Through an innovative Ph.D. program that is the only one of its kind in Houston, graduate students in Rice's Department of Sociology are trained in the craft of becoming professional sociologists of the highest quality, able to conduct cutting edge research and to teach with excellence. Emphasizing close collaboration with fellow students and faculty, the Department of Sociology offers graduate students unique opportunities for research and learning.

Ph.D. students will have access to numerous primary data collection projects, gaining experience in the practice of survey design, interviewing and ethnography. Students will have the opportunity to study culture, urban issues, health, race, gender and other topics.

In addition, Rice’s Ph.D. in sociology will be one of very few programs nationwide that requires its students to take courses in both quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition, Rice University has connections with Houston's premier research, science, and educational institutions.

For more information, please visit the Department of Sociology website. Download the graduate program handbook.

Areas of Research

  • Culture and Religion
  • Population Health
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Urban and Community
  • Gender

We offer a small, well-funded graduate program, strong in basic theoretical and methodological (both qualitative and quantitative) instruction, and focused on four thematic areas above. With the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, The Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, and the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC) as well as The Texas Medical Center across the street, we are well positioned to offer special resources for ongoing research. The Rice Sociology faculty is young, dynamic, extremely active in pursuing both research and funding, and very collaborative in orientation. We are also a highly awarded teaching department, and the program is structured around close working relationships with faculty.

Degrees Offered:


All prospective applicants should note that the Department of Sociology is offering a Ph.D. Program only and does not consider applicants pursuing a terminal Master's degree. While the department does not offer a Master's Degree track, students typically earn one as they progress toward the Ph.D.

The Department of Sociology Contact Information

Elaine Howard Ecklund
Professor and Graduate Program Director

Phone: 713-348-4254
Fax: 713-348-5296