Our department — nearly as old as the university — celebrates its 115th anniversary in the 2014-2015 academic year. It has been a leading center of sociology with three of its members having served as presidents of the American Sociological Association and six as presidents of the Midwest Sociological Society. We offer B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. programs, and include 17 faculty members, about 35 graduate students and around 200 undergraduate majors. Currently, all of our graduate students are funded through graduate teaching, research assistantships, or by scholarships.
As a moderately small department, we capitalize on our strengths by emphasizing specializations and research in the areas of family, social inequality, and the sociology of health/mental health. Faculty and students in each of these areas — along with other sociological topics — participate in regular department colloquiums to present ongoing research, discuss teaching issues, and listen to invited speakers. Some department faculty members hold joint appointments with the Institute for Ethnic Studies and the Survey Research and Methods program. In addition, department faculty have affiliations with the Women’s and Gender Studies and the Environmental Studies programs.
We emphasize both quality research and teaching. We have an established tradition of outstanding research and remain committed to further developing our areas of research strength. The strong record of quality refereed publications and outstanding record of external grant funding in the department priority areas demonstrates our pursuit of excellence in research. We believe that a strong research agenda serves as a critical foundation for excellence in teaching and engagement.
A long-standing emphasis on excellence in education exists here. In 1996, the Department of Sociology was awarded the System-wide University Award for Outstanding Departmental Teaching. Six members of our department have won Distinguished Teaching Awards from the college, and Helen Moore has been recognized with the University of Nebraska system’s highest teaching award, the Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award.
Our department is the only Ph.D.-granting sociology department in Nebraska. The primary focus is preparing the future professoriate, both for research universities and for four-year and other liberal arts colleges and universities. We also provide training for those who wish to enter nonacademic settings, especially applied research in government agencies and private organizations. Slightly over half of our full-time graduate students are funded as graduate teaching assistants with the remainder on graduate research assistantships or fellowships.
- UNL Sociology is in the top 10% of Ph.D. Sociology programs according to the NRC S-Rankings (13th in the PhDs.org ranking, NRC 90% confidence range of 6-19)
- UNL Sociology is in the top 5% of Sociology programs for graduate student support and outcomes (2nd in the PhDs.org ranking, NRC 90% confidence range of 1-7)
On September 28, 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) released its first review of U.S. graduate programs since 1995. This report provides rankings for many disciplines, including those from 117 Ph.D. programs in the Sociology category.
The NRC report provides aggregate ratings for the Ph.D. programs. The 2010 NRC program rankings are reported in terms of 90% confidence ranges. The website PhDs.org uses the rankings distribution data to provide rank-ordering of programs based on centroid scores.