Careers & Professional Development

Our graduate program is designed to give students the scholarly skills, knowledge, and relationships needed to carry out independent research and to have a successful professional life.

The graduate scholarly community in the department is alive and well.

The department offers the Rosenberg Sociology-in-Process Series and the Sociology Colloquia Series, which sponsors presentations by leading scholars from North America.

Departmental support for graduate research includes a hands-on SSHRC research proposal writing workshop, funded research assistantships working directly with faculty on everything from literature reviews to data gathering to co-publishing, and funding for research and conference travel.

Graduate teaching skills are developed through funded teaching assistantships as well as the opportunity for all sociology doctoral students to teach at least one and often two or three courses; the U of A offers formal preparation for academic teaching through FGSR and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

In both research and teaching, community engagement is encouraged through public scholarly activities, media involvement, funding awards, and pedagogical programs like Community Service-Learning.

A suite of professional developments workshops is offered through the Sociology PhD Proseminar (topics include research ethics, supervisory relationships, critical literature reviews, publishing, academic and alt-academic careers). In addition, all graduate students at the U of A participate in an individualized professional development.

Historically, our graduates have in fact achieved a high job placement rate. A 2015 alumni survey showed that almost all of our recent graduates (38 of 41 respondents) were in full-time professional careers or in further full-time postgraduate or postdoctoral training.

Some examples include recent MA graduates now working as researchers with the Alberta government, doing community work with criminal justice organizations, or completing PhDs. Former PhD students have taken up tenure-track academic positions at institutions as diverse as York University, University of British Columbia, University of Dakha, University of Hong Kong, and University of Queensland, but they have also included a cultural policy expert for the Canadian government, a project director at a South African social research institute, and a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.