The Department of Sociology at Texas A&M provides graduate
coursework and training leading to the Master of Science (MS)
degree in Sociology and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree
from Texas A&M University.
This page provides information about the program and the process
for applying for admission to graduate study in Sociology at Texas A&M.
To view and/or download and print a printable brochure describing the Sociology
Graduate program at Texas A&M University, click on one of the following links.
Graduate Catalog (280-page PDF file)
Sociology Graduate Program Flyer (PDF-version)
For general information about the Department's Graduate Program,
click on the "Graduate" button on the main menu (above) or click on the following link.
Graduate Program Page
Program Mission and Orientation
The mission of the Sociology graduate program at Texas A&M - College
Station is to train future generations of sociology faculty and
researchers. Accordingly, the program is geared to providing advanced
training in theory and methods for students interested in
careers in teaching and research that require the Doctor of Philosophy
(PhD) degree. Students may earn a Masters of Science (MS) degree,
but the program is geared to doctoral students and all of our graduate
courses are oriented to students who are working toward the PhD.
Graduate Degrees Offered
Our department offers two graduate degrees; the Master of Science (MS) in
Sociology and the Doctor of Philosphy (PhD) in Sociology. Students are
reviewed for admission into the program based on their projected capability
for completing the PhD.
Students who enter the program with a bachelors (BA or BS) degree earn
the MS degree on the way to the PhD degree. Thus, they are initially
accepted into MS status and are formally admitted into PhD status when
they complete the MS portion of the program. In most cases, this is
a routine reclassification.
Students who have already earned a graduate degree elsewhere usually
are accepted directly into PhD status.
Graduate Degree Requirements
The MS degree requirements include an earned bachelor's degree (or
equivalent), 34 hours of course credit (of which 8 hours is independent
research conducted under the supervision of a member of the graduate
faculty), and completion of a master's thesis research project.
(Alternatively, there is a non-thesis option that involves additional
coursework and substitutes seminar hours in place of research hours.)
The MS degree is typically completed in two years or less.
For further details regarding requirements for the MS degree,
use the following link.
MS Degree Requirements - Further Details
The PhD degree requirements include an earned master's degree (or
equivalent), 64 hours of course credit (of which, 18-32 hours can be
independent research conducted under the supervision of a member of
the graduate faculty), passing exams in two areas of specialization,
and completion of a doctoral dissertation research project.
The degree can be completed in less than three years.
Typically, however, students complete the work in 3-4 years.
For further details regarding requirements for the PhD degree,
use the following link.
PhD Degree Requirements - Further Details
Is Our Program Right for You?
Graduate programs vary widely in their mission and focus. No one program
is right for all students. Consider the following points as you try to
decide if our program is right for your needs and goals.
Full-Time. Our program is geared to "full-time" students. The PhD
degree takes years to complete under ordinary circumstances. It is very
difficult for part-time students to complete the degree in a reasonable
time frame. Part-time students often prefer courses to be offered in the
evenings or on weekends. Our courses are typically scheduled between
9am and 5pm on weekdays. Part-time students cannot receive department
funding (e.g., positions as teaching assistants or lecturers).
Residential. Our doctoral program emphasizes close association
with faculty and regular participation in
a wide range of activities that take place outside of the classroom
on an on-going basis (e.g., research mentoring, colloquia, committee
meetings, advising, etc.). Department funding typically carries
obligations to be on campus on a daily basis. And doctoral students
are expected to participate in
and contribute to the intellectual life of the department. For these
reasons and others, it is very difficult to complete the PhD degree and
benefit fully from what our program offers if one does not live in the
local area or within easy commuting distance.
On-Site. A key ingredient in our program is the face-to-face
interaction that takes place between students and faculty and between
students and other students both in seminar settings and in the daily
life of the department. Consequently, we do not offer "distance learning"
or "off-site" options for completing the MS or PhD degrees.
Fall Admission. Our program is geared to Fall semester admissions.
Our seminar rotations are scheduled with this in mind. Similarly, our
admissions review process and our advising program are all structured
on the assumption that student applications will be reviewed in the
early spring and students will enter the graduate program in the
Fall. Finally, we strongly prefer Fall admission as a means of fostering
a "cohort" experience wherein members of each new student cohort go
through similar experiences together and become supportive colleagues
to each other during their time in graduate school (and hopefully
beyond). For these reasons and others not listed, we discourage entry
during the Spring and Summer semesters. We consider requests to enter
"off schedule" on a case-by-case basis but grant them only when there
is a compelling reason.
Academic (Rather than Applied) Focus. Our program has an "academic" focus. It
emphasizes advanced theoretical and methodological training aimed at
preparing students to conduct independent research and scholarship.
Students who are seeking a masters degree with an applied focus will
likely be better served by other graduate programs that are explicitly
geared to that goal.
We welcome applications from students who are not US citizens and
typically accept a small number of international students into our
program each year.
We note, however, that we are rarely able to provide funding
to international students. Thus, given the higher tuition charged to
international students and the restrictions on off-campus employment,
we must stress that, unless we specifical inform them otherwise (in
writing), international applicants should assume that they will not
receive funding from the department and thus must have a sound plan
for funding their graduate studies. This plan should include not only
the first year of study but also the full span of their time in the
program. International students face many challenges. When problems
associated with funding are added to this, it can be difficult to
succeed in graduate study.
It is especially important for international applicants to complete
their applications as early as possible. The review of foreign
credentials takes longer and considerable time is needed to work out
visas and other arrangements. In addition to the standard application
requirements, international applicants must submit TOEFL test scores
(or meet alternative English language requirements as appropriate).
Time to Completion
Time required to complete a degree depends on many variables. Students
who enter with a BA or BS can easily complete both the MS degree and
the PhD degrees within 4-5 years if they identify their specialty interests
early on in their program of study. About a third of students finish on
that schedule. Another third take an additional year to finish. For the
remaining third, time to completition varies considerably.
The MS degree normally takes 2 years to complete and can be finished
in just three semesters without ever taking more than three seminars
in any semester.
Further Discussion of Time to Complete Degree Requirements
Most students in the program receive funding support from a variety of
sources over the course of their graduate training. Funding sources
include include Department-assigned assistantships, lecturing positions
(for advanced students), faculty-assigned research assistantships,
assistantships with other departments on campus, and many other
New Students. A small number (4-5) of department-assigned
funding slots are reserved for
incoming students. These are awarded based on a committee review that
begins in February. Entry cohorts are about 12-15 new students each Fall.
This means that about 1 in 3 new students enter with department-assigned
funding. Many of the other new students find financial support from one
of the many other sources once they are enrolled and on campus and in
position to respond to seek out available opportunities.
Acceptance and Department-Assigned Funding. Unlike many
departments, we do not require that new students be awarded
department-assigned funding as a condition for being accepted
into our program. As a result, we are able to offer the opportunity
of graduate training to more deserving students; not just the small
number we can support with department-assigned positions.
Many students welcome the opportunity to be accepted into the program
on this basis. However, it is crucial for these students to recognize
that they must assume primary responsibility for identifying and obtaining
alternate sources of financial suport. While opportunities for support
definitely exist on campus and in the local community, it often takes
considerable time and effort to find one. The potential stress can
jeopardize chances for succeeding in the program. In view of this,
students who do not receive department funding may be asked, as part
of their review for acceptance into the program, to show that they have
a realistic plan for providing for financial support in their first year.
Continuing Students. Continuing students can apply for
that are awarded annually on the basis of committee review. In
addition, they may seek other funded positions which offer opportunities
for research and teaching experience. While there is no centralized
review process for these other positions, there are many more of these
positions than there are department-assigned assistantships. Thus,
about two-thirds of our continuing students are supported through
Applying for Admission: Overview
The application and review process for admission to graduate study in
Sociology can be involved so it is important to begin as early
as possible. It is best to start the application process early in the Fall
semester to be sure that all application materials are received before December 15.
Candidates completing applications after December 15 may be considered for
admission. But chances for funding are significantly diminished because most
positions will already be awarded. It is also possible that the admissions
decision itself will be delayed because late applications are
be reviewed on an "ad hoc" basis.
Steps in the Application Process
The review for admission into graduate study in Sociology at Texas
A&M involves three stages:
(1) The applicant submits application materials. This includes submitting the
formal application to the TAMU Office of Graduate Admissions (OGA) along with
relevant materials (e.g., transcripts and GRE scores). It also incluces
submitting additional materials to the Sociology Department (e.g., statement of
purpose, letters of reference, writing sample).
(2) The TAMU OGA reviews the basic application and, when it is complete, forwards
the application file to the Sociology Department for department review.
(3) Finally, the Sociology Department's Graduate Admissions Committee reviews
the application and makes decisions regarding acceptance and funding support.
Application to OGA. The formal application begins by completing the On-line Application through Apply Texas. The application can be accessed online via the web (see the link below).
Official Online Application - Apply Texas
Form for Letters of Recommendation
List of Materials Sent to OGA.
Offical Application (online or hard copy).
Offical Copies of All College Transcripts.
Official GRE Scores.
Official TOEFL Scores (International Studetns).
Application to Department of Sociology. You also need to send application
materials to the Sociology Department. This is a separate process. If you send
materials used in the Department review to the Office of Graduate Admissions, it
can seriously delay the review of your application.
List of Materials Sent to Sociology Department.
Letter of Intent or Interest.
Three Letters of Reference.
Approximate Time Line
There is no hard and fast time line for admissions review. But the
following approximate time table should help you with your planning.
Oct - Review application process requirements.
Oct - Take GRE.
Nov - Identify Potential References.
Dec - Submit application to Office of Graduate Admissions.
Dec - Submit Letter of Intent/Information Sheet to Sociology Department.
Jan - Submit final materials to Office of Graduate Admissions.
Jan - Submit final materials to Sociology Department.
Feb - Sociology Dept review for funding consideration begins.
Admission Review Criteria
Applications are reviewed in two stages, first by the TAMU Office of Graduate
Admissions (OGA) and then by the Sociology Department's Graduate Admissions
The review by the Office of Graduate Admissions focuses on transcripts,
grades, earned degrees, GRE scores, language proficiency (for
international applications), fees, and related matters. This portion
of the application materials must be complete and "in order" before
they will transmit the application to the department for our review.
For this reason, it is very important to make sure that official transcripts,
GRE scores, and such are in order as soon as possible. If, for example,
a transcript is delayed, it will delay the review of your application.
The review by the Sociology Department's Graduate Admissions Committee
focuses on what your application file indicates about your prospects
for success in work toward the PhD degree in Sociology. (Note that
even if you are seeking only the MS degree, the department review is
based on your prospects for the PhD degree.) The committee decisions
are geared toward admitting the strongest possible entry cohorts of
10-15 students each year.
The committee members consider all of the materials in your file and
they consider these materials as a whole. No single indicator is
determinant. Ideally, you would like all of the materials in your
file to be as strong as possible. But for most candidates, some materials
are stronger than others. Committee members recognize this fact and
take this into account in their judgements.
Overall the committe is looking for evidence of ability to perform
well in advanced theoretical and methodological training. It also is
looking for evidence of a good match between the student's goals and
interests and the mission of our program and our faculty's areas of
strength. Finally, the committee is looking for evidence that you
have a passion for intellectual challenge and a clear sense of
how you would benefit from graduate training.
Applicants often wonder if there are certain "magic" numbers for grade
point averages and GRE scores. There are none. Most of the students
who are admitted into our program have "A" or high "B" averages in
undergraduate coursework and score well above the average on the
GRE exam. However, these are only patterns; there are no certain
outcomes based on these indicators alone. In some cases, students
with a below average GRE score or a lesser GPA are accepted into the
program because they have other compelling positive indicators (e.g.,
experience or specific accomplishments). In other cases, students with
strong GRE's and GPA's are not always accepted; for example, their goals
or areas of interest may not be a good match with what our program has
Career Opportunities in Sociology
Career opportunities for well-trained sociologists are strong. Of
course, career options will vary depending on academic specialization
(e.g., culture, deviance, demography, social inequality, culture, etc.),
performance in the program, regional restrictions on job search, and
many, many other factors.
Historically, our graduates compete very effectively for the following
kinds of positions:
Professors in research-oriented universities.
Professors in teaching-oriented universities and colleges.
Researchers in federal, state, and local government agencies.
Researchers in industry and private consulting firms.
Researchers in non-profit agencies.
A wide range of other professional positions.
For additional information about the graduate program contact Wendy Moore,
Graduate Advisor for the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University-College Station.
Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor
Department of Sociology
Mail Stop 4351
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4351
To check on the status of application materials, contact.
Assistant to the Graduate Advisor
Department of Sociology
Mail Stop 4351
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4351
The links listed below provide access to forms and information pages
noted elsewhere in this document. They are repeated here for convenient
Office of Graduate Admissions Forms & Information Pages
Office of Graduate Admissions - Information Page
Office of Graduate Admissions - Online Application Web Page
Form for Letters Of Recommmendation
Graduate Catalog (280-page PDF file)