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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose the University of Georgia?

The Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia provides graduate students with a rigorous professional training in a congenial and collegial setting. The strengths of the graduate program include renowned international faculty with a favorable faculty/student ratio and a first-class training in research and teaching. Such strengths permit an emphasis on individualized instruction and student-faculty collaboration in research activities. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in research and scholarship and to share the results of their efforts with other social scientists through presentations at professional meetings and by publishing their work. We have a strong placement record for program graduates, outstanding research and computer facilities, and a collegial environment where graduate students participate in departmental decision-making.

For sociologists, the research facilities at the University of Georgia are important assets. The UGA research libraries compare favorably with the very best in the United States. The University's computer equipment and services provide state-of-the-art capabilities so essential in many fields of sociological research. The Institute for Behavioral Research supports the scholarship of the sociology faculty with released time, travel money, and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as with assistance in obtaining internal and external research grants. Our department also houses the Laboratory for the Study of Social Interaction (LaSSI), which is a fully equipped and active social psychology lab.

On the teaching side, The Center for Teaching and Learning supports faculty teaching efforts in numerous ways, offering, for instance, regular workshops and seminars in the latest instructional technologies. The ARCHES computer system provides e-mail accounts and web pages for all University of Georgia faculty members and students. In cooperation with the University's computing and networking unit, The Center for Teaching and Learning also makes available statistical software in a user-friendly format, plus a variety of tools for web-assisted instruction. At present, the eLearning Commons (ELC -web course tools) project allows faculty and students to engage in on-line course discussions and information sharing.

What's so great about Athens, Georgia?

Athens, Georgia is nationally recognized as one of the best places to live. Besides a bevy of cultural venues (such as Georgia Museum of Art, the State Botanical Gardens, the UGA Performing Arts Center at Hodgson Hall, and the Museum of Natural History) sporting events (occurring at Stanford Stadium, Stegman Coliseum, Ramsey Center, Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, and the Tennis Hall of Fame), Athens is also renowned for its music, nightlife, dining, and accommodations. The Department of Sociology is conveniently located in the heart of the University's historic campus and close to downtown Athens. The University's Visitors Center has compiled information on specific cultural, sports, campus, and local points of interest in Athens as well as helpful links for prospective students. In addition, the Athens Visitors Bureau has a wealth of information on Athens history and trivia.

How and when are decisions made?

In early- to mid-February, a committee consisting of the graduate coordinator,  several faculty members, and a graduate student reads the application files and then meets to discuss them. The committee creates a list of its top candidates and invites those candidates to participate in our Graduate Visitors' Day, which is usually held in late March. (Unfortunately, because of the expense involved in bringing applicants to campus we are unable to invite overseas applicants to Visitors' Day.) Visitors' Day allows our candidates to see the university and department at first hand, and to meet faculty members and graduate students. Please note that being invited to Visitors' Day does not guarantee an applicant a place in our program, and that not being invited does not guarantee that an applicant will not obtain a place. Graduate recruitment is a fluid process and much can change before final decisions are taken. For example, the exact number of assistantships the department will have to allocate to the incoming cohort of graduate students may not become known until some time in April, and that can cause delays in our decision making. Also, the department honors the nation-wide agreement among universities that all students have until April 15 to decide whether to accept or reject offers of admission and funding. Students who are on a waiting list may therefore not receive an offer from us until after April 15.

Once the department decides who it will accept and who it will fund, it conveys those decisions to the Graduate School which then informs the applicant of the his or her application decision.

How do I know if this department is a good fit?

As a medium-sized department of 19 faculty members, we cannot offer training in all areas of sociology. We do, however, have a highly active research faculty who teach courses and do research in one or more aspects of the sociology. If you wish, or think you might wish, to specialize in one of these areas the faculty specialize in, we would encourage you to apply.

You should feel free to contact faculty members (by e-mail is usually best) to discuss your interest in our graduate program. If, for example, there is a faculty member with whom you think you would like to work you should contact him or her and discuss your plans. An endorsement from a faculty member answers the question of departmental fit and can be a strong factor in admission decisions. However, you should not feel obligated to contact faculty. Many students admitted to our program have only a general sense of what they might specialize in before they begin at Georgia, and yet go on to have excellent graduate student careers. Each individual is different.

What if I already have an MA and thesis in sociology?

Students entering with a recent (within the past five years) Master of Arts or Science (MA/MS) degree and a master's thesis from an accredited sociology department are admitted directly into the doctoral program (and thus will not complete a Master of Arts degree at UGA). These students will be required to complete a second-year research paper (journal manuscript length). In some cases, this paper might be based on a student’s master’s thesis from a previous institution, but this must be determined in collaboration with the major professor. The paper must be read and approved by the major professor and one other sociology faculty member with graduate faculty status. The paper can be completed any time in the first two years in the program, but the preliminary plan for the paper and identification of the second reader must be set by September of the student’s second year and the paper must be completed by April of the second year.


What if I have a master's degree in a closely related field?

Students with master’s degrees in closely related fields may appeal to have their thesis considered for acceptance on a case-by-case basis. These students must submit the thesis to the department's Graduate Program Committee for review. The Graduate Coordinator and two faculty members chosen by the program committee (including the temporary major professor whenever possible) will review the submitted thesis to determine whether it meets departmental standards. Please see our graduate program handbook for more information.