Our Application Process
This page is meant to answer questions you may have about applying to NC State's graduate program in sociology and to help you give us the information we find most useful in deciding whether to admit you to our graduate program. After you've looked through the material on this website -- especially the Fast Facts link -- feel free to contact us with any additional questions.
Online applications. All applications to graduate programs at NC State are done online. Please don't ask if it's acceptable to submit some materials in paper form; it's not. All of the materials must be submitted through the online application system (except for official transcripts, which are mailed directly to the Graduate School after admission).
Application Deadline. The application deadline for funding consideration for fall 2013 is January 1, 2013 with all supporting materials (see below) so that the Admissions Committee can start the reviewing process as quickly as possible.
Fall Admission. The curriculum is designed for fall admission only. Occasionally, we admit students to start in the spring semester but usually this is feasible only with previous graduate work in sociology. Financial support is not likely with spring admissions.
Applicants without a master's degree. We only admit students who expect to continue on for the Ph.D. at NC State. We also admit students who have completed master's degrees elsewhere. The curriculum is structured as a full-time doctoral program, and we presume that our students intend to complete the Ph.D. We recommend that applicants not interested in a Ph.D. degree or those interested in a part-time program look elsewhere in the UNC system.
Application Fee. The Graduate School requires payment of a $75US application fee ($85US for international applicants). The Graduate School may waive the application fee due to the applicant's need and in order to achieve greater diversity for certain underrepresented groups. To request this waiver you need to submit a supporting letter from the financial aid officer at your current educational institution to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School (see address below). The Graduate School will not waive the application fee for international applicants.
A completed application includes transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a writing sample. The Admissions Committee is unable to consider incomplete applications.
Transcripts. You will need to upload unofficial transcripts of all your academic course work since high school; you should upload an unofficial transcript from each higher education institution you have attended. Go to this link for information about uploading unofficial transcripts. You only need to send official transcripts to the Graduate School if you are admitted.
After admission, official transcripts should be sent to
The Graduate School
North Carolina State University
Room 240, Research Building III
1005 Capability Drive
Campus Box 7102
Raleigh, NC 27695
Do not send transcripts to the Graduate Program in Sociology; it will only delay processing your application.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE). We require the GRE. We do not have a cut-off point, although we feel most comfortable with combined verbal plus quantitative scores above 300 (roughly corresponding to 1100 or so on the "old" GRE scale). If your scores are not high, we may still admit you if other parts of your application are strong. The university's code when submitting scores is 5496. If you are having GRE scores mailed use the Graduate School address above.
Do not mail GRE scores to the Graduate Program in Sociology; it will only delay processing your application.
Letters of Recommendation. We require three letters of recommendation. The online process includes a form for your references to use. This form only has a small space for comments. Please ask your sponsors to upload a letter in which they provide more detail. Specifics about their experience with you are particularly informative. If you are not currently in school, please take care in selecting the people to write these letters. We need to know how you are likely to perform in an academic setting so information from professors with whom you have studied is typically the most useful. Letters from nonacademic employers are not usually very informative.
Make sure that those writing letters for you are aware that letters of recommendation may only be submitted electronically (we will not accept hardcopy letters of recommendation).
Personal Statement. This is a relatively brief statement of about two or three pages. Among the various topics you may wish to include are how graduate training in sociology fits into your professional and intellectual goals and plans and why NC State's program is a good fit for you intellectually.
It is extremely important for you to tell us which two areas of specialization offered by our program interest you the most, and to make sure that you indicate your two areas of choice under "Department/ Specialty/ Concentration" on the first page of the online application.
You should tell us if there are particular faculty in our department with whom you plan to work, and why. We read these statements quite carefully with a view to admitting students who are most likely to benefit from what our program has to offer.
Your personal statement should be uploaded and submitted online (not sent as a paper copy) along with your writing sample. If you want to upload a curriculum vitae (not required) combine it into one file with your personal statement and writing sample before uploading.
Writing Sample. We pay very careful attention to the example of your writing you submit. We look at your grasp of sociological knowledge, of course, but we also look for organization, use of evidence, the logical structure of your arguments and quality of analysis, to say nothing of English usage and paragraph structure. We rely on you to select a writing sample that shows you at your best but is not so long that we cannot read it along with all the other writing samples we have to review (10-15 pages is ideal). Typical submissions include course papers and thesis chapters; don't submit an entire thesis or similar lengthy document. If you would like us to read part of a larger work you could attach an explanation of how the part relates to the whole.
Your writing sample should be submitted online as a continuation of your personal statement (that is, create one file that contains both your personal statement and your writing sample and upload the file where the online application process asks for your personal statement). Do not send a paper copy of your writing sample.
If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country you must also submit your scores on the TOEFL examination. You can examine the Graduate School's TOEFL requirements here. The university's code when submitting scores is 5496.
GRE scores should be sent to the Graduate School (not the Graduate Program in Sociology) at the above address. All other materials should be submitted online; sending paper copies of letters of reference, writing samples, personal statements, and so forth will only delay completion of your application.
To access the online application system, go to http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/applygrad.htm -- but please read all of the material on this page first.
How can I find out the status of my application?
You don't need to call or email our office to find out the status of your application. You can easily check the status of your application anytime by accessing the AY (Apply Yourself) system online. You can see whether your transcripts and GRE scores have been received by the Graduate School and whether those writing your recommendations have uploaded them. AY will automatically email you when your application is complete.
The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications in early January. You should expect to hear from the Committee by March 1. Each application is considered holistically (that is, weaknesses in one part of the application may be compensated by strengths in other parts) and our goal is to admit students whose interests are most compatible with faculty expertise and who will benefit most from the unique strengths of our program.