Sociology, PhD

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description:

The department admits a small number of well-qualified candidates to its Ph.D. program each year. Successful applicants must in addition to University Requirements, submit current (within the last 5 years) GRE General Test scores, three letters of recommendation, two writing samples, and a letter of intent. The Sociology Department recommends applicants have 12 credit hours of advanced undergraduate sociology courses, including statistics and methods courses (or the equivalents). We also recommend college level algebra or its equivalent. In addition, such factors such as the University's commitment to affirmative action, the applicant's non-academic experience, and the ability of the department to provide faculty guidance and courses in the applicant's areas of interest are considered.

General requirements for the Ph.D. are set forth in the Graduate Program section of this Catalog. The Ph.D. degree requires 48 credit hours of coursework and 18 credit hours of dissertation. Students must also pass comprehensive examinations and write and successfully defend a dissertation.

Specific requirements for all students seeking a Ph.D. in Sociology include (all required courses must be passed with at least a grade of "B-"):

  • SOC 500 Classical Social Theory;
  • SOC 513 Constructing and Analyzing Contemporary Sociological Theory;
  • SOC 523 Proseminar (students should take this course as early in their careers as possible);
  • SOC 580 Methods of Social Research I;
  • SOC 581 Advanced Social Statistics I;
  • SOC 582 Advanced Social Statistics II;
  • SOC 585 Sociological Fieldwork Methods: Ethnography, Interviews, Focus Groups;
  • SOC 699 Dissertation (18 credit hours);
  • Comprehensive Examinations (written and oral);
  • Ph.D. dissertation and passing the Final Examination for Doctorate. 

Prior to taking the comprehensive examinations, a Comprehensive Exam Committee must be appointed which consists of at least three University of New Mexico faculty members approved for graduate instruction. The chairperson must be a regular faculty member approved by the student's graduate unit. A doctoral student must apply for and be admitted to doctoral candidacy after completing all coursework and passing the comprehensive examination. The Dissertation Committee consists of at least four members approved for graduate instruction: two members must hold regular, full-time faculty appointments at the University of New Mexico; one member must be from the student's graduate unit; the dissertation chairperson must be a regular (tenured or tenure-track), full-time member of the University of New Mexico faculty; a required external member must hold a regular full-time appointment outside the student's unit/department at the University of New Mexico. This member may be from the University of New Mexico or from another accredited institution; one member may be a non-faculty expert in the student's major research area. Doctoral candidates must be enrolled during the semester in which they complete degree requirements, including the summer session.

Admission Requirements:


Applicants must submit their application by the posted deadlines in order to be considered for admission.

Application Deadlines


With a TA/GA*

Without a TA/GA

Fall 2013

January 15*

April 15th

* Admitted students will be considered for a Teaching Assistantship/Graduate Assistantship.

Application Instructions

All applicants must submit the following material by the deadline in order to be considered for admission:

(For a downloadable checklist of these instructions, please click here.)

1. a) Domestic applicants:

1. b) International Applicants only:

2. Material to be Submitted to the University:

  • Submit $50 application fee (it can either be paid as part of the above listed online application or it can be via phone at 505-277-5363).
  • Send official, original, sealed copies of all transcripts to:

The University of New Mexico
Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 4895
Albuquerque, NM 87196-4895

3. Material to be Submitted to the Department:

    Department Mailing Address

    US Postal Mailing Address

    FedEx/DHL/UPS Shipping Address

    UNM Sociology Department
    Attn: Sociology Graduate Committee
    MSC05 3080
    1 University of New Mexico
    Albuquerque, NM 87131-001

    UNM Sociology Department 
    Attn: Sociology Graduate Committee 
    1915 Roma NE Ste. 1103 
    Albuquerque NM 87131-0001


  • A resume or curriculum vitae. Please include your contact information at the top and all relevant information regarding the following:
      • Degrees earned and in progress;
      • Academic research experience;
      • Teaching or grading experience;
      • Work experience;
      • Publications;
      • Awards, honors, or Professional memberships
  • Unofficial copies of transcripts from each institution attended.
  • A letter of intent that clearly and concisely describes your academic background and interests. Please ensure the letter touches on the following topics:
    • The letter should include professional experience, objectives, and any other factors bearing upon qualifications for graduate work in Sociology.
    • Your reasons for applying to this particular program.
    • Indicate which of the five department specialties are of most interest to you:
        • Crime, Law, and Social Control;
        • Sociology of Health & Medicine;
        • Race & Ethnicity;
        • Social Movements;
        • Comparative Sociology
    • Your reasons for seeking a graduate degree in Sociology.
    • If there are any weaknesses in the application file, such as poor grades, lack of previous Sociological coursework, or low GRE scores, you should address them.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic references that address your past academic performance, including analytical abilities and potential for success in graduate studies. If you request a letter from a professional reference, the letter should address analytical abilities and professional qualifications relevant to Sociological areas of study. Please ensure references include a completed cover form.
  • Two writing samples of approximately 5 - 15 pages in length. The samples may be a previously submitted term paper or an original essay. This requirement provides the applicant with the opportunity to demonstrate research and analytical abilities.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required and should be sent to the Testing and Data Management Division of the University of New Mexico (Institutional code 4845). Applicants should use the area studies code (2102) listed under departmental codes for UNM. Applicants should also send a photocopy of the scores to the Sociology Department. 

Please see the links below for more information on our graduate program. You may contact the Graduate Director, Dr. Christopher Lyons (, or the Coordinator of Graduate Academic Advisement, Shoshana Handel (; 505.277.2501) with questions.

Contact Information:

Shoshana Handel: Coordinator of Graduate Academic Advisement
(505) 277-2501

Christopher Lyons: Graduate Director