed for students using any type of method at any stage of the graduate career.  This course is graded only as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. We encourage students to take the Writing Seminar more than one time at varying stages of the program to facilitate progress in completing QPs, submitting papers for publication, and writing dissertation proposals. 

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 ------ ------
2 ------ ------
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. 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.

5. 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 director for approval.  Independent studies are considered as equivalent to seminars in workload and hence they count as elective courses for your degree requirements. 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.

6. Courses Outside of the Sociology Department

a.    Number of outside courses - Students may take up to two courses outside of the Sociology Department that count toward their elective requirements (1 for the M.A. degree requirements and 1 for the Ph.D. degree requirements)

b.    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. 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. The form required to register for courses in the consortium is available on the Graduate School webpage. These classes count as courses taken outside the department.  Thus, no more than two such courses can be used to meet the program requirements.

7. Grades and Incompletes

a.    Grades - You must receive grades of A or B in 14 of the 16 required and elective courses to receive a Ph.D.

b.    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 2015 must be completed and the grade turned in by the end of the grading period for the fall semester 2016).  If a final grade has not been turn in at the end of the twelve months, the grade turns into a permanent incomplete.

8. Transfer of Credits

a.    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.  These may be used for required or elective courses in the degree program upon approval of the graduate director.

b.    All transfer courses must be regular numerical 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.

c.    The transfer of credit can only be made after completion of 12 graduate credits at Rutgers University.

d.    The Graduate School 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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