University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Sociology



Graduate Application and Admissions

The department admits nine to twelve graduate students each year on the basis of:

  1. application
  2. personal statement
  3. Graduate Record Examination scores
  4. at least three letters of recommendation
  5. a writing sample
  6. transcripts of all previous academic study
  7. TOEFL scores for foreign students

Application Forms

Application forms are available at; or Grad Info Line (413) 545-5271. If you have any questions about the application process, please email us at or call our Graduate Office Manager, Beth Berry, at (413) 545-4057. The application deadline is January 15th.

It takes us five to six weeks to process applications, so the earliest you should expect to hear from us is the end of February.

Personal Statement

In your statement, discuss why you want to do graduate work in sociology, your interests and experiences in the field, any special skills or experiences that may relate to an assistantship, and your career plans. Many students do not know exactly what they intend to study; so do not feel you must specify particular areas within sociology. If you feel there are aspects of your record that do not reflect your potential, such as your GRE scores, please tell us about it. We accept students without a Bachelor's degree in sociology as long as they indicate how their current interests lead them to apply. We also accept applicants with a Master's degree in a field other than sociology.

Writing Sample

You will submit an example of your written work, such as a research paper, undergraduate honors thesis, or Master's thesis. This need not be a sociological analysis, but should represent your scholarly interests and writing ability. A foreign student's essay must be in English. Please do not send more than one writing sample.

Letters of Recommendation

We require at least three letters of recommendation but encourage you to submit more. These letters should be from people who can evaluate your potential as a scholar.

TOEFL Scores

Applicants from countries whose native language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Please see the UMass Amherst Graduate School Bulletin for additional requirements. Applications for admission are not reviewed until all credentials have been received and the fee is paid. A waiver of this fee is available only to those United States citizens who are currently enrolled as full-time undergraduate students and who have qualified for a waiver of the GRE fee through their undergraduate financial aid office.


Department of Sociology • Thompson Hall • University of Massachusetts–Amherst, MA 01003