For Prospective Students...
Typical Program of Study
Career Paths of SOC Ph.D.s
This page provides basic information for prospective students in the form of answers to frequently asked questions. The answers often include links to other sections of the website where you can find more detailed information. If you have additional questions, please write to us using the contact information given at the bottom of this page.
Graduate studies in Sociology at Princeton are restricted to a small number of persons seeking the degree of doctor of philosophy. The program reflects an educational philosophy that from the first views the student as a potential contributor to the discipline rather than as a passive recipient of knowledge. Learning takes place in a semi-structured environment that combines individual freedom with a supportive intellectual community. Read more.
What are the Primary Objectives of Graduate Training?
The graduate program in sociology has three primary academic objectives: (1) to equip students with basic research skills; (2) to expose them to a breadth of sociological knowledge; and (3) to develop an in-depth specialization. Read more.
What must I do to earn a Ph.D.?
There are suggested courses to demonstrate competence in the foundations of sociological analysis. Students are also expected to complete two major research papers, pass a comprehensive General Examination, and write an acceptable dissertation. Read more.
Who are the Sociology Faculty?
The department has a small, but highly distinguished, set of faculty. Most faculty teach a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses, and they develop close working relationships with graduate students. To read about the faculty and their interests and to see some sample publications, please see our Faculty page.
Who are the Graduate Students in Sociology?
There are about 30-40 graduate students in residence at any one time. To see who they are and a sample of their interests, click here.
How Would I Spend My First Two Years?
The first two years of graduate study normally revolve around coursework, both formal and informal. There are some core courses during the first year that students are expected to take, if they have not demonstrated a competency in other ways. The typical program of study contains additional information.
In What Areas of Sociology Does the Department Specialize?
The department is particularly attractive to graduate students who wish to specialize in one or more of the departmental clusters. These include the sociology of culture, social demography, comparative and regional sociology, social differentiation and inequality, economic sociology, and migration and development. Each cluster has several faculty, seminars, and workshops associated with it. Read more.
Is there an Opportunity to Gain Teaching Experience?
Graduate students typically serve as “preceptors” or leaders of small-group discussions in Princeton’s undergraduate courses. All undergraduate courses have a faculty member, however, as the principal instructor. To learn more about teaching opportunities, click here.
What Opportunities Exist at Princeton for Study Outside Sociology?
The department encourages graduate students to engage in programs of interdisciplinary study and otherwise to pursue work in any instructional units that add to students’ interests and areas of specialization. There is a rich variety of such programs at Princeton. Read more.
How Do I Apply for Admission?
You may apply for admission by requesting an application from the Graduate School. A transcript of all graduate and undergraduate courses taken elsewhere, scores from the Graduate Record Examination (though not necessarily the subject test in Sociology), one or more papers, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement indicating why you are interested in pursuing doctoral work in sociology at Princeton are required. You may take the GRE test several times if you wish. Failing to major in sociology as an undergraduate does not hurt your chances of being accepted or of doing well in the program. You may, however, have some catching up to do during your first year.
Is Funding Available?
Yes. Because we limit our acceptances to a relatively small number of students, we are usually able to provide full five-year fellowships. Summer fellowships are also provided. Students supplement their fellowship support with research and teaching assistantships. For more information about financial support, click here.
What do Students do After Graduation?
Most commonly, graduates from the program enter research and teaching careers within the top colleges and research universities. The training that students receive, however, typically equips them for a variety of options. For a fuller sense of career prospects, click here.
May I Visit the Sociology Department?
Prospective applicants are discouraged from visiting the sociology department before or during the application and admissions processes, as demand for such visits is too great for faculty to accommodate. Students are welcome to contact the Director of Graduate Studies or other faculty members with questions about the program by telephone or e-mail. (Questions about the application process itself should be directed to Princeton’s Graduate School.) Students who are offered admission into the program will be invited to visit Princeton.
Whom Should I Contact If I Have Any Questions?
Department of Sociology
Princeton, NJ 08544
(609) 258-4543 (tel)
(609) 258-2180 (fax)
Prof. Robert Wuthnow
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Sociology
Princeton, NJ 08544