Step 1: Qualifying Exam
The Sociology PhD qualifying exam should be completed after completion of all core/required courses, and all courses in your Major Area of Concentration. The exam is offered at the beginning of the Fall/Spring semesters. You should email the Graduate Director the semester before you plan to take the exam, to let them know you would like to be added to the exam in the upcoming semester. Once you pass the exam, you are eligible to defend your dissertation proposal.

Note: Most students enroll in Doctoral Research hours the semester they take their exam. Please contact if you would like a GPS review to determine if this is appropriate in your particular case. It is wise to review your GPS in MyUCF each semester to make sure you are fulfilling your requirements as well.

Step 2: Dissertation Committee Formation
The semester before you plan to defend your proposal, you should choose a dissertation committee chair, and work with them to choose members of your advisory committee. Dissertation Committees must have one Chair, two Department members, and one member outside of the Department.

Please refer to the Dissertation Committee Formation page for more information on this process.

Step 3: Complete your CITI/Academic Integrity Training
Before you can defend your proposal and advance to candidacy, you will need to complete the CITI/Academic Integrity training on your myUCF to-do list. You can visit for more information about the training.

Step 4: Defend Proposal
Once you have passed your qualifying exam, formed your committee, and completed all your training, you are ready to defend your proposal. You will work with your committee to schedule your proposal. At this time, all defenses are being conducted virtually via Zoom. Once you’ve scheduled the proposal, email to let them know the time, date, and Zoom information for the meeting. Once your proposal is done, the Graduate Admissions Coordinator will contact your Dissertation Chair, and will work with them to get the necessary approval form completed and processed.

You are now ABD! Congratulations!

Step 5: Enroll in Dissertation Hours
In the semester following your proposal defense, you will be able to enroll in Dissertation Hours. You need a total of 15 dissertation hours by the end of the program. Three hours is considered full-time, but you can enroll in up to nine per semester if you want to complete all your hours in 2-3 semesters. Contact the Graduate Admissions Coordinator ( in the same semester you defend your proposal to get a copy of the Restricted Registration Agreement. You will complete this form with your Dissertation Chair each semester you enroll in dissertation hours. Once completed, send it to the admissions coordinator for processing.

Step 6: Final Defense & Graduation
You are almost done! When you are enrolled in the last of your 15 dissertation hours, you are eligible to apply for graduation and defend your final dissertation. Please refer to the Thesis & Dissertation Defense page for more information.