Graduate Academic Program

Through Notre Dame's Department of Sociology, the graduate program provides students with the skills and techniques necessary to develop expertise in specific fields within the Sociology of Education. The program's primary goal is to help students become independent scholars and teachers who will make important contributions to a wider body of knowledge.

The Center for Research on Educational Opportunity is part of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Sociology and offers a rigorous graduate academic program, which offers a Master of Arts on the way to a Ph.D. CREO students apply to the Department of Sociology through Notre Dame's Graduate School application and note their interest in studying the Sociology of Education. 

Once accepted, students receive a strong foundation in social theory and research methods. Students also develop expertise in specific fields within the Sociology of Education. The program’s primary goal is to help students to become outstanding independent scholars and teachers who will make important contributions to a wider body of knowledge.

In recent years, the CREO graduate program has maintained roughly ten full-time students. Typically, about two Ph.D. students enroll every year. CREO graduate students enliven the Institute’s community of inquiry through collaborating on research projects, participating in education- and sociology-focused coursework, and developing scholars who address important policy issues related to quality educational experiences for all children. 

Sociology of Education Ph.D.

  • Applications 
    • The easiest way to apply to the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity graduate program is to use the University of Notre Dame’s Graduate School online application.
    • Before applying, please make sure you have read through the Department of Sociology’s Information for Prospective Students
  • Funding 
    • Graduate students are guaranteed five years of full financial support, which comes from a variety of sources. The Institute supports five CREO graduate students each year, which includes a stipend and health insurance. The Notre Dame Graduate School also supports three to four graduate students each year. Increasingly, CREO students have been successful in winning external grants and fellowships.
    • In the last four years, for example, three CREO students have won the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which provides them with a generous stipend for three years along with other benefits. Additionally, in a typical year, several students are funded by faculty research grants.
    • Dr. Mark Berends has provided one or two students with research stipends over the past five years. As part of the stipend, students work as research assistants on faculty research projects, learning all aspects of research including planning, implementation, analysis, and publication.
  • Course of study
    • Several basic and advanced courses are required of all students who enter with only a bachelor's degree. In addition, they are required of other students who cannot demonstrate previous equivalent work at the graduate level. These constitute 45 of the 60 required credit hours for completion of the doctoral program.
      • Classical Sociological Theory (3 credits)
      • Contemporary Sociology Theory (3 credits)
      • Proseminar 1: Professionalization (2 credits)
      • Proseminar 2: Survey of Department Subfields (1 credit)
      • Advanced Social Statistics (3 credits)
      • Research Methods (3 credits)
      • Advanced Seminar in Research Methods (3 credits)
      • Three semesters of “foundational” courses (3 credits each)
      • Six elective courses in a variety of substantive areas in the discipline (3 credits each)
    • Students can earn the remaining 15 credits required for their degree by enrolling in any combination of course offerings that include:
      • Master's thesis and dissertation research credits
      • Graduate seminars from the Sociology Department above and beyond the required courses
      • Graduate courses from other departments
      • Directed reading courses
    • Directed Reading courses ought to be confined to reading and research on highly specialized topics that are immediately relevant to the student's interests and that are not routinely covered in the regular curriculum. These courses are not to be employed as substitutes for readily accessible forms of classroom training.
    • For a full listing of the curriculum, please click here.

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