Graduate Admissions

The graduate program in sociology at Louisiana State University is oriented toward our doctoral program. Although we offer a Master of Arts degree, we do not have separate MA and PhD curricula. Instead, we admit all students into our PhD program and students without an MA in Sociology earn one along the way to the PhD. All students completing our doctoral program acquire strong training in sociological theory, research methods and analytic techniques, as well as a firm grounding in their major substantive areas.

We encourage all interested, qualified, domestic and international students to consider applying to our PhD program in sociology. Please read through this information carefully and email any additional questions about admissions or our graduate programs to:

Mark J. Schafer, Director of Graduate Studies

The LSU Graduate School manages the application process for all graduate programs at Louisiana State University, including our graduate program in sociology. Please review the requirements and online application procedures here:

LSU Graduate School

Admission Criteria

The Graduate School makes applications available to departments for review. Admission to the graduate program in sociology is based on the recommendation of the Graduate Committee appointed by the Chair of sociology and led by the Director of Graduate Studies. The role of the Graduate Committee is to oversee and advise the Chair and faculty in the Department of Sociology on all aspects of the Graduate Program, including admitting new students and advising admitted students.

The Graduate Committee uses a holistic process to review all complete application packets. (Incomplete applications will not be evaluated). The four required elements of a complete application package include (1) Transcripts (with GPA), (2) GRE scores, (3) statement of purpose, and (4) three letters of recommendation. In addition, though not formally required, we strongly encourage applicants to include a writing sample.

Consistent with our doctoral degree orientation, we only admit incoming graduate students directly into the PhD program (the LSU Degree Code of PSOCL). In the online application form, please indicate you are applying for the “PhD” program.

Appropriate background for applicants holding bachelor’s and master’s degree entering our graduate program includes undergraduate and/or graduate courses in sociological theory, research methods, and statistics plus nine additional hours of coursework in sociology. Exceptionally qualified candidates (as evaluated from the components of their application packages) may also be accepted into the program even if they lack an undergraduate background with coursework in sociology. The Department of Sociology generally requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a graduate GPA of 3.5 for admission. Exceptions are occasionally made for applicants with other strong components of their application package (i.e., high GRE scores and/or strong positive letters of recommendation).

Types of Admission

Unconditional: Applicants who have met all departmental requirements and have submitted all official credentials to the graduate school are given an unconditional admission status.

Provisional: Applicants who have met all departmental requirements, but have not yet submitted all official credentials to the graduate school are given provisional admission status until the Graduate School receives all required official documents.

Probational: Applicants with low undergraduate or graduate GPAs who have been judged by the Graduate Committee in Sociology and the Graduate School to show promise may be considered for probationary admission status. Applicants admitted on probationary status must submit an appeal to be eligible for departmental or university funding.


The Department of Sociology only admits new graduate students for the Fall Term. The formal application deadline is January 31, but we strongly recommend that applications be submitted earlier in January to best take advantage of earlier deadlines for some fellowships. The Graduate Committee initially reviews applications in early February. The graduate committee reviews all applications for consideration for admission. When requested, the Graduate Committee also reviews each application for consideration for financial support. The committee usually continues reviewing applications submitted after the January 31 deadline for admission, but may stop reviewing late applications at any time during the Spring semester. We may not be able to offer financial support to all late applicants regardless of their qualifications. Applicants that are initially admitted without financial support may later be offered financial support if resources become available.

International Students

The LSU Sociology Department has a long history of admitting outstanding applicants from many countries around the world, and we continue to encourage interested, qualified international degree holders to apply to our PhD program. The Graduate School website provides additional information for international applicants, including (1) documents needed to secure student visas; (2) English Proficiency requirements; (3) English translation and credential evaluations.

LSU’s International Services Office provides additional information for prospective and current international students.