Learning Outcomes & Course Requirements

Graduate Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically analyze historical, global and local interconnections across social injustices.
  2. Demonstrate competency across quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods for social research.
  3. Interrogate the epistemological and ontological assumptions that underlie diverse foundational and contemporary theoretical perspectives and debates.
  4. Apply appropriate theory and methods to design original, rigorous, and ethical research to advance social justice.
  5. Demonstrate a commitment to understanding theoretical and methodological pluralism, including engaged scholarship
  6. Create and mobilize knowledge in clear and accessible written, oral and visual forms with and for multiple audiences to affect social change.
  7. Engage in ethical, professional, accountable and socially responsible behaviour through scholarly interactions.

PhD Course Requirements

PhD students are required to successfully complete a minimum of four graduate courses, normally during their first two semesters in the program:

  • PhD professional seminar (SOC*6750). This is a two-semester course that consists of a combination of several required and elective components and is expected to be completed within the first year of the program. Some elective sessions may be offered in subsequent years of the program.
  • Advanced Topics in Sociological Theory (SOC*6800). This core PhD course is required of all first-year doctoral students and must be taken in the fall semester of the first year of study.
  • Advanced Issues in Mixed Research Methodologies (SOC*6200). This core PhD Course is required of all first-year doctoral students and must be taken in the winter semester of the first year of study.
  • One required graduate course in one of the four departmental fields of specialization, as determined by the student’s area of specialization; Students advancing to the PhD program from the MA program in Sociology at the University of Guelph who have successfully completed the existing graduate course in their field of specialization are required to take an elective graduate course offered by the department or a graduate course offered in another department at the University of Guelph (selected in consultation with the student’s advisor).

Note that other than in the case noted above, no electives are required, but can be taken at student/advisor discretion.

Because admission to the PhD program normally requires a recognized MA degree in Sociology, it is anticipated that the vast majority of students entering the PhD program will have successfully completed a graduate course in sociological theory, a graduate Sociology course in qualitative methodology and a graduate Sociology course in quantitative methodology. However, if students have not successfully completed these courses prior to entering the program, they will be required to take these courses before entering the program or in addition to the required courses listed above as part of their program.

Students who do not have a background in Sociology are strongly encouraged to select additional courses offered in the Sociology program to develop a strong disciplinary knowledge base. In other words, students are expected to develop sufficiently broad sociological knowledge that goes beyond their specific field of expertise.

Students must also successfully complete a qualifying examination, a research proposal, and produce and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that has been approved by the advisory committee.

PhD Specialized Reading Courses

PhD students may take specialized graduate reading courses, which are equivalent in credits to other graduate courses. As such, students should expect a course load equivalent to other graduate courses (i.e., approximately 12-15 hours per week for 12 weeks). The procedures and restrictions pertaining to specialized reading courses are as follows:

  • Procedures: Students must find a faculty member willing to supervise a reading course. The student is then responsible for creating, with guidance from the faculty member, a detailed course outline. This outline must specify readings, grading criteria, deadlines for submission of work, and a schedule of meetings. The student must complete a Reading Course Agreement form (signed by both the student and the faculty member); the form is to be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant.
  • Restrictions:
    • Students may not request reading courses that are similar in content and/or purpose to existing departmental courses. Students must take their mandatory courses as regular courses and not as reading courses.
    • In cases where a student takes a reading course with the faculty advisor, a second reader must be appointed to also assess the student’s work.

Graduate Grade Schedule and Interpretation

Please see Appendix I for details on graduate-level grades and grade interpretation.