F.A.Q.-Prospective Graduate 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 from?

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.

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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.