Why choose Nebraska for your graduate studies?
We pride ourselves on having a small, high quality, graduate program. Our student-to-faculty ratio is exceptionally low; with only 1.5 graduate students per faculty member. The department faculty are highly productive scholars, with per capita faculty publication rates that place us in the top 15% of Ph.D. granting Sociology programs nationally. The faculty also have exceptional records of external grant funding. This provides enhanced opportunities for research assistantship funding. Currently, about one in every three funded graduate students in the program are supported on a research assistantship.
The combination of a highly productive research faculty and small graduate cohorts gives our graduate students unmatched access and enhanced opportunities to work directly with them on research. This access translates directly to successful student outcomes. Our graduate students frequently author or co-author research publications with faculty.
The department faculty work to provide the support necessary for our students to successfully navigate graduate school. The 2010 study of Ph.D. programs conducted by the National Research Council ranked the Nebraska Sociology program in the top 5% of Sociology programs for graduate student support and outcomes.
Since 2013, we have graduated 28 Ph.D. students. Many of these students have gone on to take tenure-line faculty positions ranging from research intensive universities to small liberal arts colleges. Recent Ph.D. graduate placements also include postdocs and employment in research positions outside of academia.
We have received the Seal of Excellence from the Sociologists for Women in Society for showing a commitment to both the presence of women faculty and importance of gender/inequality scholarship.
Graduate students in the sociology program have the benefit of working with faculty across a diverse set of research interests. Several department faculty have primary emphases in core disciplinary areas of study including family, religion, criminology, social psychology, mental health, substance use, inequality, aging, sexuality, homelessness, and quantitative research methods. In addition, a number of faculty in the department are engaged in research that emphasize interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to study minority health disparities, networks, survey methods, biosociology, and health risk behaviors. The Research and Innovation page provide details on the active research programs by our faculty in each of these areas.
Additional details on individual faculty research programs are provided in the faculty profiles.
The university further offers many specializations, such as PhD minors, that can accompany a sociology PhD, which will appear on your official transcript. These programs often connect graduate students to faculty outside of the department. Students wishing to earn a specialization apply after admission to the sociology graduate program at Nebraska. Many of the university's sociology graduate students earn minor from these interdisciplinary programs:
Community and Diversity
Nebraska sociology promotes a sense of collegiality and community with a colloquium series—research presentations throughout the academic year.
We also strive for a diverse group of faculty and students. Our department has won awards from a Chancellor's Commission on the Status of People of Color and Sociologists for Women in Society Seal of Approval for Gender Equity.
Student Resources and Support
Nebraska sociology has a strong culture of graduate student mentoring. Graduate students work with active research scholars in the classroom and/or on individual research projects.
Graduate students also receive formal teacher training and have opportunities to obtain considerable teaching experience. This supportive and cooperative environment helps students to fully develop as research scholars and educators.
Student admitted into the program are offered funding that includes a monthly stipend for a teaching or research assistantship that includes tuition waivers and support for healthcare coverage. Each funded graduate student is assigned dedicated office space that includes a desk, a desktop computer, and access to the necessary software programs.
Additionally, the department subsidizes student travel to regional and national conferences. There are opportunities for summer financial support through teaching and/or research fellowships and scholarships.
Sociology provides unique resources for student through connections to the Bureau of Sociological Research (BOSR) our Academic Survey Research Organization. Many sociology graduate students work in the BOSR or use their services to collect data. Students will also have access to several restricted national data sets.
The university provides campus-wide teacher training, professional development workshops, and a Preparing Future Faculty program for advanced doctoral students interested in pursuing a faculty position. Jenn Andersen and Joseph Jochman have both been accepted into the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program this year. Congratulations!
Each spring sociology graduate students may apply for many different awards to support scholarly travel, a research endeavor, and/or to reward exceptional performance in teaching or research. The department is fortunate to have several different funds from which to support various professional activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, working on research papers or dissertations, data collection, and travel to conferences or training workshops. Awards are also given to recognize excellence in graduate student research or teaching.
Each year sociology students meet with their PhD supervisory committee or MA thesis advisor. The purpose of this meeting is to document current and make plans for future program progress and professional development. The documentation sets the foundation for current and future job applications within and outside of the academy. It is also an excellent time to reflect on your graduate studies, discuss research ideas, job market strategies, etc. with your mentors.
Let curiosity move you as a graduate student in the Department of Sociology.
Apply For Admission
Nebraska sociology accepts applications once a year on January 3 for admission in the following fall semester. Application materials include a letter of intent (indicating why you wish to pursue an advanced degree in sociology), a sample of written work, three letters of recommendation, official college transcripts, GRE scores, and, for international students, TOEFL scores. You do not need to complete a separate application for funding.
Update for 2021 Admission
Because of the challenges surrounding standardized tests caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, GRE scores are not required for applications submitted in fall 2020 (for admission fall 2021). All students will receive full consideration for admissions and fellowships, regardless of whether they submit GRE scores.
If you are able to take the GRE, or if you have GRE scores from a previous test administration, you are welcome to submit your scores and we will consider them as part of our holistic review of the application