Application Requirements & Instructions

Your application to the graduate program contains many different parts. Below is the list of requirements to complete your application online. It is your responsibility to ensure your application is complete and correctly submitted with all required supplemental documents.

It is best to begin the application process about one year before you plan to start graduate school. The departmental deadline for completed applications is December 15. Submit your application early to allow time to correct any errors discovered by you, the Graduate School, or the sociology department prior to the application deadline.

The Department of Sociology only offers a fall start. If you do not select a fall start date in the application system, your application will not be received or reviewed.

The application fee for U.S. citizens/Permanent residents is $75.00. The fee for international students is $95.00.

Please submit your documents in the following order:

Personal Statement

Why do you want to study sociology at the graduate level? Provide a personal statement of your professional objectives that clearly indicates your goals and commitment to sociological training. Your personal statement should be roughly 2 pages, Times New Roman, and single spaced.

Your personal statement is evaluated for its written quality as well as for its clarity of your professional goals. Please use the questions below to craft your personal statement. You do not have to answer every question but do choose the questions that will give us the best sense of you as a sociologist.

  • Why have you chosen to apply to the University of Minnesota? What do you want to accomplish by receiving a PhD in sociology?
  • Why is sociology attractive to you as an intellectual discipline? How did you become interested in the field? What does sociology offer you that related disciplines do not?
  • How do your interests match with the interests of department faculty? (Identify specific faculty with whom you would like to work.)
  • Specifically, what are your core areas of research/teaching interest within the field? (Your interests may change and the members of the committee know this is a common occurrence.)
  • What are some of your most sophisticated sociological thoughts? What is your grasp of sociological theory? (Provide us with a sense of your sociological imagination.)
  • Do you have deficiencies in your standardized test scores, statistics, and/or sociological theory preparation? If so, please explain these issues to contextualize the weaknesses in your application and explain how your strengths will allow you to ultimately succeed in the program.
  • What kinds of personal, professional, and/or educational experiences have you had to prepare you to succeed in a PhD program in Sociology? (Identify specific classes, jobs, or other experiences here that will help show your previous work in sociology or related fields.)

Diversity Statement

Our department is committed to the diversity of our graduate program. You are encouraged (but not required) to also submit a diversity statement. The diversity statement should discuss how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity. You may also mention hardships or obstacles that you have overcome to complete your undergraduate or MA education (e.g. coming from a low-income background or being a first-generation college student).

If applicable, you may also indicate in the statement your interest in being considered for the Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) fellowship. Please see the heading “Fellowships” below for more information.

Upload your statement and label the document "Diversity Statement."


The Diversity of Views and Experiences Fellowship (DOVE) is to assist graduate programs in their efforts to increase, recruit and sustain diversity in the graduate student population at the University of Minnesota. This diversity is promoted through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences. If you meet the criteria of the DOVE Fellowship and would like to be considered for nomination, please make sure to submit the optional diversity statement in the application system.   Applicants must be nominated by the department to be considered for fellowship.

The DOVE fellowship includes one academic year of support: a stipend of $25,000 (before taxes), full tuition remission up to 14 credits, subsidized health insurance, and dental care for the academic year and the summer following the first year in the graduate program. Fellows are responsible for all other fees or charges and tuition beyond 14 credits. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents entering a research-based graduate program for the first time. The fellowship also includes four summers of support at $4000 and support to attend the Summer Research Institute.

The ICGC (Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change) Scholar Fellowship supports outstanding students who are clearly committed to the interdisciplinary study of the global south in the context of global change. They encourage departmental nomination of exceptionally capable students, especially but not only from the global south and U.S. communities of color.  Applicants must be nominated by their departments to be considered for fellowship. If prospective students wish to be considered for a fellowship, they may request that their admitting department/program nominates them for the ICGC fellowship. Prospective fellows may make this request by following the process here. The deadline to request consideration is December 15, 2022. Please include, as part of your application, a one page statement indicating how your research interests relate to the global south.

The Edelstein Fellows Program, supported by the American Mosaic Project in the Department of Sociology, is oriented toward the direct support of graduate students from diverse, under-represented backgrounds who work in the core areas of race, religion, anti-Semitism, and diversity. The fellowship support is typically structured as one-semester or one-year support during the student’s first or second year. To be considered, please state your interest in your application material, provide a diversity statement and (in either the diversity statement or the personal statement) outline how your scholarly interests align with the project description.

Writing Sample

Your writing sample gives the admissions committee insight into your intellectual curiosity and your analytic and creative abilities. An empirically-based/research-oriented paper is preferred, and the content should deal with an intellectual problem related to the social sciences. The admissions committee considers your level of abstraction, creativity, organization, sociological sophistication, and writing ability. You may only submit one writing sample.

Writing sample requirements

  • Sole-authored academic paper, submitted in English
  • Formatting: double-spaced, 11- or 12-point font, one-inch margins
  • There are no length requirements, though we recommend papers be between 15 and 75 pages in length

Letters of Recommendation

Please submit three letters of recommendation with your application. It is preferred that your recommenders have earned a PhD or a similar terminal degree and they should confirm your academic work and professional experiences. Send an email to your recommenders through the application system. The application system will provide them with directions on how to submit their recommendations electronically.

The Department of Sociology will accept recommendation letters after the December 15 deadline. You will not be penalized for the late arrival; however, if the letter is submitted too long after the deadline, it might not be considered.

Resume or CV

A short resume or CV of 1-3 pages.


Upload your unofficial transcripts from each college or university that you have attended. Once you are admitted, the Graduate School requires official transcripts to be submitted and approved before you are eligible to enroll.

GRE Scores

​For the Fall 2024 admission cycle, GRE scores will be optional. We review applications holistically; please put together the applications packet that best highlights your own unique skills and strengths. If you choose to submit GRE scores, please have results sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities using the institutional code 6874 and department code of 2102. Official GRE scores must be sent by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to The Graduate School and received by the December 15 deadline. The Department of Sociology asks that you self-report your unofficial score reports.

TOEFL Scores

All non-native English speakers are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) official scores with their application materials.

The Department of Sociology does not allow exemptions for students who have studied at an English-speaking institution in the US, attended an international school where English was the language of instruction, or completed credits in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the US or another English-speaking country.

Your official TOEFL scores must be sent directly from ETS to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, using the institutional code 6874. Please note that test scores may not be available for 4-6 weeks after you take the test. All English language test scores are valid for two years from the date the test was taken. The Department of Sociology asks that you self-report your unofficial scores. You may upload one electronic file that contains both your GRE and TOEFL score reports.

Minimum scores for admission eligibility:
  • 587 or above on the paper-based TOEFL
  • 95 or above on the Internet-based TOEFL
    • 27 for the speaking section
    • 24 for the writing section
    • 22 for the listening section
    • 22 for the reading section

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Page

The Review Process

Your application is reviewed by sociology’s graduate admissions committee, which generally consists of eight faculty members. The admissions committee evaluates applications in their entirety, so no one part of an application will decide an applicant's fate.

Notification of Admission

The Director of Graduate Studies will email admitted applicants in late January. The admittance email is followed by a formal offer letter and an invitation to a two-day campus visit event. Our graduate program associate will contact admitted students directly to coordinate a formal campus visit and provide them with necessary information. Letters regarding student-funding packages are sent in early February. The deadline for admitted students to notify the sociology department of their acceptance or decline is April 15.