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Top Schools with Sociology PhD Programs: List of Schools

Read about the top list of schools that offer sociology Ph.D. programs. Get school rankings, program options and university locations, and compare similarities and differences so you can make an educated decision.

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Students interested in earning a doctorate in sociology from a top institution have several to choose from. Learn about a handful of these top schools and some of their unique identifiers.

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School Overviews

Sociology is a social science that uses empirical investigation and analysis to examine human social behavior, usually applying this knowledge to solve social welfare problems. The universities profiled below ranked as the very best graduate sociology universities on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list, the most current for sociology programs as of 2016.

University of California in Berkeley, CA

School Highlight: Graduate sociology students at UC Berkeley are eligible for numerous fellowships during their first year, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Scholarship, the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program, and the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowships for Minorities.

The University of California - Berkeley is tied at the number one spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of top graduate sociology universities in the United States. The graduate program in sociology averages about 385 applications annually and admits about 25 students per year.

The American Sociological Association hosts competitions for the top dissertation in sociology, and Berkeley students have won six of the past 24 awards. The school offers a Ph.D. in Sociology as well as a joint Ph.D. program in Sociology and Demography.

University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI

School Highlight: In 2013, the University of Wisconsin was ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report among schools offering graduate sociology study in the field of sex and gender.

Ranked first (with Berkeley and Princeton) on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of best graduate sociology programs, the University of Wisconsin offers a Ph.D. in Sociology. The sociology department provides its students with options to study topics including aging, economic sociology, social stratification, organizational and occupational analysis, the sociology of law and society, and sociology of the family. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program earn a Master of Science in Sociology on the path to completing the Ph.D.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: This school was ranked #4 among graduate schools offering study in sociology of culture by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.

Harvard tied for 6th in U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of best graduate sociology programs. The school offers a Ph.D. in Sociology; Sociology and Social Policy; or Organizational Behavior. Doctoral students can choose concentrations and work with faculty that offers expertise in that field. The program includes coursework on theory, as well as qualitative methods.

Top Sociology Ph.D. Programs

Some additional top schools with doctorate degree programs in sociology include:

  • Indiana University in Bloomington ranked #2 in 2013 among graduate schools offering social psychology programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, ranked #3 in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report among graduate schools offering study in sociology of culture.
  • Pennsylvania State University in University Park was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as #6 in 2013 among schools offering study in sociology of population.
  • Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, was the #1 ranked graduate school for sociology by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.
  • The University of California in Los Angeles was ranked #7 by U.S. News & World Report in 2013 among graduate schools offering study in sociology of populations.
  • The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor also ranked #7, but among graduate schools offering programs in economic sociology by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.
  • In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill's graduate school #3 among those offering study in sociology of population.

The University of California in Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin are just a couple of the institutions that offer top graduate programs in sociology. Aspiring doctoral students in the field can select a top graduate school based on a number of distinguishing characteristics, including strong national rankings.

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