Program of Study

Main Building Of Notre Dame In The Spring

At Notre Dame, our program goals align with your professional goals. Every year, you’ll develop new skills that will take you another step toward your career.

View the program full program requirements

Year-by-year Guide

Year One: Build a Foundation 

You’ll establish your sociological acumen through coursework. Begin your theory and methods sequences and explore foundational topics in sociology. Participate in workshops to put your finger on the pulse of cutting edge trends in specific subfields. Under the guidance of a faculty member, you’ll work as a research apprentice on an ongoing project, learning the tools of the trade by putting them to use.

Year Two: Demonstrate your skills

Design and conduct your own original research for your master’s thesis. Working under the guidance of your advisor and faculty committee, you’ll take on your own independent research project. These are the first steps as a professional sociologist, as you write an article-length manuscript for publication. 

Year Three: Display mastery by presenting and publishing your research 

You’ll present your thesis at our department symposium to develop your public speaking skills. We encourage you to submit your work to the American Sociological Association annual meeting. Generous travel funds will support you if your paper is accepted. You’ll polish your master’s thesis for publication. You’ll prove your command of two major bodies of sociological literature when you take your area exams. 

Year Four: Follow your passion 

Your dissertation is where you use your research skills to answer whatever questions drive you. This is the research that will put you on the map. You’ll propose your project and begin work on your dissertation in earnest. You’ll also find passion in the classroom as you teach your own class. 

Year Five: Make your mark

You’ll finish writing your dissertation, and begin publishing your findings. You’ll also go through our job market workshops that will help prepare you to find a job and keep it. 

For all the nitty-gritty details on our program requirements, check out The Sociology Graduate Guide.

Documents for Current Students