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Admission Information for Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the doctoral program of the Sociology Department at the University of California, Riverside! Training graduate students for successful careers as scholars and teachers of sociology is a core part of the Department of Sociology’s mission. The graduate program at UCR is designed to grant the Ph.D. degree. We do not have a terminal Master’s degree program. Read a brief overview of our doctoral program. UCR Sociology values a diverse student body. Learn about diversity at UCR.

Before applying to our program

We recommend that you thoroughly review the Sociology Department website (sociology.ucr.edu), including but not limited to the Graduate Student Manual (under Graduate Program/Info for Current Graduate Students) which contains detailed information on our program and its requirements.

You should also thoroughly review the UCR Graduate Division website (graddiv.ucr.edu). Check out, for example, the site’s Information for Current Graduate Students which contains details on such topics as employment, important resources, funding opportunities, and the Graduate Student Association. The site also contains information on funding for graduate study, resources for current graduate students, and applying to the university, including the application for admission, requirements for US citizens and permanent residents, and requirements for international students.

In addition, we recommend that you identify and contact to discuss your interest in our program two department faculty members with whom you would like to work. You may also consider contacting any of our current graduate students (listed on our website) to get their perspective on the program.

Finally, consider visiting campus (see a campus map) or taking a virtual or campus tour.

Applying to our program

New students can enter the program only in the Fall quarter. Should a person (erroneously) apply (for admission as a new student) during Winter or Spring quarter, the application fee will not be reimbursed. Applications for readmission are accepted at any time for Fall, Winter or Spring quarter admission.

Applications for admission of new students are accepted only in Fall; the application deadline is December 15. Note that this date is specific to our department. You may encounter different deadline dates on the UCR Graduate Division website, but they do not apply to our department. Also note that our deadline is for completed applications (online application and official transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters), not for submitted ones (online application only). We recommend that you give your letter writers a deadline prior to our application deadline.

Be sure to include in your application the forms required to be considered for the various funding opportunities (e.g., Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship). Some funding is need based, and some funding is merit based. See details on funding on the Graduate Division website. All students we admit typically receive some sort of funding or otherwise have funding from another source (e.g., foreign government). We typically fund graduate students for four years through a combination of fellowships and teaching assistantships (via contract). Students who need funding for additional years get it through research grants, awards, (non-contractual) teaching assistantships, instructorships, research assistantships, other employment on campus, and/or adjunct teaching off campus. Funding options typically include:

  • Graduate Division Stipend: Usually awarded as part of a larger fellowship package, these dollars go directly from Graduate Division to the student. The student receives quarterly disbursements at the beginning of each quarter of their award.
  • Teaching Assistantships (TAs): The Sociology Department offers numerous TAships to qualified first and second year graduate students. TAs lead discussion sections and provide assistance to faculty in undergraduate courses.
  • Research Assistantships: Graduate Students Researcher positions (GSRs) are available periodically to assist faculty with research. GSRs work with faculty in a variety of research areas such as theories of race and power, cultural politics and production, and the state, law, and social transformation.
  • Employment Awards - PFR & GSHIP: Students who are appointed at 25% or more during an academic quarter as an ASE employee are entitled to Partial Fee Remission (PFR) and Graduate Student Health Insurance Premium (GSHIP) remission.  This entitlement pays the entire health insurance premium, and most, but not all, of a student's mandatory university fees.
  • Federal Government Loans: Federal Loans are available to domestic graduate students through the Financial Aid Office. Applicants must complete FAFSA online. We encourage you to complete your FAFSA as soon as possible, even if you are only considering applying for graduate school.

A degree in sociology is not required for admission; however, prior training in sociology is desirable. There is no minimum GRE score for admission; however, scores of 300 and above are desirable. Furthermore, some funding sources have minimum scores to be considered for an award.

Applicants must provide a writing sample (e.g., published research, academic paper, or thesis) as part of their online application, ideally a piece of sociological research or work produced for a sociology course.

Your application must include a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Personal History. The instructions regarding the required Statement of Purpose listed on the Graduate Division application website are not the same as the ones below, at least in terms of the content of the statement. You should follow the instructions below. Your Statement of Purpose should highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Riverside.

  • Preparation and motivation includes 1) your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this doctoral program (for example: coursework, employment, fieldwork, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, and teaching) and 2) your motivation or passion for graduate study in sociology.
  • Interests, specializations, and career goals include 1) your research interests (identify at least one research topic you’d like to pursue in graduate school), 2) disciplinary subfields (Identify which two department specializations you would like to pursue), and 3) professional objectives (Describe your job aspirations).
  • Fit includes how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of the sociology graduate program at UC Riverside. Please identify two department faculty in each of the two specializations with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.

The Statement of Personal History is distinct from the above-described Statement of Purpose, and therefore, it SHOULD NOT contain the same information. Follow the instructions regarding the Statement of Personal History on the Graduate Division application website.

Before entering our program

Students may have concerns about taking graduate level statistics. We believe all students can and should become quantitatively literate even if they plan to do qualitative research. One way to prepare for the required courses prior to program entry is to take a refresher course or review an undergraduate level stats text, such as Hart. (2008). Statistics: A very short introduction, New York: Oxford or Salkind, (2008). Statistics for people who (think they) hate statistics. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

For assistance, please contact the Sociology Graduate Assistant at (951) 827-5854 or anna.wire@ucr.edu.

Updated 08/10/17