The graduate program of the Department of Sociology trains scholars to conduct original research contributing to the advance of sociological knowledge and to teach sociology at the university level. For this reason, the Department will accept only students who are seeking the Ph.D. degree (a Master of Arts degree may be earned as part of the process of completing the requirements for the Ph.D.).
The Ph.D. in sociology usually leads to a career in research and/or teaching. Although most sociologists are employed by universities, there are increasing career opportunities in government and other non-university research centers.
For those interested in a Master of Social Science program, please visit: mass.ss.ucla.edu
If you have any questions about the program after reviewing this webpage, please contact either Irina Tauber (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dreama Rhodes (email@example.com) for additional information.
In addition to the minimum University requirements (an acceptable bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0), the Sociology Department requires:
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors of sociology or related social science fields who are familiar with the applicant’s written work and research experiences.
- Transcripts from all colleges where the applicant has studied must be uploaded to the admission portal (the Department’s evaluation considers not only the record in sociology, but all undergraduate work and graduate work, where relevant). Official hardcopy transcripts or official e-transcripts will not need to be submitted unless you are admitted into the program.
- Statement of Purpose outlining reasons for pursuing graduate work, interests within sociology, and any pertinent intellectual and career experiences and interests. The Admissions Committee considers a strong applicant to have well-conceived research interests, past research accomplishment, and intellectual biography. Follow the prompts within the online application portal (500 words/ 1 page limit)
- Personal Statement: while the Statement of Purpose is about your work, your Personal Statement is about you – and how you’ll contribute to the diversity of ideas at UCLA. For additional guidance, please see University of California’s guidance on Personal Statements. If applying for Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, you should address one or more of the prompts found in the online Personal Statement section, as well as to include your potential contributions to diversity. Follow the prompts within the online application portal (500 words/ 1 page limit)
- A writing sample, such as copies of one or two research reports or term papers written by the applicant;
- GRE: Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report.
- Institution code for UCLA for the GRE is 4837
- UCLA Department of Sociology code is 2102
- TOEFL: For applicants whose native language is not English, an official statement of scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Testing System examination (IELTS). The minimum scores required is 7.0 for IELTS and 87 for TOEFL. Please see Graduate Division’s detailed information about English Requirements and Proficiency.
Although undergraduate or masters-level study in sociology or related disciplines is desirable, it is not mandatory for admission to the Department. Applicants need not be uniformly high on all indicators of potential. The Admissions Committee, which typically consists of five faculty members and three advisory graduate students, looks at a number of indicators of abilities and skills. For example, in assessing the level of verbal skills, the Committee considers several items, including samples of written work and grades in courses that ordinarily require extensive verbal skills.
In addition to relatively formal criteria (such as analytic and verbal proficiency), the Department pays particular attention to applicants who seem likely to contribute intellectual, social, or cultural diversity to its student body. Women and those from underrepresented backgrounds, in particular, are encouraged to apply.
APPLICATION DEADLINE AND PROCEDURES
The deadline to apply for the following Fall quarter is December 1. Applicants must submit electronically a completed Graduate Division Online Application and upload all supporting materials by December 1.
All supporting materials, including recommendation letters, must be submitted online. Applications that remain incomplete after our deadline of December 1 will not be reviewed.
UCLA has various funding opportunities and almost all admitted PhD sociology students obtain competitive funding packages depending on their merit and progress in the program. The main funding opportunities are graduate division fellowships, departmental fellowships, and extramural funding. For incoming students, the largest source of support comes from the Department’s multi-year offer of funding.
Graduate Division Fellowships & Support from UCLA Centers
There are a number of campus-wide fellowships, such as the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship for which the department can nominate admitted students if you apply and meet eligibility criteria. To apply for campus-wide awards, complete the fellowship section of your online graduate admissions application. For Eugene Cota-Robles Award, your Personal Statement must address your contributions to diversity.
Please review the Funding for Entering Students link on the Graduate Division website. Note that for most of these awards, recommendation by the Department is critical, and the Department reserves the right to consider these awards that originate from other places on campus as part of the total award package that we are offering, fully subject to our rules and conditions.
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) for the academic year or summer awards are available for the following languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean (East Asia); Spanish, Portuguese, and Quechua (Latin America); Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish (Middle East); Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese (Southeast Asia). For additional information and requirements specific to each area program please consult the website at http://international.ucla.edu/. New incoming students are eligible and there are funding opportunities for international studies.
Our Faculty Admissions Committee will consider all admitted applicants, including international students, for departmental support (stipend, registration fees, nonresident tuition, teaching assistantships) at the time of admission. Decisions are made based on merit, i.e., the applicant’s strength of record and promise in relation to the other students, and not on financial need.
Most of our admitted students receive an offer for financial support from the department. Our funding offers generally provide five years of support, which typically includes two years of fellowship and three or four years of guaranteed teaching assistantship (TA) position. In some instances, first-year students with teaching experience may be offered a TA position.
During years of guaranteed TA support (typically years 2-4), the Department will offer a 50% TA position (20 hours per week). You may also secure a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) position from a faculty member to replace your TA position during one or more quarters. You can review TA salaries for a nine-month, 50% appointment, and GSR salary scales. TAs and GSRs qualify for a “fee remission” where students’ mandatory registration fees (including health insurance premium) are paid by the University.
Need-Based Financial Aid
Support based solely on financial need is provided in the form of work-study and loans through the Financial Aid Office and is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. To apply for financial aid, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Department of Education by March 2nd. For more information on applying for need-based support at UCLA, please refer to the Financial Aid Office website at www.fao.ucla.edu.
There are many extramural agencies that provide fellowships for graduate students. We strongly urge our applicants and continuing students to research external funding opportunities and apply for every fellowship for which they are eligible.
The UCLA Graduate Division has an on-line database of extramural funding opportunities called GRAPES available at: https://grad.ucla.edu/funding/. The GRAPES database catalogs over 600 private and publicly funded awards, fellowships, and internships and allows searches by field, academic level, award type, award amount, and other criteria. In addition, there are directories of extramural support that can be found at most university libraries. You can find a list of these directories at: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/asis/entsup/extramrl.htm.
Here are some of the well-known nationwide programs of which some are specifically for entering students:
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Check their website for deadlines. Application deadline for social sciences is generally in early November.
American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program: Last year the deadline was in January. http://www.asanet.org/funding/mfp.cfm
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Program for Minorities: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/FordFellowships/PGA_047958
UCLA campus application deadline is in September. For exact date please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Fulbright U.S. Student Program (IIE): http://www.fulbrightonline.org/us
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program at the Department of Education
http://www.ed.gov/programs/jacobjavits/index.html Check their web site for deadlines. Application deadline is generally in early October.
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
http://www.pdsoros.org Application deadline is November 1st.
The Social Science Resource Council: https://www.ssrc.org/
What is the application deadline?
The online application is due December 1. All unofficial transcripts and letters must be uploaded online with your application. Admitted students will need to submit an official e-transcript to Dreama Rhodes: email@example.com. Official hardcopy transcripts or official e-transcripts will not need to be submitted unless you are admitted into the program.
International students must upload transcript(s) in original language and English translation, along with diploma or certificate, also in original language and English translation.
Do you accept applications for spring admission?
No. We only review applications once a year for Fall admission.
I missed the deadline, can I still apply?
We receive over 300 applications. Late applications submitted after December 1 are not accepted.
What makes an applicant competitive in the selection process?
We are looking for bright, imaginative, and highly motivated students who have a deep and abiding interest in doing sociology. The ideal applicant ranks uniformly high on all indicators (grade point average, recommendations from faculty, stature of undergraduate institution, the quality of written work, and the persuasiveness of the Statement of Purpose) of particular skills and shows exceptional promise of success in our program and as a future sociologist. Decisions are based on merit, promise, and fit with the program.
Where should I send in my GRE and TOEFL scores online?
GRE: institution code for UCLA is 4837; Department of Sociology code is 2102.
TOEFL: institution code for UCLA is 4837; Department code is 96.
Can I submit more than three letters?
Yes, but note that quantity does not substitute for quality.
How long should my writing sample be?
A minimum of five pages. If you send a thesis, it’s advisable to send all chapters rather than select one or two chapters. Average length is about 15-30 pages.
What kind of writing sample would be best?
The committee uses the writing sample to assess your writing skills, analytical ability, and creativity. You should pick a piece of writing that best reflects your ability. An academic research paper is better than a more journalistic paper or a term paper.
What do I do if I do not have a writing sample?
You must write an academic essay on the topic of your choice of at least five pages double-spaced.
Can I send a co-authored paper?
Yes, but we prefer a single-authored paper. If you send a paper co-authored with a professor, please ask the professor to explain your involvement in and contribution to the paper. If the paper is co-authored with other students, provide the same kind of explanation.
Can I send more than one writing sample?
Yes, if the online portal allows for additional uploads.
What is the Minimum GPA?
What is the average GPA?
3.66 for all applicants; 3.8 for admitted students.
Which GPA should I report on the application?
Report your cumulative GPA from the institution where you received your bachelor’s degree.
What are the required minimum GRE scores?
There are no minimum GRE requirements.
Can I apply to more than one department at the same time?
How many applicants are admitted? How many enter the program?
We receive over 300 applications, and in most years we aim for an incoming class of 15.
How do I find out whether my application is complete?
When you submit your application, you can view a pdf of the entire application. You should review it to make sure all your uploads are included and it is complete. Check the online application site to see if your letters of recommendation have been received.
When are decisions made?
Usually by the end of February. Official notifications will be sent by the UCLA Graduate Division via email notification.
Can the application fee be waived and if so how do I obtain a fee waiver?
Applicants that have participated in programs such as Gates Millennium Scholars, McNair Scholars, and other specified programs are eligible to apply for a fee waiver. Students currently receiving need-based financial aid are also eligible to apply for an application fee waiver. Applicants are required to upload a letter from the program director confirming program participation or a letter from their Financial Aid office verifying their need-based status and stating that payment of the fee would be a financial hardship. These documents should be uploaded to your online application. Upon review, your waiver request will either be approved or denied. Please note that without an approved waiver, your application will not be released to the department. International applicants are not eligible for fee waivers or deferred payment of the application fee. Additional information including a list of special programs eligible for fee waivers and how to qualify for a need-based waiver can be found here.
FAQ: INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS
What is the required minimum TOEFL score?
560 on the paper and pencil test or 220 on the computer based TOEFL test. Total minimum on the internet-based TOEFL (TOEFL iBT) is 87: Writing, 25; Speaking, 24; Reading, 21; Listening, 17. For the IELTS overall band score of at least 7.0 is the minimum required.
These minimum requirements are set by UCLA, not the individual departments: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements/. Note that most students who are admitted have scores that far surpass these minimums, TOEFL of 100 or above and IELTS of 7.5.
Are TOEFL scores out of date?
TOEFL scores must have been taken within 2 years of the date of your application.
Can I be exempted from the TOEFL requirement?
The TOEFL score is mandatory for international applicants unless you hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university in the United States or in another country in which English is both the spoken language and the medium of instruction, or you have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution. If you qualify for an exemption and several years have passed since you actively used English a recent TOEFL score may be helpful for our Admissions Committee to better evaluate your current level of proficiency in comparison to other international applicants. If you meet the criteria for an exception, it will ultimately be up to you to decide whether or not a new TOEFL score would strengthen your application.
How many international students do you admit and fund?
The number varies from year to year. We do not have quotas for admitting and/or funding international students or any other category of students.
Does an international applicant have to show financial resources in order to attend?
You will be required to submit a financial statement if you want to obtain a student visa upon accepting an offer of admission. Along with documented evidence of sufficient funds it tells the Graduate Admissions Office that you qualify for a visa and allows UCLA to mail you an I-20 form that you need to take to a US consulate or embassy in your country. It is advisable to have some personal funding in case the departmental award does not cover the minimum amount.
For more information, go to https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/visa-procedures/.
Are all students funded?
The department’s goal is to provide funding to all entering students.
How much financial support is usually given to incoming students?
Award offers have typically been for five years, which includes two years of fellowship and three or four years of teaching apprenticeship (TA) position.
Can international students receive TA positions?
Yes. However international students whose native language is not English must take a campus-administered Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP) and pass it at 7.1 or above before they can be appointed as a TA.
Do you offer nonresident tuition support to international students?
Yes. Our award offers to international students include non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST) for four years. International students are expected to advance to doctoral candidacy (ATC) by the end of fourth year in the Program, after which point NRST will be waived for three years.
How is funding allocated?
All students who are admitted are considered for departmentally funded awards and campus-wide fellowship programs for which they are eligible and applied. Decisions are made by a committee and based on merit. Our Admissions Committee determines annually what kind of support packages to offer and at what level. An application for departmentally funded awards (stipend, fees, tuition, TA positions) is not necessary in order to be considered. Campus-wide awards require an application for consideration and nomination. Recipients are selected by committees appointed by the Graduate Division or the FLAS centers upon the department’s nomination and recommendation. Please see our section on Graduate Student Funding for more information.
Is there a TA training program and are there opportunities to teach at the University?
We have a TA training course (Sociology 495) that is required of all first-time TAs in the department. There is also a free annual campus-wide TA Conference scheduled in September. Most of our students will have an opportunity to be a TA and it is part of our funding package. A typical award offer to entering students includes two or three years of teaching assistantship. Continuing students who have used up their guaranteed awards can apply annually for TAships, though TA title appointments are limited to 12 quarters. Some students have also had opportunities for TA employment in other departments (e.g., Communication Studies, Women’s Studies, Honors Program). Advanced students with the requisite prior TA experience have opportunities to teach during one of the summer sessions or through other campus programs.
What is expected of teaching assistants in your department?
Teaching assistants in our department are appointed at 50% time and are expected, on the average, to spend 20 hours per week during the quarter carrying out their TA responsibilities, such as attending the lectures of the course, holding three discussion sections per week with an average section enrollment of 25 students, grading papers and exams, and other duties as determined by the instructor.
Are there opportunities for research assistantships?
Yes. Some professors have funding that allows them to employ research assistants. Our graduate students can also explore opportunities with faculty in other departments or research units on campus. There is no central job bulletin board for open research assistant positions. Students interested in research assistantships should inquire with individual faculty and campus research centers directly.
Are registration fees and/or tuition waived for TAs or GSRs?
Employment as TA, GSR, or Readers for 10 hours a week or more (at least 25% time) entitles students to receive fee remission benefits. This applies equally to domestic and international students. Fee remission benefits include payment of the educational and registration fees as well as the mandatory health insurance premiums. GSRs employed at 45-50% time are also eligible for non-resident tuition (NRT) remission benefits, i.e., full payment of NRT.
Can I work full-time while pursuing graduate studies?
No. Graduate students are not allowed to work more than 50% time on campus (20 hours per week). Appointments in academic apprentice personnel titles (TA, GSR, Reader) cannot exceed 18 quarters of which no more than 12 quarters can be as a TA without exception. We do not recommend that our students work full-time off campus. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to work full-time and attend classes and complete course work.
Will you accept/consider students who did not major in Sociology?
Can I apply if I only want to get the M.A. degree?
UCLA’s small and highly selective graduate program in sociology is devoted to young scholars who seek the Ph.D. degree. Most aspire to careers in research and university-level teaching. The master’s degree is earned as part of the process of completing the requirements for the Ph.D. For information about the Master of Social Science program, visit: mass.ss.ucla.edu.
Do I have to have an M.A. or M.S. degree before I can apply for your Ph.D. program?
Can I apply for the doctoral degree without pursuing the M.A. degree from UCLA?
No. Our students must complete the M.A. requirements first. If you have an M.A. degree in sociology from another institution read the next question and answer.
Will I have to get another M.A. degree or repeat M.A. requirements if I already have an M.A. degree?
If you have a master’s degree in sociology you have the option of submitting your previous MA work (a research paper of no more than double-spaced 50 pages which can be based on the M.A. thesis written at another university and the transcripts from the M.A. institution) for review and approval within the first three quarters in the program. In this review, the Department will determine whether or not you may proceed directly to preparation for the field examinations, whether additional courses need to be taken for breadth purposes, whether the submitted paper needs additional work, or whether an additional paper needs to be done, and whether theory and methodology sequence requirements have been adequately satisfied. If your prior M.A. degree is accepted, you do not need to complete our M.A. requirements and can focus on the Ph.D. requirements. If you do not submit your materials to our review within the first three quarters, we assume that you opted to complete our M.A. requirements. If your degree is in another discipline, you will have to complete our M.A. requirements though there is a possibility that some relevant courses from your prior M.A. could be counted by petition.
Will my previous M.A. course work count?
If you completed and received your M.A. degree, please see the previous answer. If you have taken graduate courses but did not complete your MA degree, you can petition to transfer credit for two appropriate courses or 8 units onto your UCLA transcript. If the petition is approved, these courses will count toward your UCLA M.A. course requirements. In addition, the department may consider petitions to waive courses based on equivalent graduate courses taken elsewhere.
Is there a preference for students with masters over those with bachelor degrees?
No. Admission is approved on the basis of your B.A. or B.S. degree, even if you already have a Master’s degree.
How does resident status affect my finances?
California residents pay only in-state registration fees. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are not California residents must pay non-resident tuition in the first year, in addition to out-of-state registration fees. However, they can be reclassified as California residents for tuition purposes after the first year and if approved, will no longer be charged nonresident tuition. For more information, check the Registrar Residence Requirements page. International students cannot become California residents for tuition purposes and must continue to pay non-resident tuition until they advance to Ph.D. candidacy (i.e., completed all course and program requirements except the dissertation). Thereafter, there will be a 100% reduction of non-resident tuition (but not of registration fees) for a total of three years.
What is the ratio of in-state/out-of-state graduate students in the sociology department?
The answer to this question is complicated because of the link between California residency and tuition. After one year of residency in California, U.S. citizens or permanent residents may become California residents and be eligible for lower tuition rates. Upon entering our program, we expect all out-of-state students to follow the necessary steps to become CA residents for tuition purposes in their second year. Thus, all U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents from out-of-state will be nonresidents for one year only. Please refer to the Fees for Doctoral Degrees page. We do not take state residency into consideration as a criterion for admission and aim to admit the best international and national graduate students.
Can you give me an idea about my chances of being admitted into your program and/or offered funding given my particular background?
No. Decisions are made on a comparative basis by a committee whose members and assessments may vary from year to year. Without seeing the complete application in the context of the other applications, it is difficult to make an assessment.
What kind of jobs do your Ph.D. graduates obtain?
Most of our graduates obtain positions as faculty members at other universities and colleges. Many of them accept postdoctoral positions first before they start these positions. Recent graduates have accepted positions at other University of California campuses (UCB, UCI, UCSD, UCD), Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Washington, University of Kansas, SUNYs, and various California State Universities as well as four-year colleges such as Pitzer, Loyola Marymount, Mt. Holyoke, Grinnell, Beloit. Non-academic positions have included research oriented positions at Rand Corporation, the Census Bureau, CDC, LA County Urban Research Division. Our placements since 2002 are listed here.
How can I contact current graduate students and/or faculty to get their perspectives for my upcoming decisions?
You can email students and faculty in your research area directly from our main Sociology website: see the “People” section linked here. Students who have been admitted to our program are strongly encouraged to attend our “visiting day” (usually the first week of March). During visiting day, admitted students will be able to talk to faculty and graduate students and make an informed decision whether this is the right program for you.
Do I need to contact a faculty member to sponsor or support my application?
Can I pursue interest X in your program?
The section about field exams contained in the program description on our web site will give you an idea as to which subspecialties are well represented in our department. Please also read through the list of faculty and students and their research interests to get a sense of the work being done in the department: https://soc.ucla.edu/content/people.
What is the time to completion for the PhD and is it reduced because of my prior MA?
Our normative time to degree is six years and no more than two of these years can be devoted to completing the MA requirements. The actual time to degree varies depending on individual circumstances. If your prior MA is approved within the first year in the program, it can shorten the time to degree.
I’m interested in pursuing a concurrent program for a Ph.D. in sociology and in another field.
This is called an individually designed articulated degree. For information about how to pursue two degrees simultaneously, review page 24 of the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study. You must be admitted into one of the two programs first and after entering the program, receive approval from the other program, your home department, and the Graduate Division for your individually designed articulated degree.
Where do your graduate students live?
Many of our entering students live in the Weyburn Terrace Housing Complex for the first two years. The department has a limited number of guaranteed spaces each year and can nominate entering students for them. After the first two years, most move to off-campus rentals within 5-7 miles from campus. UCLA also has other off-campus apartment complexes for single and students with families for which graduate students can apply on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information on UCLA apartments go to www.housing.ucla.edu. You can also check listings of private off-campus housing, including rental vacancies and roommate notices, and general information about neighborhoods at the UCLA’s Community Housing Office.
What is the student/faculty ratio in the sociology graduate department?
We currently have 36 faculty members, 29 Emeriti, and 11 joint appointments (faculty who also have appointments in other departments). We currently have 116 graduate students. The actual faculty/student ratio varies depending on area of interest.