Graduate Handbook


FIRST YEAR: Fall semester requirements


Statistics I. This course provides an introduction to probability theory, sampling theory, distribution and measurement theory, linear regression and the general linear model.

Theory. This course will be taught by a rotating group of faculty. Rather than specializing in one or another theorist or perspective, it will survey theoretical ideas from classical to modern to contemporary debates. The course may be organized around themes or consider significant theorists one by one. It will provide a synthetic overview of conceptual issues and ways of thinking that mark the sociological imagination. 

Logic of Social Research.  

The seminar is an intensive introduction into the methodology of the social sciences. It covers such topics as concepts and indicators, propositions and theory, explanation and understanding, observation and measurement, methods of data collection, types of data, units of analysis and levels of variables, research design inference, description and causal modeling, verification and falsification. The course involves both the study of selected texts and the analysis and evaluation of recent research papers.

Proseminar. Offered during the first semester, biweekly, students will be presented with the full range of current faculty work. Very little student preparation will be required, and no examinations or papers. Students register as Audit for this required course.

Two electives. Courses of your choosing, can be outside of department with DGS’s approval.

Waivers. Students entering the program with Masters Degrees will be eligible for up to two courses of reduction, with the DGS and Dean’s approval. These reductions may apply to electives or to the statistics requirements, but may not apply to Theory or Designing Social Research. Please let the Registrar and the DGS know if you are interested in possible waivers.                                     

FIRST YEAR: Spring semester requirements


Statistics II. Continuation of work from Statistics I.

3 electives (must have DGS approval if outside of department).

Workshop. (may audit)                          

Course Requirements: 12 seminars to be completed in first and second year.  Four required courses and eight electives, including one workshop.

SECOND YEAR: Fall semester requirements

One or more electives.                                       

Workshop. One semester of workshop is required. Credit will be conferred when students do the full range of readings and present a final paper in the workshop. Students are encouraged to audit workshops outside of their specialties. 

Second Year Research Paper preparation

SECOND YEAR: Spring semester requirements

One or more electives.

Workshop. For credit, either fall or spring of 2nd year

2nd Year Research Paper Completion. (by May 5, 2023). In addition to finishing the course requirements, which should be no more than four courses in the second year, the student’s second year focus will be on formulating, researching, writing, presenting, and revising an extended paper. This paper will be supervised by a committee of two faculty members, the chair of which will be the student’s Academic Advisor (see under Mentoring and Advising, below). Initial discussion of this paper begins at the conclusion of the second semester, and a proposal will be formally developed at the beginning of the third semester. A draft of this paper must be presented in a Workshop in the course of the second year. After receiving feedback from Workshop participants, and the Workshop’s faculty organizers, students will revise the paper in consultation with their committee, who will evaluate it by the end of the second year of study.

The aim of this second year Research Paper is to kickstart the process of writing for publication. This paper should identify a theoretical controversy, methodological problem, or empirical puzzle. By making use of systematically generated evidence – whether gained from theoretical argument, secondary literature, or survey, archival, interview, or participant observation data – the student should adjudicate between these theoretical claims, address the methodological problem in a new way, or solve the empirical puzzle. Primary research will not be expected. The result of this effort will not necessarily be itself a publishable paper, but it will be a significant step towards this goal. Limited to around 30 pages, it will represent a reasonable product of one year’s part-time work. The second year Research Paper may or may not be related to the student’s subsequent graduate work. The Registrar has sample copies, please email with any requests.

Due May 5, 2023

Student submits the paper to the committee.

The Registrar will need a copy and committee members’ names at that time.

This is a strict deadline and students should not plan on any extensions.

Students should ask the committee to email the Registrar with their approval. Approvals should be sent in by June 3, 2022.

THIRD YEAR: Fall semester requirements

Teaching Fellowship – required for all 3rd year students.  Please see Guidelines under General Information, Teaching Fellowships section.

Field Exam Completion. The Field Exam must be completed by December 9, 2022.  Students may take either a General Field Exam or a Special Field Exam. The General Field Exam is based on a 50-item reading list prepared by the Faculty and may be taken in one of the following areas: 1) Race and Urban; 2) Inequality and Life Course; 3) Culture and Theory; 4) Political and Historical; 5) Economic and Organizational; 6) Health and Medicine. Reading lists can be found on the Yale Sociology website (or the Registrar can email you copies). General Field Exams take the form of critical review essays. They combine a general overview of the development of a subfield along with critical reflections on unresolved issues. The Special Field Exam is based on a reading list of equivalent length prepared by the student in consultation with two members of the Faculty.  They are narrower in focus, but delve more deeply into the literature.  The Special Field Exam should identify cutting edge theoretical debates and research questions within the defined area. The field exam will be evaluated similarly to the Second Year Paper, by a committee of two faculty members, composed of the student’s Academic Advisor and another faculty member chosen in consultation with the student. Please email the Registrar to request sample copies of field exams.

Due December 9, 2022.

Students submit the exam to the committee.

The Registrar will need a copy and committee members’ names at that time.

This is a strict deadline and students should not plan on any extensions.

Students should have the committee members email the Registrar with approval.

Approvals are due by January 13, 2023.

THIRD YEAR: Spring semester requirements

Teaching Fellowship.  Please see Guidelines under General Information, Teaching Fellowships section.

Dissertation Prospectus Completion. Students will be required to appoint the Chair and two other members of the dissertation committee. By the end of the 3rd year, the student will be expected to defend the Dissertation Prospectus in an oral examination, with the committee. The Prospectus should include (a) statement of the research problem, (b) elaboration of how the candidate will go about solving the problem, i.e. research design or equivalent, (c) discussion of sources or data to be used and, if appropriate, the methodology, (d) an outline of the planned chapters. 

Due May 5, 2022. 

Prospectus defense deadline.

After defense, email the completed dissertation prospectus form, signed by the committee, and a copy of the prospectus to the Registrar.

This is a strict deadline and students should not plan on any extensions.

FOURTH YEAR:  2021-22 requirements

Teaching Fellowship both semesters.  Please see Guidelines under General Information, Teaching Fellowships section.

Dissertation Research/Writing. While students are expected to take their prospectus exams by the end of their third year – and to pass this exam no later than the beginning of their 4th year – we recognize that student progress through the subsequent, dissertation phase of the program will be variable. Graduate School funding during the fifth year is now offered as the University Dissertation Fellowship (application is no longer necessary).

The dissertation represents a test of the candidate’s ability to select and carry out a major research project of professional quality. It should show the student’s mastery of the field of specialization, and it must demonstrably contribute to the body of sociological knowledge. The evaluation of the dissertation by the faculty is not a matter of whether or not the prospectus, as approved, was carried out. Rather, it is an independent assessment of the quality and intellectual contribution of the completed research itself as reported in the dissertation.

As well as the traditional style of dissertation we also allow essay style dissertations (normally three essays on a given topic together with an introduction and conclusion).

Students will be required to complete a dissertation progress report (dpr) online annually.

FIFTH YEAR: 2021-22 requirements

Dissertation Research/Writing

University Dissertation Fellowship. The UDF (University Dissertation Fellowship) is now automatic, applications are no longer necessary. Please contact during the summer before your 5th year to verify the UDF.                

SIXTH YEAR:  2021-22 information

Teaching fellowships are now guaranteed for Sociology graduate students that are planning on submitting their dissertation by the end of the sixth year.


When a student is submitting the dissertation, the Graduate School now asks that the student notify the department of intention to submit (deadline for Fall 2021: September 1, 2021 and Spring 2022: February 14, 2022.  Please confirm the Registrar receive your readers information.

There are two parts to submitting:

1. Sociology Department requirement: Please email me (yashika.williams@yale.eduyour intent to submit by the term deadline. At that time, I will need your readers contact information ( Name, title, email, address, phone, institution, and department).

2. Graduate School requirementSubmission Information:


Dissertation submission deadlines:

October 1 for fall degree conferral

A PDF copy of your dissertation may be submitted using the degree petition page in the Dissertation Progress Reporting and Submission (DPRS) site at any time within the academic year. Dissertations submitted after the above semester deadlines will be processed for the following degree date

 Final changes must be uploaded in DPRS within 30 days of the submission deadline. To make changes to your dissertation after it has been submitted, email

Upon submission of your dissertation and approval of readers by the DGS, a pdf copy of your dissertation will be automatically sent to all readers.

Upon request from a reader, students are required to and responsible for mailing a soft-bound copy of the dissertation to their reader.

Submitting Degree Petition and Dissertation in DPRS:

The Degree Petition page in DPRS consists of the degree petition, links to required surveys, and site to upload a pdf of your dissertation. No paper submission is required.

​The dissertation title is populated from the most recent Dissertation Progress Report. You can change the final title on the petition page by clicking the “No” radio button and modifying the title. Click the save button at the bottom of the page to save title prior to submitting the dissertation

Survey of Earned Doctorates – submission confirmation page

GSAS Exit Survey – submission confirmation page

ProQuest (ETD) Publication Agreement – detail page

Upload a pdf of your dissertation

Degree Petition and Dissertation Submission Instructional Video

Additional Questions?

Dissertation Office:  

Barbara Withington:

Claudia Schiavone:

Formatting the Doctoral Dissertation

Physical Requirements:

Double Spaced

Exceptions: block quotations, bibliographic references, captions, footnotes should be Single Spaced, with double space between each entry

Saved as a pdf copy to be uploaded on the Degree Petition and Dissertation Submission page in DPRS

No paper copy needs to be submitted

Margins: One-inch margin on all sides

Page Numbers

0.5 inch from any edge

Preliminary pages are numbered with lower-case roman numerals, except title page and copyright page which are not numbered. The page following the copyright will be numbered (iii) and additional pages will be numbered sequentially

The dissertation proper begins with Arabic number “1” and runs consecutively to the end            

Font Size

10- to 12-point font

Same font type should be used throughout including header, footnotes, page numbers

Order of Sections:


Title Page

Copyright Page

Table of Contents

Front Matter (acknowledgements, list of illustrations or tables, etc.)

Body of Text

Back Matter (Appendices, bibliography, supplemental figures and tables, etc.


Placed Immediately preceding the title page

Heading centered on page

Dissertation title and name of author must match title page

Text of abstract below the heading, double spaced



Full title of dissertation

Full name of author

Year of PhD award (e.g., 20XX)

Title Page

All text centered

Month and year of conferral (e.g., May or June 20XX, or December 20XX)

See attached example at end of guide

Copyright Notice:

Typed 3 inches below top margin

Format includes copyright symbol ©


© 20__ by Student’s Name

All rights reserved.

Note: the copyright available through ProQuest is optional and an additional fee.

Tables and Figures:

Tables placed as close as possible to their mention in the text.

Heading at top of table

Consecutive numbering throughout, or by chapter (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2)

Captions placed at bottom

(Sample Title Page)

Dissertation Title: Subtitle

(first letter of each word in title should be capitalized)

A Dissertation

Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School


Yale University

In Candidacy for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy


[Full Name of Author]

Dissertation Director: [Full  Name of the Advisor(s)]

(or chairperson of advisory committee)

Month Year

(month of graduation, not of submission)


Online Course Selections (OCS) are due by August 29, 2022 in the Fall semester.  They are due by January 21, 2023 in the Spring semester. Any changes after the OCS deadline, please complete the course schedule change notification form and return it to the Registrar (the Registrar can send you a copy). The deadline to change enrollment in a Fall-term course from Credit to Audit and from Audit to Credit is October 29, 2021. The deadline in the Spring term is March 6, 2022. You may not add a course after the OCS deadlines, except with the Dean’s permission.

Mentoring and Advising: The DGS will be the “general advisor” for entering first year students and will continue to be responsible for monitoring students’ progress through the program.  However, during their first year, students may request, after consulting with the DGS, an Academic Advisor, who will replace the DGS as the student’s academic mentor. By the end of the first year, students will, in fact, be required to designate such an Academic Advisor if they have not done so before.

            The Second Year Paper will be supervised by a two-person committee. The chair will be the student’s Academic Advisor, the second member, a faculty member chosen by the student in consultation with his or her advisor. This committee will make the final decision about whether the Second Year Paper is accepted. The same procedure will apply to the Field Exam, although the composition of the faculty committee can be changed at the student’s request.

            Faculty will meet at the conclusion of every Spring semester to evaluate the progress of graduate students. The DGS will conduct this meeting and will consult with students’ Academic Advisors in preparation. Students in 2nd and 3rd year will be required to complete a progress report, due in early April.

            Each semester, the DGS will conduct at least one “Professional Development Workshop,” in conjunction with other relevant faculty. These will cover requirements for the graduate program, such as Second Year Papers and Field Exams. They will also address the preparation and submission of professional papers, applying for research grants, and job market issues.

Joint Degrees: Special arrangements will be worked out for students enrolled in joint Ph.D. or professional programs.

Temporary Incompletes: Arrangements between students and instructors concerning incomplete work are constrained by deadlines set by Graduate School regulations:  in a single term, only one TI is permitted. Students should complete the Temporary Incomplete form and have their instructor sign it (by grading deadline each semester), then send it on to the Registrar.

Temporary Incompletes received in an academic year must be converted to final grades by October 1st of the following academic year. If a grade is not received by the Graduate Registrar by this date, a TI will be converted to a permanent Incomplete (I) on the student’s record. 

Teaching Fellowships: Serving as a Teaching Fellow or Part-Time Acting Instructor after the second year of full-time study is viewed as an integral part of the graduate education. The Graduate School requires that all students teach in each semester of their 3rd and 4th years unless there aren’t any teaching positions available in the department or if the student has research obligations elsewhere (in which case they can register in absentia and defer their teaching positions). Every effort is made to provide teaching positions within the Sociology Department, but if positions are not available, students may be asked by the Teaching Fellow Program office to fulfill their teaching obligations in other departments in the University. Please refer to the Teaching Fellow Program information at the Yale Graduate School site.

Sixth year students are offered an additional year of guaranteed teaching funding, if they are planning on submitting their dissertation in the spring of their 6th year. The stipend will end in May of that year.

Guidelines for Sociology Teaching Fellows:

The general expectation is that you should be present for all lectures, sections and examinations without exception. In other words, you should plan your schedule around your teaching responsibilities rather than the other way around, even if this causes some occasional inconveniences. 

The policy is that absences or substitutes must be cleared by the instructor in charge. If you have to miss a lecture, section or exam due to illness or emergency, you should communicate this to the instructor, and you should only arrange for a substitute with their permission.

In addition, it is expected that first-time TFs should attend the Teaching at Yale Day orientation, through the Center for Teaching and Learning (offered at the beginning of each semester, email goes out to each TF, from their Center).

M.A. and M.Phil. Degrees:  After completing one year of the program leading to the Ph.D. degree, the student may petition for the Master of Arts degrees. Two of the eight term courses required for the M.A. must include statistics and theory. A grade of High Pass or above must be achieved in five of the eight required courses. A student may petition for the M.A. degree in the semester following the completion of the requirements.

After all requirements for the Ph.D. degree have been met except submission of the prospectus and the writing of the dissertation, and after at least one year of academic resident graduate study at Yale, the student will be eligible for the Master of Philosophy degree.

Students can petition online at the Yale Graduate School website, please click into Forms, Degree Petitions, and return the completed form to Yashika (or, Yashika also has copies of petitions). Please review your academic record to ensure you qualify before submitting the form.

Ph.D. Degree: please refer to instructions in 6th year paragraph.

Leave of Absence:  See Programs and Policies on Graduate School site.

Sociology Department Camp Grant:

Registered graduate students are eligible to apply for a one-time Camp Grant for up to $500.  Camp Grants are intended to offset the costs of research-related expenses.  Detailed information is circulated to all students at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

Sociology Department Travel Funds:

Graduate students that are presenting papers at conferences are eligible to apply for travel reimbursements. The department will reimburse for domestic and international travel expenses for amounts determined on a case-by-case basis.  Travel fund requests must be submitted by designated deadlines.  Deadlines and required application details are circulated to all students at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

General Office expectations: 

Each student is expected to keep their office space clean at all times, especially if you are leaving for the summer. When moving offices or leaving after graduating, please make sure all of your belongings are either tossed or cleared out of the office. Keys must be returned to the Registrar as you leave so they can be used for new occupants. Sociology reserves to right to inspect office space and/or reassign space as needed.