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Graduate Program

Following the successful reopening of the Sociology Department in the fall of 2015, including the hiring of 11 faculty members in five years, the establishment of a thriving undergraduate major and minor, and the implementation of a successful postdoctoral program, we are excited to be launching a new PhD Program in Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis!

Graduate students in our department will have the opportunity to work with an energetic group of faculty in a supportive, inclusive, and collegial research community. Our diverse faculty are highly active in research and are influential scholars in several areas of the discipline. We publish broadly in scholarly and public outlets, and are strongly committed to mentorship and research collaboration with students.

Our program will equip graduate students with a set of theoretical perspectives, methodological skills, and research experiences that can help them make major contributions to the discipline of Sociology, its relevant sub-fields, and public discussions of social inequality. Following in the tradition of DuBois, our faculty value and employ diverse methodological approaches to producing rigorous empirical research that informs solutions to social problems; we are especially interested in addressing questions related to the origins and reproduction of social inequality as they relate to issues of pressing public concern.

PhD Program in Sociology


Our graduate program emphasizes intensive mentorship and collaboration with faculty, with an aim towards the production of original research throughout students’ time in the program. Our curriculum is designed to provide a strong and generalizable set of research skills, significant research and publication experience, and expertise in particular topics and sub-fields. We envision an educational experience that can be tailored to each student’s interests in preparing for careers as faculty in research-intensive institutions, faculty in teaching-intensive institutions, or researchers in non-academic settings.

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Program Overview

The Ph.D. program is a six-year degree program. Although students will normally earn a master’s degree on the way to the Ph.D., we do not offer a stand-alone master’s degree program. All required coursework is meant to be completed within the first three years, although students may continue to take elective courses after the third year. The program is designed in an integrated and streamlined way so that students have ample opportunity to develop research on their own and with faculty and peers.

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Students accepted into the graduate program in Sociology will be fully funded for six years, provided they remain in good standing. Funding is in the form of tuition and fee waivers and a stipend for living expenses, which will be no less than $26,831 for the 2020-21 academic year. Unlike many graduate programs, funding in Sociology at WashU is not tied to teaching assistantships (although students will gain teaching experience through the Mentored Teaching Experience). Graduate students will also have the option to apply for supplementary funds from the department for conference travel, research expenses, and/or methodological training workshops. The department also encourages and supports graduate students applying for external funding.

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Admissions Requirements & Application Process

We are currently recruiting a cohort of graduate students to join us in the Fall of 2021. We are especially interested in attracting students with a clear commitment to research, strong writing and analytical skills, and research interests that align with our department’s strengths. We are committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourage applications from underrepresented minorities and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. All of our graduate students will receive full funding for six years of study. Click below to explore the admission requirements and application process for the PhD in Sociology.

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Resources for Graduate Students

Washington University has a well-established Graduate School and a vibrant graduate student community. Intellectual, research, and educational opportunities for graduate students also extend well beyond our department. Members of our department have close ties with various centers, academic units, and initiatives across campus, including the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, the new Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Brown School of Social Work, the Department of Education, American Culture Studies, Center for Humanities, African and African-American Studies, the School of Law, the Prison Education Project, and the Divided City Initiative

Living in St. Louis

St. Louis is a vibrant city situated in the heart of the midwest and the largest metropolitan area in the state of Missouri.  Our faculty and postdocs, almost all of whom have moved to the city from across the country within the last five years, have found that St. Louis offers the ideal balance of small-town feel and big-city opportunities. The city is accessible, affordable, and offers nearly endless options for entertainment, outdoor activities, cultural attractions, dining, as well as research and service opportunities. 

Have Questions?

What questions can we answer for you? Help us build our frequently asked questions section by sending us your questions! We look forward to engaging with our prospective students.

Contact the Sociology Director of Graduate Studies