PhD in Sociology of Education

Information Regarding the Doctoral Process

Program Code: SOED-PHD

Contact Information and Important Links

The Office of Doctoral Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
82 Washington Square East, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Phone: 212-992-9383
Fax: 212-995-4048

Nancy Hall, Coordinator

Information regarding school policies is available on the doctoral studies website.

The forms referenced in the text below are available for download on this page.

Comprehensive Oral Candidacy Exams

After completing most of their coursework, and generally by the fall of their third year, students take an oral comprehensive examination. Students prepare reading lists and are examined in three areas: general sociological theory, sociology of education, and an area of specialization that will be related to students' dissertation research. Please see this document for more details on the exam and for the standard reading lists in sociological theory and sociology of education.

The comprehensive exam must be passed before students can participate in a dissertation proposal defense, though students may begin working on their dissertation proposals as they study for and complete the comps.

While it is optional to submit an Application for Doctoral Candidacy form to Nancy Hall, our program does not require it and students should feel free not to submit it. Students should inform Nancy Hall about the examination date, once it is scheduled. HMSS staff can help the student reserve a conference room for the examination.  After the exam, the adviser must submit the Departmental Doctoral Candidacy Results Form to Nancy Hall in order to confirm the student’s advancement to candidacy. Note: a signed memo or email may also be used in place of the form, but it must include the result of the candidacy examination (pass, deferred pass with condition, or fail) and the effective date. Nancy Hall will notify the Registrar and also send the student an official notice.

Dissertation Committee

Once a student has passed the comprehensive exam, they advance to candidacy. At this stage, students will appoint a dissertation committee and focus on preparing a dissertation proposal. Generally, the proposal is written and reviewed by the end of the third year of full-time doctoral study.

Students will appoint a dissertation committee after their comprehensive examination but before they submit a dissertation proposal.  The committee is appointed by submitting a Request for Appointment of Dissertation Committee form with Nancy Hall. 

The dissertation proposal will be approved by the student's dissertation committee and then by two outside readers during an oral dissertation proposal defense. Additional instructions about filing the dissertation proposals are on the doctoral studies website. Students must submit two copies of the proposal along with the Dissertation Proposal Cover Sheet to Nancy Hall prior to the proposal defense.

Students should work with their advisers to establish a process to identify outside readers. Often, students have substantial input into the assignment of outside readers, though Nancy Hall's office can also identify or help to identify outside readers.

Students should also inform Nancy Hall of the dissertation proposal defense date, once it is scheduled. HMSS staff can help the student reserve a conference room for the defense.  After the proposal defense, the committee chair must submit the Proposal Review Outcome Form to Nancy Hall.

Dissertation and Final Oral Defense

While preparing the dissertation students must enroll in a 1 credit course, HMSS-GE 3004, Dissertation Seminar III, or DCADV-GE 3400, to maintain matriculation; credits accumulated in this seminar do not count towards the completion of the degree.

As students are completing their dissertation, we recommend they check in with Nancy Hall to confirm the filing and final defense process and to answer any questions they might have.  Please see the Instructions for Filing Approved Dissertations for Final Oral Examination. Students should follow the dissertation filing deadlines outlined on the Office of Research website.

After submitting the dissertation to their committee and to the Office of Research each student will defend the document before an examining commission. The Office of Research will assist students in scheduling their final oral defense.  Immediately after the defense, the dissertation committee chair must file the Final Oral Examination Report Form to Nancy Hall.

NOTE: all forms referenced in the text above are available for download on this page.