Application materials are submitted online through the Graduate Admissions Office. The Sociology Department at Rutgers University offers a Ph.D. degree (with an M.A. degree earned along the way). The deadline for receiving applications for our Ph.D. program is December 1. Applications will only be considered if they are complete by the December 1st deadline.
We prepare graduate students for careers in sociological research. Employment may be found in the academy, government, corporations, and the non-profit sector. We are a writing intensive-program geared to discovery, analysis, and understanding. Our program is known for its supportive warmth and collaborative environment. We take a cooperative rather than a competitive approach to professional development. Your entering cohort members as well as advanced graduate students will become a critical part of your support team along with the faculty and staff. The program faculty offer their expertise to support your sociological research interests, making our program extremely student-centered. We are methodologically pluralistic in our approach to research. As part of our comprehensive training, we require a two-course sequence in statistics along with optional training in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. We offer a statistical boot camp prior to the fall semester to introduce students to R, the statistical package used in our courses, and to provide a refresher to statistical approaches and quantitative reasoning before the semester begins. The boot camp is a bridge for those students with limited quantitative training or experiences. If you have any questions about the program or your qualifications, please contact the Graduate Program Director.
The Admissions Process
We evaluate prospective students holistically. Language and writing ability are assessed through the personal statement and writing sample. Applicants can demonstrate quantitative reasoning ability through performance in a prior course (preferred) or a GRE score. Our application form will also ask for specific experiences that help to demonstrate your sociological capabilities and interests. Although prior coursework or practical experience in sociology is not required for admission, candidates must demonstrate a clear understanding of the sociological approach to research in their personal statement and writing sample.
GRE scores have never factored significantly in our decision-making, and as of 2021, we no longer require this information in the application. Applicants continue to have the option of submitting GRE scores, so as to allow flexibility in demonstrating skills. The omission of GRE scores will not affect chances of admission.
Admissions decisions are quite competitive, as only 20-25% of the applicants are accepted from the applicant pool. Students who are admitted to our program have a strong record across all aspects of the application materials and show an excellent fit with the areas of specialization in our program. From those accepted into our program, only applicants offered full funding packages by either the University or externally sponsored sources approved by the department and Rutgers University will be allowed to join the program. Typically, about 100 students apply to our Ph.D. program with ultimately 5-7 students forming the fully-funded cohort. We make every effort to fund all admitted students, usually in a package consisting of up to two years of fellowship followed by up to three years of teaching assistantship. However, other funding configurations are possible, determined by the resources available.
A complete application consists of:
- Application form
- GRE scores - Optional
- Quantitative Reasoning Sample - Submit one of the following: (1) Grade(s) received in a statistics and/or math course found on your official transcript, (2) Quantitative GRE score, or (3) Paper containing quantitative analysis.
- TOEFL scores for international students. You are exempt from submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores if you are a Permanent Resident, US citizen, or an international applicant with a minimum of three years undergraduate studies or a masters degree with the mode of instruction being English.
- Official transcripts from each institution attended. Please request transcripts early so they are delivered by the application deadline. Instructions for the submission of official transcripts are available through Graduate and Professional Admissions.
- Personal statement (approximately 2 single-spaced pages)
Please include the following:
a. Why do you wish to pursue a graduate degree in sociology?
b. What kind of scholarly work in sociology most interests you?
c. Why do you wish to join the graduate program at Rutgers?
d. How do you hope to use your PhD degree?
- Writing sample (approximately 10-20 double-spaced pages; paper should show sociological thinking)
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
In the application form, you will enter your personal information, self-report your optional GRE scores and TOEFL scores as appropriate. You will also enter your personal statement. 24 hours after you submit the application and pay the application fee, you will have access to upload the required supporting materials (Writing Sample, Resume). Additional information is available on the Graduate Admissions website.
The Department of Sociology at Rutgers University has offered a Ph.D. degree in sociology for almost fifty years. We currently have about 45 faculty members (27 core) and 50 students in our program. We admit only students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. degree although we offer the M.A. degree as a stepping-stone toward the Ph.D. We do admit students who already have Master's degrees from other institutions and these students can apply some of the credits from that degree to their Ph.D. from Rutgers.
If you are ready to apply for admission, go to the University's online application page.
If you would like to learn more about our faculty, students, areas of specialization, degree requirements, and accomplishments before deciding whether or not to apply, read the materials posted on the rest of our website. If you have additional questions, about the application process or the graduate program, please contact the graduate program coordinator, Carissa Meador, at
If you are interested in job placements of our recent alumni, please review the Recent Placements and Alumni pages.