Comprehensive Exams in Sociology

Students are required to take two comprehensive examinations in subfields of sociology.  Ordinarily, students are expected to complete both comprehensive examinations by the spring semester of the third year. In extreme situations, they can take their exam by the first week of their fourth year. Students may not defend a dissertation proposal until both comprehensive examinations have been passed. 

We currently offer exams in these areas:

See Collab site "Sociology Comp Exams" for reading lists.  

2017 - 2018 Comprehensive Examination Committees





Isaac Reed (Chair)

Sarah Corse (Active Reader, Fall) Allison Pugh (Active Reader, Spring) Fiona Greenland

Katya Makarova

Jeff Olick



Krishan Kumar (Chair, Fall) Jeff Olick (Chair, Spring) Yingyao Wang (Active Reader) Isaac Reed



Elizabeth Gorman (Chair) Jennifer Bair (Active Reader) Stephan Fuchs

Thomas Guterbock




Jennifer Bair (Chair)

Rae Blumberg (Active Reader, Fall) Allison Pugh (Active Reader, Spring) Anderea Press



Brad Wilcox (Chair)

Katya Makarova (Active Reader)



Krishan Kumar (Chair, Fall) Isaac Reed (Chair, Spring) Jeffrey Olick (Active Reader)




Josipa Roksa (Chair)

Sabrina Pendergrass (Active Reader) Rae Blumberg

Milton Vickerman


Milton Vickerman (Chair)

Sabrina Pendergrass (Active Reader)



Elizabeth Gorman (Chair)

Jennifer Bair (Active Reader, Fall) Allison Pugh (Active Reader, Spring)




Brad Wilcox (Chair, Fall) Allison Pugh (Chair, Spring) Rae Blumberg (Active Reader)




Josipa Roska (Chair)

Sarah Corse (Active Reader, Fall) Allison Pugh (Active Reader, Spring)




By special petition only




By special petition only




Andrea Press (Chair)

Jeff Olick (Active Reader) Sarah Corse


          By special petition only



        By special petition only



Students who are interested in taking a particular comprehensive examination should obtain an Intent Form and contact the committee chair for that examination. In consultation with the student, the committee chair will select two faculty members to evaluate the student’s examination. The committee chair will also sign the Intent Form, which the student should return to the Graduate Administrative Assistant by the set due date.

Students with a serious interest in an area of research not covered by the Department’s current list of standing examination committees may petition the Director of Graduate Studies for permission to take a comprehensive examination in that area. Reasonable requests will be accommodated if at least two faculty members are willing and able to serve as an ad hoc examination committee.

Because preparation for a comprehensive examination requires extensive reading, students are strongly encouraged to utilize the summer break between the third and fourth years to prepare for an examination early in the fourth year. For examinations to be taken later in the academic year, students are strongly encouraged to register for a directed reading supervised by a member of the examination committee, and/or non-topical research hours, to allow sufficient time for preparation.

There are three possible evaluations of comprehensive exams: Pass with Distinction, Pass, and Fail. In case of disagreement among the two examination readers, a third committee member will be called in to evaluate the examination.

A student who fails a comprehensive exam may retake an exam in the same field only once. Repeated failures may result in the student being dropped from the program.

At the completion of the exam, the committee chair will file the evaluated comprehensive examination completion form with the Graduate Administrative Assistant.

Comprehensive examinations cannot be waived.

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