Frequently Asked Questions from Prospective Students

1: I see you require a writing sample. Can you clarify as to what qualifies as a writing sample? Is there a page limit?

A: The writing sample should be no more than 30 pages. You may submit your undergraduate senior thesis, a master's thesis, or other writing you have done for school that you feel demonstrates your writing skills.

2: Do you offer a terminal master’s degree?

A: We do not offer a stand-alone master's degree in Sociology. PhD students may complete an MA along the way while enrolled in the PhD program, but we do not offer a terminal master's degree and therefore do not consider students whose primary goal is to earn an MA.

3: I would like to be considered for admission to the program beginning in Spring semester.

A: Please note that we no longer offer admission for the spring semesters, so admission to the program for the spring semester is not an option.

4: I am interested in getting my PhD in Sociology and was wondering if I would be able to join the program at the University of Maryland If I have an MS in Legal Studies?

A: We consider any student who has completed at least a bachelor's degree, regardless of the field in which the degree was completed.

5: How long does it it take to complete the degree? 

A: Students enrolled in the program full time should complete the degree within 5 years.

6: Do I have to take more classes because of my background in Journalism? Or the PhD will be as it is?

A: This is a “no” with a small caveat: While you are not required to have taken any classes prior to your admission to the program, we do recommend that students entering the program have a background in 1) Math through college algebra; 2) Elementary statistics; 3) Sociological theory; and 4) Sociological research methods. So, although you are not technically required to have these courses, they are highly recommended so that you are not too far behind the rest of the entering class when you begin the program.

7. If I submit my GRE will it strengthen my application?

The GRE is NOT required to apply to our program and we will not take the scores into consideration/holistic review. 



7: Is the program available to do on an extended, part-time basis to earn the PhD?

A: It is very unusual for us to have students who are able to successfully complete the program part-time. There are several limitations that our students encounter when trying to do so, and we would only admit a student to attend the program part-time if we were sure that their personal circumstances would still permit them to progress through the program without hardship.

8: If I already have a master's degree in sociology from another institution, can I transfer that in and reduce the program length for the PhD in sociology at UMCP?

A: While credits cannot be transferred or included when you are admitted to our program, the department may elect to waive you from one or more of our required courses based on the graduate coursework that you have completed to date. If you are accepted into our program, you may submit the syllabi of the courses that you have taken and we will review them to see whether the content of the course is sufficient to waive you from any of our required courses. However, due to the intensive nature of the review, we only review these syllabi in the summer prior to your matriculation. So, if you are considering our program, you must first be admitted to the program and declare your intent to enroll before we can review your syllabi.

9: Is there financial support for new PhD students?

A: Yes, we offer Graduate Assistantships (GAs) to students we admit to the program. GAships are renewable pending good progress in the program.

Additionally, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) welcomes applicants to submit an essay for the Fellowships in Support of Diversity and Inclusion. BSOS values diversity and inclusion and believes science and science teams benefit from diverse groups of faculty and trainees who bring diverse interests, perspectives, interpretations of, and solutions to human problems. Therefore, BSOS offers recruitment fellowships designed to enhance the diversity of our doctoral student population.  Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. Students who wish to be considered for these recruitment fellowships must submit diversity and inclusion essays with their application material. For more information on the Fellowships to Support Diversity and Inclusion click here

10: When or at what time are the classes usually given?

A: Our seminars are usually given in the early afternoon and evening (the earliest being at about 2pm and the latest being a 6:30pm start time).



11: I have less than a 3.0 GPA. Is there any chance I can still be admitted to the program even though I don’t meet your requirements?

A: The 3.0 GPA requirement is one that we can elect to waive for someone who we believe is a strong candidate for admission. However, with that being said, you should also know that our program is very competitive; we typically receive over 100 applications for 6-8 spots in our incoming class.

12: What makes a successful application, and do you have any guidance on the statement of purpose?

A: In terms of successful applications, while our application process is generally a holistic one (meaning we consider all things you submit equally), overall we are looking for students who seem like they would be a good "fit" at Maryland. Therefore, we would highly encourage you to include in your personal statement a at least a paragraph about your research interests and how they match up with what Maryland has to offer, tell us the names of professors that you would be interested in working with, and tell us what specialty areas you would be interested in pursuing. This will help us better understand whether Maryland would be a good place for you.

13: What is the lowest required TOEFL score for the doctoral program?

A: The PhD program only considers applicants who have met the requirements for unconditional admission. The Graduate School has set the minimum TOEFL score for unconditional admission at 100.  The minimum IELTS score for unconditional admission is 7. Complete TOEFL and IELTS requirements are detailed here:



14: Where can I send my transcripts and other mailed materials?

A: Please mail all materials to the following address:

Enrollment Services Operations
Attn: Graduate Admissions
0130 Mitchell Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

15: I am finishing my degree this semester and therefore cannot provide you with a complete transcript of my academic record. What should I do?

A: Please submit a transcript that reflects all possible academic work to date and we will review it as is. If you are admitted to the program, we will simply ask that you provide a final transcript within a certain timeframe after your matriculation.

16: I have a transcript from my institution that is encrypted. What should I do? Should I still upload it to the application? 

A: No, do not upload an encrypted transcript to the application, as it will upload as a blank document and the program will not be able to use it for its evaluation. Please print the document, scan it, then upload a scanned version.

17: I checked with DHL, and they confirmed that the package with my transcripts have been received at the enrollment services office at UMD, College Park. Can you confirm their receipt?

A: Due to the large volume of mail that the Enrollment Services office receives in December and January, there is a small processing delay that occurs between the time that materials are received and the time they are reflected as received on your online application. The volume of mail also makes it difficult for us to track down materials that are in process. This delay is normal and anticipated, and students are given a grace period of about two to three weeks after the deadline to account for the mail delays. Please continue to monitor your online status via the ASF. If you do not see your transcript showing as received before the end of January, please feel free to contact me and I will make an inquiry to the Enrollment Services Office on your behalf as to the whereabouts of your transcripts.

Last modified
11/15/2023 - 3:09 pm