Best 15 PhD in Sociology Programs in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

PhD in Sociology
Best PhD programs in sociology badge

After completing your Master’s in the social sciences or any course of study related to sociology, you may want to advance to a Phd in Sociology. Since sociologists conduct a considerable amount of research on factors affecting human behavior, the environment, health, crime, etc., a doctoral degree would allow you to focus on an area of interest, making you a specialist. Through your extensive research and publications, you’d add a notable voice in shaping society for good.

What Can I Do After Earning a Phd in Sociology?

Listed below are possible employment opportunities for a postdoctoral degree in sociology.

  • Teacher/Professor: Upon completing a Ph.D., you may pursue a career in colleges/schools/universities as a teacher and lecturer.
  • Psychologist/ Guidance Counselor:-In this role; you’ll provide graduates with academic assistance and guidance. Additionally, you’ll work with students’ families to develop workable ways of supporting their academic studies. Students will also benefit from your interviews to choose the right careers and relevant study programs.
  • Management Consultant: Some companies may hire management consultants to deal with many issues affecting their employees and their organizations.
  • Market Research Analyst: Since sociologists study human behavior through social science research techniques, they play an essential role in a company’s marketing strategies. They test products and services and evaluate the effectiveness of promotional campaigns.
  • Social Worker: Through their knowledge of social dynamics and social organizations, they can assess client problems and recommend solutions. In partnership with community agencies, they serve as referral links on issues affecting particular groups of people.

Top 5 PhD in Sociology Programs

Rank School Location
1Duke UniversityDurham, North Carolina
2Rice UniversityHouston, Texas
3Boston CollegeNewton, Massachusetts
4Ohio State UniversityColumbus, Ohio
5The University of MiamiCoral Gables, Florida

Employment opportunities for Ph.D. graduates 

  • Education and Child Welfare
  • Public Sector Undertaking (PSUs)
  • Medical Aid Institutions
  • NGOs
  • Media Research
  • Journalism & Media
  • Government and Political Action Group
  • Schools/Colleges/ Universities
  • Hospitals Management Consultancy
  • Rural and Child Welfare
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Advertising Agencies

Following is a list of colleges ranked according to the graduation rate and the doctoral program depth.

Best 15 PhD in Sociology Programs


Duke University

  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

Duke University’s Ph.D. in Sociology offers the highest quality and an intensive program of study in a supportive research environment. Students will work through a challenging and rigorous curriculum through the school’s productive and diverse faculty staff. Organized primarily for graduates seeking a doctoral degree, it places high entrance-competitive standards on prospective students. As a research university in Durham, North Carolina, the Methodists and Quakers founded Duke University. Additionally, we ranked it No.1 as the best college offering a competitive Ph.D. degree program.

Visit School Website

Rice University

  • Houston, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 93%

We ranked Rice University No.2 as the best college offering a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in sociology. Students desiring to enroll in the university for the doctoral degree program should commit to RU’s five-year study, as it doesn’t admit graduates seeking only a master’s. What it means is that they’ll earn a master’s in two years, requiring 43 credits, and then proceed to a Ph.D., which students can finish in three years with 90 credits. Under DU’s Ph.D., candidates will have to show that they understand and apply the role of theory in sociology. Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University is a private research institution known as William Marsh Rice University.

School Overview

Tuition: $25,155
Visit School Website

Boston College

  • Newton, Massachusetts
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Boston College is No.3 as the best college granting a Ph.D. in Sociology with a wide range of substantial concentrations to choose from. They include Aging and the Life course, Environmental Sociology, Family and Care Work, Global and Transnational Strategy, Political Sociology, Race, Class and Gender, and Sociology of Development. BC also offers research on illegal drug markets, social movements, low-income single mothers, police militarization, etc. Besides, the degree program is for first-rate graduates committed to social justice issues and have a passion for transforming the world. The faculty at BC is committed to robust research, mentoring, and teaching. As a result, graduates should expect to receive an in-depth understanding of the central traditions of sociology.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,282
Visit School Website

Ohio State University

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 83%

Founded in 1870, Ohio State University is a public land grant research center of higher learning. We ranked OSU No.4 as one of the best schools granting a unique Ph.D. in Sociology. In this degree program, graduates will study how globalization affects the environment, how peers impact risk-taking behavior, and how poverty affects health and wellbeing. Furthermore, together with their faculty, students will examine gender inequality, population changes, global politics, crime, population and health, families, race relations, and much more. Another plus at OSU is that faculty members and their Ph.D. candidates conduct cutting-edge research and publish books and articles in reputable journals in the field.

School Overview

Tuition: $36,125 in-state $72,250 out-of-state
Visit School Website

The University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

The University of Miami advances a Ph.D. degree in Sociology, providing future candidates with theoretical, methodological, and analytical tools for research. In our classification of colleges, UM is No.5 as the best institution granting students three concentrations. They include Criminology, Medical Sociology, and Race, Ethnic Relations, and Immigration. What’s outstanding about UM’s Ph.D. program is that students can develop their study courses according to their specific research interests and career goals. Additionally, UM awards assistantships and fellowships to exceptional candidates. UM is a private research university in Coral Gables, Florida.

School Overview

Tuition: $39,060
Visit School Website

Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

As No.6 in our ranking of the best colleges, Michigan State University’s Ph.D. degree program emphasizes the Environment, Health, and Medicine. MSU’s Sociology doctoral degree draws a broad spectrum of knowledge from the university’s affiliates. These include James Madison College, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the College of Education. Students can expect to obtain foundational sociological knowledge, cutting-edge research methods, and sociological theory because of these partnerships in education. Moreover, upon completion, graduates can secure employment in academic and applied settings.

School Overview

Tuition: $14,524 in-state $39, 830
Visit School Website

Iowa State University

  • Ames, Iowa
  • Graduation Rate: 75%

Iowa State University is No.7 as the best school advancing a unique Ph.D. major in Sociology or Rural Sociology. The degree program is suitable for future candidates seeking careers that involve teaching, research, administration, planning, or consulting in either public or private educational institutions. It also enables students to develop original and creative research. ISU’s doctoral program allows graduates to engage in either independent or faculty-guided research. Iowa State University and Technology is a public land-grant research college.

School Overview

Tuition: $4,879 in-state $12,360
Visit School Website

The University at Buffalo

  • Buffalo, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

We classified the University at Buffalo as “No.8 Best Colleges,” offering a Ph.D. in Sociology. On its website, the school states that its doctoral curriculum blends academic rigor and faculty mentoring. Additionally, it prepares students to become brilliant researchers and educators. Totaling 72 credit hours, it also includes 12 hours of thesis guidance. At UB, graduates will focus on three courses, namely statistics, methods, and history. Frequently called the University at Buffalo or SUNY, it’s a public research institution of higher learning with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York.

School Overview

Tuition: $11,310 in-state; $23,100 out-of-state
Visit School Website

The University of Tennessee

  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

The University of Tennessee is No.9 as the best college granting a graduate study leading to the Master’s in Sociology and the Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology degree. The college admits prospective students who want to pursue the doctoral program in the Fall semester only. They have several concentrations to choose from, including Criminology, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Environment Sociology, and Political Economy. Beyond the Master’s, students must complete 51 hours of coursework to meet the requirements of the Ph.D. At UT, students will emphasize social justice and contributing to social injustices as they work through their studies.

School Overview

Tuition: $13,380 in-state; $31,798
Visit School Website

Louisiana State University

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

We classified Louisiana State University “No.9 Best Colleges,” offering a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology. Its post-Master’s degree program prepares students for a career that blends both teaching and research. Another unique feature about LSU’s doctoral degree is that candidates get involved in co-authoring research papers with faculty members. Students begin as apprentices and then end with a substantial research record that they can use to advance their careers. LSU’s apprenticeship allows graduates to present research papers at professional meetings, publish articles in professional journals, and participate in the preparation of grant proposals for research funding.

School Overview

Tuition: $4,748,30 (15 credits)
Visit School Website

The University of Oklahoma

  • Norman, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

As No.11 of the best colleges advancing a doctoral degree in Sociology, the University of Oklahoma provides candidates with rigorous training. Its small number of students encourages close cooperation with faculty and personalized attention to develop cutting-edge research. Furthermore, UO’s faculty publishes articles in top journals like the American Sociological Review. They also present at both national and international conferences and obtain funding from well-known foundations, including the National Science Foundations and the George-Kaiser Family Foundation. Another extraordinary aspect of UO’s degree is that students can design and teach their courses. The university also prides itself on placing graduates in tenure-track jobs in universities and colleges.

School Overview

Tuition: $6,946 in-state; $16,831
Visit School Website

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, Kansas
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

Kansas State University is “No.12 Best Colleges,” granting a doctoral degree program in Philosophy/Sociology. If students start with their master’s in the same field, they will take five years in total to satisfy the requirements of a Ph.D. The coursework includes a minimum of 33 credit hours at the master’s level, which candidates can transfer from another college. Finally, they’ll need a minimum of 30 credit hours of Ph.D. coursework beyond the master’s, including dissertation research. KSU is a public-land-grant research school based in Manhattan, Kansas.

Visit School Website

University of Utah

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Granting a Ph.D. in Sociology, the University of Utah is “No.13 Best Colleges,” with a doctoral degree program grounded in research in a broader range of focus areas. For example, future candidates can research Population and Health, Development and the Environment, and Political and Cultural Sociology. As a public research center of higher learning, the university prepares students to focus on sociological theory and methodology.

Visit School Website

The University of New Mexico

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

On our list of colleges, we ranked the University of New Mexico as “No.14 Best Colleges.” It advances a Ph.D. in Sociology, with a focus on four core areas – 1) crime, law and deviance, 2) the sociology of health and illness, 3) the sociology of race and ethnicity, and 4) the study of social movements. The doctoral program encourages candidates to have a critical understanding of these fields with the aim of producing timely and relevant research that addresses current social issues. Moreover, the program emphasizes the training of PhD students from underrepresented communities to create a new generation of scholars needed diversify the discipline. Graduate students benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and numerous affiliations with several campus research institutes, notably the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA), Center for Native American Health (CNAH), the Institute for Social Research (ISR), the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice, and the Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII).

School Overview

Tuition: $9,761 in-state; $25,590 out-of-state
Visit School Website

University of California San Francisco

  • University of California, San Francisco

The University of California San Francisco is “No.15 Best Colleges,” with a Ph.D. in Sociology, emphasizing the sociology of health, illness, biomedicine, and healthcare systems. Its doctoral degree program has four areas of concentration. They include aging chronic illness and disability; health policy, organizations and economics; science, technology and medicine studies; and race, class, gender, and health inequalities. Furthermore, students have other areas to study, namely HIV/AIDS, health professions, violence as a health issue, aging, etc. Applicants with post-baccalaureate degrees in the social sciences, history, philosophy, health, public health, nursing, psychology, or social work can enroll for the Ph.D.

School Overview

Tuition: $11,442
Visit School Website

PhD in Sociology Ranking Methodology

Having investigated and analyzed 50 colleges with a Ph.D.in Sociology, we extracted 15 best colleges. Our list is based on the graduation rate and the depth of the doctoral program offered to prospective students. While the latter may be challenging to quantify, it indicates to the future students the scope of a college’s doctoral degree program they’ll study. At the top of our list is Duke University, with a graduation rate of 95 percent, the highest grade.

For more programs check out our Sociology degree page.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

Woman in graduation cap and gown
Scroll to Top