Admissions FAQs

Preparing for Admissions

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the 2024-25 academic year is December 6, 2023, 11:59pm PST. Applications will NOT be accepted after this date.  Please be aware that you must submit the online application by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be able to be completed or submitted after the application deadline.

I have taken the GREs, will my scores be considered for my application?


GRE general test is required for admission to the Sociology PhD degree program.  GRE scores from ETS are valid for five years. For questions about the validity of GRE scores, please contact ETS. If ETS is able to send your GRE/TOEFL scores, Stanford University will accept them.  Applicants should have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send scores electronically to Stanford. Our university code is 4704. It does not matter what department code is specified. You will either self-report your scores or indicate the date you will take the test(s) in the online application. Self-reported scores will not be considered official until Stanford receives the electronic record.

Will you accept my GMAT score?

No, we do not accept the GMAT.

I am an international student currently enrolled in a U.S. degree program. Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

The TOEFL score requirement is waived for international students who have received a Bachelor's or Master’s degree at a U.S. institution.

Can recommendation letters and official transcripts arrive after the deadline?

Yes, as long as your application and unofficial transcripts (uploaded) are submitted by the application deadline, letters of recommendation and official transcripts can be sent at a later time (but no later than the second week in January).

I have prior graduate work, can it be transferred to the PhD program?

After at least one quarter of enrollment in the first year, students pursuing a Ph.D. may apply for transfer credit for up to 45 units of graduate work done at another institution.

What is the admissions committee's expectations of prospective students?

Admission to our program is highly competitive. About 10-12 students, chosen from a pool of approximately 200 applicants, enter the program each year. These students are chosen on the basis of a strong academic background as evidenced by previous study, writing sample, and letters of recommendation.  Please be assured that the department reviews each application very carefully and makes decisions on an individual basis.

Application Process

How do I apply?

Instructions on how to apply to the Sociology PhD Program.

Is there an application fee? If so, can I apply for a fee waiver?

The fee to apply for graduate study at Stanford is $125.  You may submit only one application per year (unless one of the applications is to one of the professional schools (Law, Medicine, or Business). An acceptable form of payment is by credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard only.) We do not accept electronic check payments or checks by mail. The fee is non-refundable and must be received by the application deadline.  If you believe you qualify for a fee waiver, please review the Graduate Admissions Web site.

Can I apply for winter, spring or summer quarter admission?

No, the department only reviews applications for students that will be entering our program during the fall quarter.

Contacting the Sociology Department about Admissions

May I contact faculty to request a meeting or inquire about admissions?

In order to ensure that the application process is fair to all applicants, our faculty do not meet with prospective applicants. We, therefore, discourage applicants from contacting faculty individually.  The department website contains most of the information about our faculty and PhD programs an applicant would need to decide whether to apply. Inquiries about the program can be directed to the Graduate Student Services Manager, Natasha Newson.

Will I have a chance to speak with someone before deciding to accept an offer of admission?

Yes. The department organizes a special event in late March/early April to invite admitted students to campus. This event is an excellent opportunity to meet and speak with faculty and current students about specific concerns or questions that a prospective student may have.

Other Questions

When are qualifying exams given?

The first qualifying exam is given at the beginning of Year 2, in Autumn quarter; the second qualifying exam is due at the end of Year 2, in Spring quarter; the third qualifying exam is due at the end of Year 3, in Spring quarter.

What do most Sociology grads do during their first summer?

Over the summer, students are usually focus on reviewing literature for the first qualifying examination while engaging in research with a faculty member. 

Can I take courses in other departments or schools to fulfill program requirements?

If the course material is relevant to Sociology, or your area of research, it is acceptable to take courses in other departments or schools, and those courses may be counted toward the Sociology requirements with Department approval.