Earn a Doctorate in Sociology Online

When earning a doctorate in sociology online, students gain broad exposure to sociology as a discipline as well as in-depth knowledge in an area of specialization. Within those parameters, they engage in a systematic study of human social relationships and the institutions and entities that influence them. They also study the research methodologies, statistics, and theories used within the field. 

Course of Study in an Online PhD in Sociology Program

Doctorate programs typically comprise three components: core work, elective work, and research.

Depending on the program, students’ core work will either focus on sociology broadly or a more nuanced component of sociology. Within the broad-study component, students might study (among others):

  • Contemporary theory
  • International health inequalities
  • Criminology and delinquency
  • Environmental sociology
  • Women and society
  • Stratification
  • Community
  • Race, ethnicity, and nationality
  • Health and inequality

Because sociology studies human’s social conditions historically and contemporarily, the subject is incredibly expansive and diverse. Focusing students’ studies in a particular area helps them engage with a manageable chunk and thoroughly develop their research interests. Some areas in which students might focus include:

  • Social psychology
  • Criminology
  • Inequality
  • Globalization
  • Mental health
  • Life course
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Race
  • Urban studies

Note that this range of studies is quite broad and covers just a small portion of the field of sociology.

To determine their specialization, students might get to select from a long list of options, or they might have to select from a list of areas in which their program department is conducting research.  

Students’ research-based courses help prepare them to do a dissertation and conduct research in their field after graduation. Doctorate programs are, after all, devoted to making people experts in their fields. In academia, that means that students typically must learn how to contribute new ideas and data to the existing field. Some research-based courses students might take include:

  • Statistics
  • Analytics
  • Quantitative research methodologies
  • Qualitative research methodologies
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Human subjects research
  • Writing a dissertation

Beyond these subjects are dozens others, some of which might form your core, elective, or research-based study. What you choose depends on your prior education and the program you pick for your PhD.

Components of a Doctorate in Sociology Online Program

An online PhD in sociology requires students not only to develop new knowledge and skills but also to prove their knowledge to faculty and share it with other academics and professionals in the discipline. Students do so by taking courses and then spending a significant amount of time writing a dissertation, which they will likely have to defend to a committee. They may also have to take a comprehensive exam to prove their knowledge.

Sociology PhD programs online generally require six or so years of full-time study. The first four years will typically be devoted to completing coursework; the last two to doing a dissertation.

Find Your Ideal Doctorate in Sociology Online Program

Browse through the options listed on this page to find a program that allows you to focus on your area of interest. Then jump right in! Your contribution to the discipline awaits.