Applications for admission to the Sociology PhD program in Fall 2024 are now open and available at the following link:
The application deadline is December 1, 2023, at 11:59PM Central US Time. All application materials are submitted through the online application portal, and must be received by the December 1st deadline. Information about required application materials can be found below.
Statement on Graduate Admissions and Diversity
The Northwestern Sociology Department Faculty considers the 2023 U.S. Supreme Court decision ending affirmative action in higher education admissions to be antithetical to our values as expressed in our Statements of Solidarity. We remain steadfastly committed to recruiting and admitting a diverse graduate student body and will work to ensure that outcome while following university policies and the law. We remain equally committed to promoting the sociological study of race and ethnicity, racism, and racialization as core aspects of our society (reflected in our requiring all graduate students to take a course on the Sociology of Race and Racism).
Northwestern asks applicants about their race and ethnicity for reporting purposes, but those fields are masked when applications are passed to admissions committees. We encourage all applicants to use their Personal Statements to identify and comment on all aspects of their background and experiences that position them to contribute to a diverse intellectual community. We also encourage applicants to find space in either the Personal Statement or the Academic Statement to reflect on how their background and experiences have positioned them to think sociologically about the world. The admissions committee will review these statements closely, along with other application materials, as part of our holistic review and selection process.
Detailed information on Application Materials
Please note that the application deadline is now December 1st, which is earlier than in previous admissions cycles. All application materials are submitted through the online application portal, and must be received by the December 1st deadline. Any materials submitted after the deadline may not be reviewed by the admissions committee.
GRE Policy: We do not require or accept GRE scores as part of the application of admission to our PhD program. Applicants will not have the option to submit GRE scores as part of their applications.
Required Application Materials:
- Application Fee (application fees are paid online via credit card only)
- Academic Statement (1000 words maximum)
- What are your academic interests, and why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in this specific program? How has your academic and professional background prepared you for graduate study? How will our program help you achieve your intellectual and professional goals? Please make sure to address any scholarly questions you wish to explore in the program, and list any specific faculty members in the program whose research interests align with your own.
- Personal Statement (500 words maximum)
- The Graduate School values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives, understanding them as essential ingredients for true academic excellence. As a Northwestern graduate student, how could you contribute to an intellectual community that prioritizes equity, inclusion, belonging, and cultural humility? Your answer may draw upon past or present experiences, whether in academic work, extracurricular or community activities, or everyday life.
- Copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions are required.
- This includes partial post-secondary education where a degree was not completed.
- An exception can be made if the class, and its grade, appear on another school’s transcript that is being uploaded to your application.
- Please do not send official transcripts to the Sociology Department, an 'unofficial' copy of your transcript is sufficient for the application process.
- Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
- Applicants may submit a maximum of three (3) letters of recommendation.
- Applicants will enter contact information for recommenders, recommenders will be sent a link that is used to upload their letter of recommendation.
- If you intend to use Interfolio to submit letters of recommendation, please check with Interfolio as to how this process is managed (our department cannot assist with this).
- Letters must be received by December 1st deadline.
- One (1) Writing Sample
- Should be a maximum of 30 pages in length, including all appendices.
- Social scientific papers are preferred, but not required.
- Applicant must be the sole-author of the writing sample.
- Please do not submit multiple writing samples, even if their combined page total is less than the 30 page limit.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for all international applicants who are not native English speakers (exceptions noted below). Minimum score is 100 on the internet-based test (iBT). Official scores must be taken no more than two (2) years before the intended quarter of entry and must come directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). While TOEFL is the preferred test, we do accept IELTS scores and require a minimum overall score of 7.0. Official IELTS scores must be no more than two (2) years before the intended quarter of entry and must come from IELTS directly.
- We strongly recommend that you include a copy of your unofficial score report with your online application. Applications are not marked complete until an official score has arrived from ETS/IELTS to the Graduate School. All material must be received by the December 1st deadline to avoid delays with your application.
- The Graduate School (TGS) will waive the English language testing requirement for applicants who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution where English is the language of instruction. These applicants do not need to submit TOEFL scores in their application.
- Naturalized US citizens and permanent US residents are also not required to submit language testing scores.
Optional Application Materials
Applicants may choose to submit the following optional statements as part of their application:
- Cluster Statement
- Northwestern offers the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative, a program designed to help graduate students foster connections with students and faculty in other programs with whom they might have natural intellectual affinities. To be considered for nomination to a cluster, applicants should select the cluster they wish to be considered for and then submit a cluster statement that explains their interest.
- Statement should be uploaded in the Cluster Statement section of the application.
- Quantitative Fellowship Statement*
- The Quantitative Fellowship is an internal department fellowship that supports incoming graduate students who want to undertake more advanced quantitative training. To be considered for this fellowship, applicants should submit a paragraph or two describing their skills and interest in undertaking more advanced quantitative training.
- Please include the title "Quantitative Fellowship Statement" at the top of the page.
- Statement should be uploaded in the Supplemental Document section of the application.
* Note on Supplemental Documents: No documents other than the Quantitative Fellowship statement should be uploaded in the Supplemental Document section. All other types of documents uploaded here will be removed from applications prior to review.