Harvard is one of the world’s leading centers for training and mentoring the next generation of sociologists. The Department of Sociology offers several programs of graduate study leading to the PhD in sociology, the PhD in sociology and social policy, and the PhD in organizational behavior.

The aim of the Graduate Program in Sociology is to prepare students for scholarly and applied research and for teaching. The program combines an emphasis on competence in social theory and research methods with opportunities for the development of each student’s own interest.

PhD candidates are expected to achieve a solid proficiency in fundamentals that will enable them to teach basic and advanced sociology courses and engage in both quantitative and qualitative research. Students are trained in several subfields of sociology in which the faculty has concentrations of expertise. Among these are social stratification and inequality (including race and ethnic relations), the study of complex organizations, economic sociology, political sociology, comparative/historical sociology, health and social policy, cultural analysis, urban sociology, criminology, and life course. The program includes a sequence of required courses on theory and theory construction, designed to acquaint every student with skills necessary for developing social explanations, and required courses in both qualitative methods and advanced statistics to familiarize students with techniques for collecting and analyzing data.

PhD Program in Sociology and Social Policy

The PhD Program in Sociology and Social Policy constitutes a joint venture linking the Department of Sociology with the social policy faculty at Harvard Kennedy School. The program is designed for students whose research interests embrace questions of economic inequality, neighborhoods and spatial segregation, poverty, changing family structures, race and ethnicity, immigration, educational access and quality, political inequalities and participation, and comparative and institutional studies of social policy, particularly in the US and Western Europe.

PhD in Organizational Behavior

The PhD in Organizational Behavior is a joint degree offered by the Department of Sociology and Harvard Business School that trains scholars who are able to draw on the concepts and methods of psychology and sociology in conducting research on behavior and management within complex organizations. Students have the choice of focusing their research at either the micro (i.e., psychological, interpersonal) or macro (i.e., sociological, organizational) level.

Admissions Requirements

Prospective students must include a recent sample of written work (e.g., term paper, senior thesis, master’s essay, etc.) when submitting the online application.

The Department of Sociology provides a list of frequently asked questions about applying to the doctoral program and GSAS Policies details program requirements. 

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Sociology

Sociology Faculty