Frequently Asked Questions

Application and admission

What are the main criteria for admission?

  • We consider a number of different factors in combination, including undergraduate GPA and record, GRE scores, research experience, interests that fit with department strengths, and scholarly potential.  We do not require any minimal scores but admissions are typically very competitive.

Do you invite applicants for interviews?

  • We usually invite top applicants to a recruitment weekend in early February.  Due to funding constraints, we are not able to host all outstanding candidates for admission, including foreign applicants, and will therefore consider a pool broader than the applicants who visit during the recruitment weekend.

How many students do you admit and enroll each year?

  • While numbers vary from year to year, we typically admit about ten and enroll about five new students each year.  Seven new students entered in 2013.

Is funding guaranteed to all admitted students?

  • Yes, for five years.

The program

Where are you located?

  • We are located on the 2nd floor of Tarbutton Hall on the main campus of Emory University, a beautiful enclave in the Druid Hills area, an inner suburb of Atlanta, with ample housing, dining, and other facilities in close vicinity.

What makes your program distinctive?

  • Four substantive concentrations (culture, health, inequality, social psychology), strong mentoring, teacher training, record of placement, ties with other programs (e.g., Rollins School of Public Health).

How many students are active in your program?

  • At any one time, we have approximately 45 students at various stages in the program.

How diverse is your student body?

  • While our overall diversity varies depending on incoming cohorts, we typically admit both domestic minority and international students each year, and are committed to further enhancing our diversity. 

How many faculty do you have?

  • We have 16 full-time faculty (two with joint appointments) and three lecturers. 

How is student advising arranged?

  • Students are assigned an advisor upon enrollment but are free to change advisors at any time.  We take pride in a record of strong mentoring, and two faculty have won university-wide mentoring awards.

How does the department support professional development?

  • In many ways.  We require presentation or publication of at least one research paper, encourage and facilitate regular attendance at conferences, conduct in-house seminars on professional matters, etc.  The Graduate School provides Professional Development Support funds to all students.  

Does the program provide resources for research?

  • Yes.  Students have access to a computer lab, various data sets and statistical packages, a large university library and extensive journal databases, etc.

Can students take courses in other programs and do interdisciplinary research?

  • Yes.  Many of our students have taken courses in areas such as political science, public health, business, religion and gender/women¿s/sexuality studies, among others.  Several students have conducted research with faculty in other fields or worked on dissertations linking sociology to such fields.  We anticipate more such opportunities opening up, particularly in the area of health.

Is the program connected to other units or initiatives in the university?

  • Yes.  Our faculty have been very involved in initiatives dealing with religion and health, digital media and race and difference (including the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study or Race and Difference). We maintain strong ties with sociology colleagues in the areas of public health, medicine, religion, and business.  

How long does it take to complete the program?

  • Time to completion is about six years, shorter from some students who enter with extensive prior training, longer in some cases due to personal factors or complex projects.

What do students do after graduation?

  • Generally, about two-thirds of our students obtain academic teaching or research positions, and we place about one-third in research-oriented positions in the public or private sector.  Recent placements include tenure-track positions at the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Alabama/Huntsville, a teaching position at Gwinnett College, a research position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a position at a private software development company. Other academic placements include the University of Georgia, University of New Hampshire, University of Delaware, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Towson University, Skidmore College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, to name some.