Family and Life Course

A Graduate Area Specialization in NC State University’s Sociology Program

The sociological study of family focuses on how family and intimate relationships are shaped by structural variables, how individual members of relationships interact, and how choices about family and relationships may change other social institutions. 

Students choosing the family specialization at NC State must complete at least three courses (see below) and pass a written preliminary examination.  We have an excellent student-to-faculty ratio of about 3:1 and faculty who are active researchers in the family area.  Recent graduates have studied a wide range of family-related issues (see below for a list of recent NC State dissertations related to family and gender issues) and often integrate their study of families with other areas of specialization in the program such as inequality or criminology.

Please feel free to contact any of our faculty to learn more about graduate study in sociology of family at NC State.

  • Survey of Family Sociology (SOC 731): Examination of structural and demographic continuities and changes for American families in general and within major subgroups (e.g., race, ethnicity, social class). Consideration of historical and cross-cultural comparisons. Assessment of the impact of families upon their members and the dynamics of marital and family relationships. Usually taught in Spring semesters of odd-numbered years.
  • Contemporary Family Theory and Research (SOC 732): Emphasis on contemporary research, theory and methodological techniques used by sociologists studying families. Critical examination of where field is now and where it appears to be heading. Primarily for graduate students designing or doing research about families. Usually taught in Fall semesters of odd-numbered years.
  • Sociology of Gender (SOC 737): Theories about the development and maintenance of gender. Historical development of gender stratification. How individuals "do gender" in their daily lives. Contemporary research and substantive readings about gender in public and intimate relationships. Usually taught in Fall semesters of even-numbered years.

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Ted Greenstein 
Professor and Director of Graduate Programs
Ph.D., Washington State University, 1976
1911 Building, Room 309, (919) 515-9006, email: ted_greenstein@ncsu.edu
Faculty webpage (Vita, short Bio, etc.)

Current research interests: Family (division of household labor, marital stability, child well-being), Quantitative Methods, Social Psychology

Anna Manzoni
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Tilburg University
1911 Building, Room 321, (919) 515-9004
email: amanzon@ncsu.edu
Current research interests: Sociology of Family, Life Course, Work and Occupations

Toby Parcel 
Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington
1911 Building, Room 252, (919) 515-9014, email: toby_parcel@ncsu.edu
Faculty webpage (Vita, short Bio, etc.)

Current research interests: Families, schools and child well-being; School resegregation

Vulpis, Mindy. Do as I Say, Not as I Do? A Neo-Institutional Approach to Understanding the Pull toward Family Traditionalism in an Age of Egalitarian Ideas.​​​​​​​ Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2017. 

Bixby, Monica. Does Perception of School Safety Bolster the Effects of Family and School Social Capital?: An Examination of Educational Attainment, Running Away from Home and Violence. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2017.

Hendrix, Joshua. Angels and Loners: An Examination of Abstention Processes and Abstainer Heterogeneity. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2014. 

Zito, Rena C. Family Structure History, Family Process, and Adolescent Role Exits: Gendered Pathways to Sexual Debut, Delinquency, and Teenage Cohabitation. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2012.

Hunt, Andrea N.  Caring for Children with Disabilities: Effects on Parental Employment and Mental Health.  Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2012.

Mair, Christine A.  Older Adults' Health and Preferences for Care in Europe: A Cross-National, Multilevel-Study.  Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2011.

May, Jonathan.   Conservative Protestantism, Education, and Female Labor Force Participation.  Ph. D.  dissertation, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2010.

Fahrney, Kristine.  Sociological Explorations of the Marital Wage Premium.  Ph. D.  dissertation, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2010.

Marks, Jennifer P. Gerteisen.  Cohabitation, Marriage, and Health.  Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2009.

Wills, Jeremiah B.  Maternal Employment, Relative Income, and Child Well-Being: The Effects of Gendered Household Resource Allocation on Children’s Cognitive Development Trajectories.  Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2007.

Joyner, Jason M.  Inequality and Men’s Parental Involvement.  Ph.D. dissertation,  Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2006.

Davis, Shannon N.  Is Justice Contextual?  A Cross-National Analysis of Perceptions of Fairness of the Division of Household Labor.  Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 2004.