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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

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Undergraduate Programs

Colleges of Arts and Sciences Program Requirements

Professional Programs



College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 247
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7693
Fax: (808) 956-3707
E-mail: socdept@hawaii.edu
Web: www2.soc.hawaii.edu/soc


*Graduate Faculty

*E. L. Wegner, PhD (Chair)—medical sociology, social psychology, aging/social gerontology
*R. A. Baldoz, PhD—race and ethnic relations, work and labor markets, political economy
*H. R. Barringer, PhD—race and ethnic relations, comparative sociology (Korea), quantitative methodology
S. K. Chai, PhD—social theory, economic development, comparative sociology (Asia)
*C. M. Endo, PhD—social stratification and mobility, social research methodology
K. Irwin, PhD—criminology, deviance and social control, qualitative methodology
*D. T. Johnson, PhD—criminal justice, comparative sociology (Japan), law and society
*H. Koo, PhD—comparative sociology (Korea), social stratification, development
*Y. J. Lee, PhD—quantitative methodology, demography, gender stratification, aging and health
*P. T. Manicas, PhD—social theory, race and ethnic relations, political economy
*A. B. Robillard, PhD—ethnomethodology, medical sociology, comparative (Pacific Islands), disability
*L. O. Ruch, PhD—medical sociology, mental health, sex and gender, formal organizations
*P. G. Steinhoff, PhD—collective behavior/social movements, comparative sociology (Japan), political sociology
*D. W. Swift, PhD—sociology of the arts, science and technology
*E. L. Wegner, PhD—medical sociology, social psychology, aging/social gerontology
*M. G. Weinstein, PhD—qualitative methodology, community, sociology of knowledge
*D. W. Wood, PhD—medical sociology, evaluation research, quantitative methodology, substance abuse treatment
*G. Yang, PhD—collective behavior/social movements, cultural sociology, social theory
*S. Yeh, PhD—urban sociology, population studies, family

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

M. Chesney-Lind, PhD—criminology, gender and women’s issues
J. Chinen, PhD—women and work, race, class and gender, race and ethnic relations
M. Delucchi—sociology of education

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

J. Gartrell, PhD—evaluation research, substance abuse treatment, quantitative methodology
C. T. Hayashida, PhD—gerontology, medical sociology, health services and policy
G. Jarvis, PhD—population studies, sociology of aging, medical sociology
S. Kanaiaupuni, PhD—demography, education, Native Hawaiians
J. Leon, PhD—family, survey research, evaluation research, race and ethnic relations
V. K. Mishra, PhD—demography, environmental sociology, population and health, comparative (Asia)
R. D. Retherford, PhD—population, social change (Asia)
P. S. Xenos, PhD—demography, family relations and youth, sexuality, comparative (Asia)

Adjunct Faculty

P. Adler, PhD—conflict management, community studies
J. Dannenberg, JD—law and society
J. Manis, PhD—social psychology, social problems

Degrees Offered: Certificates in Human Resources/Organizational Management, Political Economy, and Social Science and Health; BA (inlcuding minor) in sociology; MA in sociology; PhD in sociology

The Academic Program

Sociology (SOC) is the study of how society organizes itself and how various groups interact with each other and the consequences of these processes. Sociology’s subject matter includes marriage and family patterns, race and ethnic relations, demography, social change, class structure, formal organizations including bureaucracies, value systems, conflict, deviant behavior, and the people and institutions of other societies.

Sociology uses a range of research techniques for studying social phenomena that can be applied to many areas, whether one is interested in the incidence of crime, client satisfaction, policy evaluations, or demographic trends. In addition to preparing people as professional sociologists in academic settings, sociology is an excellent background for careers in law, social work, public health, urban planning, public administration, and other fields. The graduate program provides students with a foundation in basic theory and methods of research. In addition, faculty and advanced graduate students are involved in several broad areas of sociological interest: the comparative sociology of Asia; population studies; the study of crime, law, deviance, and human services in the U.S.; aging and medical sociology; and race and ethnic relations.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete a prerequisite introductory sociology course and 30 credit hours of upper division courses, including:

  • 9 credit hours at the 400 level
  • SOC 300 and 321
  • One course from SOC 475, 476, 478, or SOCS 225 (Note: SOCS 225 is a lower division course and cannot be counted toward required upper division credit hours)

Consult the department for graduate and career opportunities.



Students must complete a prerequisite introductory-level sociology course and 15 credit hours, including:

  • SOC 300
  • One 400-level course
  • Three other upper division sociology courses

All courses must be passed with a grade of C (not C-) or better.

Undergraduate Certificates

For information about applying for one of the following certificate programs and a list of the available courses, please see the undergraduate adviser in Sociology or in the designated department.

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Human Resources/Organizational Management

The purpose of this certificate is to provide a set of courses from departments in the College of Social Sciences for students who intend to enter careers in human relations and management in business, non-profit agencies and public agencies. Such careers require a broad range of knowledge and skills. Understanding finances is fundamental to the life of an organization. In addition, management requires an understanding of cultural styles of communication, modes of resolving conflict, principles of psychological motivation and interpersonal influence. Public relations is also important in reaching the public and communicating with constituencies. Organizations also must operate in an environment of complex legal regulations. Courses have been approved for the certificate which provide background in these domains.


The requirements are designed to conform to criteria specified for undergraduate certificates for UH Manoa and also to meet the diversification graduate requirement in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences. The requirements are:

  • 15 credit hours of five courses. Courses cannot be double-counted for an academic major. However, a student can count a course from the same department as their major, but it cannot then be used to satisfy the major requirement.
  • 2.5 GPA or better in courses
  • courses must be taken from a minimum of three different academic departments
  • One course from COM 320 or SOC 313

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Political Economy

The Certificate in Political Economy is designed to give students a grasp of the ways in which political, economic and sociological forces interact in the shaping of public policy. The certificate may be helpful to students interested in careers in public policy as well as to students who wish to pursue graduate degrees in economics, political science or sociology by enabling them to see the connections between these disciplines. A more complete description and the requirements are described under the Department of Political Science.

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Social Science and Health

The purpose of this certificate is to supplement the disciplinary major of students who wish to pursue careers in the field of health and health care by enhancing the breadth, quality and coherence of their education through taking health-related courses in a variety of different academic disciplines.


The requirements are designed to conform to criteria specified for undergraduate certificates for UH Manoa and also to meet the diversification graduate requirement in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (Option 2, Depth). The requirements are:

  • 15 credit hours of five courses. Courses cannot be double-counted for an academic major. However, a student can count a course from the same department as their major, but it cannot then be used to satisfy the major requirement.
  • 2.5 GPA or better in courses
  • courses must be taken from a minimum of three different academic departments
  • One course from ANTH 425 or ECON 434 or SOC 354

Graduate Study

Two programs of graduate study in sociology are offered: a PhD program, intended to provide a professional basis for research and university teaching, and an MA program, designed to offer a general sociology curriculum and specialized areas of study relevant to career lines other than university scholarship. Applicants for graduate study in the department must specify which program they wish to enter. Letters of recommendation and GRE General Test scores are required of all applicants; scores for the GRE subject test in sociology are not required but are recommended. A sample of written work is also required of applicants to the PhD program. An undergraduate major in sociology is not required for admission, but some sociology background is recommended. Makeup course work may be required in some cases. Applications will be accepted for either fall term or spring term admission. The application deadline for admission is February 1 for the fall semester and September 1 for the spring semester. The department also provides a more detailed statement of its graduate degree programs and procedures. Persons interested in applying should request a copy of A Program of Graduate Study from the department.

Master’s Degree

The department offers the MA Plan A (thesis) and MA Plan B (non-thesis).

Plan A (Thesis) Requirements

The general MA curriculum in sociology (Plan A) should prepare the student for possible positions in government and private industry, especially in research activities. In addition, preparatory training is provided to those who aspire to a doctoral degree, but the general MA candidate cannot assume that satisfactory completion of this curriculum will automatically lead to placement in the department’s PhD program.

The Plan A program aims to provide the student with a firm foundation in sociological theory, methods of social research (including statistics), and the application of theory and methods to various areas of study.

A minimum of 24 credit hours of course work is required for this program, with an additional 6 credit hours for thesis (SOC 700). All candidates are required to take at least one course each in the areas of sociological theory, research methodology, and social statistics. A minimum of 12 credit hours must be taken in a subfield that reflects the student’s special interests. All courses credited toward the 30-credit hour minimum required for the MA degree must be passed with a grade of B or better. At least 12 credit hours of the 30 must be at the 600 level or higher (exclusive of the 6 credit hours for thesis).

The first semester’s work is planned in consultation with the graduate chair or an interim adviser appointed by the graduate chair. During the first semester, under the guidance of the graduate chair or the interim adviser, the student prepares a statement outlining a study plan that reflects his or her special interests and meets the credit requirements of the program. Also, the graduate chair or the interim adviser assists in forming the student’s three-member thesis committee. One member of the thesis committee may, but need not, be from outside the department. The thesis committee approves the thesis topic, supervises thesis work, conducts the final oral examination in defense of the thesis, and certifies the completion of the thesis, after which the student is certified as having completed the MA degree program in sociology.

Plan B (Non-thesis) Requirements

Plan B (non-thesis) is offered only in the specialized area of population studies. The population studies program is designed to provide practical training in demographic techniques and to teach the student facts and theories of population studies. Details regarding this area may be obtained from the sociology department.

Doctoral Degree

This is an academic-oriented program. It is designed to provide the student with a firm foundation in sociological theory, methods, and research so the student is prepared to engage in professional research and university teaching.

The course requirement for the PhD program is 33 credits (eleven courses), comprised of (1) five core courses in theory and methods, (2) five substantive courses at the 600 level or above, and (3) one course of SOC 699. The student can complete this 33-credit requirement in either Phase I or Phase II of the PhD program. All courses must be passed with a grade of B or above, and the student must maintain a B average (3.0 GPA) for continued registration.

The first phase of the PhD program provides basic training in theory, methods, and research. The requirement in this phase is to complete the five core courses in theory and methods, and it is recommended that courses at the 400 level or above and one course of SOC 699 be taken. In addition, the student submits a tutorial paper and another term paper. At the end of this phase of work, the student goes through a qualifying review. After passing this qualifying review, the student is allowed to proceed to complete the second phase of the PhD program.

This second phase provides advanced training in areas of concentration and dissertation research. The course requirement in this phase is—if the student has not completed it in Phase I—to take 15 credits (five courses) of substantive courses at the 600 level or above. In addition, the student is required to write and present a research paper of the format and quality publishable in a professional journal, take written and oral comprehensive examinations on two selected areas of concentration, write a dissertation proposal, finish a PhD dissertation, and orally defend the PhD dissertation.

Requirements for Phase I

30 credits of course work, including:

  • Five core courses (15 credits) in theory and methods
  • Four other social science courses (12 credits) at the 400 level or above, excluding SOC 699
  • One course of SOC 699 (3 credits)

In the second or third semester, the student takes a directed reading course for the purpose of preparing a tutorial paper.

One Tutorial Paper and One Term Paper. By the beginning of the second semester, the student should meet with the temporary faculty advisers to plan his or her guidance committee. The three-member guidance committee may be comprised entirely of graduate faculty in the Department of Sociology or, if desired, two from inside the department and one from outside.

In the second or third semester, the student will take a directed reading course (SOC 699) to prepare a tutorial paper to be submitted for qualifying review. The guidance committee should include the faculty member with whom the student takes SOC 699.

In the fourth semester, the student selects one of the best term papers he or she has written while doing course work, makes revisions, and submits it along with the tutorial paper he or she has prepared through SOC 699 to the guidance committee for evaluation.

The guidance committee then evaluates the student’s performance to determine whether the student should be granted an MA degree. The guidance committee makes this decision on the basis of (1) fulfillment of the 30-credit requirement, which includes 18 credits of courses at the 600 level or above by the fourth semester; and (2) the quality of the two papers submitted. After the guidance committee makes the decision to grant the MA degree, the student may request the graduate chair to certify completion of the MA degree en route (Plan B). Students who already hold an MA in sociology from the UH or another institution may not exercise this option.

Qualifying Review. If the student wishes to proceed to Phase II of the PhD program, the student should request the chair and members of the guidance committee to write a letter of evaluation to the qualifying review committee no later than the sixth week of the fourth semester. The chair of the student’s guidance committee may submit a petition to the graduate chair for extension beyond the fourth semester to take the qualifying review.

Each semester, a department-wide qualifying review committee is formed by the sixth week of the semester. This committee evaluates students wanting to continue in the PhD program based on the following information: (1) the student’s grades, especially from the required core courses; (2) the two papers submitted by the student; and (3) letters of evaluation from the chair and members of the guidance committee.

The qualifying review committee makes the following evaluation on the student: Honors, Pass, Fail.

When the student who receives a “Pass” or above will be allowed to proceed to fulfill the PhD requirements in Phase II. Should the student receive a “Fail,” it will be reported to the Graduate Division.

The student who failed may request a second qualifying review. Dismissal from the PhD program is final if the student receives a second “Fail” from the qualifying review committee.

The PhD Committee. After the student has passed the qualifying review, the graduate chair should immediately assist the student in selecting the chair of his or her PhD committee. The PhD committee chair will assist in forming a five-person PhD committee, including at least one member, but no more than two members, from outside the department.

Requirements for Phase II

In order to prepare the student for advanced training in areas of concentration and serious dissertation research, a total of five substantive courses (15 credits) at the 600 or 700 level (excluding SOC 699) are required for the PhD program. A substantive course is defined as any course not specifically classified as theory or methods. The student may have already taken some substantive courses in Phase I. However, if the student has not fulfilled this five substantive course requirement prior to the qualifying review, he or she must fulfill it before submitting the dissertation proposal.

The Research Paper. The PhD committee will aid the student in developing a research paper that meets the standards and the format implied by the term “publishable journal article.” This research paper can be an extension of an earlier paper used for the qualifying review at the end of the MA Program en route.

Upon approval of the research paper, the student must arrange for presentation of the research paper (in any public academic forum). The presentation gives the student the experience of intellectual exchange in a professional setting. Public presentation of the research paper must be fulfilled before submitting the dissertation proposal.

Comprehensive Examination. Upon approval of the research paper, the student takes the comprehensive examination from the PhD committee. It is composed of two parts: written and oral.

The written comprehensive examination will cover two broadly defined substantive areas, as determined by the student and the PhD committee. The student develops a bibliography for each area, which may serve as a basis for preparing the substantive areas.

The PhD committee makes up three to five questions from the two selected areas of concentration. The student picks up the questions from the graduate secretary on a Monday morning. The student must return the answers to the graduate secretary by the following Monday at noon.

The PhD committee evaluates the written examination and then proceeds to hold a closed oral examination to determine whether or not the student is prepared to undertake dissertation research.

On the basis of the written and oral examinations, the PhD committee renders a decision on the student’s overall performance on the comprehensive examination. The decision will be either “Honors,” “Pass,” “Conditional Pass,” or “Fail.”

Should the student fail the comprehensive examination, the failure must be reported to the Graduate Division. The student may take the comprehensive examination a second time after consultation with the graduate chair. Dismissal from the program is automatic if the student fails the retake examination.

Prospectus and Dissertation. After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student is admitted to PhD candidacy and proceeds to the dissertation prospectus.

By now, the candidate should have developed some ideas about research interests, data, and methods. The prospectus is prepared with the help of the student’s PhD committee. The completed prospectus is then evaluated by the student’s PhD committee. The committee makes the final decision on the acceptability of the prospectus.

The dissertation itself should represent an original contribution to the field of sociology in the form of a monograph or a major journal article.

Dissertation Defense. Examination procedures for the dissertation defense are described in the Graduate Bulletin. Departmental options are as follows:

  • recommend approval as is or with minor revisions, in which case the candidate files a copy according to Graduate Division requirements;
  • recommend major revisions or rewriting, in which case a second dissertation defense will be scheduled; or
  • recommend that the PhD not be awarded.

The original copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate Division. In addition, the department requires a copy for its files.

SOC Courses