PhD Program

The PhD in Sociology is designed for students who wish to develop a broad base of sociological knowledge and to engage in original research. The degree equips students to embark on academic careers in leading institutions of higher education.

In The News

The PhD program is designed to admit relatively small numbers of students each year, which affords them the opportunity to forge close working relationships with the faculty. Our faculty and graduate students collaborate in a number of interdisciplinary research projects, programs, and centers, including the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute; the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict; Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy; the Institute for Urban Health Research; Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, the Institute on Race and Justice and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Many of the faculty in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology have additional interests and are affiliated with other departments on campus, including environmental studies; law, policy, and society; Latino, Latin American and Caribbean studies; African American studies; international affairs, Jewish studies; and criminal justice. To ensure that PhD students become not only effective researchers and writers but also successful instructors, we offer teacher-training with the aim of instilling a skill-set that prospective academic employers find desirable. We also provide numerous funded research opportunities and other resources for our students with the centers or with individual faculty members. As a result, our students frequently present papers at professional conferences and publish articles during the course of their graduate studies. In addition, the department and affiliated centers often host national and international conferences, further enhancing educational opportunities for our graduate students. Finally, each year the department offers a set of workshops on academic writing, teaching, grant writing, media relations, and other “professional development” matters.

Learn more about the PhD program in Sociology from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.


  • Annual departmental workshops on academic writing, teaching, grant writing, media relations, and other “professional development” matters
  • Funded research opportunities through faculty and affiliated centers
  • Department focus in: Sociology of Gender, Globalization, Urban Sociology, or Environment and Health
  • Bachelor’s and Master’s program entry
  • Offer a strong curricular foundation in sociology and the social sciences.
  • Inculcate in students a depth of knowledge in the basic tools of the discipline.
  • Train our students to be outstanding teachers and researchers.
  • Provide a professional socialization that adequately prepares students for a career in the discipline.

Northeastern’s signature experiential learning model combines academics with professional practice to help students acquire relevant, real-world skills they can apply to their desired industry. Each program offers its own unique experiential learning opportunities, but they might include:

  • EXPERIENTIAL RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES: Our doctoral students gain real-world experience working with research centers and conducting field work. Experiential fellowships that place students into nonprofits, state agencies, and industry settings may be available in some doctoral programs. Through summer scholars programs, doctoral students can work with agencies doing work closely related to their dissertation research.
  • In-Class Case Studies — Professors integrate case studies and exercises into the classroom to bring a real-world perspective and relevance to what they’re teaching.
  • Research — Students collaborate with faculty in our more than 30 federally funded research centers, tackling some of the most pressing challenges in health, security, and sustainability.

Our graduates pursue careers within academia and beyond.

  • Mount Ida College
  • Crittenton Women’s Union
  • Virgina Tech University
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Columbia University – Teacher’s College
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Curry College
  • Swank Properties
  • St. Lous University
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  • University of Washington, Tacoma
  • Trinity College
  • University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute’s Economic and Public Policy Research
  • Nazarene College
  • Witchita State University

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Application fee – US $75.00
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • English proficiency for international applicants
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE not required for the upcoming 2021 admissions cycle
  • Writing sample


Admissions deadline for Fall term: December 15

Apply Now Request Info