Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search
Programs

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology

The Department of Sociology at McMaster University offers a graduate experience that fosters close mentorship with faculty members who are leading scholars in our six areas of specialty. The program emphasizes the importance of good scholarship and trains students in current developments in the field of Sociology in Canada and internationally.

Ph.D.Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology

The Department of Sociology at McMaster University offers a graduate experience that fosters close mentorship with faculty members who are leading scholars in our six areas of specialty. The program emphasizes the importance of good scholarship and trains students in current developments in the field of Sociology in Canada and internationally.

The Graduate Program specializes in the following areas:

  • Social Inequality
  • Sociology of Gender, Sexuality and Family
  • Sociology of Work and Occupations
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology of Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
  • Political Sociology and Social Movements

The requirements of the Ph.D. programme consist of:

  1. seven graduate courses beyond the M.A. These courses must:
    1. meet the methodology requirement   (this includes the fulfilment of two methods requirements [quantitative and qualitative or historical])
    2. meet the theory requirement
    3. include two quarter courses on professional development
    4. include at least two regularly scheduled 700-level courses offered by the Department in addition to those taken to meet the methodology and theory requirements
    5. include no more than one research course (730 or 731)
    6. include no more than two graduate courses offered by another McMaster department or by a Sociology Department in another university
  2. other than 6Z03, no 600-level courses are permitted
  3. fulfilment of two methods requirements (quantitative and qualitative or historical)
  4. the completion of comprehensive examinations in two special areas
  5. in some cases a foreign language proficiency examination
  6. an approved one-page dissertation abstract
  7. an approved proposal for a Ph.D. dissertation; and,
  8. the writing and oral defence of a Ph.D. dissertation consisting of original research.

Thank you for your interest in graduate study in Sociology at McMaster University.

The following materials are required for application to the program:

 

On-line application

Applicants should carefully read the information on this website regarding admission requirements, transcripts, tests and documentation before completing the electronic application form.

Begin your on-line application by proceeding to the application website of the School of Graduate Studies.

Deadline is January 15, 2017 for September 2017 entrance. The system will close promptly on this date. Early submission is advised.

Note: once you have submitted your application, it is not possible to change or correct your uploads. Please submit new material as pdf documents to socgrad@mcmaster.ca. It may take 3-5 business days before your application is updated.

For a step-by-step guideline of how to complete the on-line application, click here.

 

Transcripts

Upload a scan of all university transcripts to the application system. If your university does not provide term I 2016-17 grades by the admissions deadline, please upload the transcript you have by January 15. Once grades are available, please send a scan of your official transcript to socgrad@mcmaster.ca. It is expected that all such documents arrive by February 1 for priority admissions consideration.

If an offer of admission is extended, you will receive directions to submit formal transcripts in institutionally sealed envelopes.

 

Statement of Interest

Please upload a one-page, single-spaced statement of interest that specifies your proposed area of study for the Ph.D. degree in Sociology. What research questions inspire you? What methodological skills do you bring and hope to develop while in the program? Applicants should identify the sociological research plan they will pursue in their doctoral research. Please also identify one of more potential faculty supervisors with whom you would like to work.

Applicants who do not have a B.A. or M.A. degree in Sociology should include with their statement of interest an additional statement (maximum 500 words) outlining their preparation for graduate study in Sociology, e.g., completed courses with substantial sociological content, sociological research and sociologists that have informed your own work, related research assistantship experiences, etc.

 

Writing Sample

Please also upload a sample of written academic work that demonstrates your ability to do sociological work and your ability to write. This sample may be a course paper, part of a course paper, a thesis chapter, or a publication. The sample should be no longer than 15-20 double-spaced pages.. Formatting should be set at least one-inch margins and 12-point type. (This is a length specification: your sample of work may be in a different format but should be of equivalent maximum length.)

 

Letters of Recommendation

Two confidential reference letters are required from instructors most familiar with your academic work. The electronic referencing system will send an e-Reference request on your behalf.

If you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing system, you can download the paper reference form. This reference letter must be sent directly by the referee in a sealed envelope: Department of Sociology, 1280 Main St W., Hamilton ON L8S 4M4 Canada.

 

English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English (such as TOEFL Scores)

Applicants whose native language is not English must satisfy the University's language proficiency requirement prior to an offer of admission. There will be no exceptions to the language requirement.

If your degree was completed at a university where the language of instruction was English and your university includes a verification statement on its transcript or in an accompanying letter, you will not need to provide further proof of language skills.

Otherwise, you are asked to upload a copy of your language examination results to the on-line system. There is a minimum requirement for the TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 237 on the computer based test) or MELAB score of 90 or IELTS of 6.5.

This score should not have been obtained prior to January 2015. All results MUST be received no later than February 15, 2017. (Note: The TOEFL institution code for McMaster is "0936"; the Department code is "96").

International Applicants may wish to review the resources of the Office of International Affairs and International Student Services.

 

CV or Resume (Optional)

Applicants can submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume if desired.

 

Application Fee

The system will charge a $100 application fee; extra fees for payment by cheque or money order apply. The fee is non-refundable. Your application will not be considered for admission until your application fee has been paid.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Graduate Admissions

When should I apply? What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 15 for 2017 entry. However, we encourage you to submit your completed application beforehand.

What are the admissions requirements?

Minimum admissions requirements as follows: 

Ph.D. Program

Applicants with a Master's degree in sociology who demonstrate an excellent record of academic achievement, a strong plan for sociological research, and a fit with the expertise of the current faculty members of the Sociology Department may be admitted to the PhD program in Sociology. Students in closely related social scientific fields, or have a strong background in sociology, also will be considered. All applicants must have a minimum B+ average in their M.A. coursework.

Please note admission is competitive: meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

I am a student with a disability. Should I mention something about this in my application?

The McMaster Sociology Department does not discriminate against students with disabilities. Applicants are urged to declare any disabilities, as well as to provide details concerning accommodations provided by their previous educational institutions, at the time of application. Such declaration is encouraged particularly in cases where it is felt that the disability may have affected past academic performance, and/or where accommodation may be required in order for the student to be successful in his/her graduate program.

The School of Graduate Studies' policy with regard to students with disabilities can be found here (Section 6.5 of the School of Graduate Studies Calendar). Further information may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or the Student Accessibility Services (x28652).

I am an international applicant. Will you recognize my degree?

Applicants educated at non-Canadian institutions should note that their educational background will be assessed for equivalency with a McMaster University degree. Unfortunately the Department of Sociology does not have the resources to pre-screen applications.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is $100. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid in Canadian dollars by means of a credit card payment or a cheque (or world money order) drawn on a Canadian bank made payable to McMaster University. Cheques (or world money order) drawn on Canadian banks should also include a $15 processing fee, for a total of $115. Cheques with insufficient funds (NSF) will result in an additional $55 fee owing.

How should I pay the application fee?

Please submit payments online a major credit card. The application fee will not be processed until the application is complete. If you pay the application fee by cheque or world money order, please send the cheque (or world money order) to the following address:

School of Graduate Studies

McMaster University

Gilmour Hall, Room 212

1280 Main Street West

Hamilton, Ontario Canada L8S 4L8

Your application will not be considered for admission until your application fee has been received.

Can my application fee be waived?

The application fee will not be waived, refunded, or deferred.

I changed my mind and do not want to go to graduate school anymore; can the application fee be refunded?

The application fee will not be refunded.

I accidentally applied for the wrong program; can this be changed, or can the application fee be refunded?

If you have applied for the wrong program, you must begin a new application for the correct program. The fee for the incorrect application cannot be refunded.

I want to apply to more than one program; do I have to submit more than one application?

If you wish to apply to more than one program, you must pay separate application fees and submit separate sets of documents for each. 

English is not my first language. Do I need to write an English exam?

If English is not your first language:

Applicants are required to submit evidence of their proficiency in the English language as part of their application. The most common evidence is a score on one of the following exams:

  • TOEFL: minimum score of 92 (internet based), 237 (computer based) or 580 (paper based)
  • IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section
  • MELAB: minimum score of 85

Applicants who have completed an academic ESL program through Canadian academic institutions may petition to have this considered in lieu of TOEFL.

Do I have to list all of my previous schools and education training?

A complete record of all post-secondary attendance is required for all applicants.

How many reference letters are required for admission?

The Sociology Department requires two (2) confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work.

What is the submission process for my referees?

McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. By entering the email address of your referee through the online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf. If for some reason you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference form here.

My referee’s contact information has changed. I have already submitted my online application; how can I edit the referee's contact information?

Please contact socgrad@mcmaster.ca with full information about your new referee including name, email, and full university mailing address.

Where can I find information on the status of my application?

You can log in to the Online Application for information on the status of your application

Can I send a hardcopy application?

No, you need to submit your application online.

Do I apply for funding at the same time as I apply for admission?

The Department of Sociology at McMaster University offers financial support of incoming graduate students to help them to excel at their studies and to complete their graduate programs in a timely manner. Funding for graduate study usually comprises a combination of monies from graduate scholarships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Many current and incoming graduate students receive additional funding from external agencies (see below).

Applicants are advised to apply for federal scholarships (not applicable for international applicants). For general information, click here.

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Program 
All Master's applicants should apply for this federal scholarship if they meet the eligibility requirements. Deadline: December 1, 2016. Please choose McMaster as one of your five choices for University.

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Doctoral Scholarships, and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships.
If you are currently in a Master's program, you are required to apply via your home university. Check with your current department for the internal deadline; typically it is in October.

Alternatively, students in health related research (social psychology) may want to apply to the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Awards.

What are the department specialties?

At the Ph.D. level, the department specializes in six main areas as described below. All students will choose two comprehensive exams from the list of five options. For more detailed descriptions, click here.

  • Social Inequality
  • Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  • Political Sociology and Social Movements
  • Sociology of Work and Occupations 

What are the degree requirements?

The McMaster University Graduate Studies Calendar provides a general description of the program of study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees offered by the department.

The Sociology Department Graduate Handbook includes up-to-date information on current courses being offered each year. Students at both the M.A. and Ph.D. level work with their graduate faculty advisor to determine which courses will be right for their course of study.

PhD Degree

Students taking a Ph.D. are required to complete a minimum of seven half (one-term) courses beyond the M.A. level that:

  1. meet the methodology requirements;
  2. meet the theory requirements;
  3. include two quarter courses on professional development (724# and 725#);
  4. include at least two 700 level courses offered by the department in addition to those taken to meet the methodology and theory requirements;
  5. include no more than one independent research course; and
  6. include no more than two graduate courses offered by another department.

In order to meet the methodology requirements at the Ph.D. level, students must receive at least a B+ in Sociology *740 (Quantitative Methodology). Students with inadequate quantitative background are required to take a one-term course in statistics *6Z3 before embarking upon Sociology *740. Students also must meet the requirements for either Historical or Qualitative methods by taking either *742 or *743 and obtain a minimum grade of B+.

Students entering the Ph.D. programme must pass one 700 level theory course (*750 or *751) with a grade of B+.

Ph.D. students must take comprehensive examinations in two substantive areas of Sociology selected from the list of areas provided by the department. It may be required to show proficiency in a foreign language if the language is necessary to their research. Students are expected to complete an approved dissertation proposal by the end of the second year. Finally, all doctoral candidates are required to complete and defend a dissertation.

 

Still have questions?

If you have additional questions about the admissions process or graduate program, please email socgrad@mcmaster.ca. If you need assistance with the technical aspect of your on-line application form, please contact sgsonline@mcmaster.ca. In both cases, please allow three to five days for a response.

 

 

 

The Department of Sociology at McMaster University offers financial support of incoming graduate students to help them to excel at their studies and to complete their graduate programs in a timely manner. Funding for graduate study usually comprises a combination of monies from graduate scholarships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Many current and incoming graduate students receive additional funding from external agencies (see below).

Applicants are advised to apply for federal scholarships (not applicable for international applicants). For general information, click here.

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Program 
All Master's applicants should apply for this federal scholarship if they meet the eligibility requirements. Deadline: December 1, 2016. Please choose McMaster as one of your five choices for University.

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Doctoral Scholarships, and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships.
If you are currently in a Master's program, you are required to apply via your home university. Check with your current department for the internal deadline; typically it is in October.

Alternatively, students in health related research (social psychology) may want to apply to the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Awards.

SOCIOL 6Z03 / Introduction to Social Statistics

SOCIOL 700 / Selected Topics in Sociology I

SOCIOL 701 / Selected Topics in Sociology II

SOCIOL 702 / Selected Topics in Sociological Approaches to Social Psychology

SOCIOL 704 / Deviance and Social Problems

SOCIOL 705 / Sociology of Organizations

SOCIOL 710 / Introduction to Research Design in Sociology

SOCIOL 711 / Sociological Perspectives in Social Psychology

SOCIOL 713 / Social Inequality

SOCIOL 714 / Political Sociology

SOCIOL 716 / Sociology of Education

SOCIOL 718 / Sociology of Work and Occupations

SOCIOL 719 / Sociology of Health and Health Care

SOCIOL 720 / Sociology of Aging

SOCIOL 724 / Doctoral Research and Professional Development Part 1

SOCIOL 725 / Doctoral Research and Professional Development Part 2

SOCIOL 730 / Supervised Research Course

SOCIOL 731 / Supervised Research Course in Sociological Approaches to Social Psychology

SOCIOL 740 / Statistical Methods for Social Research

SOCIOL 742 / Qualitative Methods

SOCIOL 743 / Historical Methods

SOCIOL 750 / Classical Sociological Theory

SOCIOL 751 / Contemporary Sociological Theory

SOCIOL 755 / Individual and Society

SOCIOL 758 / Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

SOCIOL 759 / Sociology of Gender

SOCIOL 761 / Topics in Statistical Methods for Social Research

SOCIOL 770 / Advanced Analysis of Survey Data

Sociology Graduate Handbook School of Graduate Studies PhD Comprehensive Exam
For more information:
General Graduate Studies and Admission Inquiries
KTH 627
905-525-9140 ext. 23613
socgrad@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 years (max. 6 years)
Required Credential:
Master of Arts in Sociology or a related field
Program Type:
Doctoral
Program Options:
Full-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
January 15