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2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin

Graduate Department of


College of Social Sciences and Public Policy


Chair: Kathryn Tillman; Professors: Barrett, Brewster, Burdette, Carr, Davis, Reynolds, Rohlinger, Sanyal, Schrock, J. Taylor, M. Taylor, Tillman, Ueno; Associate Professors: Hauer, Homan, M. McFarland, Waggoner; Assistant Professors: Buggs, Singh; Teaching Faculty III: Munson; Teaching Faculty I: Roach; Professors Emeriti: Carlson, Eberstein, Fendrich, Ford, Hardy, Hazelrigg, Isaac, Kinloch, Martin, Nam, Orcutt, Padavic, Quadagno; Affiliate Faculty: Gundogan, C. McFarland, Modi, Perez-Felkner, Schwabe

The Department of Sociology offers graduate degree programs leading to the Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. The department's primary objective is to enable students in our graduate programs to become scholars who are able to conduct high-quality, innovative research and to provide the education and training that will serve as a basis for independent or collaborative research, depending on the individual graduate's professional goals. Our graduates typically secure jobs as professors at research universities and liberal arts colleges or as researchers in non-profits and government agencies. Requirements for the degrees as well as other rules and procedures are listed in the Guide to Graduate Studies in Sociology, a document that is updated as changes are made in the program. Information about the Department of Sociology, its graduate programs, and faculty is available at

The Department of Sociology is located in the Bellamy Building in the heart of Florida State University campus and includes such resources as the Meyer Nimkoff Conference Room, the Sociology Library, the departmental computer laboratory for graduate students, student workspaces, and a supply/mail room where students have individual mailboxes. Some faculty also are affiliated with the Center for Demography and Population Health (also located in Bellamy) and the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, where they and their students have access to additional facilities. In addition to these interdisciplinary research units, some faculty also are affiliated with the Master's in Public Health, Bachelor's in Public Health, and African American Studies programs, all of which are interdisciplinary academic programs housed within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

Requirements for Admission

Minimum admission requirements are established by the state of Florida and enforced by the Graduate School. The minimum requirement for entry into our graduate programs is a 3.0 grade point average for the last two years of undergraduate study and adequate GRE scores comparable to both present and past cohorts. It is also desirable for applicants to have received a "C" or higher grade in a college-level course in statistics. All applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, an official copy of all transcripts, a writing sample, and a statement of purpose. Admission to the program is decided by the Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions who considers the recommendations of the Graduate Admissions Committee.

Applications must be received by January 1st of the year preceding their proposed entry into the graduate program. Details on how to apply are found here:

Financial Aid

The Department of Sociology makes every effort to provide financial assistance for students seeking the PhD degree. Financial aid possibilities include fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Students who receive financial assistance and make expected progress may receive support for up to five years.

Master's Degree

A minimum of thirty-three semester hours is required, with at least twenty-one hours on a letter-grade basis in graduate level courses in the Department of Sociology. Students must satisfactorily complete the following list of required courses and have their master's paper approved by their supervisory committee. Required courses are as follows:

SYA 5018 Social Theory (3)

SYA 5305 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (3)

SYA 5315 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (3)

SYA 5357 Developing Sociological Research (3)

SYA 5406 Multivariate Analysis (3)

SYA 5515 Sociological Research Practicum (1)

SYA 5516 Reporting Sociological Research (1)

SYA 5625r Proseminar (1) (S/U grade only)

Elective courses: a minimum of nine semester hours

Master's Research Paper

To receive a MS degree in sociology (traditional option only), students must successfully complete a qualifying research paper. The qualifying research paper entails a research project leading to an article-length manuscript (about twenty-five pages.) The paper must be submitted to and be approved by a committee of three sociology faculty members.

Doctoral Degree

Formal admission to the doctoral program requires the approval of the Graduate Admissions Committee and Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions. Students with master's degrees from other institutions enter the doctoral program after they have completed the departmental core requirements and after their previous graduate work has been evaluated and approved by the faculty. Students officially become a candidate for the PhD degree upon successful completion of the major area preliminary examination. Students admitted to the doctoral program must complete the following for the doctoral degree:

  • Complete appropriate courses in student's program area and a seminar in teaching sociology
  • A written examination in the student's major program area
  • Teaching of an undergraduate course
  • A doctoral dissertation


Doctoral students are required to complete five courses in their selected area of study:

Demography addresses issues related to birth, marriage, health, death, and migration (within and between nations), including a focus on how demographic events affect and are affected by social institutions and processes.

Health and Aging addresses issues raised by several social phenomena, including changing life course patterns, aging populations, and social patterning of mental and physical health. Topics examined in courses include the transition to adulthood, work and retirement later in life, intergenerational relationships, aging-related social policies, and gender, race, and class differences in health.

Inequalities and Social Justice involves the study of race, gender, and class inequality, social movements mobilized to effect social change, inequality in work and labor markets, and political processes contributing to or helping ameliorate inequality.

Additional requirements are as follows:

SYA 5407 Advanced Quantitative Methods (3)

SYA 5969 Prospectus Writing Seminar (1)

  • Three semester hours of SYA 6660, Teaching at the College Level in Sociology
  • Fifteen semester hours of five major area courses
  • Six semester hours of two sociology elective courses
  • Written preliminary exam in major area
  • Doctoral dissertation

Definition of Prefixes


SYA—Sociological Analysis

SYD—Sociology of Demography/Area Studies/Sociological Minorities

SYO—Social Organization

SYP—Social Processes

Graduate Courses

Professional development courses

SYA 5357. Developing Sociological Research (3). (S/U grade only.) In this course, master's students investigate how sociologists develop research projects.

SYA 5507. Writing Seminar for Social Scientists (3). This course provides a systematic approach to learning about writing for academic publication. Students learn how to draw their writing in line with their readers' expectations and how to craft logical arguments.

SYA 5515. Sociological Research Practicum (0–3). (S/U grade only). Prerequisites: SYA 5305, 5455. Corequisite: SYA 5971r. This course provides hands-on experience in formulating questions for sociological research and developing a master's paper research project. In concert with a faculty supervisor, students write a report of a theoretical or empirical problem of sociological relevance. Students must simultaneously enroll for two credit hours in Master's Paper Research, SYA 5971r, with a supervising faculty member.

SYA 5516. Reporting Sociological Research (1–3). (S/U grade only). Prerequisite: SYA 5515. In this course, students critique each other's work, revise drafts, and arrive at a final version of their master's research paper. Students also prepare to present their papers at professional conferences or submit them for publication. Overall, the seminar develops students' skills as writers, critics, editors, and presenters of academic research.

SYA 5625r. Proseminar in Sociology (0-3). This course introduces students to issues they will confront as professional sociologists in colleges and universities and government or private contexts. Content reflects developments in the discipline.

SYA 5969. Prospectus Writing Seminar (1). (S/U grade only.) This course bridges the space between successful completion of prelims and defending a dissertation prospectus in sociology. Students read selections from several prospectus-writing "How To" books, study examples of past sociology dissertation proposals that vary in methodological approach and area of concentration, complete a progressive series of assignments designed to make steady progress on their proposals, and workshop classmates' dissertation ideas. In this course, students complete a full working draft of the dissertation prospectus.

SYA 6660. Teaching at the College Level in Sociology (3). This course is a graduate seminar focusing on pedagogical issues and practical problems in teaching sociology at the college and university levels.

SYA 6936r. Selected Topics in Research Methods (3). Prerequisite: SYA 5406. This seminar is devoted to current issues in sociological methods. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

Theory and Methods Courses

SYA 5018. Sociological Theory (3). This course introduces key ideas in sociological theory, focusing on contemporary approaches and how such approaches have responded to the classical tradition. In its consideration of fundamental themes and enduring questions about social life, this course incorporates critical perspectives on central axes of social inequality.

SYA 5305. Introduction to Research Methods (3). Reviews rationales for performing sociological research and examines the relationship between sociological theory and research design. Reviews the dimensions of research, e.g., measurement theory, definition and concept formation, strategies of theory testing, adequacies and deficiencies of different research designs, statistical and causal inference.

SYA 5315. Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology (3). A seminar in qualitative research methods that allows for the systematic collection and analysis of (non-numeric) observational and interview data obtained from individuals, social groups and organizations.

SYA 5406. Multivariate Analysis (3). Prerequisites: SYA 5305 and 5455. Covers the general linear model and application of a variety of techniques derived from this model to the analysis of data common to social science. Techniques include partial correlation, multiple regression, analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and contingency table analysis. Reviews assumptions of models and methods for handling violations of the assumptions.

SYA 5407. Advanced Quantitative Methods (3). Prerequisites: SYA 5305, 5406, 5455. The fourth course in a sequence. Deals with recursive and non-recursive structural equation models, the identification problem, and issues in estimation and statistical inference. Additional topics include time-ordered data (time-series and panel models), the causal approach to measurement error and latent variables equation context, and current developments in quantitative analysis in sociology.

SYA 5458. Social Statistics and Data Analysis for Public Health (3). This course provides students with the basic data management skills necessary for carrying out quantitative analysis and presenting the results to both lay and professional audiences in public health.

SYA 6933r. Selected Topics in Sociology (3). This course covers various topics in Sociology. May be repeated to a maximum of fifteen (15) credit hours; repeatable within the same term.

SYA 6936r. Selected Topics in Research Methods (3). This seminar is devoted to current issues in sociological methods.


DEM 5906r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). (S/U grade only). Readings in an area of demography with subject tailored to the student. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.

DEM 5930r. Special Topics in Demography (3). Prerequisite: SYD 5135. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

DEM 5972r. Master's Research Paper in Demography (3–6). (S/U grade only). Preparation of a research paper which draws on theory, methods, and subject matter of demography and which meets the standards for submission to a professional journal. Topic varies with student. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.

SYD 5045. Introduction to Demography (3). Introduces the scope and content of population study, with attention to demographic theories, data, and research; factors affecting population change, mortality, fertility, mobility, and population composition and distribution; and empirical and policy consequences of population dynamics.

SYD 5046. International Population Dynamics (3). Prerequisite: Graduate student status. This seminar emphasizes the exploration and mastery of literature from demographic and other social science professional journals, related to issues of population dynamics in comparative global context. In addition to discussion and writing related to these readings as specified in the syllabus, seminar participants also complete independent original research projects involving synthesis of this literature, formulation of an original hypothesis, and where appropriate, testing of such a hypothesis through original empirical data analysis. Such products of research ideally may be presented as conference papers and/or submitted for journal publication.

SYD 5105. Population Theory (3). A seminar on historical and contemporary population thought and theory, with emphasis on critical evaluation of different ideas and theoretical frameworks useful for demographic analysis.

SYD 5133. Population Data (3). This course is a graduate seminar and core entry course for the applied Master of Science in Demography Interdisciplinary degree. It covers acquisition of data from censuses, vital statistics, and surveys; basic demographic and statistical techniques to evaluate data quality and make estimates and projections; and application of such data to decisions in business, government, education, health care and other applied settings.

SYD 5135. Techniques of Population Analysis (3). This course covers techniques of demographic data collection and evaluation as well as measurement of population processes, composition, and distribution, and social and economic characteristics of population.

SYD 5215. Health and Survival (3). Reviews conceptual and theoretical approaches, measurement problems, analytical strategies, and literature in the areas of morbidity and mortality.

SYD 5235. Population Mobility (3). This course concerns spatial mobility within and among human populations, including urbanization and other internal migration as well as international migration. This seminar reviews theories to explain population mobility and also explores consequences of such movements for other features of social organization and change. Original independent research is required as part of the course.

SYD 5225. Fertility (3). Addresses global trends in human fertility, conceptual approaches to the study of fertility, and policies that affect it.

SYO 5177. Family Demography (3). This course examines the changes in family behaviors and household relationships from a demographic perspective. Materials are drawn not only from demographic literature on the family, but also from sociology, economics and history. The focus is on issues such as union formation and dissolution, family relationships, childbearing, parenthood, and work, to consider explanations for changing family forms, focusing primarily upon post-World War II America.

Health and Aging

SYD 5136. Life Course Epidemiology (3). This course integrates classic social epidemiology and life course sociology to account for historical contingencies and individual biographical experience, in addition to current circumstances, to explain social inequalities in the distribution of chronic illnesses and noncommunicable diseases.

SYO 5416. Stress and Mental Health (3). This course in the sociology of mental health and substance problems focuses on the role of social stress and the stress process. Theories and measurement of disorder and of stress exposure are considered, along with evidence on factors that increase and decrease risk for mental health and substance use problems.

SYO 5450. Gendered Bodies Over the Life Course (3). This course integrates three areas of sociological research (gender and sexuality, bodies, and health) to examine how gender is woven into embodiment over the entire life course.

SYO 6407. Race, Ethnicity and Health (3). This course reviews current research and theory on the connections between race and/or ethnic status in regard to physical and mental health. Students In the seminar review scholarly work in multiple disciplines and professions to identify empirical trends and theoretical explanations for patterns that these trends reveal.

SYP 5738. Aging Policies and Services (3). This course examines current federal and state policy, and the dilemmas faced by older people for which these policies are needed. The course uses both political economy and the long-term care continuum including independence and dependence to examine these policies and dilemmas. The course addresses policy implementation and impact from the perspective of the political arena, and the impact on the aged and their families. Some examples of policy issues include income security, health insurance, transportation, and dementia care.

Inequalities and Social Justice

SYD 5705. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (3). This seminar examines sociological concepts and theories utilized to explain dominant-subordinate relations in society. Applies various frameworks to the study of contemporary U.S. ethnic and race relations.

SYD 5817. Contemporary Theories of Gender (3). The course critically examines contemporary gender theories; explores how feminist theorizing affects mainstream social theory; and asks how gender intersects with other forms of structured inequality (race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class). Topics include core themes in gender scholarship; affinities and dialogues with other traditions; origins of feminist theories; conceptualizing gender and the field of gender relations; and theorizing on substantive and political issues.

SYO 5306. Political Sociology (3). Offers intensive study of sociopolitical processes, structures, and institutions of modern society. Topics include relations of power, authority, and legitimacy; state formations; collective action and revolution; structures of domination and hegemony; socialization and political identity formation; and processes of global integration.

SYO 5335. Sociology of Political Economy (3). Broad overview on the macro-sociology of political and economic institutions and historical dynamics governing their interplay. Issues include perspectives in political economy, economic organization in the historical development of U.S. capitalism; economic cycles, waves, and periodization in capitalist development; theories of the state; institutionalized and non-institutionalized political processes; politics of class and the labor movement; and macro-distributional processes (market and non-market) that foster structured inequalities.

SYO 5376. Sociology of Gender and Work (3). A political-economic analysis of the organization of work, production and reproduction of labor, and linkages between work in the market and work in the home relative to gender. Topics include occupational sex segregation, segmented labor markets, dialectics of paid and unpaid labor, comparable worth, bureaucracy, emotional work, domestic labor, and strategies for change.

SYO 5535. Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender (3). This seminar reviews theories of inequality in contemporary societies. Research on inequality and social mobility in the U.S. and other nations is also reviewed, with a focus on conceptualization and measurement.

SYO 5547. Race and Gender in Organizations (3). This seminar examines the forces that create, maintain, and erode inequalities for racial minorities, women, and immigrants in organizations, with an emphasis on work organizations. Course material draws from theory and research sociology, organizational behavior, social psychology, and legal studies.

SYO 5936. Media and Society (3). This seminar surveys some of the research outlining the influence of mass media on individuals, institutions, and culture. Students will pay attention to both "old" media (e.g., Television and newspapers) and "new" media (e.g., websites and social media) and broadly explores how technological changes effect social institutions and society.

SYO 6255. Race and Class in Education (3). This course provides an overview of several central themes in the sociology of education – the relationship between educational systems and capitalism, trends in educational inequalities, school segregation, attempts to reform public education, and educational inequality in comparative perspective.

SYO 6538r. Advanced Research Seminar In Stratification and Inequality (3–9). An advanced seminar where students work closely with a faculty member to explore the latest theory, research, and developments in social stratification and inequality. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

SYP 5005. Social Interaction (3). This course addresses the three major sociological perspectives on social interaction—symbolic interactionism, dramaturgy, and ethnomethodology—focusing on how these approaches address epistemology, time, interaction rules, intersubjectivity, identity, emotions, language, social organization, micropolitics, inequality, reproduction, and politics and social change.

SYP 5065. Sexuality over the Life Course (3). This course introduces the sociological literature on sexuality. Drawing from social psychological theories and life course perspective, the following questions are pursued; (1) How do sexual behaviors change across life stages? (2) What influences and is influenced by sexuality in each life stage? and (3) How does sexuality influence life trajectories? The course pays special attention to social inequality issues.

SYP 5305. Collective Behavior and Social Movements (3). Seminar on theories and research about collective behavior and social movements. Particular movements are studied relative to competing theories of mobilization.

SYP 6356. Sociology of the Contemporary Women's Movement (3). Seminar reviews theories of social movements relative to the second wave feminist movement. Issues include labor market/workplace equality, violence against women, economic, political and cultural issues (poverty, family, marriage, sexuality) relative to women's collective organization and mobilizing.


SYA 5507. Writing Seminar for Social Scientists (3). This course provides a systematic approach to learning about writing for academic publication. Students learn how to draw their writing in line with their reader's expectations and how to craft logical arguments.

SYA 5625r. Proseminar in Sociology (0–3). (S/U grade only). This course introduces students to issues they will confront as professional sociologists in colleges and universities and government or private contexts. Content reflects developments in the discipline. May be repeated to a maximum of three semester hours.

SYA 5907r. Directed Individual Study (3). (S/U grade only). Prerequisite: Instructor permission and departmental chairperson. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

SYA 5909r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). (S/U grade only). Prerequisite: Instructor permission and departmental chairperson. Credit can vary. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

SYA 5912r. Supervised Research (1–5). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of five semester hours.

SYA 5946r. Supervised Teaching (1–5). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of five semester hours.

SYA 5971r. Master's Paper Research (0–6). (S/U grade only). Research project leading to a paper that is required for the master's degree. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.

SYA 6660. Teaching at the College Level in Sociology (3). A graduate seminar focusing on pedagogical issues and practical problems in teaching sociology at the college and university levels.

SYA 6933r. Selected Topics in Sociology (3). This course covers various topics in Sociology. May be repeated to a maximum of fifteen (15) credit hours; repeatable within the same term.

SYA 6980r. Dissertation (1–12). (S/U grade only). This course endeavors to provide competency in conducting original research that adds to sociological knowledge.

SYA 8962r. Major Area Doctoral Preliminary Exam (0). (P/F grade only.)

SYA 8967r. Preparation for Major Area Preliminary Exam (1–12). (S/U grade only). A mechanism for graduate students to use in preparing for the required comprehensive exam in their major area of study. May be repeated to a maximum of twenty-four semester hours.

SYA 8976. Master's Paper Completion (0). (S/U grade only). A method for showing approval of the required master's paper.

SYA 8985r. Dissertation Defense (0). (P/F grade only.)

SYP 5105. Theories of Social Psychology (3). Course examines the major theoretical orientations in contemporary social psychology. Special attention is given to sociologically relevant perspectives such as symbolic interactionism, exchange theory, social learning theory, expectations states/status characteristics theory, emotions work theory, and Goffman's dramatization theory.