The Department of Sociology typically receives between 80-100 applications to its graduate program each year and typically admits 5-10 students. The departmental committee that selects students for admission looks at each file in its entirety. No single piece of information is conclusive. The committee takes into account the applicant's undergraduate (and, if relevant, graduate) record, GRE scores, writing sample, personal statement, curriculum vitae, and fit with the department. Consider, briefly, each of these items in turn:

Student Record

Most of the students we admit have a strong undergraduate record, with GPAs of 3.5 or better being typical. Some have straight As. However, in compliance with the Graduate School we do require particular 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission for those without a prior graduate degree. We recognize that undergraduate courses vary in difficulty not just across but within colleges and universities. We further recognize that some students make a slow start to their college careers. Some get distracted by the freedom and pleasures of college life; others lose themselves intellectually for a few years. Hence, an undergraduate record that starts poorly can be explained away, especially if it improves over time.

Applicants who already have a Master's degree in sociology are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate and graduate records.

All applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae summarizing their academic careers to date.


The Department does not require any minimum GRE score. Rarely, though, are students admitted who score less than 1100 on the Verbal and Quantitative portion combined, and many of our current students scored considerably higher than that.

The GRE scores is the only evidence of ability that is the same for all our applicants. We therefore take it into consideration. But we know that the ability to take a standardized test successfully does not a great sociologist make. We therefore do not let it rule our application decisions. It is but one factor.

Writing Sample

Since professional sociologists communicate primarily through the written word, we are interested in your ability to convey sociological ideas and findings in writing. We do not expect you as an entering graduate student to have mastered the art of writing, but we do expect you to be able to handle language effectively. Send us what you think is your best written work, the piece that is most likely to impress us as sociologists. If you do not have anything appropriate to send, please include a section in your Personal Essay about an idea that you would like to research.

You may send a co-authored work, provided that you played a major role in designing and writing the work. If you do, a statement from one of your co-authors describing your role in the work would be useful. You should also send a single-authored writing sample.

If your best work is in a language other than English, send us a one- to two-page summary and, if available, a copy of another work you have written in English.

Personal Essay

Use the Personal Essay to convey a sense of who you are, and what your interests, goals, and ambitions are. Explain both what draws you to sociology as well as what draws you to study in our department. If you have an unusual background, tell us (e.g., you are the first person in your family to obtain a college degree; you have lived abroad for several years). We also encourage you to identify particular faculty members with whom you would like to work. Your essay should be 1-2 pages in length.

If you already have a Master's degree in sociology, we expect that your essay will reveal a clear sense of what you want to work on for your doctoral dissertation. Again, this is not an absolute requirement, but because you have a graduate degree, it is reasonable to expect you to have formed at least a preliminary research agenda.

Letters of Recommendation

The strongest letters of recommendation come from professors who know you well and think highly of you. Their enthusiasm for you is more important than their social status. If you have a choice between an enthusiastic letter from an Assistant Professor and a lukewarm letter from the Head of Department, choose the former.

Letters from employers, family friends, politicians, and other non academic sources are less useful to our Admissions Committee. They help to describe you as a person, but they speak less directly to your intellectual ability - our primary focus. Do not include more than one letter of this type.

Additional Suggestions

  1. Become familiar with the "Admissions" section of the University of Georgia's Graduate School.
  2. If you are having difficulties with applying online or downloading forms, request that the information be sent via postal mail. Contact the Graduate School by telephone (706-542-1739),, or address listed above.
  3. After you send your Admissions Application to the Graduate School, check the Graduate School tracking screen from time to time to obtain information on the status of your application, until it is complete.