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Top Graduate Schools for Sociology

Sociology is the social and scientific study of human behaviors, communities and societies. Sociology graduate schools typically award master's and doctoral degrees in a range of fields, including historical, political and educational sociology. Find out about rankings, degree offerings and other program details for the top sociology graduate schools.

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For many careers in sociology, students may need a graduate degree, such as a master's or doctorate degree. Here are a few of the best schools in the country to offer these degree programs.

School Overviews

The University of Wisconsin - Madison, Stanford University and Florida State University are all recognized as having outstanding graduate schools for sociology by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. Each of these universities provides opportunities for master's and doctoral level studies, and students have numerous options for areas of focus. Read on to find out more.

University of Wisconsin - Madison in Madison, WI

School Highlight: The Sociology graduate program uniquely integrates different fields of study, such as sociology, community and environmental sociology, demography, and social psychology.

Tied as the 10th best public school for 2017 by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Wisconsin - Madison is a public school that offers two graduate degrees with 25 areas of study through the Department of Sociology. U.S. News and World Report ranked the school's graduate-level sociology program as tied for first in 2013, the most current year for sociology rankings.

This school's program awards master's and doctoral degrees, and allows students to conduct research with experienced sociology faculty members. The Department of Sociology requires both graduate course work and a student thesis paper in order to receive a graduate degree. Graduate students must also complete a minor program in an area outside the field of sociology.

Stanford University in San Francisco, CA

School Highlight: Ph.D. students can choose to pursue a joint degree in public policy (Ph.D.-MPP) or law (Ph.D.-J.D.).

Stanford University's sociology program was tied as the fourth best in the country by U.S. News and World Report as of 2013. Part of the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Department of Sociology awards a co-terminal Master of Arts in Sociology and Ph.D. in Sociology. Undergraduates admitted to the co-terminal master's program can complete the master's degree soon after finishing with a bachelor's degree. Then, students may take advantage of the various Ph.D. programs that Stanford has to offer.

Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL

School Highlight: Faculty in the school's social department have won more teaching awards than any other department in FSU's College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

Florida State University was tied for the 39th spot among schools with sociology graduate programs by the U.S. News and World Report in 2013. FSU offers a one-year professional program leading to a master's degree in applied social research. It also offers a traditional master's program and a traditional doctoral program, both of which offer concentrations in demography; health and aging; and inequalities and social justice.

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Top Graduate Sociology Schools

This section lists some other schools that offer unique and effective graduate training in sociology.

  • Sociology graduate students at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, can earn a Ph.D. degree in sociology, organizational behavior or sociology and social policy.
  • Indiana University - Bloomington is home to the Karl Schuessler Institute of Social Research, which runs three research centers that focus on topics like race and ethnicity in society and mental health research.
  • The sociology department at New York University, New York, NY, offers a 12-month master's degree in applied quantitative research, which focuses on research techniques, particularly as they are relevant to the study of the social sciences.
  • The sociology department at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, focuses on the areas of community and urban studies, criminology, education, population and health, family, stratification, political sociology, social movements and work and organizations.
  • University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, only offers a Ph.D. degree program; though, students earn a master's degree in progress to the Ph.D.
  • The sociology department at University of California - Los Angeles is affiliated with several research centers, including groups for American Indian studies, women's studies, society and genetics, Chicano studies and American politics and public policy.
  • University of Maryland - College Park sociology studies focus on eight areas of specialization, including military sociology, social psychology, demography and environmental sociology.
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor sociology doctoral students have numerous opportunities to work across disciplines, including joint degrees in fields like business, public policy, law and social work.
  • At the University of Texas - Austin, graduate students collaborate with faculty to produce research that is published in American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, and other publications dedicated to the discipline of sociology.

For those interested in becoming sociologists, having a master's degree or PhD is a must. Schools with the best graduate studies in sociology are typically ranked by U.S. News and World Report and offer numerous opportunities for research.

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