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Prospective Students


Note: GRE Requirements are Supsended for Fall 2022 Admission

We offer only the Ph.D. degree and do not have a master's degree program. Candidates can apply to the Ph.D. Program in Sociology with a B.A. degree or with a master's degree. We do not give preference to those with MA degrees. The program admits applicants only in the fall, with a December 15 application deadline. You can apply online here and read more about the application process and deadlines here.

Applicants must submit GRE scores for the verbal, math, and analytical tests. The tests must have been taken within the past five years. Applicants who have not studied and earned a degree in an English-speaking country must also submit TOEFL scores.

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded into the online application from each college or university attended even if you did not complete a degree or did not enroll in courses in your current field. If an applicant is offered admissions and decides to attend the Graduate Center, the applicant will then be required to provide unopened, official hard copies of all transcripts which will be compared to the unofficial uploads.

In addition, they must submit a personal statement describing their reasons for wanting to enter the Ph.D. Program in Sociology and at least two letters of recommendation. The sociology program also requires applicants to submit a writing sample (30 page maximum). This can be a master's thesis, a term paper, or any other form of written work that conveys the applicant's quality of mind and ability to do academic work.

The Admissions Committee of the Sociology Program selects candidates who show intellectual curiosity, a serious interest in research, and academic ability as demonstrated in their prior record, GRE scores, and writing sample. The Committee considers all parts of a candidate's file in making decisions. There is no cutoff GRE score although a candidate with very low scores is unlikely to be admitted. Admission is quite competitive and we do not have room for all the good candidates who apply, but every application is given very serious attention and is read and discussed by members of the Admissions Committee.

 Most of our applicants look forward to living in New York, seeing the city's vibrant cultural life as worth the challenge of living here.

Many students already have master's degrees, but we are happy to have students just starting graduate work. Our student body is highly diverse in terms of background, race/ethnicity, and age.

We recommend that applicants visit the sociology program. You are welcome to sit in on classes, meet professors, and talk with our students about what the program is really like. You are also welcome to come to one of our colloquium presentations. Once a month, on Friday afternoons, from 3 to 5, we have outside speakers, with the talks followed by a reception in our 6th floor lounge. This is a very good way to meet people informally and discuss common interests.

If you want to make an appointment with the program's Executive Officer, Lynn Chancer please email We will arrange appointments with other professors you would like to meet.

Transfer Credits

If students have prior graduate work, they can transfer some credits if the work is comparable to what we offer in our program. Program rules allow the transfer of a maximum of 21 credits (out of 60 required for a Ph.D.). Credits can only be transferred for graduate-level courses where students received letter grades of B or better. In addition, the courses must be in sociology or a closely related field.

Financial Aid

After their first year, most of our students find jobs teaching or doing research. We do not advise first-year students to begin teaching, as they first need to establish themselves well in the program. Starting in their second year, however, many students find jobs teaching at the CUNY colleges (such as Hunter, Queens, City College, Brooklyn, Lehman, or LaGuardia). When teaching at CUNY colleges, some students are hired on a course-by-course basis as adjuncts. Others receive Graduate Teaching Fellowships, which guarantee them three years of teaching in one department. Students can also get teaching jobs at the many private colleges in the area. In recent years, all students who have wanted teaching jobs have found them.

There are also many opportunities for students to work as research assistants. This is especially true if they have statistical skills, although many students with skills in ethnographic research are also hired. They work for CUNY's institutional research offices and at the Graduate Center's research centers, such as the Center for Urban Research. They also work for individual professors with research grants. These research jobs provide excellent learning opportunities and often yield dissertation topics.

Most of our students engage in at least part-time work, except for those who receive Magnet or Gilleece awards. In most cases, the work they do contributes to their academic development, as they either teach or do research. We organize our class schedule to enable students to work while attending classes, with most of our classes offered in the late afternoon or early evening.

For additional information see the Financial Aid and Fellowships and Grants pages.

Course Enrollment for Non-Matriculated Students

The Graduate Center allows non-students (called non-matriculated students) to take a total of two courses at the Grad Center. You are welcome to take a sociology course if one interests you. (However, non-matriculated students are not able to take our required courses.) You can check our course offerings on this web site. Please contact the Registrar Office first to do the necessary paperwork and check deadlines to apply.  Also, be aware that taking courses on a non-matriculated basis does not facilitate entry into the Ph.D. Program in Sociology. If you are later admitted, however, the courses you have taken will count toward the 60 that you need for the degree.