Overview of the Department
Photo by Marsha Miller
The Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and most highly ranked Sociology departments in the country. Its outstanding group of 42 tenured or tenure-track faculty members offers an excellent range of opportunities - both inside and outside the classroom - for undergraduate and graduate students. The 2013 US News and World Report Guide to Graduate Departments ranked UT Austin Sociology 7th among public universities, and tied for 14th among all universities. This high esteem, along with the high quality of life in the Austin metropolitan area, makes it easy to see why the Department has become a very attractive place for many leading sociologists to make UT Austin their home.
The Department currently serves as the academic home for 105 graduate students and over 600 undergraduate majors. It places tremendous value on core training in sociological theory as well as methods and statistics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It builds on that core with a myriad of course offerings in areas such as criminology and deviance, demography, education, family, gender, health, politics and development, race and ethnicity, and social stratification.
The Department's faculty are extremely research-active, placing great value on not only disseminating social scientific knowledge but also producing such knowledge - typically working alongside students. Faculty regularly publish articles in the leading general and specialty journals of the discipline, and books in leading scholarly presses; many faculty and students also have their work funded by grants from the federal government and private foundations. Faculty and students regularly present at conferences throughout the country and in international settings, and are actively sought out by policymakers for advice and by the press for the public's better understanding of social trends and issues. While the faculty provide strong academic instruction in the classroom, they work very closely with students in the research arena, with many co-authored publications and presentations resulting from faculty-student collaborations in outlets such as the American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, and the Latin American Research Review, and in conferences at the American Sociological Association, the Population Association of America, and many others.
The faculty have won numerous awards, including the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturership, the American Society of Criminology Fellowship, the Warren E. Miller Award, the Liberal Arts Pro Bene Meritis Award, PAA and SSHD Early Career Achievement Awards, ASA Distinguished Scholarly Book Awards, the Tech Innovation Special Achievement Award, and many more. In addition, the Department has hosted editorships to many internationally renowned journals, including Qualitative Sociology, Gender & Society, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. The Sociology Department and the Population Research Center also house the Urban Ethnography Lab, which aims to forge strong ties between the fields of demography and ethnography. The faculty and current research sections on this website provide a more in-depth look at the areas of specialization and research activity of a very productive and diverse group of scholars.
The Undergraduate Program
The B.A. in Sociology offers a variety of potential career opportunities. While not necessarily learning a "trade" as they would in Engineering, Liberal Arts majors develop many other skills. They draw on a broad educational background to attract potential employers, buildng on effective verbal and written communication, time management skills, intellectual maturity, and the ability to think critically.
Students actively participate in research activities alongside faculty members, with the Sociology Honors Program and the Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) Sociology Honors Society serving as the cores of upper-division student activity. Students have also recently created and developed Sociological Insight, a national, peer-reviewed journal of undergraduate sociological research. Please see the Sociology Organizations website for more information. Sociology undergraduate alumni go on to some of the leading graduate programs and law schools around the country, or on to very productive careers in state and local governments, the private sector, and the non-profit sector.
The Graduate Program
UT Austin Sociology is currently the academic home for 105 M.A. and Ph.D. students. Students come from every part of the United States and the world, including the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Chile, Turkey, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and others. Students have been extremely competitive for funding opportunities such as prestigious dissertation fellowships, internships, postdoctoral fellowships, and on the academic and non-academic job markets. They have received the William Powers Jr. Fellowship, the Harry E. and Bernice M. Moore Fellowship, the Donald D. Harrington Fellowship, the Lora Romero Memorial Award, the ASA Minority Fellowship, the ASA Medical Sociology Award, the Academic Keys Future Faculty Grant Award, and numerous article and presentation awards. In 2011 the Department established The Norval Glenn Prize, in honor of Professor Emeritus Norval Glenn and his many contributions to the field of family sociology, and recipients are given a financial award for the best paper in the area of family sociology.
The Department of Sociology is committed to placing its Ph.D. graduates in influential academic, government, and nonprofit organizations. A number of professional development resources and workshops are available throughout the year offering guidance in the preparation of CVs, research and teaching statements, writing samples, and job talks. In recent years, Ph.D. graduates have won postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of California at Berkeley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard University, Princeton University, and more. They also now serve on the faculty at many prestigious universities around the country, including Princeton University, Duke University, UCLA, Penn State University, Rice University, and many more. Many others hold important research positions in federal government, state government, and private settings, such as the United Nations, the US Bureau of the Census, the Urban Institute, and the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Visitors can explore the webpages of faculty and students to look at their research and teaching interests, to contact the graduate program administrator (Evelyn Porter) or undergraduate advisor (Debbie Rothschild) if they are interested in one of the Department's programs, and to take some of the many exciting and important courses that its faculty members have to offer.