University of Minnesota
Department of Sociology
soc@umn.edu
612-624-4300


Department of Sociology's home page.

Applying

Application Procedure - Applications are due by December 1.

All materials are submitted via the ApplyYourself application.

1. A completed online ApplyYourself application.
2. A personal statement.
3. A sample of written work, single authored by the applicant.
4. Three letters of recommendation.
5. Transcripts from each post-secondary school attended.
6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
7. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, if a non-native English speaker. (This requirement includes students who have studied at an English speaking institution in the US.)

All supplemental materials of the application (i.e., items 2 through 7) must be uploaded to the online application itself (see below for more details). Students are no longer required to submit hard copy transcript(s) to the admissions office. Copies of transcripts should be converted to electronic files and uploaded to the application form.

General Time Line for Making Application

It is generally advised that applicants begin the application process about one year before they plan to start graduate school. To be considered for admission, fellowships, and/or initial assistantship allocation, the departmental deadline for the receipt of completed applications is December 1. Note, although applicants are prompted within the ApplyYourself application form to choose from among various program start dates (e.g., Spring 2011), the department of sociology offers only a fall start. Therefore, if any option other than a fall start date is selected, there is a chance that an application will not be received and that it will not be reviewed. Please refer to the following timetable to help with the timely submission of applications.

Summer

Write a draft of the personal statement. The statement should be approximately two-pages in length and should explain the core areas of interest in which the applicant would like to eventually teach or do research. The statement should explain how interest in a research institution such as the University of Minnesota has been developed and how the applicant's experiences have prepared him or her to engage with the socio-cultural world. The statement will be evaluated for its written quality as well as for its clarity of professional goals.

Take standardized tests as required (e.g., GRE, TOEFL, MELAB, etc.). Official general test scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted to The Graduate School by all incoming students—there are no exceptions made for non-international students. GRE scores should be sent to the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities using the school code 6874.

Students who are non-native English speakers must also submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language* (TOEFL) examination. In order for non-native English speaking applicants to be considered for admission (This requirement includes students who have studied at an English speaking institution in the US.) paper-based TOEFL examination scores must be 550 or above and Internet-based TOEFL examination scores must be 95 or above (with a minimum score of 27 for Speaking section, 24 for the Writing section, 22 for the Listening section, and a minimum score of 22 for the Reading section). MELAB scores must be above 80 in order for non-native English speaking applicants to be considered for admission. The most current information about the GRE and the TOEFL examinations is available at the website address http://www.ets.org.

* In lieu of TOEFL scores The Graduate School will accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), and the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP). The minimum score for admission eligibility on the IELTS is 7.0, on the MELAB scores must be above 80, and students enrolled in the MELP must achieve a passing grade. Students taking these exams will be required to take additional testing and English classes if admitted.

September - October

Meet with potential recommenders to discuss the personal statement and to ask for letters of recommendation to be written. Applicants are encouraged to provide recommendations from people who can confirm the applicant's academic abilities. It is often helpful to give the recommender a copy of the personal statement. The Sociology department neither stipulates certain requirements that must be included in the recommendation letter nor requires any standardized assessment forms to be completed by your recommenders. Recommendation letters should be submitted electronically via the Grad School's online application system, ApplyYourself. Applicants will be informed by the ApplyYourself system of what to do to ensure that recommenders know how to submit their letters electronically.

November

Complete and submit an online ApplyYourself application. In so doing, applicants will have the opportunity to upload* to the system the personal statement (Statement #1), the Diversity Statement (Statement #2), the Writing Sample, and copies of GRE scores, TOEFL scores, and transcript(s).

For Statement #1, please ignore the requested content which the online application asks for, and instead refer to the content instructions mentioned on this page.

Statements #2 and #3 are not required statements, but can be submitted if the applicant so wishes; for these two statements, applicants should refer to the content instructions requested by the application system. American citizens wishing to be considered for the DOVE Fellowship should submit Statement #2 and within the statement clearly identify the criteria with which they identify. The DOVE Fellowship seeks to assist graduate programs to promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence.  This diversity is promoted through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences. 

The Writing Sample should be a sole-authored academic paper submitted in English. An empirically based (i.e., research-oriented) paper is preferred, and the content should pertain to the social sciences. Faculty evaluators will consider the level of abstraction, creativity, organization, sociological sophistication, and writing ability. Papers should be no longer than 30 pages (of substantive content) and should be uploaded as directed within the online application section entitled, "Graduate Program Supplementary Information."

Official GRE and (if applicable) TOEFL scores must be sent by ETS to The Graduate School (the school code is 6874) so they are received by the December 1st deadline. The department does not want to receive hard copies of GRE and TOEFL score reports. Rather, the department asks that applicants upload copies of their (unofficial) score reports using the "upload document" button placed next to "Other Credentials" within the online application section entitled, "Program Supplementary Information." International students should make and upload one electronic file that contains both their GRE and TOEFL score reports. Click here for recommendations on creating electronic documents that you can upload.

Electronic copies of all transcripts (obtained from a college/university's intranet) should be submitted using the "upload document" button associated with each institution attended as indicated by applicants in the "Educational Background" section. There are specific requirements concerning what can be uploaded. For more information, please click here.

As mentioned above, there is no Graduate Program Additional Application required by the department of sociology, neither is a Description of Research or Work Experience paper required nor a resume' or CV. Applicants to the PhD in sociology program are not expected to upload documents to these areas of the "Program Supplementary Information" section of the online application.

Finally, ensure that all application materials have been submitted prior to the December 1 admissions deadline. It is best to submit applications early so that, if necessary, prior to the application deadline there is time to correct any errors discovered by the applicant, The Graduate School, or the department.

* Uploaded files cannot exceed 500 KB in size and should be in .doc, .wpd, .rtf, .xls, .pdf, .docx, .xlsx or .txt format. For Macintosh users, please note that the filename must include the appropriate 3- or 4-letter extension. Also, please do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros. This will cause the process to fail.

Late November

It is an applicant's responsibility to ensure that his or her application is complete and correctly submitted with all required supplemental documents. If there is reason to be concerned, applicants are encouraged to contact The Graduate School and/or the Department of Sociology to inquiry about the status of their application. If certain required application items are missing (faculty are maybe late in submitting letters of recommendation), it is the applicant's responsibility to correct the problem(s) prior to the application deadline. Applications that are incomplete after the application deadline has passed are in jeopardy of not being considered for review. The Department of Sociology does not send out warnings if applications are incomplete nor will it automatically send verification when applications are complete.

February

Applicants can expect to receive from The Graduate School an email with a link to an electronic letter which will detail whether the department has accepted or declined a request for admission. Rejections are firm and applications will not be reconsidered for any reason apart from action required by law and as a result of a formal complaint being registered with The Graduate School. Applicants being offered admission will be invited to visit the department during a one- to two-day campus visit event. Typically, the department helps to offset travel and accommodation expenses related to this event. The Graduate Program Associate, who will coordinate the formal campus visit, will contact admitted students directly and provide them with the necessary information.

Graduate School Application Pointers

Be sure to carefully follow all the instructions provided within the ApplyYourself application unless they are contrary to any special instructions mentioned by the department. What follows are a few other points to remember when working on the application.

  1. An application fee of $75, for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, or $95, for international applicants, is required. This fee may not be waived or deferred, even temporarily, for any applicant. The Graduate School will not process an application unless it is accompanied by the application fee. The application fee will be required via a credit card payment prior to the applicants being able to submit their applications.
  2. Applicants must submit unofficial copies of transcripts for application review purposes. If admitted, The Graduate School will require official transcripts to be submitted and approved prior to students becoming eligible to matriculate. Chinese students should note that in order for their transcripts to be considered official, their institutions must send transcripts directly to The Graduate School; the transcripts cannot be forwarded to The Graduate School by the student.
  3. International applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official report of the TOEFL or MELAB scores. The scores should be sent directly to The Graduate School by the organization that administers the test. Please click here to review the Graduate School's English language assessment tests policy. NOTE the Sociology program does not allow an exemption for applicants who have completed 24 quarter credits or 16 semester credits (within the past 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States (or other English-speaking country) before entering the University of Minnesota. All non-native English speakers must submit a TOEFL or MELAB score.
  4. For the department, GRE scores are an important and required element of the application, but The Graduate School does not require the receipt of GRE transcripts/scores before an application can be submitted. Official GRE scores, sent from ETS to The Graduate School, that arrive after an application has been submitted will automatically be added to the applicants application. However, applications that do not include GRE scores (i.e. either an uploaded copy of the applicant's Score Report or official scores sent to the University by ETS), by the application deadline, risk having their applications overlooked. The school code that can be used to have the Electronic Testing Service send your scores directly to the U. of M. Graduate School is 6874.
  5. Applicants must have their recommenders submit their recommendation letters electronically through the ApplyYourself system. Recommendation letters will be accepted by the department after the application deadline, and the applicant will not be penalized for the late arrival; however, if the letter is submitted too long after the deadline, it might not be considered, which places the applicant at a definite disadvantage.
  6. Although applicants need not upload diversity statements in order to complete the application, if they wish to be eligible for the DOVE Fellowship, they are required to submit the statement. The DOVE Fellowship seeks to assist graduate programs to promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence.  This diversity is promoted through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences.  The diversity statement can be uploaded in the "Applicant Statements" section of the ApplyYourself online application.
  7. The writing sample that is required as part of a completed application should be, at a minimum, 15-pages in length, and at maximum, 30-pages in length (of substantive content). Papers should be double-spaced and in 12-point font with one inch margins. Any writing samples shorter or longer than the recommended page lengths may not be fully read. All papers must be written in English, and should be empirically based, related to the Social Sciences. The writing sample can be uploaded in the "Program Supplementary Information" section of the ApplyYourself online application.
  8. Although made possible by the ApplyYourself application, the committee will not review documents uploaded to "Graduate Program Additional Application," "Description of Research or Work Experience," "Resume' or CV," "Honors and Awards,"and "Extenuating Circumstances." These items will be deleted from the application.

The Review Process

The Graduate Admissions Committee generally consists of eight faculty members who evaluate applicants. After December 1, and if an application file is complete (i.e., all application materials have been received by the department), it is reviewed by at least two faculty members. After all completed applications have been reviewed, the applicants are ranked based upon the assessments of each applicant's merits. If there appears to be a large discrepancy between two faculty members' evaluations of a particular applicant, a third faculty reviewer assesses the file and a final placement in the ranking is determined. In February, after the department chair has reviewed and approved the recommendation of the admissions committee, the department generally begins to extend offers of admission to the top-ranked applicants. By April 15th, the department requires from the students being offered admission a notification of acceptance or decline of the offers.

Department Admissions Standards and Statistics

The selection process is carried out in order to limit the incoming cohort such that reasonable advising relations may be maintained, graduate seminars can be kept small, and adequate financial support can be provided to all students.

No one aspect of the application material is valued more than another; the Admissions Committee seeks to gain a holistic understanding of the applicant and therefore equally considers all pieces of the application. The department evaluates prior academic performance as indicated by undergraduate GPA and the results on the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The Graduate School requires for admission a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). However, based on average scores received by applicants admitted in recent years, the department generally chooses students with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5 and with consistent and strong verbal, quantitative, and analytical GRE scores. Faculty members of the Admissions Committee also evaluate letters of recommendation, written works, and applicants' personal statements. Written work is assessed according to the applicant's ability to conceptualize and articulate questions of interest to social scientists, and will consider the level of abstraction, creativity, organization, sociological sophistication, and writing ability. Additional considerations of the committee include the interest areas and strengths of our faculty compared to those of the applicant, and the quality and strengths of the applicant's undergraduate and/or graduate program(s). The following table summarizes GRE and GPA averages for the last three cohorts.

GRE/GPA Information
  GRE GPA
Cohort Year
Verbal
Quantitative
Analytical
Undergraduate
2011

670/164

(old/new scoring system)

693/154
5.0
3.72
2012
605/160
700/150
4.8
3.66
2013
670/167
730/157
4.8
3.78

 

Admissions Information
Year
2010
2011
2012
Completed Applications
125
147
125
Offered Admission
15
25
20
Entering in Fall
7
12
9

 

Non-Degree Seeking Students

It is possible to take courses on a post-baccalaureate degree basis as a non-degree seeking student. This route, of course, holds no guarantee for future admission into the Ph.D. program. However, it is an appropriate means to receive graduate credit for professional advancement as well as a way to to determine if the program is a correct fit for you. The signature of the Director of Graduate Studies (or the Graduate Program Associate) and permission of the course instructor are required to register for graduate credit when not admitted to a Graduate School program. Click on the links below for more information and contact the Graduate Program Associate with any unanswered questions.

Information for International Prospective Students

It is very important to carefully read through the Application Information and Admission Procedures.

The general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants to the Sociology Graduate Program. In the event that taking this standardized test imposes unusual difficulty, an international applicant may petition for waiver of this requirement. Such a petition should be sent with all other department admission materials before December 1.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, if a non-native English speaker. (This requirement includes students who have studied at an English speaking institution in the US.) The submission of English language scores is required of all non-native English speaking student applicants. In lieu of the common Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, The Graduate School will accept submission of scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP). The minimum score for admission eligibility on the paper-based TOEFL must be 550 or above and the minimum score on the Internet-based TOEFL must be 95 or above (with a minimum score of 27 for the Speaking section, 24 for the Writing section, 22 for Listening and a minimum score of 22 for the Reading section). Minimum scores for admission eligibility on the IELTS is 7.0, on the MELAB scores must be above 80, and students enrolled in the MELP must achieve a passing grade. Students taking these exams will be required to take additional testing and English classes if admitted.

In addition to the above requirement, upon arrival in the fall, all nonnative English speaking graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English appropriate to the demands of their teaching assistantship.

Additional Resources