Students wishing to apply for admission to any graduate degree program in the Sociology Department should begin by consulting the guidelines available from the Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The graduate program only admits students in the fall, the application deadline is January 15th.  All applications must be submitted directly  to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Students who have already completed a Sociology Masters degree will generally apply for the eight-seminar “Post-Masters” PhD, while others will apply for the “Post-Bachelors” (sixteen-seminar) PhD degree.

Applications must include:

  • Graduate School Application Form;
  • Transcripts from each college or university attended;
  • Graduate Record Examination scores;
  • A Personal Statement, clarifying your interests and experience;
  • Writing Sample; and
  • Three Letters of Recommendation from people who know your academic work.

We are committed to building a strong multicultural environment for teaching and learning and strongly encourage women and minorities to apply.  Applications from international students are welcome.  The Graduate School requires demonstration of a high level of competence in the English language as well as international student documentation references before admission can be granted.  Questions concerning the application procedures for international students can often be answered by visiting the Graduate School FAQs on international admissions.

Questions about the application process may be directed to the Sociology Department Administrator, Anna Bakanova.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  I’m interested in X.  Could I pursue that interest in your department?

A:  There are a number of ways you can assess that for yourself.  The best is to begin by reading the brief introductions to each of our faculty that you’ll find on the website.  You’ll find a description of their research and teaching interests and a list of some of their publications.  If one or more of them seem to be pursuing research questions that are of interest to you, look up some of their publications.  If you’re still interested, communicate directly with them via e-mail to find out more about how your interests might be fostered (and refined) if you were to work with them.

Q:  Do I have to be a Sociology major to be admitted to your graduate program?

A:  No, but it helps.  We do look for students who have the sort of undergraduate training and/or work experience that will enable them to be ready to read sociological texts and frame sociological research questions.

Q:  How many applicants do you have a year, and how many are accepted?

A:  We average over 100 applications.  We make about 10 offers of admission, and, in a typical year, 3-5 new students enroll in the program.

Q:  I’m an international student.  Are there any special requirements for me?  Do you admit many international students?

A:  Our department has a significant number of international students.  Since visa requirements are now very strict, you should pay careful attention to the information and guidelines available on the Graduate School’s website:

Note that the TOEFL is required at Boston University, unless you have already completed a degree at an English-speaking institution.  Complete information about these requirements can be found here (under English Proficiency Requirement).

Q:  What financial aid is available in your department?

A:  Ph.D. candidates entering the program in Fall 2013 and later who remain in good academic standing will receive five full years of funding (including tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance). The first year of funding does not require any teaching or research responsibilities, while the subsequent four years will be funded through a combination of teaching fellowships and research assistantships. Please see the  Graduate School website for more information.

Q:  Do I have to come to campus for an interview?

A:  Interviews are not required of applicants.  If you are accepted, we encourage you to come for a visit before you make your decision.

Q:  Is there a minimum GRE required?  How much weight is given to GRE scores?  Is the GRE absolutely required?

A:  There is no fixed minimum. We attempt to weigh your scores carefully alongside the other parts of your application. Only in the rare instances where it is impossible for a student to take the exam do we waive the requirement.

Q:  Is there a minimum GPA?

A:  Again, grades are weighed as part of the whole package.  We look at recommendation letters and your own statement as much as we do the quantitative measures.  We are also looking for goodness of fit between your interests and our department.

Q:  What sort of writing sample should I send?

A: Pick something relatively concise that shows us both how you think and how you write.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sociology paper or even a traditional academic product.  A report or proposal might be just as helpful as a 50-page thesis.  If you have done some sociology research, of course, we’d like to see how you framed and presented it.

Q: Do you accept the IELTS instead of the TOEFL? What is the minimum score required?

A: Yes, we do accept the IELTS and the minimum score required of international applicants is 7.0. Please visit the IELTS website for more information regarding testing dates and score reports.

For additional information, please see the Graduate Admissions FAQ’s.

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