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(Revised May, 2012) This document attempts to summarize and clarify some of the requirements and steps to be taken in obtaining a graduate degree in the Sociology Department at UNM.
For further information on the standards and practices of the deprtment, please contact the faculty graduate advisor.
It is recommended all students become familiar with the UNM catalog for the academic year in which they entered the program. The catalog is accessible here.
Descriptions and forms related to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) discussed below will be accessible on their website here.
You may click on and go directly to a particular subsection or scroll down through the complete document.
I. Recommended Prerequisites
The Sociology Department recommends incoming graduate students have 12 hours of advanced undergraduate sociology courses, including the following statistics and methods courses (or the equivalents):
These prerequisites are not required for an application; however, they are recommended. Courses taken to satisfy prerequisites may NOT be counted toward the degree. Students who have earned a B.A. or B.S. may apply directly to the M.A. or Ph.D. Program. back to summary
The Faculty Graduate Advisor advises all graduate students the first semester. One semester after admission to the graduate program students are responsible for choosing their own faculty advisor. At this time the Appointment of Graduate Advisor form, which requires the signatures of the student and faculty member, must be filed with the department’s academic advisor.
The advisor should help the student plan and move through his or her graduate program, including advising the student on research courses that may help prepare and complete a thesis or dissertation. Students are free to change advisors, though doing so requires the completion of a new Appointment of Graduate Advisor form.
Each student should maintain contact with his/her advisor and hold a meeting at least once each semester. As a general rule, students should assume that faculty will not be available during the summer for supervision of theses, dissertations, or committee service.back to summary
All M.A. students will be required to meet the program requirements for Plan I in the University Catalog. The Sociology Department does not offer a Plan II track. Our M.A. requires 24 hours of coursework, 6 hours of thesis, and a written thesis. Prior to writing a thesis, students must form a Thesis Committee (TC) consisting of a chairperson and at least two other faculty members (one of these may serve as co-chair).
Students are responsible for notifying the Academic Advisor and their TC the semester prior to their planned graduation. Only students appearing on the University’s copy of the departmental graduation list are eligible for graduation each semester. Exceptions can be made under extraordinary circumstances with the consent of the TC and the department chair’s approval. Once each spring, summer, and fall the Academic Advisor sends out a call for ‘intention to graduate’ in the following semester (e.g. each summer students are asked if they plan to graduate in the fall) and compiles a departmental list that is then submitted to other university offices. Eligibility for inclusion on the graduation list consists of a completed and approved Program of Studies form and the reasonable demonstration that the thesis and any outstanding coursework will be completed by the end of the coming semester.
A. COURSE WORK
*Required courses are generally closed to non-degree students. The professor teaching the course will have discretion over enrollment decisions, prerequisites, etc.
**Once a student begins thesis hours he or she must continue enrolling each semester until graduation. This does not include summer semesters if no other course enrollment is occurring. Note this may result in more than 6 hours worth of Sociology 599 earned, although only 6 hours worth will count toward the degree requirements.
B. M.A. THESIS PLAN AND PROSPECTUS
C. M.A. PROGRAM OF STUDIES
It is the responsibility of every student to file a Program of Studies form for the Master’s Degree. Although this is a transaction between the student and OGS (see the UNM Catalog and OGS website: http://ogs.unm.edu/), it also requires relevant departmental signatures as indicated on the form itself. The Academic Advisor can assist in clarifying the rules and regulations for this document. The chair of the student’s TC should also review it prior to submission to ensure that any projected courses and/or the timeline for thesis hours are realistic. A copy of this form should be filed with the Academic Advisor prior to its submission to OGS.
D. M.A. DEFENSE OF THESIS
Students must be enrolled for thesis hours the semester that they graduate. Once a student enrolls for thesis hours, he/she must be continuously enrolled for at least one hour of thesis through the graduating semester. Only 6 hours of thesis will count toward the degree requirements.
A Masters student’s final examination is an oral defense of the completed thesis. Students must notify the Academic Advisor prior to the proposed examination date so that, in consultation, they can complete the Announcement of Examination form, which must be submitted to OGS at least two (2) weeks before the exam. Please note signatures are required on this document and therefore students should plan completion of this document in advance of the two week deadline.
During the defense the student should be able to indicate the relevance of his or her research for the area of sociology that has been the focus of the student's graduate career.
Following the defense students are responsible for the successful submission of all forms on the OGS Masters Plan Graduation Checklist, available on the OGS website under ‘OGS Forms: Graduation.’ In addition, the student is required to submit a final copy of the revised thesis with the department. back to summary
Upon successful completion of the M.A. degree, a student may apply to the Ph.D. program. Admission is not automatic. In considering the request to enter the Ph.D. program, the Graduate Committee will consider the student's overall record and departmental file (thesis evaluation forms, record of timely progress toward degree, and any other materials useful in assessing promise of high-quality doctoral level work). Grades should reflect doctoral-level ability, which means A - or better in the majority of courses. back to summary
A. COURSE WORK
The PhD requires a minimum of 48 hours of course work beyond the B.A., plus 18 hours of dissertation work. Thirty hours of course work for the M.A. (including 6 hours of thesis), may be applied toward the required 48 hours.
Required courses for the PhD are*:
*Required courses are generally closed to non-degree students. The professor teaching the course will have discretion over enrollment decisions, prerequisites, etc.
B. Ph.D. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS
All PhD candidates must successfully complete comprehensive examinations in two sociological areas. An area is defined as a recognized sub-discipline in sociology. At least one of the two exam areas must be from the following list: Crime, Law, and Social Control; Social Movements; Race and Ethnicity; Sociology of Health and Medicine; Comparative Sociology (usually with an emphasis in Latin America).
Although the department has faculty resources and course offerings in each of the above areas, the student should note that faculty resources and course offerings are subject to change, and not all areas may be covered at any given time.
Comprehensive exams assess the ability of students to comprehend and evaluate key issues within a particular area of sociology. The exams are viewed as preliminary preparation toward becoming a scholar in a particular area, and toward doing independent research on a dissertation. The exams assess the student's ability to review the empirical and theoretical landmarks of a particular area and the student's ability to analyze, synthesize, and critique major theoretical and empirical materials.
All students will be expected to have a reading list in each area approved by the relevant members of their Comprehensive Exam Committee (CEC), no later than 4 months before the exam.
1. ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE EXAM COMMITTEE
Comprehensive exams require the participation of at least two Sociology Department faculty members in each area. Thus, most examination committees will have at least four members. In some cases it is possible that one faculty member may serve as an evaluator in two areas, leading to an examination committee of three persons.
The student should consult Appendix B: Faculty Expertise in Comprehensive Examination Areas for guidance in creating their committees. Comprehensive Exam committees are created by the mutual consent of the student and the faculty members the student asks to participate on his or her committee. While the Graduate Committee supports this practice, it reserves the right to suggest alternate committee members should the makeup of the committee not seem appropriate. Students are strongly advised to be in regular contact with members of their CEC throughout preparation for taking comprehensive exams.
At least four months before the exam, the student must submit to the Academic Advisor the Proposal to Take Ph.D. Comprehensive Exams (along with the CEC approved reading list). This document will indicate the faculty members that will be examining the student in each area. The document will also have signatures indicating approval of the student's reading list and preparation in each area.
2. READING LIST AND COURSE PREPARATION
The course preparation and reading list for comprehensive exams shall cover the core theoretical perspectives and empirical research in the designated area. Students are encouraged, in addition, to develop comprehensive mastery within a specialized sub-area. The comprehensive exam should help prepare a graduate student to: a. teach a graduate course in the area; b. publish articles in recognized academic journals that deal with the area.
In general, at least two graduate-level courses should be taken in each area of the comprehensive examination. At least one of these courses must be taken in the Sociology department. One of the courses may be an Independent Study course.
The reading list is created by the student in consultation with all members of his or her examination committee. The reading list and course preparation for comprehensive examinations must be approved by all examination committee members at least four months prior to the exam. The document Proposal to Take Comprehensive Exams records the above requirements.
All reading lists for comprehensive examinations will be filed with the Academic Advisor and be available for public review. Additionally, once the exam has been completed the questions for the exam will be filed with the department Academic Advisor.
3. SCHEDULING THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION
All PhD coursework must be completed before comprehensive exams can be taken, and the exams should be taken within one year of completion of course work. The student may petition the Graduate Committee for exceptions to this rule, but such petitions will only be approved if the Committee decides that the exception is clearly in the interest of both the student and the department. Students must be enrolled during the semester that they take the comprehensive exam (excluding the summer semester). The oral examination (defense) must be taken within two weeks of completion of the written exams. Students should make clear and explicit arrangements with the Chair of their CEC regarding the precise date of the exams. The Announcement of Examination form is due to OGS no later than 2 weeks prior to the date of the first exam. This form should be completed with the help of the Academic Advisor. A copy of it should be left with the Advisor before it is submitted to OGS.
The Chair of the CEC will assist the student in arranging for dates and times of both written and oral exams, and to make sure that relevant paperwork and signatures are obtained, and filed in the proper manner.
The student must schedule the two parts of the written exam within a two-week period. Students will have eight hours to complete an area exam. The exam must be scheduled on a week day between 8 am and 5 pm.
The student may use the Department Reading Room computer or related means to write the exam (e.g. lap top computer), although books, articles, and notes may NOT be consulted during the exam. The student needs to start printing exam answers by 4:30 each day so that staff members may leave at 5 pm. Faculty in each area should meet within two weeks of the second exam to evaluate the performance on the written exam, and communicate their evaluation to the Chair of the CEC.
4. EVALUATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION
A. EVALUATION OF WRITTEN EXAM
Faculty in each area should meet within two weeks of the second exam to evaluate the performance on the written exam, and communicate their evaluation to the Chair of the CEC. The written portion of each area exam will be evaluated independently by each of the appropriate faculty members on the CEC. If two faculty evaluate an area, then both must agree the student has not failed the written exam for the student to proceed to take the oral exam in that area. If more than two faculty evaluate an area, then a majority of the faculty evaluating that area must agree the student has not failed the written exam for the student to proceed to take the oral exam in that area. Failure of the written portion of the exam in an area constitutes failure of the exam in that area.
B. ORAL EXAM AND FINAL EVALUATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAM
The oral exam provides the faculty and student with the opportunity to consider aspects of the written exam more closely, as well as related theoretical and methodological concerns in the area of specialization. The oral examination (defense) must be taken within two weeks of completion of the written exams.
To pass the comprehensive exam in an area, a majority of faculty members evaluating an area must agree to a passing evaluation. If two faculty evaluate an area, then both must agree to a passing evaluation. In the event a student fails one area, only that area becomes the subject of reexamination. To pass with distinction all members of both areas of the exam committee must agree.
Should a member of the CEC be unable to participate (e.g., for reasons of sabbatical leave), the Department Chair in consultation with other committee members will appoint a substitute. The student to be examined should feel free to consult with the chair and committee members regarding the substitution.
C. Ph.D. CANDIDACY
It is the responsibility of every PhD student to file an Application for Candidacy form for the Doctoral Degree after passing the comprehensive exams; this form is available on the OGS website. Although this is a transaction between the student and OGS (see the UNM Catalog), it also requires relevant departmental signatures as indicated on the form.
D. DISSERTATION COMMITTEE
The student nominates a Dissertation Committee (DC) by submitting an Appointment of Dissertation Committee to OGS. Please read carefully the criteria for your committee members. Check with the Academic Advisor to see if prospective members are eligible. This form needs to be in no later than the first semester of enrollment in Sociology 699.
The dissertation prospectus form should be submitted within one year of completion of the comprehensive exam. A formal defense of the prospectus is to be made to the candidate's DC.
Formal approval of the dissertation prospectus is made by holding a meeting with all committee members present, and then filing the signed Prospectus Approval Form with the Academic Advisor.
F. GRADUATION AND DISSERTATION DEFENSE
Only students appearing on the University’s copy of the departmental graduation list are eligible for graduation each semester. Exceptions can be made under extraordinary circumstances with the consent of the DC and the department chair’s approval. Once each spring, summer, and fall the Academic Advisor sends out a call for ‘intention to graduate’ in the following semester (i.e. each summer students are asked if they plan to graduate in the fall) and compiles a departmental list that is then submitted to other university offices. Eligibility for inclusion on the graduation list consists of a completed and approved Application for Candidacy form, enrollment in 699 Dissertation hours (18 hours need to be completed by the time of graduation) and the reasonable demonstration that the dissertation will be completed by the end of the coming semester.
Students must notify the Academic Advisor prior to the proposed dissertation defense date so that, in consultation, they can complete the Announcement of Examination form, which must be submitted to OGS at least two (2) weeks before the defense. Please note signatures are required on this document and therefore students should plan completion of this document in advance of the two week deadline. The Chair of the DC will assist the student in arranging for dates and times of the defense and to make sure that relevant paperwork and signatures are obtained and filed in the proper manner.
If any member of a DC plans on participating in the defense long-distance (i.e. Skyping or teleconferencing), the student is responsible for notifying OGS and submitting a Proxy Signature form at least two weeks prior to the defense. Students are encouraged to seek the Academic Advisor’s assistance with this process.
Upon successful completion and revision (if necessary) of the dissertation, the student is required to file a hard-copy with the department. The instructions for the mandatory OGS paperwork are available in the Doctoral (PhD) Graduation Checklist on the OGS website. Please note PhD students are required to upload a properly formatted copy of their dissertation prior to graduation.
Students must be enrolled in dissertation hours their graduating semester. Once a student enrolls in dissertation hours, he/she must be continuously enrolled in dissertation hours through the graduating semester and accrue a minimum of 18 hours. back to summary
Students wishing to be considered as possible instructors in the department should fulfill the following pedagogical training:
Prior to teaching, enroll in and successfully complete the TARC (UNM Teaching Assistants Resources Center) course on Classroom Teaching Skills (typically six Friday afternoons for two hours each week, offered twice each Fall and once each Spring, though schedule is subject to change). The course should be completed with a grade of B or better. Prospective teachers are also required to successfully complete the online FERPA training. The purposes of these training opportunities are to teach graduate students the basics of good pedagogy and contemporary learning theory. Effective teaching is both an art and a science.
INFO 583.001 Graduate Teaching is an alternative preparation course available. It is a one credit hour course available in the Fall and Spring semester. A separate section is available exclusively for international students. While enrollment is not mandatory, it is looked on very favorably. back to summary
Students in the Sociology Department are required to conform to the grade performance standards established in the UNM Catalog. All students should be familiar with these. In particular, students should be aware that all required courses must be passed with a grade of B- or better, or else retaken.
If a student violates Departmental policy, the student will receive a letter of warning from the Sociology Department Chair. Those continuing to violate the same policy will be subject to disciplinary review.
Each spring semester the faculty will meet in executive session to evaluate the progress of all graduate students. Students who are not progressing adequately will be notified. Failure to show improvement constitutes grounds for removal from the sociology program. A notice of inadequate progress will indicate the amount of time the student has to improve his or her performance.
As a matter of academic standards and integrity it is important to elaborate on the rules for participation in convocation and use of degree titles. Students who have had their dissertation approved by their committee may participate in the graduation convocation. Students are welcome to participate in the next convocation following completion of degree requirements. Students who have not yet had their dissertation approved by their committee may not use the title Ph.D. after their name, as this practice constitutes a misrepresentation of the student's credentials. Students can identify themselves as a Ph.D. candidate on their curriculum vitae after the comprehensive examinations and the defense of the dissertation prospectus; however, the signing of letters or any professional correspondence in any way that implies the Ph.D. is completed or is imminent (e.g. “Ph.D. (candidate)”, “ABD (all but dissertation)” among other variations) is prohibited. Students may identify themselves as sociologists once the degree is conferred. back to summary
A. Types of Assistantships available from the Sociology Department
B. Criteria for Granting Assistantships
Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are awarded and evaluated each semester. Therefore, a GA/TA/TA special should not be assumed to be ongoing, but rather contingent on performance and availability of funding. All students on assistantship are required to complete the online FERPA training.
C. GA/TA reappointments:
By definition, assistantships are term appointments. Students should not assume that they will be reappointed merely because no notification or termination at the end of the appointment period has been received. Reappointment is contingent upon the continuing availability of funds and the student’s academic and assistantship performance.
D. Termination Before End of Appointment Period
Notification of termination will be made by the graduate unit, and a copy of this notification forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies. In the case of students who are placed on academic probation, OGS will terminate the contract and notify the appropriate graduate unit. The stipend for assignments that are terminated before the end of the appointed period, either by voluntary resignation or dismissal will be prorated for the period during which the assistant was employed.
E. Medical Leave
Assistantship recipients who suffer a serious medical condition requiring absence from assigned duties for two consecutive weeks may be granted, upon written request to the head of the graduate unit, a two-week sick leave without loss of stipend. After this leave, the student will be paid only for the time the assistantship responsibilities were fulfilled. The graduate unit must notify the OGS whenever it grants an assistant a two-week sick leave, as well as the date that the assistant returns to his/her position. back to summary
Under exceptional circumstances graduate students may be granted a waiver of a required class. Graduate students may request a waiver by sending a memo to the graduate committee. The memo should include a detailed comparison of the syllabi for the courses. The student’s transcript (only grades of B+ or better will be considered) and copies of the syllabi should also be included. Past syllabi for our required courses are archived in the sociology main office. back to summary
Students are only required to take one CORE course in a given area; the secondary course requirement can be completed via one of four ways: (1) another core course listed for the area; (2) a class from the secondary course list of the area; (3) Soc 551- an independent study with one of the listed professors in the area; or (4) a relevant graduate course in another UNM department. Those selecting option (4) must present a syllabus and earn a grade of B- or better.
CRIME, LAW, AND SOCIAL CONTROL
FACULTY: Christopher Lyons , Lisa Broidy, María Vélez, Aki Roberts
CORE COURSES: Soc 507 Theories of Crime, Soc 507 Research on Crime and Delinquency
SECONDARY COURSES: Soc 595 Contemporary Issues in Criminology, Soc 595 Communities, Race and Crime
SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE
FACULTY: Kristin Barker, Owen Whooley, Kimberly Huyser
CORE COURSES: Soc 540 Medical Sociology and Health Policy, Soc 595 Sociology of Medical Practice
FACULTY: Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Richard Wood, Wayne Santoro, Felipe Gonzales,
CORE COURSE: SOC 510 Social and Political Movements
RACE AND ETHNICITY
FACULTY: Nancy López, María B. Vélez, Roberto Ibarra, Felipe Gonzales, Kimberly Huyser, Christopher J. Lyons
CORE COURSE: Soc 520 Racial and Ethnic Relations
SECONDARY: Soc 528 Sociology of Mexican Americans, Soc 507 Race & Education, Soc 507 Race & Gender and Soc 595 Communities, Race & Crime
COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY (usually with a focus in Latin America)
FACULTY: Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Susan Tiano, Andrew Schrank, Bob Fiala, Richard Wood, Roberto Ibarra
CORE COURSES Soc 506 Comparing Nations and Soc 507 Gender and International Development
The department also offers expertise in the following areas, though the course offerings are provided as demand allows.
FACULTY: Nancy López, Robert Fiala, Roberto Ibarra
CORE COURSE Soc 521 Sociology of Education
SECONDARY Soc 507 Race & Education, Soc 507 Equity and Division in Higher Education and Soc 507 Latinos & Higher Education
FACULTY: Richard Wood, Sharon Nepstad
COURE COURSE: Soc 532 Sociology of Religion Soc 507 Sociology of Culture
FACULTY: Lisa Broidy , Nancy López, Christopher Lyons, Susan Tiano
CORE COURSE: Soc 595 The Sex/Gender System
SECONDARY COURSES: Soc 507 Gender and International Development Soc 507 Race & Gender Soc 595 Gender and Crime
FACULTY: Bob Fiala, John Roberts, Susan Tiano
CORE COURSES: Soc 530 Sociology of Work, Soc 505 Complex Organization
FACULTY: Bob Fiala, Felipe Gonzales, Christopher Lyons, Andrew Schrank, Richard Wood, Wayne Santoro
CORE COURSE: SOC 510 Social and Political Movements
Other areas represented:
John Roberts (quantitative methods, networks)