Apply to our Programs


The Sociology department has a once-a-year admission policy. The application deadline is January 15, 2021 for Fall 2021 Admissions.

  • Students with a BA/BS, may enter the PhD. program, but they will have to complete their master’s degree on the way to the PhD.   
  • Students with a master's degree from a discipline other than sociology will need to complete the following sociology core graduate courses in their first year (Soc 590, Soc 591, Soc 592, Soc 593). Similar courses taken in other disciplines may be transferred. Transfer credits will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • Applicants must have taken the GRE exam.  (Please note: due to Covid-19 we will not require GRE scores for the Sept.1, 2020 - January 15, 2021 application period)

How to apply: To apply to the Sociology Graduate Program, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies Application Portal.

Required Application Materials:

  • Transcripts. You must upload transcripts to the application site.  These transcripts can be unofficial until the review process is completed.  The university will need official transcripts if the department gives you their recommendation for admission.
  • Three letters of recommendation. We require three letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your scholarly work. These individuals are usually professors from a class you have previously taken. The application site manages these recommendations and your recommenders submit their reviews online by uploading their letters directly.
  • Statement of Purpose. You will be asked to upload a statement of purpose which will contain your scholarly agenda, your plans for the degree you are seeking, and names of faculty in the Sociology Department you plan on working with, if admitted. The statement of purpose is usually no more than two pages long.
  • GRE scores. The department can download your official GRE scores from ETS, but for the purpose of the application, we would like to see the unofficial scores uploaded.  The department will make a notation that your scores are accepted and that will complete a portion of your application. GRE scores must be submitted before the January 15 deadline, so plan ahead. (Please note: due to Covid 19 we will not require GRE scores for the Sept.1, 2020 - January 15, 2021 application period)
  • Sample of Scholarly Writing. We ask you to upload a sample of your scholarly writing. This should not be more than 50 pages, but can be the length of a research paper, usually 10-30 pages. An example is usually a paper written for a course for which you have received a high mark/score/grade. Individuals with a Master's degree sometimes choose to upload a small portion of their theses as a sample.
  • CV/Resume. The department requires you to upload an academic resume, or curriculum vitae.

PSU Admissions 

Frequently Asked Questions

What test scores are required?

GRE scores are not required for the Fall 2021 application.
IELTS scores may be required. See here for details: 

Do you offer a fee waiver for the application fee?

We are currently unable to provide fee waivers, though you may qualify for a fee waiver through the PSU Graduate School. For more information, see here:

Can prior graduate-level coursework be counted toward my graduate degree at PSU?

Depending on the courses you've completed, and how compatible they are with the core courses required for the Sociology Ph.D. you may qualify for our direct-to- Ph.D. pathway with a streamlined course load, but you might have to take some prerequisite courses to prepare you for the work you will be doing at PSU. If you are admitted to our graduate program, you can request a review of your transcripts in order to get a sense of your course plan.

Should I contact potential dissertation advisors prior to submitting my application?

Once you begin your program, you will be paired with an Initial Advisor who you may/may not elect to work with long term. You do not need to contact anyone prior to submitting your application.

What funding opportunities exist for graduate study in sociology?

We are currently unable to provide graduate assistantships for terminal master’s degree students. All PhD applicants will be considered for a Graduate Assistantship (unless you otherwise note that you do not require funding).  As a small graduate program, we have a very limited number of funded positions available, so admitted students may be placed on a funding waitlist.

Is there opportunity to teach with a Graduate Assistantships? 

Advanced students who have completed their master’s degrees may request to teach as part of their funding.