The sociology doctoral program is a focused program of study in which students not only receive training in theory, methodology, and statistics, but also develop in‐depth knowledge in two specialty areas. Through comprehensive exams, students are required to demonstrate knowledge in two of the broad specialty areas listed below.  These overarching specialty areas incorporate many of the research foci of our faculty, who are listed on the individual pages linked below.  For more information regarding comprehensive exams, please refer to the comprehensive exam page


Demography, or the study of population, has been an area of graduate study within the University of Maryland’s Department of Sociology for many years. The focus has been on social demography, that is, the study of social factors that affect population dynamics-though also with a grounding in the traditional components of demography: fertility, migration and mortality. We study why people have the number of children they have, migrate when they do, and die when they do-and the consequences of such behaviors. We also study how these demographic processes relate to family dynamics (such as marital formation and dissolution) and labor force activity. Group differences in population outcomes-for example, differences by gender, ethnicity, and race-are important considerations in this field of study. Our perspective is both national (United States) and inter national, including developing countries.



Gender, Work, & Family

The Gender, Work, and Family specialization investigates the relationship between the sociology of gender and the two closely related fields of family sociology and the sociology of work. It is the focus on the intersection of these established fields of study as a coherent whole that makes the Gender, Work, and Family specialty an innovative program. Students have the opportunity to take courses and engage in research on the connections among gender, work, and family and pursue a specialization that is unique among American departments of sociology.



Social Inequality & Mobility

Social Inequality and Mobility at the University of Maryland is grounded in the classical sociological theories as well as contemporary theory and research. Our program includes special attention to questions about intersectionality in systems of inequality, especially as they involve institutional, organizational and labor market dynamics, immigration and residential segregation. In addition, we offer a focus on the macro economy at the national and global levels.



Social Movements & the State

The Social Movements and the State area at the University of Maryland builds on the faculty's expertise in social movements, collective action, and political decision-making. Our program spans research and teaching around topics related to activism, civic engagement, collective action, political economy, political ideology, policy networks, and social movements at the national, comparative, and global levels.



Social Psychology

The University of Maryland’s Department of Sociology offers a rich and varied program in Social Psychology that spans multiple levels of analysis and methodological approaches. Four regular faculty members identify social psychology as a principal area of interest. Eight courses in social psychology are offered at the graduate level. We also offer a strong program of training in the methodology and statistics of contemporary social psychology.


Last modified
03/04/2022 - 3:55 pm