The doctoral program in sociology prepares students for careers in research and teaching. The curriculum is intended both to acquaint students with the discipline of sociology and provide training in fields of special interest. Of the twelve required courses, four must be drawn from core courses in sociological theory, statistics, and research methods. Students are given ample opportunity to specialize, but the Faculty believes that specialization must be preceded by a thorough grounding in a wide range of classical and contemporary theories, proficiency in social statistics, and a variety of research methods. The curriculum permits — and Faculty encourage — study in related disciplines.
The Department encourages students to pursue work in any instructional unit of the University which furnishes additional dimensions to sociological analysis. We also encourage students to attend seminars and apply for research and training grants outside of the Department. A partial list of some of the many such opportunities within Yale include:
- The Institution for Social and Policy Studies
- The MacMillan Center
- The Yale Law School
- The Yale School of Management
- The Yale School Public Health
The Sociology Department offers joint Ph.D. programs with African American Studies and with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students can also work closely with the Statistics Department and obtain an MA in Statistics en route to their Sociology PhD.
For an overview of joint degree programs at Yale, including the J.D./Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D., see the Yale Graduate School’s page on Joint Degree Programs. Over the years, we have had many students enroll in joint programs, and the Department is happy to work with students to make special arrangements for these programs.
All accepted students are fully funded for five years and are eligible for a funded sixth year if they do not receive an external grant. Funding includes full tuition and a living stipend. In 2023-24, the 12-month stipend is $40,530. In the third, fourth, and sixth years, students are required to serve as teaching fellows to receive their stipend. Please see the Graduate Division’s website Funding for Ph.D. Students for more detail.
Students who do fieldwork outside of New Haven are encouraged to apply to external and Yale-based research funds. Some recommended institutions are listed here:
- American Council of Learned Societies
- Association of American University Professors
- National Science Foundation
- Social Science Research Council
- Spencer Foundation
- Yale MacMillan Center
Between six and ten new students are admitted to the Sociology program each year. Preference is given to applicants who intend to complete the Ph.D. degree. An undergraduate concentration in sociology is not a prerequisite, but preference will be given to those who demonstrate familiarity with the social sciences, either through undergraduate coursework, a master’s program, or other research experiences.
Our admissions decisions are made by a departmental committee; individual faculty do not accept individual students. We therefore do not necessarily encourage applicants to contact faculty individually, nor do faculty typically meet with prospective applicants. We do encourage you to carefully look at our department faculty pages to identify areas of overlap—methodologically, substantively, theoretically—with your own interests, among several faculty, as you develop your statement of purpose.
The application requires you submit a statement of academic purpose, transcripts from all prior colleges of universities you have attended, three letters of recommendation, a fee or fee waiver, standardized tests, a resume/cv, and a writing sample.
- Writing sample: Each applicant will be asked to provide one writing sample. (A second, supplementary writing sample of a similar length is optional.) Writing samples demonstrate the student’s academic interests and their capacity for thinking sociologically. We use writing samples to evaluate ability and intellectual fit with the strengths of our department. As a result, we strongly prefer a writing sample that is solo-authored by the applicant.
Typically, a writing sample should be 3,000-8,000 words and is usually a research paper written for a social science class, a senior thesis, or an MA thesis.
- Testing. The submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is optional but strongly recommended by the department. We have made it optional, because we understand that in some cases it may be very difficult for applicants to access the test, due to distance from testing sites or the cost or other factors, but we expect that applicants will make every effort to take the test. Fee waivers and reductions can be found on the GRE website.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for international students whose native tongue is not English and who did not receive an undergraduate degree from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction. For further information, see the Office of Graduate Admissions website.
To apply to the Yale Sociology Graduate Program, please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions website. Students with financial need may request a waiver of the application fee via the Graduate Admissions Office.
If you have specific questions about the Sociology Department or the application process, you may email Professor Jonathan Wyrtzen, Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology (email@example.com). You may also contact any member of the Faculty specializing in research topics in which you may be interested. https://sociology.yale.edu/people/faculty