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PhD Program FAQs


What is your department's philosophy?

Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of human social behavior, including the behavior of individuals as well as the social dynamics of small groups, large organizations, communities, institutions, and entire societies. Sociologists are typically motivated both by the desire to better understand the principles of social life and by the conviction that understanding these principles may aid in the formulation of enlightened and effective social policy.

Sociology provides an intellectual background for students considering careers in the professions or business. Students may pursue degrees in sociology at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral levels. The department organizes its courses by areas of study to assist students in tailoring their education and research to their academic interests and career goals.

What are the requirements for the PhD program?
What are the different subfields?
  • Economic Sociology
  • Gender
  • Historical and Comparative Sociology
  • Organizations
  • Political Sociology
  • Population, Family, Demography, and Marriage
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Social Inequality
  • Social Psychology
How long does it take to get a PhD in Sociology?

The PhD program is designed to be completed in five to seven years of full-time study. The actual time depends on students' prior background, progress, and research requirements. The minimum residency requirement for the Ph.D. degree is 135 units of completed coursework, which takes approximately three years. The fourth through sixth years are typically spent working on the dissertation.

What is the teaching requirement in the department?

Students must complete three quarters of teaching apprenticeship, working as either a teaching assistant (TA) under the supervision of a faculty member or as a teaching fellow. Students are required to take a TA training workshop in their first year. In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of department and University teacher training programs. Students for whom English is a second language are expected to acquire sufficient facility in English to be an effective teacher.

Can I apply to enroll in a Master's program in Sociology?

No, we do not offer a terminal Master’s degree in Sociology. Current doctoral students from within the Department or in another Stanford graduate program may apply for a Master of Arts in Sociology during the course of their Ph.D. program. Master's candidates must take 45 units of course work, and 25 of those units must be in graduate seminars. There is no examination or thesis requirement.

How is your placement record?

Most students who receive a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford go on to do research and teach at colleges or universities. In recent years, graduates have obtained positions at Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, INSEAD, Tsinghua University. Other graduates have found positions at research organizations, private firms or in government. Recent placements. 

Financial Support

What is the annual cost of attending your program?

Tuition for the 2023-24 academic year.

What type of financial support do you offer?

The department offers 5 years of 12-month funding for all Ph.D. students in good academic standing. This funding is provided through a combination of fellowship, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. Students are encouraged to pursue prestigious fellowships offered by the University and by national organizations such as the National Science Foundation.

What are other possible sources of graduate funding?

Additional information on sources of graduate funding. 

Do you offer support for the summer months?

The department offers 5 years of 12-month funding for all Ph.D. students in good academic standing. Summer funding is typically provided as fellowship or research assistantship.

Is there support available for fieldwork and professional conferences?

In addition to providing the standard package described above, the Department will provide each student with a stipend that can be used to fund professional development expenses, faculty-guided research, and fieldwork.

What is the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program?

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program develops a community of future global leaders. Each year, up to 100 students are awarded with funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford and participate in an experiential leadership development program that emphasizes collaboration and innovation. Citizens of any country may apply. Two applications must be submitted separately; one to Knight-Hennessy Scholars , and separately apply to the Sociology Ph.D. program for consideration. Knight-Hennessy Scholars.


Are Sociology faculty accepting new research students?

All of our faculty members are able to take on newly admitted students. However, an offer of admission is neither dependent upon nor a promise of a match between the admitted student and a particular faculty member. Students are encouraged to work with and take classes from a range of faculty members before selecting a primary advisor and forming their dissertation committee.

What are the department's research areas?

The department faculty and their research interests are listed online at Sociology Faculty while current graduate student's interests can be found under Sociology Doctoral Students.