Areas of Concentration

We offer three areas of concentration: Health and Aging, Inequalities and Social Justice, and Demography. Although there is some overlap in broad topics covered in these areas (e.g., all address race and ethnicity) and some faculty are affiliated with more than one area, these concentrations offer distinct courses. After completing your master’s thesis and required coursework, you will take a comprehensive exam in your area of concentration. Faculty in each area create an exam reading list and write exam questions based on listed readings.


Our Demography area offers courses on demographic techniques, ethnicity and immigration, the demography of survival, European demography, family demography, gender and development, international population dynamics, and population data. Eight of our faculty are affiliated with this area of concentration: Brewster, Burdette, Hauer, Homan, McFarland, M. Taylor, and Tillman. They have published research on climate change and vulnerable populations, communities that face food insecurity, the timing and distribution of sexual behaviors across populations, parenthood and the construction of “the family,” how immigration and ethnicity shapes school outcomes and child development, population dynamics of alcohol and drug abuse, family processes in Turkey, Italy, France, Russia, and Germany, the demography of the Syrian Diaspora, and the U.S. Baby Boom.

Health and Aging

Our Health and Aging area offers courses focusing on medical sociology, caregiving in later life, sexual health, successful aging, health over the life course, race/ethnicity and health, stress and mental health, gender and mental health, families and the life course, sexual and reproductive health, social epidemiology, health and aging, neighborhoods and health, and data analysis for public health. Eight of our faculty are affiliated with this area of concentration: Barrett, Burdette, Carr, McFarland, J. Taylor, M. Taylor, Ueno, Waggoner. They have published research on subjective aging, gender and depression, infant mortality, cancer, disabilities across the life course, how race, class, gender, and sexuality shape health outcomes, neighborhood and religious correlates of health and illness, how education affects health from birth to death, veterans’ mental and physical health, and the political/cultural construction of genetics, allergies, and maternal health.

Inequalities and Social Justice

Our Inequalities and Social Justice area offers courses focusing on gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, education and social class, work and family, organizational dynamics, interactional processes, politics, media, social movements, gender and development, and an inequalities and social justice overview course. Ten of our faculty are affiliated with this area of concentration: Buggs, Davis, Reynolds, Rohlinger, Sanyal, Schrock, Singh, Ueno, and Waggoner. They have published research on abortion politics, the Black Lives Matter movement, women’s movements, democratic processes in India, the trans community, the Flint, Michigan water crisis, racial, gendered, and sexual inequalities in workplace and educational contexts, and political, cultural, and embodied processes surrounding reproduction.