Headshot of Melissa Hardy with long, brown hair wearing glasses and black top.

Melissa Hardy, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, Sociology and Criminology


In my research, I study how sequences of positions or outcomes (such as jobs, health, or program entitlement) are structured by historical circumstances and social status. I look at differences across birth cohorts to see how the timing of events, such as economic downturns, war (civilian exposure and military service), and policy realignment shape race, gender, and cohort differences in attainment processes, health, and social positions. I also study patterns of attitudes and beliefs as elements of social change, with a focus on attitudes toward civil liberties; people as defined by gender, race, religion, or nativity; policies that affect rights, both positive and negative, that bound our decision-making (e.g., end-of-life care and death; privacy).

Research Interests

Family, Relationships and Interpersonal Networks; Demography; Social Inequality; Quantitative Methods; Social Institutions and Cultures; Health and Life Course


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1980
  • M.A., Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1976
  • B.A., Sociology, Albright College, 1974