Application Procedures


Thank you for your interest in the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at the University of Michigan. Though a background in sociology is not required to apply, work in the social sciences or history is helpful preparation for the program. In addition, evidence of the ability to do high-level graduate work is necessary for a competitive application.

It may be helpful to know that applicants who have been admitted have undergraduate grade point averages in social sciences courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 system, with the mean around 3.5. In recent years, the average verbal and quantitative Graduate Record Examination percentile scores have been above the 80th percentile, although there is considerable variation around this value.

Application Period - The application is made available on September 1st, and the deadline is December 15th each year. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received by this date. Applicants are responsible for making sure that their application materials arrive on time and that their application is complete.

Access the UM Graduate Application

Contact the UM Sociology Graduate Program for More Information

Application Materials Checklist

Applicants must submit the following to be considered for admission to graduate study at the University of Michigan's Sociology Department:

University of Michigan web-based Graduate Application with fee

One set of official transcripts sent to the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School. In addition, upload one set of transcripts when you complete the online application.  Please send hard-copy, official transcripts to:

  • Graduate Admissions
    Rackham Graduate School
    915 East Washington
    Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1070 

    Academic Statement of Purpose - The Statement of Purpose is the single most important item in your application. The purpose of this essay is to give the faculty a clear idea of a) why you want to pursue a career in sociology; b) what questions or problems interest you; c) how you want to address these questions; d) your subplan interest(s), if applicable (see section below); and e) why you want to pursue your graduate degree at the University of Michigan.   This statement should be about 2 pages long.

    Personal Statement - Tell us about yourself: How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.  Please do not repeat your Academic Statement of Purpose.

    A sample of written work (e.g., a senior thesis or term paper, 10-20 pages, double-spaced) providing evidence of creative and critical thinking, quality of writing, and potential independent research. Upload with your application as ‘additional information’.

    Three letters of recommendation which evaluate the applicant’s past academic performance and potential for graduate study. Online submission is preferred, though hard copies can be sent directly to the Sociology Department to:

    Sociology Graduate Admissions
    3001 LSA Building
    Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382

    Graduate Record Examination scores from the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing tests. Must be taken within the last 5 years. University of Michigan Institutional Code: 1839 - Sociology Departmental Code: 2102

    International students please see additional information listed here.


Subplans are not required, but if you do know which area(s) you are interested in (please see list below), please mention this in your academic statement.

The Department offers training in most major subfields of sociology, organized around eight broad areas of concentration — Culture and Knowledge; Economic Sociology and Organizations; Gender and Sexuality; Health and Healthcare; Power, History and Social Change; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Social Demography; and Social Psychology. Students may also work with faculty to develop individualized areas of specialization.