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.
Applicants are examined using the following information in the admissions decisions: GPA, quality of the undergraduate program from which the applicant graduated, three 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 supplement their application with their scores.)
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 graduate GPA of 3.5;
- previous graduate course work in statistics, research methods, qualitative research methods, and survey research methods;
- Students may be allowed to make up deficiencies by taking the graduate courses prior to beginning the program, or use equivalent graduate courses for these prerequisites, the latter which may require the student to submit the course syllabus and/or completed course work to determine equivalency. Students should contact Dr. Jonetta Weber to discuss any questions regarding these prerequisites.
- international students should also have (a) a TOEFL score of at least 550 (on the paper-based test), 213 (on computer-based test) or 80 (on the internet-based test), (b) a IELTS score of at least 6.5, or (c) a Duolingo score of at least 105. (Note that only Duolingo English Test scores with subscores will be accepted, and tests must have been taken after 1st January 2020.)
- International students must also be registered with the International Center and should consult with the Center regarding their application to any program.
*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.
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.
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.
Applicants must submit to the Graduate Admissions Office:
- a formal graduate
- official copies of transcripts from all colleges attended (students with an international transcript must submit an evaluation of the transcript from World Education Services, Educational Credentials Evaluators, or other NACES approved evaluators found here.
- three references (preferably from former instructors, and in sociology, if possible) in the form of a discursive letter of recommendation and completion of the
- a curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé
- TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores (if an international student)
- a writing sample (either the student's thesis or another work of original independent research, if applying to the PhD program; a clean copy of an undergraduate paper if applying to the joint MA-PhD program)
- 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 (or joint MA-PhD) 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. [While we ask that students indicate in their personal statement faculty with whom they would like to work, faculty do not commit to working with students until they are at least in their first year of the program. As such, students are not expected to contact and/or secure a faculty mentor prior to admission but are expected to identity in their statement current faculty with whom they would like to conduct their dissertation work.]
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. 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).
Note that 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; if so, the applicant must submit a new application file (i.e., all application materials)for re-examination. Also, the Department of Sociology cannot provide a “pre-evaluation” of applications. It is only after the student has submitted a formal graduate application and all other required application documents that the department can consider an applicant for admission and/or for funding.
Once students have been admitted to the program, they will be contacted by Dr. Jonetta Weber, Director of Academic Services, with advising/registration information.