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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Whom should I talk to about admission and USU's Sociology program?
A: Erin Hofmann, Director of Graduate Studies.  Email contact:

Q: When is the application deadline to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship?
A:To be considered for funding, applicants must submit the application and all supporting material by December 20. 

Q: How does the department make admissions decisions?
A: We look for solid grades in prior educational training (minimum 3.0 GPA), solid performance on the GRE tests (40th percentile or higher on the verbal and quantitative test segments), highly supportive letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic performance and potential, evidence of strong writing and communication skills, and areas of interest that fit the specific areas of strength in the Sociology graduate program (environment, demography, and inequality). 

Q: When does the department make admissions decisions?
A: Decisions about admission are made in approximately early to mid-January. Late applications can be considered when those applications are fully complete.

Q: When do you need to know whether or not I will attend?
A: Once offers of admission and offers of funding have been sent to applicants (usually by no later than April 1), we request a decision regarding acceptance of those offers by no later than April 15.

Q: Do all graduate students receive funding?
A: Almost all of those who are approved for admission are offered funding. Students who are actively enrolled in the graduate program generally receive some form of assistantship and/or fellowship funding, so long as they are making adequate progress toward the degree and maintain good academic standing. 

Q: What does a graduate teaching or research assistantship involve?
A: Graduate teaching and research assistantships normally involve an assignment to work under the direction of one or more faculty members, for a total of up to 20 hours/week. Teaching assistants provide help with things like test monitoring, grading, supervision of study sessions, and organization of various course materials; they may also be invited to lead one or more class sessions depending on interest and ability. Research assistants work on faculty members’ research projects on tasks such as data collection, data analysis, and preparation of reports, papers, and journal articles.

Q: I don't have a background in sociology or related social science. Could I still be admitted?
A: Applicants who do not have a background in Sociology or a closely-related social science field are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  In most instances they will be required to complete at minimum 3-4 recommended undergraduate courses in Sociology (at USU or another university) before they can be admitted to the graduate program.

Q: I only have a bachelor's degree, but I want to get a Ph.D. in sociology. Do I apply for the M.S. or Ph.D. program?
A: Most students with a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to first complete the MS degree before going on to the PhD. However, we do consider exceptionally well-qualified applicants who have a Sociology degree background, strong grades, and strong GRE scores for admission directly into the PhD program; those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How long does it take to get an M.S. or Ph.D. degree?
A: The MS program requires 2 years of study.  The PhD program normally requires 4 years beyond the MS degree.

Q: What do graduate students do outside of school in Logan?
A: Logan is surrounded by National Forest lands providing a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities (hiking, skiing, fishing, camping, etc.), and many of our students are actively engaged in those types of activities.  But, there are also opportunities to take advantage of a variety of other recreational and entertainment events and activities provided both on-campus and off-campus, including theatre productions, musical entertainment, etc.

Q: How can graduate students get involved in department life?
A: We encourage all graduate students to participate actively in the Sociology Graduate Student Association, which provides opportunities to meet and interact with other students and also provides students with a voice in various departmental activities and decision-making processes.

Q: What is it like living in Logan?
A: Logan is a growing but still relatively small urban area, at the center of the Cache-Franklin Metropolitan Area.  As such, there are a variety of entertainment and dining options (including a good variety of international and ethnic restaurants) and a broad range of major national chain retail outlets.  The local public transportation system provides easy (and free) access throughout Logan and adjoining communities.  At the same time, Logan maintains a “small town feel” in many ways, due in part to its location immediately adjacent to extensive National Forest land areas that provide easy access to many outdoor recreation opportunities.

Q: Are most of the students and faculty from Utah and the Intermountain West?
A: Faculty as well as graduate students are drawn from throughout North America and also from several international backgrounds; overall the majority are not originally from Utah or from the Intermountain West.

Q: Is there funding for travel to professional conferences?
A: Yes, students may apply for and receive funds to travel to conferences. Most students attend at least one conference during their time at USU. 

Q: Is there funding to support research on dissertations and theses?
A: Yes, students are strongly encouraged to apply for USU based funds for research. Students have applied for and received National Science Foundation, American Sociological Association, and other scholarships to support the research on their theses and dissertations. 

Q: Is there health insurance?
A: Yes, USU provides heavily subsidized health insurance, but students must also pay a portion of the insurance.