Overview of Graduate Program

Our graduate program is nationally recognized and offers three main areas of concentration: Health and Aging, Inequalities and Social Justice, and Demography. Among public universities, we are ranked the 29th best sociology graduate program in the nation and the 2nd best in the 17 states that make up the Southern United States (U.S. News). Among 118 public and private sociology programs across the nation, we rank among the top 20% with regard to the number of publications and grants per faculty member (The National Research Council).

Our faculty have won national, regional, and university-wide awards for teaching, mentoring, and research. We have been distinguished as Fulbright Scholars, recognized with named professorships, honored with article and book awards from sociological organizations, awarded research grants from state and federal funding agencies, and served as leaders in regional and national academic associations. Several of our professors are affiliated with and some have directed FSU’s Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy and the Center for Demography and Population Health.

Our department offers advanced training in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, paid teaching and research assistantships that come with tuition waivers, a culture of collaboration and support, and a program for learning how to teach at the college level. Students typically finish their required coursework after two years, defend their master’s theses during their second year, pass an area comprehensive exam during their third year, begin teaching and writing a dissertation prospectus during their fourth year, and complete and defend dissertations during their 5th year. Our graduates typically secure jobs as professors at research universities and liberal arts colleges or as researchers in nonprofits and government agencies.

Application Deadline & Requirements

Our admissions committee selectively admits about 10 new graduate students each year. A minimum GPA of 3.0 during the last two years of undergraduate study is required, a background in sociology and doing well in an undergraduate statistics course is desirable. There is no GRE requirement. Our committee evaluates each applicant’s entire file holistically in making admission decisions. Strong letters of recommendation, a clear and focused personal statement, your research interests fit with faculty expertise, and an exemplary academic writing sample are at least as important as other factors. If you have faced difficulties that have negatively affected your record or you have additional strengths that you believe will ensure success in our graduate program, discuss them in your personal statement and the committee will take them into consideration.


Applications for our Graduate Program must be completed by February 15, 2024 for students to be eligible for funding from the university.

Completing your application

Completing your application

A complete application includes (1) mailing official undergraduate/graduate transcripts sent directly to FSU’s Office of Admissions at 282 Champions Way, Tallahassee FL 32306-2400, and (2) supply the requested information and upload documents to the Graduate School’s Application Portal, including:

  • Personal Statement: Upload a 2-3 page statement that highlights your relevant training and experiences, your sociological interests and career goals, and why our department is the right place for you to continue your education.
  • Academic Writing Sample: Upload a copy of a sole-authored paper, such as an undergraduate course paper, an honor’s thesis, Master’s thesis, or publication. The paper should showcase your writing abilities, demonstrate critical thinking skills, and reveal your potential to succeed in our graduate program.
  • Transcripts: Upload copies (unofficial is fine) of undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  • English Proficiency Score for International Applicants: Official English Language Proficiency results are required of all international applicants whose native language is not English. Upload a copy of your exam score. Any of these exam scores are accepted.
    • TOEFL with a minimum of 550 paper, 213 computer, or 80 Internet based
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced Level with a minimum score of 180
    • Michigan Language Assessment with a minimum score of 55
    • Duolingo with a minimum score of 120
      • Notes:
        • Countries Exempt from English Language Proficiency Requirement: https://gradschool.fsu.edu/admissions/international-admissions
        • These new exams do not serve as alternatives to the SPEAK exam, which is required if an international graduate student is being appointed as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and does not have the requisite score on the speaking section of the TOEFL.
  • Recommendation Letters. Provide the contact information of three academics who have agreed to write letters of recommendation. We will email them instructions about how to upload their letters. If you have been out of college for an extended period of time and cannot secure three academics, contact us for further guidance.

Application Fee and Status Check.

Once you have provided the required information and uploaded your materials, you will have to pay a $30 fee and be able to check the status of your application through the “application status check.” If you do not pay the fee, the graduate school considers your application incomplete and they will not consider you for admission. The application fee is charged by the graduate school and the $30 fee cannot be waived.

Guide To Grad Studies

Our Guide to Graduate Studies provides information for new and current graduate students. In addition to guidelines surrounding facilities, fees, and funding, it details requirements for earning your Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. The Guide also lists information about preliminary examinations, Graduate Assistantships, and basic policies and procedures.

You may access the current Guide to Graduate Studies here.

Additional Information

The Department of Sociology at Florida State University actively works to collaborate and support graduate students through working groups, such as the Inequalities and the Aging Research on Contexts, Health and Inequalities (ARCHI) working groups, as well as reoccurring Brown Bag presentations through the Center for Demography and Population Health.

The Sociology Graduate Student Union (SGSU) is an organization led by, and for, the graduate students in the Department of Sociology at Florida State University. SGSU represents graduate student interests in departmental policy decisions and promotes a supportive and collaborative culture among graduate students. SGSU is open to full and part time FSU Sociology graduate students.

FSU Sociology graduate students can also join Graduate Assistants United (GAU) at Florida State University, the only legally recognized collective bargaining agents for Graduate Assistants at FSU. Read more about GAU at: https://www.fsugau.org/