You are here:

fall scene with "Program Description" in writing

The Department of Sociology at the University of Utah offers two Graduate Degrees:

a PhD in Sociology and an M-Stat in Sociology

 "PhD in Sociology" person looking through spyglass


Program Purpose

The PhD in Sociology provides training in sociological theory and research methodology to equip doctoral students with strong scholarly and pedagogical skills.  Students will be prepared for a wide range of academic, research, government, policy, or industry positions with strong critical thinking, analytical, communication, and teamwork skillsProgram Learning Outcomes.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will gain working knowledge of the main theories and debates within sociology, the principles of social science, research design and data analysis.
  2. Students will gain the ability to synthesize state-of-the-art theory and research in their chosen areas of interest.
  3. Students will gain the ability to conduct independent, original, and scientifically meritorious work. This ability is built upon the knowledge of social theory, research design, and quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches developed in required coursework, preliminary exam preparation, and through faculty mentorship.
  4. Students will become competent teachers. Students will receive training in pedagogical techniques, and/or have opportunities to be a teaching assistant or an independent instructor teaching their own courses.
  5. Students will develop skills in communicating research study design and results to diverse audiences. The program encourages students to attend academic conferences to present their research.
  6. Students will gain skills in grant writing and / or other modes of seeking relevant research support. Students are encouraged to apply for relevant internal and external support for their graduate studies and research program. Students will receive mentoring from faculty and be introduced to grant writing support resources across campus.

    The Global and Comparative Sociology (GCS) Program Area

The Global and Comparative (GCS)
program area focuses on the empirical study of social structures and processes in comparative perspective. In addition to comparative analyses of nation-states, faculty members in this area routinely study social, political, economic, and cultural phenomena at the sub-, trans-, and supra-national levels of analysis. The GCS program trains students to conduct theoretically grounded, methodologically sound, and empirically rigorous research in both political sociology and political economy of development. These interconnected subareas address fundamental questions pertaining to the distribution of power and resources within and among national societies. Within these broad subareas, GCS faculty members conduct qualitative and quantitative research on a wide variety of topics such as stratification on the basis of gender, race, and class; health and well-being; global environmental change; economic development; globalization and cultural change; urbanization and global cities; collective action and social movements; international human rights; and the politics of class formation. Many of these substantive foci overlap with the department’s other core program area, the Sociology of Population and Health, giving interested students the opportunity to conduct research at the intersection of both content areas.

The GCS program area provides students with the theoretical, methodological, and substantive training necessary for conducting independent research. Alongside required courses in social theory, research methods, and statistical analysis, GCS students enroll in discussion-based seminars focusing on political sociology and political economy of development. Additional seminars introduce students to substantive literatures in the areas of sociology of gender, racial/ethnic relations, and the environment. Students choosing to specialize in GCS will take a comprehensive exam at the end of their second year in the program, based on reading lists in political sociology, political economy (sociology of development), and one of the program’s three subsidiary areas. Students will also have ample opportunities to collaborate directly with GCS faculty members on research projects. These courses and experiences prepare students to conduct high-quality, evidence-based research in a range of academic and policy-related careers.

Faculty affiliated with the GCS program area include:

Wade Cole    Megan Reynolds   Brett Clark     Sarita Gaytan    Mike Timberlake     Claudia Geist

The Sociology of Population and Health (P & H) Program Area

Doctor holding globe with data coming outThe Sociology of Population and Health (P&H) program area is focused on describing characteristics of human populations and how population dynamics affect human health and well-being.  This unique area blends training in medical sociology, social epidemiology, gerontology, and demography.  Faculty mentors in this area are conducting research examining the demographic (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, immigrant and legal status, marital status, and living arrangements) behavioral (e.g., physical activity, smoking), socio-environmental (e.g., neighborhood and family contexts), and genetic determinants of health, mortality, and well-being across the life course.  Other faculty projects are exploring population-related issues through the study of family, gender, race/ethnicity, and migration.  This research has covered settings in the United States, Asia, and Europe.  International comparative studies of population health outcomes (e.g., healthcare and mortality) are also conducted, providing a natural bridge between the PH and GCS core areas of emphasis in the department.

 A central goal of the PH program area is to provide students with both the theoretical background and methodological competency necessary to conduct high quality, evidence-based research in academic and policy related careers.  To that end, the doctoral program provides extensive training for students in research methodology and statistical analysis, as well as courses in social theory.  Students choosing to specialize in PH enroll in a sequence of courses taught by Sociology faculty that are specifically related to the study of populations and health, including an introductory seminar on population measures and dynamics, a discussion-based seminar on contemporary population health issues, and a seminar on medical sociology which focuses heavily on the social determinants of health.  Additional seminars on migration, advanced demographic methods, family, gender, environment, and global health are other electives that students can choose to take.  Students choosing to specialize in PH will take a comprehensive exam at the end of their second year, based on the area’s reading list.

Faculty affiliated with this area include:

Akiko Kamimura    Ming Wen    Rebecca Utz    Kim Korinek     Bethany Everett     Daniel Adkins     Claudia Geist  Megan Reynolds

Regardless of which emphasis area one chooses, students must complete required coursework, a Comprehensive Area Exam, a third-year research project, a Qualifying Exam (dissertation proposal), and a Dissertation Project.

Population and health reading list

 global comparative sociology reading lists

"Master of Statistics in Sociology" (MStat) graphic of human networks

Masters of Statistics in Sociology (MSTAT)

The Department of Sociology at the University of Utah offers a M-Stat in Sociology. This applied master's program is offered in several disciplines throughout the University of Utah campus:

Program Purpose

The program is designed for students whose interest lies in the application of statistical methods to sociological and social problems. The program prepares students to be broadly knowledgeable in statistics and probability theory. Students learn state-of-the-art programming and applications in the Sociology area of concentration. Graduates are trained to pursue careers in industry, the public sector, or to continue doctoral studies.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will gain working knowledge of the main theories and debates within sociology, the principles of social science, research design and data analysis.
  2. Students will gain the ability to synthesize state-of-the-art theory and research in their chosen areas of interest.
  3. Students will be equipped to conduct advanced statistical analysis, to apply statistical knowledge and interpret statistical results across a range of social science sub-fields.


Students are expected to have the following prerequisite knowledge and training prior to completing the M-Stat required curriculum, which may extend the time to degree completion or delay a student’s ability to apply for the program:


  • At least 2 semesters of calculus, including calculus with multiple variables:

(Math 1260, 1280, and 2210 or equivalent)

  • 2 semesters of basic statistics (undergrad is fine)

Knowledge of matrix theory

department of sociology graduate handbook

department of sociology graduate handbook pdf


For inquiries or information about either the PhD or the MStat in Sociology program, please contact:


Dr. Rebecca Utz                                                    Joanna Straughn

Director of Graduate Studies                             Graduate Advising Specialist
Department of Sociology                                    Department of Sociology
380 S 1530 E Rm 301                                           380 S 1530 E Rm 301
Salt Lake City UT 84112-0250                            Salt Lake City UT 84112-0250

801-581- 7922                                                       801-581-6153                             


Last Updated: 9/13/16