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Frequently Asked Questions

Sociology PhD Program

How do I know if the program is the right fit for me?

Read through all of the program information paying special attention to the research conducted within our department.

Also check out our Why Choose Michigan Sociology? page for more information.

Can I visit campus?

Yes. You are welcome to visit the UofM campus at any time. As a prospective student, you are responsible for arranging your visit; the Department of Sociology does not arrange individual visits.  

The Department of Sociology invites prospective applicants who have been offered admission to the program to visit the campus during the spring recruiting season.

Do you offer a part-time or online program?

No, the doctoral program is a full-time program and does not offer any online courses.  

All pre-candidate students (within the first three years of the program) must attend classes on campus in Ann Arbor.

Applying to the PhD Program

How do I apply?

You should apply online through the Rackham Graduate School.

What is the application deadline?

December 15.  This is a firm deadline and applications received after this date will not be reviewed.  

We recommend that you do not wait until December 15 to submit your application.  In the past, applicants have encountered last minute issues and were unable to complete the application in time.  We do not make any exceptions to this deadline. 

My writing sample in longer than 20 pages, is that ok?

Our current limit for our writing sample is 20 pages. We encourage applicants to stay within this limit, but we will accept longer writing samples.  Please note that some applicants have had issues with uploading longer writing samples (especially ones with graphs and graphics) and therefore their application does not send properly.  Please ensure your writing sample uploads successfully. 

My application is saying my transcript has not been received. What should I do?

Please check your online application status to ensure materials were uploaded properly.

It is important to wait until January 15 before inquiring about missing application materials. It takes time (especially over the winter break) to process and post all the applicant materials received.

Official transcripts take a while to be uploaded into the system. We will review your application using the electronic version that was uploaded with your application. We are unable to make official offers until your official transcript has been received by the Rackham Graduate School.

Please check out Rackham's Transcripts page for more information.

Can I submit my letters of recommendation via Interfolio?

Our application system does not accept letters of recommendation through Interfolio. Once you get to the letter of recommendation portion of the application, you will enter the email addresses for your recommendation letters and a confidential link with instructions will be sent to your recommenders for submission.

For more information and tips, please see Rackham's Letter of Recommendation page.

Do you require GRE scores to be submitted?

No. GRE general test scores are no longer included in the admissions process for Rackham’s doctoral programs as of the 2022–2023 admissions cycle. (More information available.)

When will I find out whether I am accepted or denied admission?

Applicants will be notified of admission decisions by late February. Please check your admission status via the online Rackham Friend Account.

Admissions Criteria

Do you have a minimum GPA/GRE/TOEFL requirement?

There are no strict cut offs for the GPA. In recent years, applicants who have been admitted have undergraduate grade point averages in social sciences courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 system, with the mean around 3.5. 

GRE scores are no longer required in the admissions process.

Rackham requires at least an 84 on the TOEFL.

Please check out Rackham's Tests page for more information.

Should I have an undergraduate degree in sociology? Should I have an MA in sociology before applying to your Ph.D. program?

Though a background in sociology is not required to apply, work in the social sciences or history is helpful preparation for the program. In addition, evidence of the ability to do high-level graduate work is necessary for a competitive application.

You do not need to have an MA in sociology before applying to our program. We admit applicants with many different backgrounds, including applicants directly out of their undergraduate programs, applicants with MAs in sociology, as well as applicants that have been out of higher education for years.

Admissions Statistics

How large is your applicant pool?

We receive an average of 260 applicants* each year. 

How many applicants are accepted?

We matriculate an average of 12 students* each year.  For Fall 2016, we matriculated a record number of 19 students*!

*These numbers do not include the applicants that apply to our joint programs in Public Policy and Social Work.

Financial Aid

Do you provide a funding package and what does it look like?

All accepted students, including international students, receive a five-year funding package.  The basic package includes two years of a sociology fellowship and three years of guaranteed teaching positions as a Graduate Student Instructor. The specific details of the funding packages differ by year and will be outlined in each applicant’s offer of admission. All packages cover tuition, pay a monthly living stipend, and provide health insurance for you, your spouse or other qualified adult, and your dependents.

For more information, please see Financial Support.