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Apply to PhD Program

APPLICATIONS FOR THE FALL 2017 SOCIOLOGY PH.D. PROGRAM AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ARE CLOSED - DECEMBER 15, 2016.


We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2017 Enrollment.

  • Applicants that have COMPLETED their application can inquire about the status of their application using the Admissions Graduate Education Portal.
  • Applications will reopen September, 2017 for Fall 2018 enrollment.  Information on applying will be listed in September, 2017.

Decision Dates


  • You can inquire about the status of your application using the Admissions Graduate Education Portal.  Admission offers will be sent out by early March.  A few offers will be made after mid-March.
  • If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Office by email at soc@msu.edu or fax at (517) 432-2856.

Pre-Admission FAQ


Where can students access the online application?

Applications are submitted electronically through the Office of Admissions.

How many students apply to the program? How many are admitted?

We typically receive 65-75 applications in any give year. The quality of the applicant pool determines the number of students we admit. In recent years, we have admitted from 5 to 10 students.

What are you looking for in a student?

We are looking for students with strong analytical skills and who are critical thinkers.

Where can I find information about tuition rates?

You can find current tuition rates at the Office of the Controller.

Where can I find information about financial aid?

Visit the Office of Financial Aid for information about financial aid as well as a link to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Students are often eligible for certain loans if they take at least 6 credits. Loans are also available for computer equipment required in the program. Information may be obtained by contacting the financial aid office at 517-353-5940, e-mail, or by visiting the Office of Financial Aid website.

Since this is a degree-granting program veteran benefits may be applicable. Students eligible for veterans benefits must submit the required certificate to the VA office on campus. Information may be obtained by contacting the Veteran Certification Office at 517-355-5032.

Is financial aid available?

There are a limited number of assistantships available for Sociology PhD students. We strive to fund as many students as possible with competitive financial packages. In recent years most admitted students have been guaranteed 4-5 years of financial support including a tuition credit, monthly stipend, and health insurance. Students typically find that the stipend is sufficient to cover their living expenses. You may also check the Michigan State University Office of Financial Aid for further assistance.

Where can I find information about housing?

You can find information about on-campus graduate dorms and university apartments at www.liveon.msu.edu.

If I want to pursue a PhD program in Sociology, do I need a master's degree first?

No. A Master's degree is not required.

Can I study part-time?

No. The sociology PhD program is an extremely intense program requiring a large time investment.

Can coursework be completed online?

We do not offer an online program. All PhD level Sociology courses (SOC) are taught in classroom settings.

Do we accept applications for Spring Semester?

No. We accept new applications only in the Fall Semester of each academic year.

How long does it generally take to complete the program?

The program is designed to be completed in five years to give students the best chance at completing research projects prior to the job market to increase their odds of finding an elite research position. Occasionally, students with advanced research portfolios can graduate in four years.

What types of jobs do your graduates receive?

We train students for research and teaching careers. Most graduates have secured positions at U.S. or international universities. A small number of students have chosen to pursue careers in consulting or industry. Click here for a listing of recent doctoral placements.

I earned my undergraduate degree at MSU. Do you need those transcripts?

No. We will have access to them and any other transcripts you have sent to MSU in the past.

I attended more than one college or university for my undergraduate degree. How is my overall undergraduate GPA calculated?

All credits and quality points earned throughout your undergraduate studies are combined to determine your overall undergraduate GPA.

I will be taking the GRE close to the application deadline. What if official scores do not reach you in time?

After completing the GRE, the Verbal and Quantitative scores should be displayed on the screen. Please take a screen shot and e-mail the scores to the graduate office (marshro3@msu.edu). While we will need matching official scores on file if you are offered admission, self-reported scores will suffice for review or your application.

International Application FAQ

How can I find more information for international students?

Many questions regarding international programs at MSU can be found at http://www.oiss.isp.msu.edu/, the Office for International Students and Scholars


The Graduate School also has information on applying to Graduate School.

If I have a degree from a U.S. university, am I required to take the TOEFL test?

No. A degree from a U.S. school will exempt you from the TOEFL requirement.

Do you accept the IELTS language test for admission to the Department of Sociology?

Yes. A TOEFL or IELTS is accepted.

What if my TOEFL scores are below the the required score of 80 or if any of the individual scores are below the requirement? Can I be admitted into the program?

No. Not typically and not without special conditions. Click here for English Language Proficiency requirements.

If admitted, will I be required to take an English test when I arrive at MSU?

Yes. This is standard university procedure.