The program combines the Management and Organization department’s expertise in organization theory with the Sociology department’s strengths in economic, comparative-historical and cultural sociology. The joint program attracts students who want to study business and nonprofit organizations using a sociological perspective, or who wish to apply management and organizational theory to core problems in sociology such as social movements, the production of culture, social structure, gender and race inequality. It is also an attractive option for students that seek to study topics in a rigorous way, at the intersection of economy and society, such as social enterprise, globalization and economic development.
The joint program’s research and career advantages build on the possibilities that come with applying disciplinary training to the new intellectual space between management and sociological theory. The formal degree synthesizes competencies of both programs, creates formal connections that facilitate a student’s access to faculty and department resources in a way that would be difficult through an informal sampling of courses, and furnishes students with an expanded choice of career and research options in professional schools and schools of arts and sciences.
Faculty from both departments actively participate in the joint program. Each student's specific program of study is set up collaboratively with the program advisers from the two departments. The joint doctoral program is designed as a five to a six-year program. Students take 16 required courses in sociology, management and organizations, and related fields. Depending on the student's background, course work may be waived or substituted with permission.
Program of Study
The joint program develops students' theoretical knowledge and methodological skills for careers as successful and productive researchers. Students actively engage in research projects throughout their entire graduate program. In addition, there is a required set of courses to help students build their theoretical knowledge base. Unless required by research or other special circumstances approved by the program advisers, students are expected to be working toward their degree and be on campus year round, for the entire five years.
The First Year
Students choose a faculty adviser from either of the departments, and work on research under his or her supervision. Faculty advisers provide students with the opportunities to get involved in research and help them choose their elective courses. Students are expected to work on research projects with their advisers during their first year. They may initiate their own research projects and work with additional faculty, but this is not expected in the first year. First-year students take courses in the fall, winter and spring quarters. They are also required to participate in the Sociology Proseminar, SOCIOL - 480 and the MORS Graduate Research Seminar (GRS).
In August of the first year, students take preliminary exams that cover relevant content of the core curriculum in Management and Organizations. The preliminary exam is taken with the MORS students in your cohort. The format of the exams is open-book and open-notes; answers are written. The exam tests students’ knowledge of organization theory, as well as the ability to develop testable research ideas. There is no preliminary exam in the sociology department.
The Second Year
Under the supervision of a faculty adviser, students develop an independent empirical research project that becomes their MORS candidacy paper. The paper must be completed and formally approved by the student's faculty adviser and two additional faculty members by the end of the winter quarter of year three. The committee must include members of both the MORS department and the department of sociology. The topic must cover an issue germane to management and sociology. Students are also encouraged to remain involved in other research projects.
In addition to these second-year research activities, students continue to participate in the General Research Seminar (GRS), complete course requirements and develop expertise in their own areas of interest. In September/October of the second year students make a 30-minute oral presentation as part of the MORS department's GRS, in which they report on research they have conducted in their first year.
The second year offers students the opportunity to begin serving as teaching assistants for the Management and Organizations courses. This provides students with valuable exposure to the material in Management and Organizations MBA classes. It also allows students to observe teaching techniques and to develop courseware useful upon graduation. Students may also take Sociology 570 as preparation to TA for undergraduate sociology classes.
The Third Year
Students present an advanced version of their MORS candidacy paper in the GRS during the fall quarter of their third year. They are also expected to continue to actively participate in the GRS. A completed draft of the MORS candidacy paper is due by January 15 of the third year. The faculty committee reads the draft and may request revisions. The final version of the candidacy paper must be signed off by all committee members by the end of the winter quarter of year three.
Students also complete the Sociology department's special field paper requirement that involves working with one or two selected faculty members, defining a topic, assembling a bibliography, and then writing a 30-35 page review essay surveying the literature on that topic (these are typically modeled after Annual Review of Sociology articles). Many students enroll in SOC 499 as they work on this paper. Upon completion of required coursework, presentations and the special field and candidacy papers, students move into candidacy.
During the third year, students begin to develop a dissertation project. This planning involves intensive reading in relevant literatures, investigating options for collecting data and developing a research design, all under the guidance of a faculty adviser who will be the dissertation chair. A comprehension dissertation proposal must be defended by June 1 of the fourth year. The committee consists of five faculty: two from sociology, two from MORS, and one nonsociology and nonMORS faculty member. The oral defense is open to attendance by other students and faculty.
Many students find it useful to join one or more of the sociology graduate workshops, which support more advanced work on topics related to the sociology of culture, comparative/historical sociology, social inequality, ethnography and urban sociology.
Students frequently intern with a faculty member during their third year to prepare for potential teaching opportunities in the MBA program at the Kellogg School.
The Fourth and Fifth Years
Students spend years four and five focused on conducting their dissertation research. A student receives the PhD upon successful completion of all coursework and department requirements.
Fourth- and fifth-year students play a leadership role and are expected to remain fully engaged in both departments, including attending departmental colloquia and activities and presenting their work. Students often teach one to two MBA-level courses at the Kellogg School or undergraduate seminars in Sociology during this time. This opportunity provides invaluable independent teaching experience.
To complete the doctoral program, the following courses must be taken (waivers and substitution are available with the approval of both program advisors):
1. Two seminars in sociological theory from the following:
SOCIOL - 406-1 Classical Theory in Sociological Analysis
SOCIOL - 406-2 Modern Theory in Sociological Analysis
SOCIOL - 406-3 Contemporary Theory in Sociological Analysis
2. Two organizational analysis seminars:
MORS 425-1 Behavior in Organization Systems
MORS 425-2 Organizations in their Environments
3. Six seminars in social organization from the following (at least three in Sociology and two in MORS):
SOCIOL - 408 Sociology of Law
SOCIOL - 416 New Perspectives on Gender in Society
SOCIOL - 420 Sociology of Culture
SOCIOL - 437 Economic Sociology
SOCIOL - 439 Comparative and Historical Sociology
SOCIOL - 440 Stratification, Race and Gender
SOCIOL - 441 Social Organization
SOCIOL - 476 Topics in Sociological Analysis (can be repeated for credit)
MORS - 424-1 The Individual and the Organization
MORS - 424-2 Social Processes in Organizations
MORS - 520/530 MORS Electives Seminar (can be repeated for credit)
4. Two method seminars:
SOCIOL - 403 Field Methods
MORS - 426 Macro-Organizational Research Methods.
5. Three statistics courses
Students must take basic descriptive and inferential statistics, linear and nonlinear regression, event history analysis, time series modeling, network analysis, or other quantitative methods course depending on research needs and prior training. Can be taken at any Northwestern Department.
6. Seminar in College Teaching
SOCIOL - 570. This seminar, or its equivalent, is required to TA for undergraduate sociological classes.
7. Graduate Research Seminar (MORS) and Proseminar (Sociology)
Students are required to participate in these not-for-credit seminars.
For additional questions about the program, contact the program advisers; Klaus Weber (Management and Organizations) and Bruce Carruthers (Sociology).
The Kellogg School and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences have a strong commitment to the recruitment, admission, training and placement of women and minority scholars.
Application to the joining program must be submitted online through the Graduate School of Northwestern University. The Management and Organizations and Sociology PhD Program requires the GRE (not GMAT) and a writing sample with the application. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Susan Jackman, the coordinator for the Doctoral Program.
Click Here to Apply to the Doctoral Program.