Sociology, Applied (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Sociology 
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Sociology 
Program Webpage 
Academic Plan Code(s): ASOCPHD

Program Information

The Department of Sociology offers a PhD in Applied Sociology, which is focused on training professional researchers at the highest level to follow the discipline's focus on bringing scientific understandings to the study of social issues and problems.  Training is designed to prepare students for both academic careers and meeting the growing demand for applied sociologists who are qualified to address directly the problems facing not only our state but also our nation and the world. 

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are examined holistically using the following information in the admissions decisions:  GRE scores, GPA, quality of the program from which the applicant graduated, three academic letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and an interview with the candidate. 

The Department of Sociology is committed to fostering diversity by considering factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, and social class in its graduate and undergraduate programs; as such, background factors and circumstances will be considered when reviewing applications.

While the Graduate Admissions Committee does not base admission solely on meeting—or not meeting—certain criteria, as a guideline, chances of admission are improved with the following:

• Graduate GPA of 3.5;
• Combined verbal/quantitative GRE score;
• Previous graduate course work in statistics, methods, and theory*;
• Completed thesis (or original independent work of research from another accredited graduate program); and
• International students should also have either a) TOEFL score of at least 550 (on the paper-based test), 213 (on computer-based test) or b) 79-80 (on the internet-based test) or an IELTS score of at least 6.5.

*Students may be allowed to make up deficiencies or use equivalent graduate courses regarding these prerequisites.  Students who have completed similar courses in these areas may be asked to provide both the course syllabus and completed course work to determine equivalency. Students should contact Dr. Jonetta Weber to discuss any questions regarding these prerequisites.

In exceptional cases, students not qualified for regular admission may be conditionally admitted by action of the Doctoral Admissions Committee.

We encourage anyone interested in our graduate program to apply, regardless of GRE scores or grade point averages from undergraduate work or previous graduate work.  When making our admission decisions, we holistically consider GRE scores and GPAs alongside personal statements and letters of recommendation (and other materials), knowing that low GRE/GPA numbers can be offset by other personal strengths. We do, however, prefer individuals with undergraduate GPAs of 3.2 or above, and (if applicable) graduate degree GPAs of 3.5 or above.  We encourage anyone who is considering applying to our graduate program to visit our department and meet with our faculty members and current graduate students.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications for admission to the fall semester is June 1 and November 1 for the spring semester. (Late applications may be considered on an individual basis.) The Department of Sociology does not admit students during the summer session.

Students interested in being considered for a doctoral assistantship must submit their application materials (along with a letter of interest a) indicating that they wish to be considered for an assistantship and b) elaborating why they feel they would be a good candidate for an assistantship) by January 5 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester.

Application Materials

Applicants must submit to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions Office:

  • A graduate application
  • Official copies of transcripts from all colleges attended (students with a foreign transcript must submit an evaluation of the transcript from World Education Services ( or Educational Credentials Evaluators (
  • Three references (preferably from former instructors, and in sociology, if possible) in the form of a discursive letter of recommendation and completion of the University of Louisville Letter of Evaluation form
  • A curriculum vitae (CV)
  • GRE scores (GRE scores should be no older than five years unless a graduate degree has been earned within the past five years
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (international students)

Applicants must also submit to Dr. Jonetta Weber (

  • Awriting sample (either the student's thesis or another work of original independent research), and
  • A personal statement (~500-750 words) addressing the questions below and giving the Doctoral Admissions Committee a basis for evaluating the student's interest in and ability to complete the program:
    • Please explain your reasons for applying to the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Louisville.
    • What are your professional or occupational objectives, and how do you envision the department’s program fitting into those objectives?
    • What areas of sociology do you find especially interesting for study and/or research, and with which sociology faculty might you be interested in working?

Program Requirements

SOC 704Proseminar in Sociology-PhD1
SOC 725Organizational Theory3
SOC 730Fundamental Assumptions of Sociology3
SOC 735Classical Theory3
SOC 740Social Policy3
SOC 750Program Evaluation3
SOC 760Social Stratification3
SOC 795Dissertation Research6
SOC 790 and/or electives in Sociology9
Minimum Total Hours34