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In addition to the general requirements (see section titled, The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy listed in this calendar), the following requirements must be met by all students proceeding to the Ph.D. degree in Sociology.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the PhD program in Sociology applicants must hold a Master's degree in Sociology (or equivalent) from a recognized university. Possession of the minimum academic requirements does not ensure acceptance.

Applicants must apply by January 31.

Applicants must include the following:
(a) transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. (Transcripts must be sent directly from the institution);

(b) a statement (up to 500 words) addressing the two following questions: (i) How have you been involved in social justice issues through research, work, or community activity; And (ii) How do you envision your research contributing to social justice;

(c) a statement of a proposed area for dissertation research;

(d) a sample of written work (e.g., a term paper, thesis proposal, published work);

(e) three letters of reference in sealed envelopes with the referee's signature across the seal. At least two should be academic references. One letter should be from the MA supervisor; one can be from a non-academic referee who has been in a supervisory or mentor role. These may be sent by the applicant or under separate cover by the referees.

In addition to assessing the submissions made by the applicant to determine admissibility, the Graduate Committee takes into account (i) the availability of faculty to advise, supervise, and provide funding and research training in conjunction with their own research projects, and (ii) the diversity of subject areas represented in the applicant pool.

Program Overview

Doctoral Committee

Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, the Graduate Committee will assign an interim faculty advisor whose research and teaching coincide with the applicant's area of interest. Students may submit a request to the Graduate Committee for a particular advisor.

Research undertaken as part of the doctoral program is directed by a doctoral committee consisting of an advisor from the graduate faculty of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, two other faculty members from inside the department, and one faculty member from outside the department. The student should select the doctoral committee by the end of the first academic year. The membership of the doctoral committee must be approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Course work

Ph.D. students are required to complete five (5) graduate courses, including 48-600 and either 48-605 or 48-606. Proficiency in both quantitative and qualitative methods is required through completion of course work at the M.A. or Ph.D. level. Those without evidence of prior preparation may be required to take additional courses.

The minimum passing grade in a graduate course is “B-”. A student who fails to achieve a grade of “B-”in a graduate course may repeat the course once (scheduling considerations may require the Graduate Committee to substitute an alternative course). If a student fails to achieve a grade of “B-” in their second attempt, or fails to achieve a grade of “B-” in two courses, a recommendation will normally be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw from the program.

One course from the following list of social justice courses may be included to complete the course work requirement:

Humanities Research Group: 09-599
Communication Studies: 40-501, 40-512, 40-515
History: 43-505, 43-506, 43-507, 43-508, 43-509, 43-510
Psychology: 46-657, 46-660
Social Work: 47-520, 47-521, 47-522 and 47-540
Nursing: 63-588
Business: 71-647

Permission may be required from the department or program offering the course. Advance permission from the departmental Graduate Committee is required in order to take any courses outside the Sociology program.

Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Proposal

After completion of all course requirements, students must demonstrate mastery of two established and distinct fields of sociological inquiry through satisfactory completion of two comprehensive examinations. Comprehensive examinations serve as preparatory work for the dissertation and enable students to develop recognized areas of expertise for teaching and career purposes.

Comprehensive Exams:
(a) Two comprehensive exams are required in the following areas: Social Theory, Methodology, Crime and Regulation, Culture and Power, Social Inequality, or Social Change, at least one of which must be in either Social Theory or Methodology.

(b) Students may nominate a Comprehensive Examination Committee of three faculty members for each area in which they will be examined from a list of graduate faculty in that area of competence. The Graduate Committee must approve the composition of each committee.

(c) Responsibility for setting each exam rests with the Comprehensive Examination Committee. It is the responsibility of the committee to ensure that the questions for a student's two comprehensive exams are distinct and without duplication. These exams and committees will be monitored by the Graduate Committee.

(d) The comprehensive examinations will have a take-home format. The exam will be given to the student seven (7) days before it is due. The students will be given three (3) questions and must answer two (2) of the questions.

(e) Once a written comprehensive examination is submitted to the Comprehensive Examination Committee, the Committee has up to four weeks to schedule an oral defense meeting. At the end of the oral defense, a grade of pass or fail will be assigned by the Committee based on both compoents. Individual Committee members may submit written feedback to the student. In the even that a student fails the comprehensive examination, the Committee is required to provide a written explanation within five (5) working days.

(f) If a student fails a comprehensive examination, he or she may retake the examination once only at the discretion of the Head of the Department and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

(g) Students failing a comprehensive exam after a second attempt will be required to withdraw from the program.

(h) Students cannot move on to another comprehensive exam until one comprehensive exam has been successfully completed.

(i) The student has a right to appeal a failed comprehensive exam by sending a written letter to the Graduate Committee, detailing the reason(s) for the appeal.

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal should be a concise document of no more than 20 pages that discusses: the central research topic of the dissertation; the significance and advancement research literature; the theoretical framework guiding the research; proposed research methods; a plan and schedule for completion of the thesis; the feasibility of the research project; and ethical issues raised by the research. The grant proposal format mandated by such major funding agencies as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council or the Canadian Institutes for Health Research can be used as a standard format for the proposal.

The dissertation proposal must be approved at a meeting of the doctoral committee before the research can proceed. The purpose of the meeting is to reach an agreement that the research is well-designed, feasible, and appropriately grounded in the relevant research literature. All doctoral students are required to comply with the ethical principles, values, and standards of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association's Code of Ethics. A proposal for doctoral research involving human subjects must be approved by the University of Windsor Ethics Review Board before dissertation research can begin.

Dissertation Research

The dissertation is normally a book-length manuscript that makes an original contribution to knowledge. The dissertation should display a sophisticated awareness of the theoretical, methodological, and practical choices made during the research process and the implications of the research.

Dissertation research and writing processes vary significantly, depending on the methods used and preferences in working style. The student and supervisor should meet often during the research process, reviewing written work at regular intervals. The full doctoral committee shall meet for an assessment of progress at least twice a year.

The dissertation research process culminates with an oral defence. The doctoral committee will recommend to the candidate when the thesis is ready to defend. An examiner from outside the university will be selected by the doctoral committee for the final defence of the dissertation, subject to the approval of the Department Head and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The external examiner must be a nationally or internationally recognized expert in the area of the candidate's research. The external examiner does not participate in the direction of the research project, but appraises the dissertation and participates in the final oral examination.