The program information below is valid for the winter 2020 term (January 1, 2020 - April 30, 2020).

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Graduate research fields

  • Crime, Law, and Security
  • Knowledge, Education, and Digital Culture
  • Migration, Borders, and Transnationalism
  • Social Inequality and Public Policy
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Spring
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • Normally a Master's degree or its equivalent in Sociology with at least an 83% average in course work.
    • A statement of academic interest (approximately a page, outlining areas of interest and reasons for choosing to study at the University of Waterloo).
    • Students may choose to submit results from the Graduate Record Examination (both the General Section and the Special Field, Sociology).
  • Application materials 
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
      • From all other post-secondary institutions.
    • Writing sample
      • Preferably a chapter from the Master of Arts thesis.
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 

      academic

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete 5 one-term graduate-level courses (with a unit weight of 0.50 each) beyond the MA degree. Normally, students will fulfill their coursework requirements by:
      • Taking at least 3 of the 5 courses as regularly scheduled sociology graduate courses.
      • Taking reading courses from University of Waterloo Sociology and Legal Studies faculty or adjuncts (maximum 1).
      • Taking regularly scheduled courses in other University of Waterloo cognate departments (maximum 1).
      • Taking regularly scheduled courses at other universities where no equivalent course is available at the University of Waterloo (maximum 1).
    • Any special coursework requests will need the approval of the student's advisor/supervisor and the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies. Normally, course work must be completed by the end of the fourth term in the PhD program.
    • Note: coursework beyond these minima may be required at the discretion of the Associate Chair, Graduate Affairs. If further coursework is required, the student will be notified in writing at the time of entry into the program. Additional coursework may be required if the student's MA preparation is not the equivalent of that required for the MA degree in Sociology at the University of Waterloo. Students whose area of specialization and/or thesis requires familiarity with a subject not normally given in the Department of Sociology are encouraged to undertake additional work in the appropriate department.
    • In order to complete a course satisfactorily, students must complete all course requirements as specified by the instructor and receive a minimum grade of 75%.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
  • PhD Professional Development Seminar
    • The Professional Development Seminar milestone is required of all PhD candidates. In this seminar, faculty members provide information on topics relevant to PhD students, including scholarship applications, conference presentations, choosing a supervisor, socialization into the discipline, job applications, and academic publishing.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination I and PhD Comprehensive Examination II
    • Students are required to meet the University-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements outlined in the “Minimum requirements for the PhD degree” section of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC), with certain noted exceptions that are specific to the Faculty of Arts Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements:
      • Comprehensive examination purpose: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Timing: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements. 
      • Committee: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements with the exception that in the Faculty of Arts, the Graduate Chair can approve the committee for comprehensive examinations.
      • Who Chairs an examination: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Format / Content: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Academic integrity: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
    • In addition to the University-level and Faculty-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements, students in the PhD in Sociology program are also required to meet the following requirements:
      • Once a student chooses a dissertation topic, they select a faculty member who is willing to supervise the dissertation.
      • Before submitting a dissertation proposal, the student must pass 2 comprehensive examinations in substantive areas, related to the Department's PhD "fields" listed below. Students may take 2 comprehensives in the same field. In each comprehensive, students are expected to demonstrate a familiarity with the theoretical and methodological approaches germane to that substantive area.
        • Crime, Law, and Security
        • Knowledge, Education, and Digital Culture
        • Migration, Borders, and Transnationalism
        • Social Inequality and Public Policy
      • Normally, students must complete their 1st comprehensive examination by the end of their fourth term in the program.
      • Normally, students must complete their 2nd comprehensive examination by the end of their fifth term in the program.
      • Students may take comprehensives in one of two formats:
        • i) a six-hour written examination; or
        • ii) a take-home examination with an oral defence.
      • The format will be decided in consultation with the student’s Comprehensive Examining Committee.
  • PhD Thesis Proposal
    • The candidate must submit a proposal for the PhD dissertation, normally no later than the end of the eighth term. The proposal should contain a detailed statement of the research problem and its significance for a body of sociological theory, a precise account of the methodology or research techniques to be employed, plus a detailed outline of the proposed data analysis. The dissertation proposal will be circulated and defended before the student's Dissertation Committee but need not include the internal/external examiner.
  • PhD Thesis
    • PhD Dissertation Committee: a Dissertation Committee consists of four members: the supervisor, two members of the Department, and a fourth faculty member from outside the Department of Sociology but within the University who will serve as the internal/external examiner. Committee members are chosen by the student and supervisor in consultation. The internal/external examiner may be chosen when the committee is originally formed or added later, at the discretion of the student and the supervisor. It is possible to have a faculty member from another university serve as a member of the Dissertation Committee, subject to the approval of the supervisor, the Associate Chair, Graduate Affairs and the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies.
    • PhD Oral Defence: once the dissertation is completed, there is an oral defence. The Examination Committee consists of the Dissertation Committee and a senior examiner from another university. A copy of the dissertation is retained in the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Office and is available for inspection by Sociology and Legal Studies faculty and graduate students prior to the oral examination.