Graduate opportunities

In the Department of Sociology, we teach more than theories, facts and figures. Our aim is to develop independent, critical thinkers capable of conducting high quality and innovative research in a particular area.

Pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology at the University of North Texas prepares you to be an independent researcher or instructor in higher education. You’ll learn to apply social science perspectives and tools to problems and improve the quality of life. You can concentrate your studies in the areas of comparative and global sociology, social stratification or health, illness and aging.

While enrolled in our doctoral program, you’ll have opportunities to work closely with faculty members in educational and research activities focusing on:

  • Comparative and global sociology
  • Demography
  • Development and social change
  • Environmental sociology
  • Marriage and family
  • Religion
  • Health, illness and aging
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Social inequality and stratification
  • Social media
  • Sustainable societies
  • Work and organizations

Additional resources are available through our participation in the Federation of North Texas Area Universities. This collaboration allows you to take sociology courses that offer different viewpoints and expertise in substantive areas of study in sociology.

UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Office of Research Consulting offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, including a Dissertation Boot Camp. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is a competitive, two-step process. First, you’ll need to be admitted to the graduate school and meet the school’s admission requirements. Second, you’ll need to complete the sociology departmental application process, which requires a statement of purpose and three completed recommendation forms or letters.

Students with a master’s degree may be considered for either unconditional or conditional admission based on the following requirements. Conditional admission requires filing an appeal with the graduate school.


  • 18 credit hours of sociology courses (at least 3 graduate credit hours each in social research methods, social statistics and social theory)
  • At least a 3.5 GPA on your master’s course work
  • Acceptable GRE scores on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections (contact the Director of Graduate Studies for information concerning admission test scores)

Additional course work may be required if you have fewer than the required credit hours and courses needed for unconditional admission.

Outstanding undergraduates without a master’s degree who meet all possible unconditional requirements may be considered for admission to the doctoral program.


  • At least a 3.0 GPA on all master’s course work
  • Acceptable GRE scores on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections
  • Substantial alternative evidence of potential success in graduate studies

The graduate school dean will notify you about being admitted to our program. We recommend completing the admission process by the last Monday in November the year prior to the requested admission year.

Selected candidates are invited to a retreat in early spring to learn more about the program and to meet professors. Accepted applicants should consult with our Director of Graduate Studies before registering for their first semester of course work.

Degree requirements

The doctoral program requires a minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree.

  • 12 credit hours in research methods and statistics
  • 6 credit hours in sociological theory
  • 12 credit hours in a concentration area
  • 12 credit hours in a second sociology concentration or related minor field
  • 6 credit hours of electives
  • 9 credit hours of dissertation (including an oral defense of the proposal and the final written dissertation)

You may earn credit for an internship as part of your Ph.D. course work. You’ll also need to enroll in 9 credit hours for two consecutive long semesters or 6 credit hours for three consecutive semesters to fulfill the doctoral residence requirement.

Financial assistance

The primary forms of financial support are assistantships in the department, scholarships or financial aid. To be considered for assistantships, you should submit all admission materials to our department and the graduate school by the last Monday in November the year before you want to enroll. Assistantships are announced shortly after the spring informational retreat.


Cynthia M. Cready, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Texas A&M University. Quantitative methodology; elder health and care; inequality; marriage and family.

Gabe Ignatow, Professor; Ph.D., Stanford University. Text analytics; theory; new media.

Ami R. Moore, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Bowling Green State University. Demography; medical sociology; migration and immigration.

Daniel G. Rodeheaver, Associate Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., University of Georgia. Sociopolitical ecology; development and social change; crime and terrorism.

Gul Seckin, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University. Medical sociology; aging/social gerontology; mental health; quantitative methodology.

Michael F. Thompson, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Indiana University. Economic sociology.

George Yancey, Professor; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Racial and ethnic relations; religion; sociology of science.

Dale E. Yeatts, Professor; Ph.D., University of Virginia. Environmental sociology; aging/social gerontology; organizations; Chinese culture/society; self-managed work teams.

Milan Zafirovski, Professor; Ph.D., Florida International University. Stratification/mobility; theory; economy and society.

Affiliated faculty and research areas

Elizabeth M. Esterchild (Almquist), Professor Emeritus; Ph.D., University of Kansas. Sex and gender; stratification/mobility.

Jessica Gullion, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Texas Woman’s University. Medical sociology; environmental sociology; social representations of health threats.

Celia Lo, Professor; Ph.D., University of Alabama. Alcohol and drugs; disparities in health-risk behaviors and health; drugs and crime; criminology; scholarship of teaching and learning.

Mahmoud Sadri, Professor; Ph.D., New School University. Comparative sociology of religion; sociology of culture; theoretical sociology; Middle Eastern and Iranian studies; Islamic reformation.

Rudy Ray Seward, Professor Emeritus; Ph.D., Southern Illinois University. Family; quantitative methodology; social change.

Philip Yang, Professor; Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles. Immigration; citizenship acquisition; transnationalism; Chinese immigration and immigrants; Asian Americans/immigrants; demography.