FAQ for Prospective Students

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If I have questions about the program, who can I ask?

Our Graduate Coordinators can answer a lot of the “technical” aspects about the department, such as funding or questions on the application process.

Our Graduate Program Director, Kari Marie Norgaard, can discuss strengths of our program and whether it might be a good fit for your interests.

How does the admissions committee decide whom to admit? What if I feel part of my application is weak?

The admissions committee considers the entirety of an application. Transcripts, GRE scores, personal statement, and reference letters are all considered. If there is ever one part that you are not satisfied with, there are plenty of opportunities to increase the strength of your application in one of the other areas.

  • Grades: Typically applicants present a good GPA in course work so that alone will not necessarily distinguish your application. If you are not comfortable with your GPA, your application will present plenty of different aspects to distinguish your application.
  • GRE Scores: For the Fall 2024 admission, GRE scores are optional. Submitting an application without the GRE will not affect your consideration for the program. However, GRE scores, if submitted, will be taken into consideration. We do not have a required minimum score for the GRE. A number on a test cannot magically predict your abilities.
  • Personal Statement: This should state clearly what aspects of sociology most interest you and what you would like to do professionally with your degree. We would like to know where you are right now as you look to join us and how you would fit within our department. More personal discussions about your background are relevant, but largely in how they can be linked to your academic work and your professional plans in sociology.
  • Reference Letters: These will typically be reference letters from someone well-qualified to comment on your academic potential, typically a former professor. We recognize that at times this will be difficult, such as a student who has been out of school for some years. In these rare cases, letters from an employer can be submitted, but these are most likely to be helpful if they can speak to some aspect of how you will perform as a student, such as research ability.

Do I need to have a degree in sociology to be admitted?

No, a degree in sociology is not required in order to be accepted into our graduate program. While it is true that those with a sociology degree will tend to be in a better position to succeed, we have admitted a number of students with degrees in other fields and have seen them perform quite successfully.

How do I apply to be a Graduate Employee (GE)?

There is no need to apply. All students who are admitted into our program are automatically given 15 terms of funding though a GE position.

I am not sure I really want to apply for a PhD, but I do want to apply for a master’s degree. How do I do that?

Unfortunately, our department does not offer a terminal master’s degree. Anyone admitted into the program will be admitted into the PhD program.

As an international student, am I eligible for department funding?

All applicants to the program are eligible for the same funding. We do not have any separate fellowships specifically designed for international student applicants.

Are there additional testing requirements for applicants who are non-native English speakers?

Applicants whose native/primary language is not English must satisfy the English Language Proficiency requirement through one (1) of the following three (3) methods:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Score: Minimum Score: 88 (Internet based)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Score: Minimum Score: 7.0 overall band score
  • Degree from certain English-speaking countries: A bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from an institution in one of the following countries: Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

Non-native English speakers in Graduate Employee teaching positions are required to prove their spoken English proficiency by way of the SPEAK Test or the speaking component of the internet-based TOEFL or IELTS.

I am an international student accepting my admissions offer, how do I submit my financial verification?

US Government regulations require that the University of Oregon verify the availability of sufficient financial support for non-immigrant students before a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019) can be issued. Admitted students must provide financial documents (e.g., Graduate Employee [GE] positions appointment contract, scholarship award letter) and/or bank statements to the Office of Admission. More information.