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Welcome to Vanderbilt’s Ph.D. Program in Sociology

Our department offers a vibrant and rigorous Ph.D. program designed to train future top scholars in our discipline. At Vanderbilt, we have one of the lowest student/faculty ratio, at about 1.4 to 1. Students work in close collaborative research relationships with faculty who are leading scholars in their fields. We invite you to check out some of the recent publications by our current graduate students.

Students also have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of academic publishing by working closely with faculty and through work on the scholarly journal, Work and Occupations, which is edited in our department.

Graduate students in Sociology also benefit from our faculty’s close ties to interdisciplinary research centers and programs at Vanderbilt, such as African American and Diaspora Studies; the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions; the Center for Digital Humanities; the Center for Latin American Studies; the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy; the Department of Asian Studies; the Department for Gender and Sexuality Studies; the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society; the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities; and the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Vanderbilt University Department of Sociology’s Ph.D. program is to train the next generation of scholars to join the professoriate. To achieve our goal, the program is oriented around coursework designed to give students a foundation in sociological theory, while also exposing them to the latest in sociological empirical research and methodological breadth. While we train students in a variety of theories and methods, the graduate program is focused on the following three areas of substantive expertise:

• Health and Medicine
• Power, Social Movements, and Social Change
• Social Identities and Inequalities


If you join the Department of Sociology’s Ph.D. program, you can expect that we will do our very best to provide you with the tools to become a leading scholar in your research fields. Through graduate seminars, our departmental colloquium series, and individual mentoring, you will be trained to think sociologically and to conduct sociological research. Our teaching workshop, teaching assistantships with faculty members, and regular opportunities to present work at departmental brown bags and pre-conferences, ensure that you will learn to expertly convey concepts through oral expression. Finally, course papers, scholarly co-authorships with faculty members, and the completion of a master’s thesis, two special-area exams, and a dissertation, will transform you into an independent academic researcher and author capable of conducting and publishing rigorous research and communicating complex ideas and important empirical findings.

In short, you can expect to be trained for a career as a professor at a top academic institution. In exchange, we expect that while you are a graduate student in our program you will dedicate yourself to learning from us and using all of Vanderbilt’s resources that are available to you to become the best scholar you can be.

If your goal is to have a scholarly career dedicated to advanced research and writing about important questions such as how regular people change the world or what factors improve the health of different communities, Vanderbilt Sociology is the graduate program for you.

How to Contact Us

Vanderbilt University
Department of Sociology
201 Garland Hall
PMB 351811
Nashville, TN 37235-1811

615-322-7626 (voice)
615-322-7505 (fax)

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action, and encourages individuals from diverse, under-represented populations to apply to its graduate programs. The university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic background, or disability.