Admissions Procedures

General Process

Applying to Graduate School in Sociology involves submitting a set of materials -- including an application questionnaire regarding your goals and more, university transcripts, a writing sample, test scores, and letters of recommendation -- that together help us determine your suitability for our program.  Since admission to our program is extremely competitive, it is important that you prepare your application materials carefully.  Please consult our FAQ for answers to questions frequently asked by those considering Sociology at UW. 

All applications must be submitted electronically via UW's MyGrad web system.  This system allows applicants to submit most required materials via the web.  Official test scores must be sent directly from the testing companies to the University of Washington.


The admissions committee will consider applications received by midnight on December 1st. If December 1st falls on a weekend, or on a national holiday where the school is closed, we will accept applications received by midnight of the next business day.

Required Materials

Unless otherwise noted, all application materials should be submitted through the MyGrad application system.  If you are having trouble with any of the document uploads, see our Tips for Uploading Application Materials.

1.  Electronic Application and $85 Application Fee.*  This fee is required of all applicants, though McNair Scholars and PPIA Fellows may be eligible for a fee waiver.  If you are going to seek a waiver of the application fee, your request must be submitted online after your application has been completed and at least 7 calendar days prior to our posted application deadline.  Late requests will automatically be denied.  See the UW application itself for further information:

*Fee is subject to change without notice.

2. Application Questionnaire Regarding Goals, Background, and More:  The online application includes a questionnaire about your academic and professional goals, and how your academic and personal experiences have prepared you for graduate study in sociology.  (Questionnaire is in the online application. Answers are limited to a maximum of 3,000 characters.)

  • Question Answer Preparation:
    Here are the questions we ask.  Answers are limited to a maximum of 3,000 characters, you don't have to use all 3,000 characters though. (Edited as of May 15, 2019)

    • Describe your professional goals and how you envision studies at the University of Washington aiding in your progress toward those goals.
    • What are your most important academic and/or professional qualities, and what do you hope to improve upon in your graduate studies?
    • Describe any past or current involvement in research. What motivated this research, what was your role, and what did you learn in the process?
    • Provide descriptions of two or more situations or activities in which you demonstrated persistence and/or the ability to overcome adversity.
    • Provide a brief description of a situation or activity in which you demonstrated leadership and/or commitment to your community.
    • Is there anything else you would like us to know?
    • Do you have any additional funding already awarded to you (Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, other, etc.)?
      • If yes, please detail.  
        This helps the department figure out the distribution of our available funds, and a variety of other internal factors for our funding procedures of our incoming students.
      • For Fellowships and Scholarships we need specifics of how much the award is, for how many years, and specifically what it can be used for (e.g., tuition, books and supplies, housing, living costs, etc.).  Be as specific as possible.

3. GRE scores:  Request that ETS submits scores to the University of Washington (Institution Code 4854).  To allow sufficient time for the reporting of scores, applicants should take the exam no later than October.  The Sociology Department will only consider scores for tests taken within the past five years.  GRE scores are required for both domestic and international applicants, as follows:

Due to the Pandemic, we have made a temporary change, applicable to Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 applications:

  • We are requiring GRE scores from anyone who has existing unexpired scores that can be ordered from ETS for their application.

  • We will still accept applications without the GRE for those unable to take the GRE due to the pandemic, due to access issues / unavailability.

  • IE: GREs are strongly encouraged from all applicants for Fall 2022.

  • If you have already taken the GREs within the last 5 years, you are required to submit your scores.

  • If you will not be submitting GRE Scores, email to alert the department that you are unable to take the GREs and don't have access to the test, so that we are aware, and don't spend time trying to track down your scores on our end.

4. Curriculum Vitae or Resume

5. Letters of Recommendation:  (3 letters required. You can submit up to 5 letters.)  Applicants will be asked to provide the current contact information of all recommenders who will then be automatically notified via email to submit their recommendation on-line through the MyGrad application system. We encourage you to contact your recommenders personally to make sure they received the email, as sometimes requests end up in spam folders.  If your recommender did not receive the original request, go back into the online system and re-send your request to them. Please note the following:

  • Our minimum requirement is 3 letters.  You can have as many as 5 letters.  We suggest you ask for at least 4 letters so that if someone doesn't follow through you are still meeting our minimum, especially if the admissions deadline is approaching and you still don't have all 3 letters submitted by your recommendation providers.
  • Please have the letters submitted to the system by our deadline of December 1.
  • It is in your best interest to use only the online process for your letters of recommendation as there is a very short questionnaire for the recommender, in addition to a place to upload the recommendation letter.
  • We do not recommend using the regular postal mail option when designating your recommenders.
  • If you have a person you would like to obtain a recommendation from for whom the online process will not work for one reason or another, contact the department for additional instructions.
  • Likewise, if you have a recommender who has tried, but is having trouble with the online system, please have them contact the department directly.
  • Contact the department by emailing

6. Writing Sample:  A 5 to 15 page paper (double spaced) that demonstrates your ability to clearly analyze and write about a social scientific topic (broadly defined).  Ideally you will submit a paper you have written for an academic course, though any work that reflects your analytic and written abilities is acceptable.  Note that the 15 page limit does not include title pages and references.

7. Unofficial Transcripts:  Submit unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions of higher learning attended (colleges and universities) through your online application.  Official transcripts are not required during the application process.  If accepted into the program, you will be asked to submit official transcript(s) and additional instructions will be provided at that time. 

  • Include transcripts for schools where you transferred the credits to another school later.
  • Transfer credits do not necessarily show up in any complete way on your degree issuing school's transcripts and are often missing major pieces of information, such as the grades.  You need to upload these additional transcripts individually as a result, even if noted on your degree issuing school's transcript.
  • Do not send the department transcripts.  If you need help, email us at
  • If the school you need to upload a transcript from does not have an unofficial version you can use, order a transcript to be sent to you, scan, and upload it on your end.

8. Minimum TOEFL English Language Proficiency Scores (Overall and Spoken scores):  ALL International Applicants (non-US citizens), and Non-Native English Speakers MUST submit TOEFL scores. 

  • Unlike the general instructions from the Graduate School regarding these test scores, our department requires recent (not older than two years) official standardized English Language Proficiency Scores from ALL applicants who are non-native English speakers, regardless of any previous degrees from English speaking institutions. 
  • Minimum Scores for Acceptance:  
    The minimum English test scores to be admitted to our Sociology PhD program are
    • TOEFL Overall Score of 92 
    • With a minimum TOEFL Speaking score of 26.
  • We only accept TOEFLiBT scores.  Use Institution Code 4854 (the same as the Institution Code for GRE scores)
  • Exception Requests:  The ONLY exception made, where students do not need to submit scores, is when a student has received a BA from an accredited institution within the United States or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom, where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
    • You must email the department at to obtain this exception.
  • Please be sure to watch your application and make sure that your TOEFL scores get attached to your online application.  Note that they will not attach until a few days after you actually submit and pay for your application.
  • IELTS:  We no longer accept IELTS scores. 
    The ONLY exception to this policy is if TOEFL is completely unavailable in your country.  You must email the department at to obtain this exception.  And you will need to take your test as early as possible.

Funding and English Language Proficiency for
All Non-Native English Speakers:

We automatically consider all applicants for departmental funding, primarily consisting of Teaching Assistantships. Since departmental funding involves teaching, in order to be eligible for this funding, you must meet minimum English Proficiency requirements. The minimum English test scores to receive departmental funding are TOEFL Overall Score of 92 with a minimum Speaking score of 26.  We are required by the university to meet the standards listed in both Graduate School Memo 8, and also Graduate School Memo 15 for all our Teaching Assistants.  If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact


All communications regarding your application will come via email, so please keep your email address up to date in the MyGrad application system.  If you have a spam filtering system, designate emails coming from and as 'safe' so that they will not end up in your spam folder. 

To contact us by email:

To contact us by mail:

Attn: Graduate Program Advisor
Department of Sociology
University of Washington
Campus Mail Stop Box 353340
211 Savery Hall
Seattle, WA 98195-3340

PLEASE NOTE:  When using messenger / delivery services such as UPS, please leave off the mail stop / box number.