Frequently Asked Questions

Sociology FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Is the GRE required?

No, the GRE is no longer required as part of the application. All students will receive full consideration for admissions and fellowships, regardless of whether they submit GRE scores. Students are, however, still free to submit their GRE scores, and we will consider them as part of a holistic review of the application.

 Is there a minimum GPA required?

 We look for students to have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their major. However, we understand that some students may have a lower GPA due to a variety of circumstances (e.g., changing majors, other circumstances). It is helpful if students acknowledge that they have a lower GPA in their application letter and provide a description of their situation. Having a GPA lower than 3.5 does not automatically disqualify an applicant.

 Do I have to fill out a separate application for an assistantship/funding?

 No, you do not need to fill out a separate application for funding. All students who are applying for full time admittance into our program are considered for an assistantship unless they indicate such an assistantship is not needed. The majority of students who are accepted into our program on a full-time basis are granted an assistantship. Assistantships can involve teaching duties or research duties, depending on availability of funds and needs of the department.

 Does an assistantship cover tuition and living expenses?

 Currently, a full-time assistantship (typically up to 20 hours per week) covers tuition, a portion of student health fees, and basic living expenses for most students in Lincoln, NE.   

 When will I hear whether or not I have been accepted into the program after I apply?

 Our application deadline is beginning of January and we begin reviewing files by mid-January. If your application is deemed to be one of our top 10 applicants, generally you will receive correspondence from the Graduate Chair a few weeks after applying.

 Should I include a CV/resume with my application?

 Though it is not required as part of the admissions process, students are welcome to include a CV/resume as part of their application. This is especially important to include if the applicant wants to highlight conference presentations, research and related work experience, and so forth.

 How many letters of recommendation do I need and who should write them?

 Our department requires three recommendation letters. These should be written by a professor or instructor at your university who is familiar with you and your academic work (e.g. a professor you have worked with, a professor you have taken a class with). Students with extensive work experience may have an employer write a recommendation letter.

How long should my application letter/cover letter be?

Your application letter should be approximately 1-2 pages in length. Tell us about who you are and why you are interested in studying sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

You are not required to include the names of faculty that you think you could work with. If there are faculty who are doing research in areas that interest you, however, it is OK to mention individual faculty members by name in your letter.

The application letter is also the place to explain a lower GRE score (if applicable) or lower grades than generally expected for graduate school applicants. Students can also highlight work or research experience that will make them good candidates for graduate work in Sociology.

 How long will it take me to complete my degree?

Students who enter our program with a bachelor’s degree typically take 5 years to complete their Ph.D. whereas students who enter our program with a master’s degree from another institution typically take 4 years to complete the program.

What is the cost of living in Lincoln, NE?

 The cost of living in Lincoln, NE is very reasonable compared to many other metro areas of the country. Below is a link about cost of living on the CGS (Council of Graduate School) web page:

You can also explore cost of living using the calculator at the following link:

Do you admit students in both fall and spring?

We typically only admit students in the spring (e.g. January) to begin their program in the fall of that same year. Mid-year admissions will be considered only under unusual circumstances.

Is there a page limit for the writing sample?

 We do not have a specific page limit. Writing samples that students submit are generally under 20 pages. A writing sample should include a paper that you wrote for a class or, if applicable, publication (this is rare, and usually only from students who already have a master’s degree). If you plan to send your master’s thesis as your writing sample, please be sure to edit it down to a reasonable length or only send one chapter.

 Is the TOEFL required?

 Yes. International students for whom English is not their first language must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We will only consider students who score at least 550 on the paper-based TOEFL (we prefer above 600 and a minimum of 50 for the writing section) or at least 81 on the internet-based TOEFL (we prefer above 100 with a minimum of 20 for the writing section).