Graduate Program Overview

 Our Past and Present

Established as an academic unit at LSU in 1928 the Department of Sociology awarded its first MA in 1931 and first PhD in 1937. Our current faculty pursues nationally and internationally recognized research on basic and applied social science questions. While an array of research interests exist among faculty, the department has particularly strong expertise in three general research areas. The department is also methodologically diverse employing a variety of quantitative (e.g., spatial analysis, social network analysis, survey, and longitudinal modeling) and qualitative (e.g., participant observation, ethnography, video ethnography) approaches.


 An interdisciplinary field that studies the causes, manifestations, consequences, control, and prevention of criminal behavior at both the individual and societal levels. While the general focus of the Sociology’s faculty members at LSU is on the community and neighborhood correlates of crime, spanning many substantive areas including violence, sexual victimization, formal/informal policing strategies, gangs, gentrification and crime, and cultural influences on crime. Their research utilizes both qualitative (i.e., ethnography) and quantitative (i.e., statistical, spatial, and social network analysis) methodologies.

Scholars working in criminology include Barton, Becker, Chauvin, Lee, Shihadeh, & Stevenson.

Social Inequality

 A central component to the discipline of sociology. Social inequality involves building an understanding of the structure, causes, and consequences of the unequal distribution of material and symbolic rewards in society. The faculty at LSU examine social inequality as it applies to topics including communities and regions, education, gender and sexuality, globalization and development, marriage and family, race and ethnicity, social demography and population change, and work and labor markets. 

Scholars working in social inequality include Barton, Becker, Berkowitz, Blanchard, Gremillion, KroegerO'Connell, Rackin, Schafer, Shihadeh, Shrum, Slack, Smiley, Stroope, & Tate.

Social Capital

Focusing on the connections among people in society. Social capital includes social networks, community, civic participation, and identity and sense of belonging. Research on social capital carried out by members of LSU Sociology has explored how social networks affect access to resources after a natural disaster, how a person looks for a job, how new technology spreads in third world countries, how community solidarity can reduce crime, and how religious organizations help integrate immigrants into society. 

Scholars working in social capital include Barton, Rackin, Shrum, Smiley, Walker & Weil

We typically have about 50 graduate students in our sociology program, who come from across the United States (currently, we have students from Louisiana, California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas) and from several other countries (currently from Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Ghana, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad & Tobago). Typical graduate "cohorts" consist of 6-13 students, with most funded through graduate assistantships, fellowships, or grants.

The Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA) is our student organization that seeks to provide sociology graduate students with enhanced scholarship and fellowship experiences at LSU.

Our PhD alumni work, again, across the United States and the world. Most attain professorial positions in US colleges and universities. Others have pursued careers in research institutions, governmental agencies, and private industries.