Prospective Students

 

Is this program only for students who hold a degree in Sociology?

No. Many students come to the Sociology Master’s and doctoral programs from diverse backgrounds such as political science, women’s studies, management, social work, psychology and communications.

 

Are students required to have a Master’s degree to be accepted into the doctoral program?

Yes. Students must have a Master’s degree from Sociology or a related field.

 

Are graduate applications accepted after the posted deadline?

Yes, on a case by case basis. If you are interested in applying to one of our graduate programs after the posted deadline, please email the current Graduate Program Director. They will determine if your application is eligible to be received late. It is important to note that if you do not contact our office prior to a late application, we cannot guarantee it will be processed. See our Considering Graduate School page for deadline information.

 

Are the programs available to part-time students?

Yes. We have many part-time students in our programs whom are able to complete their degrees in a timely manner.

 

Do I need to take the GRE?

Yes. All applicants are required to have a competitive GRE score dating within the past five years.

 

What is a “statement of purpose,” how long should it be, and what should I say?

Your statement of purpose should describe your motivations for undertaking graduate study in sociology, including both educational and personal experiences that have influenced your decision to attend graduate school. Describe your future career plans; we look very carefully at how your career plans fit within our programs. Your statement should describe your current area(s) of interest and give some indication of the types of research questions that you are interested in pursuing. You should be able to identify faculty in the department that you would potentially seek mentorship from and/or work with (although this may change once you are in the program).

Strong statements are approximately 2 pages, and often are longer than the 500 words allowed in the online application. However, when uploading a copy of your statement to the online application it will not accept anything longer than 500 words.

 

From whom should I request recommendation letters?

Letters should be requested from college professors who know your academic work well. Applicants who are not recent college graduates will have greater difficulty in identifying appropriate recommenders but professors are accustomed to being asked to write letters well after the student graduates.

 

How much credit will be given for graduate-level classes taken elsewhere?

Normally, we will accept up to 9 credit hours of work completed elsewhere. Please note that this is case by case.

 

Is funding available? How does that work?

The department offers a limited number of assistantships each year to the most qualified students. Assistantships can be either for teaching (GTA, or Graduate Teaching Assistantship) or research (GRA, or Graduate Research Assistantship). Both types include a tuition waiver and health insurance, although students are required to pay fees. UCF also offers fellowships (e.g., the Trustees) to highly qualified students. Students must be enrolled full-time to receive assistantships and most fellowships.

Departmental assistantships are awarded to those students who have the strongest record (relatively high GRE scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, and other evidence of potential for success in the program). The Graduate Committee evaluates all files and makes final decisions concerning funding. Decisions concerning university fellowships are made by the College of Graduate Studies.

Master’s students are usually awarded two years of funding, assuming they are making satisfactory progress. Doctoral students are typically awarded three years of funding, assuming they are making satisfactory progress. Funding, however, is awarded on a year-to-year basis and is dependent upon budgetary factors.

More Information

 

What are comprehensive/qualifying exams?

Qualifying/comprehensive exams are given to all doctoral students.

Qualifying/comprehensive exams are designed to test your critical thinking skills and your knowledge of sociological theories, methods and concepts. These are taken after you complete the required coursework in a given area. Thus, it is helpful to keep detailed class notes and reading notes to help in preparing for these exams. You will also be provided a study guide at the beginning of the graduate program.

Students complete one qualifying exams at the doctoral level, comprised of three areas of focus: Methods/Statistics, Theory, and Major Area of Concentration. Students will complete this exam after all required coursework in the three areas have been successfully completed.

 

What is expected of Master’s students?

The program is intended to be a 2-year program if the student is enrolled full-time.

Students are expected to take core courses during their first year, take advantage of department opportunities such as workshops or colloquia, and then focus on their thesis research or completing requirements for the non-thesis (taking additional course and completion of applied project).

Students are expected to present at least one original research paper at a professional conference before graduation.

 

What is expected of doctoral students?

The program is intended to be a 3-year program if the student is enrolled full-time. The following are the benchmarks we set for students:

  • Year 1. Students are expected to complete core courses, prepare for qualifying exams, and submit a manuscript for presentation at a professional conference. Students should also take advantage of department opportunities, such as workshops or colloquia.
  • Year 2. Students are expected to present papers or posters at conference(s), take and pass qualifying exams, get dissertation advisor and committee, and submit a manuscript for publication.
  • Year 3. Pass candidacy exam, complete dissertation, and search/obtain employment.

Part-time students are expected to reach these same benchmarks but over 4-6 years rather than 3.

 


 

Current Students

How do I pick an advisor?

When you enter the graduate program, the Graduate Director will automatically be assigned as your adviser. As you meet faculty members, take courses in the department, and learn more about faculty research, you will have a better idea with whom you want to work. Both Master’s and doctoral students should pick an advisor by their second year in the program.

 

How many hours of Directed Readings/ Research or Independent Studies can I take?

M.A. students can have no more than 6 hours of Independent Studies.

Ph.D. students can have no more than 12 hours of Independent Study hours; including any hours taken during completion of their master’s degree.

 

Can credits taken outside the Sociology department be counted in my Program of Study?

M.A. students can use no more than 3 hours in their Program of Study, with approval of the Graduate Program Director.

 

Where can I find commonly used forms?

The COS Graduate Services site has complied the most commonly used graduate forms.

View the Forms

 

What is the thesis/dissertation committee process?

Once you have chosen an advisor, she or he will help you select other members to serve on the committee. Doctoral students are required to have at least 3 departmental members and 1 outside member; Master’s students must have at least 3 members, including the chair. Please note that per University policy, faculty serving on a thesis committee cannot have any personal, financial, or relationship conflicts of interest. In some cases, faculty with a conflict of interest may serve on the committee as a non-voting member, subject to approval by the Department and the College of Graduate Studies. 

Once the committee has been constituted, you must email the names of your chosen members to socadmissions@ucf.edu. The committee must be approved before students can defend their thesis/dissertation proposal.

Master’s students may not enroll in thesis hours before their committees are approved and doctoral students may not enroll in dissertation hours until the committee is approved by the College of Sciences and College of Graduate Studies, and the dissertation proposal has been successfully defended.

If the student passes the formal defense of the thesis/dissertation, and have met all other degree requirements, the student is eligible to graduate.

 

What is the dissertation process?

The dissertation represents original research that makes a significant contribution to the discipline or society.

Although the dissertation formally begins after students have completed coursework, passed their qualifying exams, and defended their dissertation proposal, the process actually starts much earlier as students explore topics and areas of interest early in the program.

Once a topic and advisor are chosen, the student must defend the “proposal” to the dissertation committee. If approved, the student begins the intense process of collecting or obtaining data, analyzing and interpreting data, and writing the final dissertation, which is typically about 200 pages.

Upon completion and in consultation with the advisor, the student sets a “defense date.” Defenses represent a time when students present their findings and answer questions about the study. These are open to the public.

If the student passes the defense, they are recommended to the College of Graduate Studies for graduation.

 

Can I teach my own course?

We encourage all doctoral students to teach before they complete the program. In most cases, doctoral students serve as GTAs, assisting faculty members in their teaching, during their first year in the program. In years two and three, students on GTA funding teach their own courses.

Master’s students do not teach their own courses.

 

Are there any active Sociology Graduate clubs?

Yes. The program supports an active Sociology Graduate Student Association. For more information about the SGSA, please email sociology@ucf.edu.