Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology

The Doctoral program is student-centred and encourages the pursuit of an independent research interest under faculty supervision.

At the Ph.D. level, we also offer a collaborative specialization in Political Economy. Please see the Graduate Calendar for details of the program requirements for the Ph.D. in Sociology with Specialization in Political Economy.


The normal requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program is a master’s degree (or the equivalent) in sociology, normally with a minimum average of A-, and with no grade below B+.

The deadline for applications to the Ph.D. program is February 1 for applicants requesting financial assistance for September admission; applications will continue to be considered beyond this date (space permitting) and funding may possibly be available, but applying before February 1 is strongly advised.

Please consult the Graduate Calendar for Information about Admission.

Application Requirements

Applications for the M.A. and Ph.D require the same components. These are as follows:

  • A statement of academic/research interests and ambitions (1-2 pages in length);
  • Sample of written work;
  • Two referee appraisal forms and letters of reference (to be uploaded by referees); and
  • One transcript (unofficial can be uploaded by student – official transcripts can be mailed to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs and only required if offer is made).

Applicants’ statements of interest should provide a clear and focused description of their research interests and why they wish to enroll in the program. A strong research statement elaborates, as clearly as possible, a particular thesis research project the student wishes to carry out, ideally by proposing particular research questions and citing relevant academic literature. The sample of written work should have been completed in the most recent degree program and can be a term paper, thesis proposal, or published work.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Sociology is a 10 credit program and requires the following:

  1. course work worth 3 credits (including a compulsory doctoral seminar),
  2. two comprehensive examinations in two areas of specialization,
  3. a thesis proposal presentation,
  4. a thesis (and oral defence) worth a maximum of 7 credits,
  5. a language requirement.

The comprehensive examinations are to be completed following the coursework requirements. The thesis proposal is presented after completion of the comprehensive examinations. Following the successful presentation of the thesis proposal, the PhD candidate is ABD (all but dissertation). Normally, the thesis proposal must be presented no later than two and half years (7 terms) after the student has entered the program full-time (5 years, or 15 terms, for part-time students).

For further details of the program requirements for the PhD in Sociology, please see the Graduate Calendar.

Financial Assistance

We provide domestic students with substantial financial assistance in the form of teaching and/or research assistantships and scholarships based on academic excellence. We have limited funding possibilities for international students (those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents). Applications received prior to February 1 will automatically be considered for financial assistance. For applications submitted beyond these dates, financial assistance may possibly be available, but applying in advance of February 1 is strongly recommended. For additional information on scholarships visit the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs website.

Qualifying MA students typically receive both scholarship money and a paid teaching assistant position. PhD students receive both scholarship money and a paid teaching assistant position for 10 terms.