PhD Application and Admissions Requirements

The department welcomes applications from anyone wishing to pursue an advanced degree in sociology at UofL. We especially welcome applicants whose sociological interests overlap strongly with those of our faculty, and in particular encourage Fall, 2021 applicants with an interest in any of the following areas: 

race and genetic/biomedical perspectives  |  biodemography  |  racial/ethnic health disparities  |  aging  |  work & family  
organizational decision making and change  |  economic sociology  |  quantitative methodology.

Applicants are examined using the following information in the admissions decisions:  GPA, quality of the undergraduate program from which the applicant graduated, two academic letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and possibly an interview with the candidate.  (Beginning with applicants for Spring, 2021, GRE scores are no longer required, although students may submit them if they wish to have them considered.)

The Department of Sociology is committed to fostering diversity by considering factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, and social class in its graduate and undergraduate programs; as such, background factors and circumstances will be considered when reviewing applications.  While admission is not based solely on meeting - or failure to meet - certain criteria, as a guideline, chances are improved with the following:

  • a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5
  • previous graduate course work in statistics, methods, and social theory (with a grade of B+ in any statistics courses and a grade of B in any methods and/or social theory courses)*
  • international students should also have (a) a TOEFL score of at least 550 (on the paper-based test), 213 (on computer-based test) or 79-80 (on the internet-based test), or (b) a IELTS score of at least 6.5.

*Students may be allowed to make up deficiencies or use equivalent undergraduate courses for these prerequisites.  Students who have completed similar courses in these areas may be asked to provide both the course syllabus and completed course work to determine equivalency. Students should contact Dr. Jonetta Weber to discuss any questions regarding these prerequisites.  In exceptional cases, students not qualified for regular admission may be conditionally admitted.

We encourage anyone interested in our graduate program to apply, regardless of grade point averages from undergraduate work or previous graduate work. When making our admission decisions, we holistically consider GPAs alongside personal statements and letters of recommendation (and other materials), knowing that a low GPA can be offset by other personal strengths. We do, however, prefer individuals with undergraduate GPAs of 3.2 or above, and (if applicable) graduate degree GPAs of 3.5 or above.  We also encourage anyone who is considering applying to our graduate program to visit our department and meet with our faculty members and current graduate students.

Non-Degree Status
Students seeking non-degree status must submit all application materials listed below, and their file will be evaluated using the same criteria established for degree-seeking applicants.

Application Deadline
The application deadline for students not seeking funding is June 1 for fall admission and November 1 for spring admission. (Late applications may be considered on an individual basis.) The Department of Sociology does not admit students during the summer session.

The application deadline for students seeking funding (in the form of a graduate assistantship)is January 5 of the preceding year for fall admission and October 1 for spring admission.   NOTE:  The materials must also be accompanied by a letter of interest (a) indicating that they wish to be considered for an assistantship, and (b) discussing why they feel that they would be a good candidate for an assistantship.

Application Materials
Applicants must submit to the Graduate Admissions Office:

  • a formal graduate application
  • official copies of transcripts from all colleges attended (students with an international transcript must submit an evaluation of the transcript from World Education Services or Educational Credentials Evaluators
  • three references (preferably from former instructors, and in sociology, if possible) in the form of a discursive letter of recommendation and completion of the Letter of Evaluation form
  • a curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if an international student, and international students should review University information regarding application deadlines, financial statements, health insurance, etc.)
  • a writing sample (either the student's thesis or another work of original independent research)
  • a personal statement (~500-750 words) addressing the points below and of sufficient length to give the Graduate Committee a basis for evaluating the student's interest in and ability to complete the program:
    • Please explain your reasons for applying to the doctoral program in sociology at UofL.  
    • Discuss your professional or occupational objectives and how you envision the department’s program fitting into those objectives.
    • Discuss the areas of sociology you find especially interesting for study and/or research, and with which sociology faculty might you be interested in working.

Acceptance into the Program
The Department of Sociology will formally notify students of their recommendation regarding acceptance into the program, specifically whether the student was accepted unconditionally, accepted with special conditions, or not accepted.  Students whose applications were rejected may re-apply for admission at a later time if there has been a significant change in their application materials (e.g., improved GRE scores); if so, the applicant must resubmit a completely new application file (i.e., all application materials)for re-examination.

If accepted, students are asked to notify the Department of their plans, specifically if they plan to attend or decline admission, or if they wish to defer their admission (up to one year).

Once students have been admitted to the program, they will be contacted by , Director of Academic Services, with advising/registration information.