Thank You For Your Interest!

When To Apply For Admissions And Assistantships

All application materials for fall semester admission should be received no later than January 15 of the year of entry into the program. Incomplete applications have a reduced chance of success at that time. We do not usually consider admission for spring or summer. Please note that this schedule may differ from admission practices and schedules elsewhere in the university.

Graduate Assistantship Funding

We consider all applicants for assistantships. A separate application is not necessary.

During The Application Process You Will Be Asked To:

  1. Submit a statement of your professional interests and objectives. This document is sometimes called “Statement of Purpose” in various graduate school application documents. It should make clear what areas or aspects of sociology most interest you, and how your academic experience is relevant. For Ph.D. students especially, you should explain how your professional goals and interests fit with what our program can offer. Statements should not exceed 1,000 words.
  2. Arrange for certified transcripts to be sent from each institution at which you took undergraduate and graduate course work. They should be sent directly from the institution to the following address: Graduate Admissions, 1062 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins CO 80523-1062
  3. Provide names, email addresses, and office addresses for three persons who will write recommendation letters for you. These should be persons who are in a position to evaluate your academic and professional potential. CSU will contact them and arrange for their letters to be sent directly to CSU.
  4. Have your Graduate Record Examination Scores (quantitative, verbal, and analytic writing) sent directly to CSU. The GRE institution code for CSU is 4075. Information regarding this examination may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service at GRE scores matter, but we do not have a set minimum. The scores are looked at along with other required materials as we assess each applicant.
  5. International students only: Supply evidence of proficiency in oral and written English by the TOEFL (minimum of 80) or the IELTS (6.5). Information regarding this examination is available from the Educational Testing Service at

Review this Graduate School webpage for deadlines, requirements, and more.

If you still have questions, please email Sociology's Director of Graduate Studies.

When you are ready to begin the process, visit CSU's Online Graduate Application.

Interested in Applying?

To whom should I talk about admission and your program?

Sociology's Director of Graduate Studies welcomes contact from prospective applicants and will help you determine whether our program helps fit your interests and if so, help you develop and submit the strongest application possible.

Who decides about admission?

Sociology’s Graduate Committee, which includes the Director of Graduate studies, reviews applicants’ materials, and forwards its recommendations to the Graduate School and the university’s Admissions Office.

What kind of things does the graduate committee consider in choosing applicants for admission?

The committee considers your academic background, grades, GRE scores, personal statement and reference letters. Here are some suggestions regarding each:

  • Academic Background: Other things being equal, the committee prefers applicants with a substantial background in sociology or a related social science. However, this preference is not absolute, and it possible for applicants without such a background to gain admission. (See “What if I don’t have a sociology background?” below).
  • Grades: Typical successful applicants have undergraduate GPAs in the range of 3.3 and above. We’re interested in grades in all courses, not just in Sociology. Because virtually all applicants present a good GPA in course work, that achievement alone will help but not necessarily distinguish your application.
  • GRE Scores: We do not have a fixed GRE Score cutoff for admission. Nevertheless, GRE scores do matter to us as they are more comparable across applicants than are grades or reference letters. Furthermore, most applicants will have relatively high grades and complimentary reference letters, so GRE scores are one thing that can distinguish one applicant from another, either positively or negatively. We are interested in all three GRE Scores, not just any one of them.
  • Statement of Professional Interests and Objectives: A good personal statement clearly tells us what parts of sociology most interest you which helps us understand how you think about sociology. It also gives us an idea of how your interests fit with what our program can offer. We also want to know what you would like to do professionally with a sociology degree. Of course, we fully understand that both of these things can change, but it helps us find out where your thinking is currently. Discussions of your personal biography and social values are helpful to us only if they clearly link to your academic work and your future professional interests in sociology.
  • Reference Letters: Three reference letters from former professors, research supervisors, or other persons well-qualified to comment on your academic potential are required. During the application process, you will be asked for their contact information. CSU will contact them and arrange for their letters to be sent directly to CSU. 
I don’t have a background in sociology or a related social science. Could I still be admitted?

Yes, you certainly could be. If admitted, you would need to take courses to make up the gaps in your background. Also, please understand that we usually don’t offer teaching assistantships to applicants with limited past education in sociology. One thing that can help your application in this circumstance is a personal statement in which you articulate academic interests that fall within the purview of sociology, or otherwise show that you understand something of the field you are trying to enter. Starting to take courses to fill in your background course gaps prior to admission, while not required, can certainly help your candidacy. Contact our Director of Graduate Studies.

How do you choose who will get graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs)?

Generally speaking, we presume that all students with good oral and written English competence, and who have a reasonable sociology background, will be capable to serve as GTAs. We choose GTAs primarily based on our judgment of their achievement and potential. Prior teaching experience is not a requirement, especially because most GTAs assist faculty, rather than teaching on their own. We do try to choose people who are capable, dependable, cooperative and hardworking.

I only have a bachelor’s degree, but I want to get a Ph.D. in sociology. Do I apply for the M.A. or Ph.D. program?

Although letting us know that you are interested in a Ph.D. is certainly appropriate, you would apply for the M.A. program. While you are completing the M.A. program, you would apply for the Ph.D. program. Completion of the M.A. does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program, but students who perform well in our M.A. program usually gain admission when they apply to our Ph.D. program.

I am an international student. Can you support me with a fellowship or assistantship?

International student applicants are eligible on the same basis as other students for teaching and research assistantships. Excellent English fluency is necessary to be competitive for a teaching assistant position. We do not have any university-based fellowships or scholarships specially designed for international students, but we certainly do collaborate with those provided by outside foundations and agencies.