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 information about the Master of Social Science program, please visit: mass.ss.ucla.edu
In addition to the minimum University requirements (an acceptable bachelor's degree, and a "B" average in all upper division and graduate level work), the Sociology Department requires:
1) 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;
2) transcripts from all colleges where the applicant has studied (the Department's evaluation considers not only the record in sociology, but all undergraduate work and graduate work, where relevant;
3) a 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. It should not exceed 3 double-spaced pages.
4) a writing sample, such as copies of one or two term papers or research reports written by the applicant;
5) an official statement of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The institution for UCLA for the GRE is 4837 and the department code is 2102.
6) 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 detailed information about English Requirements and Proficiency on our Graduate Division site.
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 generally consists of faculty members and two advisory graduate student members, 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, as well as verbal Graduate Record Examination scores.
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 minorities, in particular, are encouraged to apply.
APPLICATION DEADLINE AND PROCEDURES
The deadline for applying 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. Additinally, one official, sealed transcript from the Institutions where you earned your bachelor's degree and graduate degree (or degree in progress) must be received by mail no later than December 1 at the following address:
Attn: Graduate Admissions
UCLA Department of Sociology
264 Haines Hall
375 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1551
We only need the hard copy, official transcript from the school(s) where you completed or will complete your degrees. To check if your transcript has been received in our office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications that remain incomplete at the time the admissions committee begins the review process will not be reviewed.
GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDING
Anticipated Expenses for graduate studies can be found at the Financial Aid Office website.
Actual living expenses will depend on personal circumstances. A breakdown of up to date fee and tuition costs can be found on the Registrar Office website.
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 by far the largest source of support comes in the offers of one or multiple years of support that the Department makes to admitted students. Some of these funds originate from sources outside the Department, but are controlled by the Department.
Graduate Division Fellowship Programs and Support from UCLA Centers
There are a number of campus-wide fellowship programs, e.g., the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship for which the department can nominate admitted students if you apply and meet the eligibility criteria. To apply for campus-wide awards, complete the fellowship section of your online graduate admissions application. For the Eugene Cota-Robles Award, you must also complete the Diversity Fellowship portion of the admissions application. Please note the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship Program (GOFP) is only for terminal M.A. students. Please reivew 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. Please see the International Institute's online application.
The department's Admissions Committee will consider all admitted applicants, U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students--for departmental support (stipends, 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 have received an offer for financial support from the department. Our typical funding offers provide five years of support which includs one or two years of fellowship (stipend, registration fees, and if needed, non-resident tuition for the first year) and three or four years of guaranteed teaching assistantship (TA) position. Stipends have ranged from $18,000-22,000 and are ordinarily scheduled for the first and fifth year. In some instances, first-year students with teaching experience may be offered a TA position.
For each year of guaranteed assistantship support (typically year 2-4), the Department will offer a TA position at 50% (20 hours per week). If a faculty member offers a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) position for one or all of these years, the GSR position will satisfy/replace the departmental support commitment. You can review TA salaries for a nine-month, half-time appointment and GSR salary scales. Under certain circumstances, TAs and GSRs qualify to have a portion of their mandatory registration fees (including medical insurance premium) paid by the University and in more limited circumstances, GSRs may qualify to have 100% of non-resident tuition paid. For more information on UCLA's academic apprentice personnel positions, salary rates, remission rates, and policies go to the Academic Apprentice Personnel Manual.
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 nation wide 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.
UCLA campus application deadline is in September. For exact date please contact email@example.com. Last year the deadline was in November. 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
Application deadline is November 1st.
The Social Science Resource Council
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 web site maintained by the Financial Aid Office at www.fao.ucla.edu.
What is the application deadline? The online application is sue December 1: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/admission-application-for-graduate-admission/. All transcripts should be uploaded with the online application. Official, sealed transcripts should be mailed to: Attn: Graduate Admission, 264 Haines Hall, 375 Portola Plaza, Box 951551, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1551. If you use expedited services, e.g., Fedex, omit the Box number.
I missed the deadline, can I still apply? Late applications submitted after December 1 are generally not accepted. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if it is within 5 days of the deadline.
What are the Institution and Department codes for the GRE and TOEFL tests?
- GRE: the institution code for UCLA is 4837, the Department code is 2102.
- TOEFL: the institution code for UCLA is 4837 and the Department code is 96.
Can I send my supporting materials before I submit the online application? Yes.
Is it a problem if one or two items of my supporting materials (e.g. official GRE or TOEFL scores or recommendation letter) arrive after the deadline? If they arrive within two weeks after the December 1 deadline but the rest of your application is complete, your application will be considered. If they are more than two to three weeks late, your chances of being considered for admission are greatly reduced.
Can I send 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.
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 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.
How do I find out whether or not 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 middle of February. The department will notify you unofficially via email a few days after decisions have been made. Official notifications will be sent by the Graduate Admissions Office via email notification somewhat later.
What is the Minimum GPA? 3.0.
What is the average GPA? 3.66 for all applicants; 3.8 for admitted students.
Which GPA should I report on the application? Compute your GPA for your junior and senior year, i.e., the last 60 semester units, or last 90 quarter units, completed in undergraduate status. Use a four-point system (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1). Ignore pluses and minuses, unless the grade points are clearly stated on your transcript. If your school uses another system, and it cannot be converted to a four point GPA, leave the GPA boxes blank. This applies in particular to most international institutions.
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 minimums 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 GRE and TOEFL scores out of date? GRE scores must have been taken within the last 5 years. TOEFL scores must have been taken within 2 years of the date of your application.
What are the required minimum GRE scores? There are no minimum requirements.
What are the average GRE scores? Since there are two version of the GRE with different scoring systems we do not have calculated averages at this time.
What parts of the GRE scores and/or of the other application materials are given more weight? We do not weight any part of the GRE scores or individual application items nor do we use formulas based on GREs or GPAs to make decision. All applications will be reviewed and rated in comparison to the other applications. We use a holistic approach to arrive at decisions.
Can I be exempted from the GRE or TOEFL requirement? No. We do not consider applications without GRE scores.
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.
Can I apply to more than one department at the same time? No.
How many applicants are admitted? How many enter the program? Each year we receive over 250 applications, and aim for an incoming class of 15. Of course we admit more than 15 because many students who apply to UCLA also receive attractive offers from competing departments.
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.
Can the application fee be waived and if so how do I obtain a waiver? Current McNair Scholars and specified programs and students currently receiving need-based financial aid can apply for a waiver of the application fee but must mail a letter from the McNair Director and/or their Financial Aid Office verifying their status and stating that payment of the fee would be a financial hardship. The request for a waiver should be uploaded to your online application. International applicants are not eligible for fee waivers or deferred payment of the application fee. Please note that without an approved waiver or the application fee payment you application will not be released to the department. List of special programs eligible for fee waivers is here.
Do you accept applications for winter and/or spring admission? No. We only review once a year for fall admission.
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/.
Will you accept/consider students who did not major in Sociology? Yes.
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., and from time to time students do decide to not continue with their studies beyond the M.A.
Do I have to have an M.A. or M.S. degree before I can apply for your Ph.D. program? No.
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 Masters degree.
Do you give preference to California residents in admission and awards? No.
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.
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 (GRE scores, 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.
Can you give me an idea about my chances of being admitted into your program and/or offered funded 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), 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 in Santa Monica and Pittsburgh, the Census Bureau, CDC, LA County Urban Research Division. Our placements since 2002 are listed here http://www.sociology.ucla.edu/content/graduate-job-placements.
How can I contact current graduate students and/or faculty to get their perspectives for my upcoming decisions? You can email the students who provide their email addresses on our website and faculty directly. For faculty email addresses click on their names in the People section. For students who have been admitted to our program we encourage them to attend our "visiting day" (usually in March) or visit separately around this time. During visiting day, admitted students will be able to talk to faculty and graduate student so they can make an informed decision as to which offer of admission and support to accept.
Do I need to contact a faculty member to sponsor or support my application? No.
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 interests ("People") to get a sense of the work being done in the department.
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.
Are all students funded? The department's goal is to provide funding to all entering students. In recent years, we make every attempt to continue to support all or most of our entering students.
How much financial support is usually given to incoming students? Award offers have typically been for five years at varying levels of support that include one or two years of fellowship (stipend, fees, and non-resident tuition for the first year if needed) and three or four years of working as a TA (which comes with a fee remission). The level of support has ranged from $18,000-22,000.
Can international students receive teaching assistantships? 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 fellowships to international students? Yes. Our award offers to international students include non-resident tuition for the first year and occasionally for the second year. Each year thereafter, international students who have not advanced to Ph.D. candidacy compete for a pool of nonresident tuition funds administered by the Department. Some foreign students are able to cover their nonresident tuition through other fellowships or research assistantships that include tuition remission benefits. International students should be aware of the possibility that after the first year they may need to fund nonresident tuition through personal and/or non-UCLA resources.
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, assistantships) 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. TAships are part of our award packages. A typical award offer to newly admitted students includes two or three years of assistantship which generally means a TAship. Continuing students who have used up their guaranteed awards can apply annually for TAships though appointments in the TA title is 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. These responsibilities include attending the lectures of the course they are assigned to, 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 a reduction of registration fees, called 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. Students are responsible for paying the miscellaneous fees. GSRs employed at 45-50% time are also eligible for non-resident tuition (NRT) remission benefits, i.e., full payment of NRT. NRT remission is not available to TAs.
Can I work full-time while pursuing graduate studies? No. Graduate students are allowed to work no more than 50% time on campus (20 hours per week). Appointments in academic apprentice personnel titles (TAs, GSRs, Readers) cannot exceed 18 quarters of which no more than 12 quarters can be as a TA. 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.
I'm interested in pursuing a concurrent program for a Ph.D. in sociology and in another field. Is this possible? Yes. It is called an individually designed articulated degree. For information about how to pursue two degrees simultaneously, review the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, page 18 "Articulated and Concurrent Degree Programs." You would have to 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 40 faculty members, 16 Emeriti, and 5 joint appointments (faculty who also have appointments in other departments). We currently have 110 graduate students, not counting students taking a leave of absence. The actual faculty/student ratio varies depending on area of interest.