Department of Sociology
Chairperson: F. Carson Mencken
Graduate Program Director: Kevin D. Dougherty
Graduate Degrees in Sociology
The department offers two graduate degrees in sociology: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Arts (M.A.).
Although students are admitted directly to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program, they will pursue a Master of Arts in sociology. The M.A. program is available only to students who are initially admitted to the Ph.D. program. Students entering the program with graduate level work or a graduate degree from an accredited institution will have that work evaluated by the admissions committee and have a maximum of nine semester hours of graduate course work applied toward their graduate work at Baylor University.
The three areas of concentration in the doctoral program are community analytics, health and society, and sociology of religion. The first two years of the program have roughly the same requirements for all areas of emphasis. During the last three years students move into the more specialized areas.
- B.A. (or equivalent)
- GPA predictive of success in this graduate program
- Personal statement of interest
- Three letters of recommendation
- Writing sample
- An interview with the sociology graduate admission committee, usually during recruitment event in February-March
- Expressed areas of academic/research interests compatible with those of the faculty
At the end of the second year, students are expected to have completed research resulting in a journal article or its equivalent. This paper is regarded as a Master’s thesis equivalent.
Advanced multivariate statistical techniques; causal modeling; problems of research design, validity, and reliability. The course also involves the utilization of social science computer programs in the analysis of large-scale survey data.
A survey of demographic change, issues, and methods as they impact our social world. Emphasis is on the social and cultural aspects of demography, as well as the impact of the changing population in society.
This is a data-intensive course designed to acquaint students with the wide variety of available data types and sources for social science research. Students learn to access, analyze, and critique these various data types. In analyzing these data, we begin with simple univariate distributional statistics and progress through bivariate regression and correlation.
Regression analysis with continuous, categorical, and count outcomes, including ordinary least squares (OLS), logistic, ordered logistic, multinomial logistic, Poisson, and negative binomial regression.
Theories of community structure and dynamics, methods community analysis, and techniques for community change.
Conceptual, methodological, and administrative aspects of program evaluation. Problems of translating research findings into policies and programs are explored.
Special health problems of the aged person, with particular stress on related social factors and the strengths and weaknesses of existing health care systems. Alternate models for meeting the health needs of the aged are considered.
See SWO 5336 for course information.
Acceptance into the graduate program. Introduction to the main theories and empirical studies in the sociology of religion.
Introduction to various data sources, accompanied by training in how to publish research.
In depth analysis of the major social theories of religion.
Overview of the concepts, theories, and methods for studying power in human social life. Topics include power, oppression, inequality, the state, protest, and social change. Students read original texts, engage in critical thinking exercises, and write research papers.
Review of theoretical frameworks used in the study of family sciences. Emphasis is on classical and emerging approaches and the use of theory in research and program development.
This in-depth introduction to comparative sociology begins with a philosophical discussion of what constitutes comparative research and the criteria for social causation. Next, it examines the strengths and weaknesses of various theoretical approaches to comparative sociology. Third, it analyzes important contemporary comparative studies.
See HP 5374 for course information.
An introduction to the logic and application of sociological research methods. Students learn key methodological principles as well as prominent quantitative and qualitative research designs.
Research projects under direct supervision of a faculty member. Although specific methodological areas will vary by project, content analysis, controlled experimental design, sampling, survey analysis, computer skills, and statistical techniques, will be emphasized.
In this course students acquire first-hand experience in operationalizing a community-driven research project which includes the design, execution, and delivery of a final report to the community stakeholders.
Students spend the summer working with a faculty supervisor to improve their scholarly writing in the areas of framing a testable hypothesis, operationalizing and measuring concepts, and writing to the broader discipline. A publishable research article is the goal of the course.
Seminar on recent developments in sociological theory. Discussions will include critical evaluation of major theoretical systems, the development and use of paradigms, and the process of theory construction.
Focus on how to create leisure opportunities to contribute to well-being of individuals in later years. Students will be involved in developing innovative approaches to leisure experiences for senior adults. Lab experience required.
Adult development and socialization from the perspective of counseling interventions. Opportunities to develop counseling skills with middle-age and older persons will be provided along with appropriate supervision.
See SWO 5397 for course information.
This seminar builds on Advanced Sociology Theory with detailed investigations of contemporary theory. In particular, discussion focuses on how to utilize social theory in research.
Designed for students who wish to study with a professor in an area of sociology not covered by a formal course. Students will contract with professor regarding study and number of semester hours.
Supervised teaching experience. The student will teach SOC 1305 under the supervision of a graduate faculty member. Lesson plans, syllabi, handouts, lecture examples, etc., will be discussed before and after classes. Videotaping of selected classes will provide media for critique and growth.
Research, data analysis, writing, and oral defense of an approved master’s thesis. At least six hours of SOC 5V99 are required.
Program. This seminar aids students in professional development. Weekly speakers discuss current research, publishing, teaching, and important topics/events in the sociology of religion. The course is pass/fail and required of all students pursuing a Ph.D. with an emphasis in sociology of religion. Course may be repeated 12 times.
Students will apply information gathered from a review of the current literature to conduct a focus group research project under the supervision of the instructor. Students will conduct all phases of a focus group research project including design, sampling, administration and analysis.
Students will acquire knowledge of telephone survey techniques and use this information to conduct a telephone survey under the supervision of the instructor. Special emphasis will be given to issues of non-contact, refusals, demographic and behavioral screens, and random digit versus add a digit techniques.
An introduction to several multivariate statistical techniques appropriate for the analysis of discrete qualitative social science survey data measured at the nominal level of measurement. Emphasis in the course is on logic regression, log linear analysis and latent class/latent structure analysis. Application to major social science data sets will be made.
Students will design, conduct, and analyze a mail survey in this course. Special emphasis will focus on questionnaire construction, question design, sampling techniques, cover letters and research identity, and other special problems unique to self-administered surveys.
This course covers cutting-edge data analysis techniques used in the top-tier sociology journals.
Geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial modeling techniques are applied to contemporary community issues and social problems such as inequality, poverty, housing, employment, economic development, demographics, and transportation. Particular emphasis is placed on government and other sources of current data for community analysis.
Planning, execution, and analysis of sampling from finite populations. Simple random, stratified random, ratio, systematic, cluster, sub sampling, regression estimates, and multi-frame techniques are covered.
Introduction to sociological applications of covariance structure analysis, including reciprocal effects and correlated equations involving personal and social factors. Recursive and nonrecursive models with and without latent variables are taught and implemented.
Training in qualitative research methods, including interviewing, content analysis, participant observation, and case studies. Students gain experience conducting, analyzing, and reporting qualitative research.
An introduction to community needs assessment in which available data (e.g. crime rates, poverty levels) and newly created data (e.g. elite surveys, program inventories) are combined to estimate various levels and types of community needs. Emphasis is on all facets of needs assessment including need definition, data selection, data creation, analysis, interpretation and presentation.
Introduction to the measurement and definition of religiosity.
Analysis of how religious organizations change, including membership dynamics, authority systems, and congregational cultures.
Analysis of religious change at the societal level with an emphasis on church-state relationships.
Analysis of deviant religious groups with an emphasis on defining religious deviance and explaining group membership.
Analysis of the role of religion in creating, sustaining and challenging the moral order of societies, and how cultural change can affect religion's moral impact.
Analysis of the interconnections of religion with race and gender with an emphasis on how race, ethnicity and gender have shaped religion and been shaped by religion.
Students will develop and conduct a face-to-face survey under the direction of the instructor. In this process, students will train interviewers in the interpersonal dynamics of interviewing which comply with current federal guidelines concerning the protection of human subjects. In addition, the issues of dialects, illiteracy, and multicultural awareness will be addressed.
This course examines in detail sociological theories of regional growth and development. Students will gain a working knowledge of the core assumptions of each perspective along the structure-agency continuum. In addition, students will do significant readings of empirical research in this field, and conduct an original empirical study.
See MGT 5336 for course information.
An examination of individual differences in health and well-being in the United States. Focuses on (1) health disparities by socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, and age; and (2) biological and sociological theories of illness and disease. Risk factors for poor health and coping resources that enhance mental and physical well-being are identified.
A seminar focused on critiquing a wide selection of recent scientific articles on health and society. Chosen articles will deal with social inequalities in health observed in the United States and other advanced nations.
An introduction to the various models of demographic projection and modeling including linear regression, ratio techniques and cohort component. Emphasis is on mastery of base data acquisition and model construction to determine demographic trends and predict population levels, crime rates and disease patterns.
Students spend the summer working with a faculty supervisor to prepare for the PhD Preliminary Exam. Students review major sociological theories, research methods, and dominant research in one substance area.
Focuses on the ways religion influences family life in the context of significant family change in the United States. Specific topics include how religious institutions have responded to changes in family life, sexual behavior, marriage and fertility timing, cohabitation, gender roles, parenting, marital quality, and divorce. Also examines how family life influences religious commitment.
Provides intensive exposure to the technical and political aspects of grant writing and proposal development. Emphasis is placed on defining proposal ideas to match funding sources, researching private foundations, corporations and government funding agencies, and developing successful proposals. Participants will prepare a grant proposal during the course, which will be submitted to an appropriate private or public agency.
Analysis of special topics in the sociology of religion. The course may be repeated once when the content varies.
A social research project in selected areas of sociology. The project must be approved by the members of the graduate faculty supervising the student. A final journal-quality paper summarizing the research effort and findings must be submitted to the instructor. This course may be repeated up to six times for credit up to a total of eighteen semester hours provided the research area is different.
Supervised research for the doctoral dissertation. A total of at least twelve semester hours is required for completion of the dissertation.