What will I learn?

Expand your expertise. Continue your career in sociology by specializing in one of our five areas of focus. Prepare for a career in academia, research or industry.

For students who wish to become critical analysts of social problems, NC State's graduate program in sociology offers excellent training that provides preparation for academic, research and applied careers. The 72-credit hour doctoral program is an intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous, yet supportive, environment.

Doctoral students have the opportunity to:

Pursue a wide range of research topics and interests
Receive top-notch methodological training
Gain valuable teaching skills and experience
Collaborate on scholarly and applied research with our outstanding faculty and fellow graduate students

Courses and Curriculum

The university requires 72 credit hours for the doctoral degree. Students are required to take and pass core courses in sociological theory and research methods (with various quantitative and qualitative options). Substantive coursework includes classes in your primary area of specialization and other area classes. The remaining credits are allocated to supervised research.

Areas of Specialization

Doctoral students select one area of specialization. They must complete at least three courses in that area and a preliminary examination. Students are also encouraged to specialize in a secondary area.

Crime, Law and Social Control

Inequality: Class, Gender and Race

Work and the Global Economy

Food and Environment

Programmatic Milestones

Students complete several milestones en route to the PhD. Students entering without a master’s degree complete a journal article length thesis to obtain their MS degrees. They complete a comprehensive exam in their primary area of specialization. They develop a proposal for their dissertation research in consultation with faculty advisors. Finally, they defend their dissertation research to complete the degree.

The program is designed such that students entering with an MS degree can complete the requirements in 4 years. Students entering without an MS degree may finish in 5 years.

Which department am I in?

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (72 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$30,081.00 per year
Start date

Expected August 2022


College of Humanities and Social Sciences

106 Caldwell Hall,

Campus Box 8101,


North Carolina,

27695, United States

Entry requirements

For international students

To be considered for admission in full graduate standing, an applicant must have a four-year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited college or university as determined by a regional or general accrediting agency and must have at least a “B” (3.000/4.000) average in the undergraduate major or in the latest graduate degree program.

Provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a total score of at least 80 on the Internet-based Test (iBT). Minimum test scores for each section:

Listening: 18 points
Reading: 18 points
Writing: 18 points Speaking: 18 points for admission, 23 points for TA appointment where TA has direct verbal interactions with students, 26 points for TA appointment where TA presents lectures in the class or laboratory

The maximum total score for the iBT is 120 with each section worth 30 points.

Provide International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores with an overall band score of at least 6.5. Minimum test scores for each section are listed below:

Listening: 6.5
Reading: 6.5
Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 6.5 for admission, 7.0 for TA appointment

Computer-based TOEFL scores must be 213 or higher (with at least 17 on three sections and no section score below 13). The paper-based test requires a score of 550 or higher (with scores of 50 on at least two of the three sections and no section score below 45).

The deadline for Fall admissions is January 1

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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