UCSF Graduate Program Bylaws: Sociology Doctoral Program

Revision date(s): June 28, 2022

Graduate Council Approval: Approved November 17, 2022

Administrative Home: Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing


Article I. Objective

A. Degree(s) offered by the program: PhD

B. Discipline: A brief statement on the discipline(s) of the program.  The Graduate Program in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) offers courses of study leading to the PhD in Sociology, with a major emphasis on the sociology of health, illness, medicine, and health care systems. Institutionally, the program is housed in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, one of four departments in the School of Nursing.

C. Mission of the Program: The principal aim of the Program is to educate students interested in professional careers as sociologists in academic or applied contexts with an emphasis on the study of issues in health, illness, medicine, health care, and the analysis of health and public policies.

Coursework in the program is aimed at enabling students to develop their understanding of and capacities to apply sociological theory, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and a sociological perspective on the many dimensions of health, illness, medicine, and health care; and to conduct the focused, independent research project necessary for completion of the doctoral dissertation. Ultimately, the goal is to prepare students to contribute to the advancement of sociological knowledge.

The program has a commitment to social justice and reducing health inequalities, reflected in the curriculum and the research of faculty and students.


Article II. Membership

A. Criteria for Membership in the Graduate Program

Authority to define criteria for faculty membership in the various graduate groups is delegated to the executive committees of these graduate groups, including criteria for inclusion, exclusion, and removal, unless otherwise specified. Further, authority is also delegated to graduate group executive committees to propose and administer bylaws governing faculty participation and conduct. Membership is independent and separate from academic department appointments. Membership is based upon disciplinary expertise and active research, so members throughout campus are eligible for consideration for membership in the group.

B. Voting rights.

Graduate program matters will be determined by a vote of the Executive Committee members, which is comprised of the Sociology Program Director and the core Sociology teaching faculty. All members of the Executive Committee will have an equal vote, with the Program Director serving as deciding vote if needed.

C. Application for membership.

  1. How faculty may apply:  To become a faculty member of the Sociology Program, faculty must formally apply to the program and have their application approved by the Executive Committee. Membership in the Sociology program is considered a privilege and a responsibility.

  2. Anticipated contributions that graduate faculty members will perform as a member.

     a. Faculty in the Sociology program are expected to demonstrate their commitment to the training program by regularly participating in program activities. These include teaching in courses; serving as an academic advisor; serving on dissertation and qualifying examination committees; outreach and other activities that promote diversity and inclusivity in the Sociology program; participating in student recruitment and interviews; regular attendance at program events; serving as Program Director on a rotating basis.

     b. Mentoring and teaching in the program: Program faculty are expected to maintain a productive and inclusive training environment for students. Relevant measures may include evidence that the program environment is welcoming to and supportive of trainees from all backgrounds; that advanced students produce rigorous publication-worthy research; that research is conducted in the spirit of open science, when appropriate; that students complete their degrees in a timely manner; and that students successfully transition into careers in the social science or health policy workforce.

     c. Participation in faculty mentor development activities: Program faculty must participate in recruitment of prospective students, and each incoming student will be assigned a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors will meet with their assigned advisees at least bi-annually in the first two years, and at least annually thereafter. Each year, student advisees will submit self-evaluations and faculty advisors will discuss student progress, goals, and provide needed support. Advisors will support internal and external fellowship applications by providing letters of recommendation.

  3. Compliance with University policies and Program values

Program faculty are expected to comply with all university policies and uphold the values of the training program, including but not limited to the University Code of Conduct (APM-016); UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment; the UC Policy on Discrimination, and the Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace; scientific misconduct and/or financial improprieties.

D. Emeritus Status.

Emeritus faculty with active research programs may remain members of the program and are afforded the following rights: they may attend and participate in program activities (including meetings and administrative committees), may teach graduate courses, and may serve on student committees.

E. Review of Membership

The criteria for reviewing members of the program is the same for all members. Each faculty member’s contributions to the program shall be reviewed annually for the purpose of identifying faculty members who are not providing a minimal level of service to the program.

  1. Obtaining relevant information:  To ensure compliance with these requirements the Program Director and Executive Committee need to have the relevant information about faculty conduct. While information about faculty participation in program events and training is readily attainable, information about other types of violations may be difficult to obtain if, for example, the University is not forthcoming with information about faculty violations of University policies, or an individual who experiences a hostile interaction in the workplace does not report it.

  2. Violations of program expectations for faculty conduct:  The Graduate Program Directors, Executive Committee, and Program Coordinators are in frequent communication with trainees, faculty, the Graduate Division, and the University administration to monitor for compliance with all membership policy requirements. This can include reports from the Bias Response Team (once it has been established) or other communications from the Graduate Division, and communications from the University administration about faculty violations of the University Code of Conduct. The Executive Committee will promptly revoke program membership at any time upon learning about faculty conduct detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. Examples of evidence of this type of detrimental conduct include (but are not limited to), official findings by the University that a faculty member has violated Title VII or IX, or legal determinations of guilt (including settlements out of court) that may not have resulted in a University sanction.

  In addition, faculty may also be put on suspension or removed from the program for conduct that has not resulted in a University or legal sanction but nonetheless has been determined by the Executive Committee to be detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. This may include serious or sustained actions that create a hostile work environment such as a pattern of racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks or behavior, or a significant lack of professionalism or integrity. Indeed, the Sociology program expects all of its faculty members to represent and uphold UCSF values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence.

  The Executive Committee will develop a course of action on a case-by-case basis. For example, faculty who are found to have violated Title VII or IX will be removed from the program immediately and are generally not eligible to reapply (see Section 4.5 below) whereas the plan of action to address less severe violations may include interventions by program leadership, mediation, additional training, etc. before a decision to suspend or remove a faculty member from the program is reached. In any of these cases, the program may seek guidance from University offices and resources, such as the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Ombuds, and the Graduate Division.

F. Membership Appeal Process

If membership is denied or not renewed, faculty can appeal to the Executive Committee for reconsideration.

Article III. Administration

The administration of the program and its activities will be vested in the Program Director(s) and an Executive Committee.

Article IV. Graduate Program Director

A. Director appointment process: The graduate program director or co-directors will be nominated in consultation with the Executive Committee and approved by a 2/3 vote of the Executive Committee provided that a quorum is present.

B. Director terms of service: The Director commits to serving for at least three years unless extenuating circumstances call for a shorter term.

C. Duties of the Director: The Director: a) provides overall academic leadership for the program; b) develops and implements policies for the program; c) represents the interests of the program to the campus and University administrators; d) calls and presides at meetings of the Executive Committee; e) calls and presides at meetings of the program; f) is responsible for coordinating all administrative matters with the Graduate Division and the program administrators; g) manages the budgets of the program; h) takes responsibility for the submission of competitive and non-competitive renewals of the training grant, if applicable (and is often the Lead PI of the training grant); i) is responsible for course change or approval forms; and j) is responsible for the accuracy of all publications related to the program including web pages and catalog copy.

Article V. Committees

A. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall consist of the director of the program plus the core Sociology teaching faculty, and consults with the leadership of the Sociology Student Organization. All members have voting rights. The faculty members of the Executive Committee retain their membership while active faculty members.

Election of faculty members of the Executive Committee: membership is non-negotiable and required of all current core Sociology teaching faculty

The principal duties of the Executive Committee shall be to determine and implement policy for the good of the program, determine program membership, and to represent the interests of the program generally to various universities and other agencies.

The Executive Committee shall meet at least quarterly. Additional meetings and executive sessions may be held as deemed necessary. In some cases, decisions can be made by email without calling a meeting of the committee members.

B. Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee shall consist of the core Sociology teaching faculty. The committee members will review and rank the written applications to select applicants for an interview, and will assess interview evaluations to select applicants for admission.

Article VI. Student Representatives

Student representatives are self-nominated or nominated by the students in the Sociology Student Organization (SSO). The Program Director will approve the student representative(s). The term of service and voting rights of the student representative(s) will be determined by the SSO members.

Article VII. Graduate Advisers

Each year, the Sociology program assigns advisors for the incoming class. Students must meet with their assigned Graduate Advisor quarterly during year one, at least twice during year two, and annually thereafter. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the student’s coursework, research/dissertation progress and general academic progression. The advisor can be an important ally during the student’s time in the program in case of conflicts with faculty, postdocs or other students.

Article VIII. Quorum

All issues that require a vote must be:

• Voted on by at least 50% of the Executive Committee Membership

• On graduate program matters other than amendment/revision of bylaws, passage requires a supporting vote by at least 50% supporting vote of the members voting.

• On amendments and revision of bylaws: passage requires a supporting vote by at least two thirds of the members voting.

If balloting is conducted via e-mail or web-based technology, 10 days must be provided for expression of opinions about the proposal prior to the acceptance of votes; the program must allow 14 days for votes to be returned or before the "polls are closed."

Article IX. Amendments

Amendments to these bylaws may be made in accordance with program’s quorum policy in Article VIII. Program members may propose amendments by petition to the program Director The program Director, or relevant program committee, may ask for revisions from the faculty who submitted proposed amendments before forwarding the revisions to the membership for review and voting. Quorum, voting and passage is prescribed in Article VIII. All amendments and revisions must be submitted to the Graduate Council for review and approval; changes in the bylaws will become effective upon approval by the Graduate Council.