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:

  • Social inequality
  • Sociological theory
  • Gender
  • Immigration
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sociology of culture

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 departmental application, statement of purpose, resume/CV and two completed recommendation 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) **currently waived**

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 **currently waived**
  • 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 an orientation in early fall 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 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or 42 credit hours beyond the master’s degree.

  • A minimum of 9 semester hours in research methods and statistics. All courses must be at the 6000 level, and a minimum grade of B must be achieved for each.
  • A minimum of 6 semester hours in sociological theory at the 6000 level. A grade of B or better must be achieved for each course.
  • A minimum of 9 semester hours in a concentration area approved by the advisory committee, including at least 6 hours at the 6000 level.
  • A minimum of 9 semester hours of electives.
  • A minimum of 9 semester hours of dissertation.
  • A minimum of 24 semester hours must be taken at the 6000 level.

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 in mid-April.

For additional information, please visit the Sociology department website.


Donna Barnes, Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Social movements; social stratification and social change.

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

Karen M. Gregg, Lecturer; Ph.D. University of Notre Dame. Sociology of religion, social psychology, gender studies.

Phoebe Ho, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania.

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

Ronald Kwon, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Riverside. Immigration, race and ethnicity, gender, inequality and stratification, political economy/world systems, quantitative methods.

Kevin McCaffree, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Riverside. Sociological theory; criminology; social psychology; sociology of religion; sociology of morality; quantitative methods.

Matthew Painter, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Ohio State University. Immigration, social stratification, race and ethnicity, wealth inequality.

Helen Potts, Lecturer; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Social capital, organizations and the workplace, alternative dispute resolution/mediation.

William “Buddy” Scarborough, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago. Gender, race, stratification, culture, quantitative methods and data science.

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

Katherine Sobering, Assistant Professor; Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin. Inequality; work and organizations; social change; political sociology; qualitative methods; ethnography.

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

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