The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice offers Masters of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in both sociology and criminology. The graduate program in Criminology was added in 1986 and granted permanent status by the University in 1992. The primary focus of the program is the preparation of members of the next generation of sociologists and criminologists by emphasizing systematic training in theory and research methodology as well as teaching. These advanced education degrees are intended for persons interested in careers in academia, public service, or private enterprise. The Department has a large number of full-time distinguished faculty (28) from the disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, Law, Criminology, History, and Criminal Justice. This allows students to work closely with faculty members while preserving a reasonable breadth of interests. Thus, while both the Sociology and Criminology degrees rely on strong theoretical and methodological foundations, they also allow students to tailor a program that meets their individual needs.
Both the Sociology and Criminology programs are organized around course work, seminars, research, teaching opportunities, and other related work. Our goal is to provide students with a wide range of professional experiences.
For new applicants, please see Graduate Office webpage for applicants
For Foreign Students, please see Office for International Students and Scholars
For more information, please see our Graduate Policy Handbook
Click here to view Graduate course descriptions
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Click here to view Reading Lists for Comprehensive Exams
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Mission and Goals
The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice offers Masters of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in both sociology and criminology. The primary focus of the programs is the preparation of members of the next generation of sociologists and criminologists by emphasizing systematic training in theory and research methodology for careers in public and private sector. The Ph.D. programs in sociology and criminology are advanced education degrees intended for persons interested in careers in academia, public service, or private sector. The department has particular strengths in the following areas: Disasters and the Environment; Criminology, Deviance, Law & Society; and Inequality (Race, Class, Gender). The department prioritizes the professional socialization and development of graduate students. Beginning with the required, non-credit proseminar for each new cohort, all graduate students are actively encouraged to work closely with department faculty, join professional associations, attend and present work at professional conferences, and establish a professional identity in both research and teaching. Both the Sociology and Criminology programs are organized around course work, seminars, research, teaching opportunities, and other related work in order to provide students with a wide range of professional experiences.
Goals for Graduate Education:
1. Students will learn to conduct original research and demonstrate skills in academic instruction and service.
2. Students will master the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills required for their chosen degrees and fields of study.
3. Students will demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in at least two specialized areas within sociology or criminology.
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The Department Offers Fall Admission Only
January 3 - deadline for application to M.A. and Ph.D. program.
If we receive your online application first, it will take 2 weeks after your paper documents are received for them to be processed.
If we receive your paper documents first, it will take 2 weeks after your application is received for your paper documents to be processed.
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Admission requirements are established by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the College of Graduate Studies. The decision to admit an applicant to the graduate programs in Sociology or Criminology is primarily based on:
- On-line application
- GRE's (competitive GRE scores for admission are around 310, cumulative). Scores can not be over 5 years old.
- Unofficial transcript containing GPA
- Three letters of recommendation
- Statement of objectives (why you want an M.A. or Ph.D. and what you plan to do with it - 1 to 5 pages in length)
- TOEFL (minimum 600/250/100) or IELTS (7.5) for foreign students
- Writing sample is strongly encouraged
The ETS University of Delaware institution code is 5811.
Also, if you are graduating with your B.A., do not apply as a Ph.D. student. You have to apply for your Master's first and then when that is completed you can go on to receive your Ph.D. Apply for Ph.D. only if you have your Master's Degree, or if you will be graduating with a Master's Degree before attending our program. Recommended GPA is at least 3.5 and above.
Application deadline is January 3.
Please note: The University of Delaware's
Graduate Program Application Form is now available online.
You can go back to the Application Form page to find out the status of your application.
If you have further questions please contact:
Dr. Aaron Kupchik
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
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The Department offers Fall admission only and the application deadline is January 3.
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Financial aid is available to graduate students in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, tuition scholarships, and University fellowships. Awards are competitive and merit-based. Assistantships and fellowships consist of tuition plus a stipend for the September - May academic period.
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There are two internationally recognized research centers associated with the Department.
Disaster Research Center The Disaster Research Center (DRC), established in 1963, was moved to the University of Delaware in 1985. DRC is one of the world’s leading centers for social science research on disasters and hazards. Since its inception, the Center has conducted field studies in over 520 communities that have sustained the effects of large-scale emergencies, in particular, natural and technological disasters. The Center’s research program focuses on group, organization, and community preparations for, responses to, mitigation of, and recovery from various hazard agents. Current and past sponsors of the Center’s research activities include the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the NOAA Sea Grant College Program, the U. S. Geological Survey, the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, and the Public Entity Risk Institute. DRC has conducted field and survey research in numerous communities in the United States and has been involved in studies of the major disaster events of our time, including the 1964 Alaska, 1971 San Fernando, 1989 San Francisco, and 1994 Northridge earthquakes; major hurricane, flood, and tornado events, and mass-casualty disasters such as explosions and plane crashes. The Center has also carried out research on significant civil disturbances, including the 1960s urban riots and the 1992 Los Angeles unrest. Although its main focus has been on disasters and other community crises in the United States, DRC is also involved in international research, and Center personnel work closely with members of the international hazards research community. Current projects include large-scale studies of flood evacuation in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, impediments and incentives to the adoption and implementation of loss-reduction measures, definitions and measures of social resilience, and research on the organizational and community response following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Center for Drug and Health Studies. The Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS) was established at the University in 1991 and has been awarded research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute of Justice, private foundations, and the State of Delaware. Locally, CDHS has offices in Newark and Wilmington. CDHS was instrumental in setting up and evaluating a national model of Therapeutic Community treatment in criminal justice populations. Currently, CDHS is engaged with a group of nine research centers nationally that are focused on implementation science research to study ways to improve evidence-based practices for substance-involved clients in criminal justice organizations (prisons, jails, probation offices). Other recent projects include: ongoing analyses of the relationship between school and family experiences to adolescent substance abuse and other risky behaviors using extensive data gathered from surveys of students in Delaware public schools; an evaluation of graduated sanctions to deter substance use among probationers; studies examining HIV within the criminal justice population; suicide prevention strategies among at-risk youth and young adults; and an evaluation of community prevention programs to address various aspects of substance abuse in Delaware communities.
Both Centers offer opportunities for research training for graduate students including stipends for research assistants and use of data sources.
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Graduate Students' Forms & Information
Application for Advanced Degree
Certification of Doctoral Dissertation Defense
Change of Classification Form for Graduate Students
Recommendation for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree
Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit
Outside Approved Courses
Defense Notification Form
Supervisory Committee Notification Form
Graduate Area Committee Members
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Graduate Student Activities
Our students engage in many activities and projects in addition to the usual course work.
A number of students have published papers, and annually some of our students are on the program at the national meetings of the American Sociological Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the Eastern Sociological Society.
All relevant departmental committees have graduate student representatives.
Through the Disaster Research Center, the Center for Drug and Health Studies, and other faculty research grants, students have the opportunity to work on various research projects and to write articles with the faculty.
Advanced graduate students also have the opportunity to teach regular courses in the department.
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National/International Research Travel
Purpose: to support travel to conferences at both the national and international level when presenting research papers in Criminology and related areas (such as topics covered by Sociology students including the areas of deviance, delinquency, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc.)
Awards: Travel awards will be awarded every academic year. The intent is offer at least two travel awards each year, where one award is devoted to conference travel at the national level (maximum funding available is $1000) and the other for conference travel at the international level (maximum funding available is $2000). However, the number of awards may vary annually. Applications will be considered by the GPC until the total annual budget of $3000 is allocated.
How to Apply:
Student must provide the following items in the application:
1. The name of conference and conference website. Be sure to provide some information about how the conference receives paper submissions and its selection/acceptance process.
2. Evidence documenting participation on the conference’s annual program. Participation must be in the form of a paper presentation. Co-authorship is appropriate but student must document significant contribution to the research.
3. Statement of how conference attendance will: a) increase the visibility of our graduate program at the national or international level and b) advance the student's professional development and/or enhance student's research objectives/goals.
4. Budget statement covering:
a) Estimated total cost of conference attendance (e.g., supporting documents showing flight cost, conference registration fee, accommodations, etc are warranted);
b) Information about other financial support received for conference attendance (e.g., department monies, grant support, etc); and
c) Specific dollar amount requested by this award.
Travel awards are competitive and require review by the Graduate Policy Committee. Applications will be reviewed until the annual budget is exhausted.
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