2. Foreign Language Exam
All candidates to the Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography must fulfill a foreign language requirement before taking their oral Qualifying Examination. The foreign language exam for the Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography is administered by the Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography (GGSD) following the standards and procedures used by the Department of Demography.
The Department follows Option 3 of Graduate Division guidelines for foreign language examinations, which requires that students demonstrate a “reading knowledge” of one language. For the Ph.D.s in Demography and in Sociology and Demography, this language must be a “major world language” other than English, defined as a language with at least 100 million speakers worldwide (including non-native speakers). In recognition of the fact that it may be difficult to know how many people speak a given language, the “100 million” rule may be interpreted loosely and yet still serve as a useful guideline.
An exception to the “100 million” rule can be made in cases where students will be using a less widely spoken language as an integral part of their dissertation research. Students can fulfill their language requirement using such a language provided that: 1) the language has a formal writing system, and 2) a person qualified to administer the exam is available.
Language exams may be administered by faculty members in the Department if they are competent in a particular language. In other cases, students may arrange to be tested in one of the foreign language departments on campus or by some other means if approved by the Graduate Advisor. The exam will normally consist of translating a passage of 300 to 500 words into English within a time limit of 90 minutes, either with or without a dictionary. The level of difficulty of the passage should be similar to what is encountered in scholarly social science research written in that language.
Standards for passing the language exam are at the discretion of the examiner but should generally adhere to the following guidelines. The translation should be well written and complete. It should not be an awkward literal rendering of the original into English. Most small errors that do not change the meaning of the text can be excused, although major faults (those that significantly distort the meaning of the passage or an individual phrase) must be minimized. At the discretion of the examiner, even one major fault could be judged to indicate a failing exam.
There are two other means of fulfilling the foreign language requirement for a qualified language: 1) a high school or university diploma where the language was the primary medium of instruction automatically fulfills the requirement; and 2) a course sequence of four semesters (or six quarters) in the language at any UC campus also fulfills the requirement. (Foreign language courses at other institutions must be validated by Graduate Division in order to qualify for this exemption. In addition, any foreign language sequence, whether taken at the University of California or elsewhere, must have been completed within four years of admission to Berkeley.)
3. M.A. Research Paper in Sociology and Other Joint Program Requirements
The Demography preliminary examination must be passed at a level commensurate with the usual requirements for the doctoral program in the Department of Demography in order for a student to continue toward the Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography.
Consistent with the standard practice in the Department of Sociology, students in the joint program are required to write an M.A. research paper. This paper is written with the supervision and approval of a personal M.A. committee comprising two Sociology faculty members. The student's M.A. committee must approve in advance all details regarding the design, research, content, length, and timetable for the research paper project. Each candidate for the M.A. selects a faculty member as the Chair of her/his M.A. committee (with that professor's approval) and a second reader. The student may ask the Graduate Advisor of the GGSD to assist in finding a second reader. The M.A. research paper requirement is fulfilled when both members of the M.A. committee have signed and dated the cover page.
After all the coursework, methods, and paper requirements in Sociology are met, each student in the program is required to have an M.A. Advising Conference, organized by GGSD in conjunction with the Department of Sociology (and following the rules prevailing in that department), where it is decided whether the student satisfies doctoral requirements or not. Thus, in addition to the aforementioned requirements in the Department of Demography a student must satisfy the usual doctoral requirements in the Department of Sociology in order to continue toward the Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography.
4. Oral Qualifying Examination
This program includes one oral Qualifying Examination, to be taken when all pre-qualifying requirements have been met, including the language examination. The orals committee consists of five members, all of whom must be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. At least three but not more than four of the committee members must be core faculty in the GGSD, with at least one committee member representing the Department of Demography and another representing the Department of Sociology. One of these “inside” members will serve as chair of the Orals Committee. That person may not also serve as Chair of the student's dissertation committee. At least one and not more than two members must be outside of the core faculty of the GGSD. The Graduate Adviser of the GGSD recommends the membership of the Qualifying Exam committee and the topics of examination to the Graduate Dean.
The student prepares four fields of study for the oral Qualifying Examination, including Sociological Theory, General Demography, and two specialized fields in sociology and/or demography. Preparation for the exam is supervised by the Chair of the orals committee, who may separate and delegate the task of supervision to other committee members with expertise in one of the student's fields of examination. The oral Qualifying Examination itself consists of questions on each of the four topics, in an order chosen by the student. For a successful outcome, the committee must vote unanimously for a "pass." The jurisdiction for ruling on split votes rests with the Administrative Committee.
After passing the oral Qualifying Examination, the student assembles a provisional dissertation committee. This provisional committee will become the permanent dissertation committee once the student is advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. This committee will consist of three members, including two core faculty member in the GGSD and one outside member who does not belong to core faculty of the GGSD. All committee members must be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
With the guidance of the Chair of the provisional committee, the student prepares a dissertation prospectus. Once the provisional committee approves the dissertation prospectus, the student will be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. Once the dissertation committee members have accepted the dissertation, they sign and date the cover page. A public dissertation defense is not required although students are strongly encouraged to give a final presentation to the Graduate Group.
As with the oral Qualifying Examination, dissertation committee members are chosen by the Graduate Adviser of the GGSD in consultation with the student. The dissertation committee is approved formally by the Graduate Dean.
What is the relationship between the Master's and the Doctoral programs?
The graduate program in Sociology and Demography does not allow students to earn a joint M.A. degree since the goal of the program is doctoral studies only. If there is no overlap between required courses and other requirements, students can earn both an M.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in Demography at the discretion of the two Departments. These degrees are not the end goal, but rather milestones en route towards the Ph.D. However, in those cases where a student's progress is not deemed sufficient for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography, terminal M.A. degrees may be granted by one or both departments.
Who can serve on my Qualifying Exam and Dissertation committees?
Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography Core Faculty
Irene Bloemraad, Professor of Sociology
William Dow, Professor of Public Health
Dennis Feehan, Assistant Professor of Demography
Neil Fligstein, Professor of Sociology
Marion Fourcade, Professor of Sociology
Joshua Goldstein, Professor of Demography
David Harding, Associate Professor of Sociology
Heather Haveman, Professor of Sociology
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Professor of Demography and Sociology
Rucker Johnson, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Mara Loveman, Professor of Sociology
Samuel Lucas, Professor of Sociology
Jane Mauldon, Associate Teaching Professor of Public Policy
Ayesha Mahmud, Assistant Professor of Demography
Trond Petersen, Professor of Sociology
Daniel Schneider, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Sandra Smith, Professor of Sociology