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Admissions Process FAQ

  PRIOR TO ADMISSION

Q: I’d like to apply to your program. How do I get started?
A: The USF admissions process is 100% online. All application materials (aside from official transcripts and GRE scores) must be submitted electronically.
Q: I have not taken the GRE. Is it mandatory?
A: Yes. The sociology department requires current GRE scores. Our minimum requirements for a M.A. applicant are 153 verbal and 144 quantitative. Our minimum requirements for a Ph.D. applicant are 160 verbal and 144 quantitative. The GRE can be taken online. Unofficial results can be provided to the department immediately.  Official scores must be submitted to USF directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Any admission granted using unofficial scores will not be finalized until official scores from ETS are received. The institution code for USF is 5828 and applies to all tests administered by ETS.
Q: I’m an international student. What are your English language requirements?
A: The university requires that international applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency with a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based test) or 550 (written test) taken within two years of the desired term of entry. In the department, we are looking for TOEFL scores closer to 100 (internet-based test), or IELTS scores of 8 or higher. If you have a choice, we have a preference TOEFL scores.  Your TOEFL (internet-based) score in the Speaking portion of the test must be 26 or higher to qualify for a Graduate Assistantship.
Q: What supporting application materials must I provide?
A: In addition to the documents required by USF (GRE, transcripts, application form, and application fee), students must submit a curriculum vitae/resume, writing sample, personal statement, and 3 letters of reference. These letters should be uploaded to the electronic system by the letter writers after receiving an email prompt (which you will initiate).
Q: I tried applying to your program online and I could not select my desired start term. 
A: Select the next available term and let us know by email that you are applying to an earlier term.  If the deadlines haven’t passed, we will make the necessary change internally.
Q: I’ve submitted my application materials and paid my application fee but I’ve decided to wait until next year to apply officially. Do I need to pay my fee again then?
A: Paid applications are good for one year.  If an applicant applies for a fall term, we can update their desired start term for free to the following fall term. 
Q: I’ve completed my application but I haven’t heard anything from the university. What’s going on?
A: Application files are started only after students have paid the $30 application fee. USF must receive your official or unofficial transcripts and GRE scores. The university will not move the application along until the fee is paid and transcripts and test scores are in, meaning we may not even know that you have applied until then.
Q: My OASIS account shows that my application has been “referred”. What does that mean?
A: This means your application is in process and has been referred to the sociology department for review.  We will correspond with you if anything else is needed to make an admissions decision.
Q: I had my official transcripts mailed to USF. Have you received them?
A: Your official transcripts are most likely in the USF mailroom waiting to be opened and sorted. We will get access to them eventually. KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS MIGHT TAKE A WEEK OR EVEN LONGER. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ORDER YOUR TRANSCRIPTS, DO IT EARLY!!
Q: Must I provide an official transcript from every school that I previously attended?
A: One official transcript from all institutions of higher learning where the applicant has earned a degree is required, but applicants may provide unofficial copies of transcripts to expedite the processing of their applications. Any admissions granted using unofficial transcripts will not be finalized until official transcripts are received in a sealed envelope from the Office of the Registrar where they attended.
All transcripts must be in English; it is the applicant’s responsibility to have transcripts translated/evaluated* (if necessary) before submitting them as part of their graduate application packet. Do not submit USF transcripts if you have attended as a USF degree-seeking student, those will be generated automatically.
Q: I had my GRE scores sent electronically from ETS a while ago. Have you received them?
A: This process also takes a bit of time, allow for at least a week, if not more. In the meantime, you may report unofficial GRE scores to the Graduate School and/or to the department directly.  DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO HAVE YOUR GRE SCORES FORWARDED, DO IT EARLY!!
Q: I’ve lived in Florida my whole life, but my OASIS account says I’m a non-Florida resident. What is going on?
A: All new applicants are labeled as non-resident until their Florida residency has been confirmed.  Your status will most likely change in the near future.

  AFTER ADMISSION

Q: Your department notified me by email that I am accepted. What do I do now?
A: Your admission is not considered official until you receive official notification from the USF Admissions department. You will be able to register once you receive this notification. Details will be contained within this documentation.
Q: Where can I get information on housing and/or the Tampa Bay area in general?
A: Please click on the following link for information on housing at USF: http://www.housing.usf.edu/ and for the Tampa Bay area in general: http://www.visittampabay.com/.
Q: As an international student, how do I start the process to secure a visa?
A: Admitted students need to PDF a copy of their I-20 form to the international services office to ensure they have what they need to secure a visa. It is best to stay in touch with the international services office and the immigration specialists to ensure your questions are answered correctly.

Q; When can I register for classes? 
A: The Sociology Graduate Director will email you a list of graduate courses, and the name of you designated first year mentor. We will enroll you automatically in those courses that are mandatory for new students.  Please discuss the selection of any electives with your advisor prior to enrolling. Please do this as early as possible as courses fill up quickly. We will try our best to save a few seats for new students but we cannot promise that you get into all courses you choose if you wait until the last minute. If there are any problems with course enrollment, please contact the Graduate Programs Coordinator.
Q: How do I go about providing immunization records?
A: Please refer to http://www.shs.usf.edu/incoming-students.aspx for additional information regarding immunization records. If you have specific questions about registration holds pertaining to immunization records, refer to the frequently asked questions and answers.

  ADMISSION WITH GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIP FUNDING

Q: How do I get a computer logon, a parking decal, a key to the building, a key to an office, etc.?
A: Congratulations. The USF “Right Start” process establishes you as a USF employee.  Once you go through this process with human resources you will have an employee ID number which is the number upon which all else depends. Our office manager will provide you with a key and details regarding your office.
Q: When will my office be assigned?  When will I get a mailbox in the department?
A: You will have an assigned office and a department mailbox by the beginning of the academic year. This will be explained more during your orientation, held during the week before courses starts in the Fall.
Q: When do I start working?
A: Your Graduate Assistant contract generally begins the first or second week in August.  (This is your “start date.”) You will be required to participate in a departmental orientation session soon thereafter.  There will be additional orientation sessions prior to the first day of classes. We will notify you of these dates via email as they are scheduled.   Generally, you need to be available for work-related duties starting on the first day or your contract, since this is when you start getting paid.  In short: do not book a vacation until the weekend before classes start!
Q: How do I get paid for the Graduate Assistantship?
A: All new graduate assistants must go through the USF new employee process “Right Start” at least two weeks prior to your employment start date, but please do this as early as you can. This needs to be done on campus in our HR department. There is no need to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome. You will need your original signed contract as well as the required identification listed in your contract to complete the process. If this process is not completed in a timely fashion, your start date and first paycheck will be delayed, if not missed.

Important Contacts

  • Graduate Admissions Office – 813-974-8800
  • Financial Aid – 813-974-4700
  • Office of the Registrar – 813-974-2000
  • Cashiers Business Office – 813-974-6056
  • Student Health Services – 813-974-2331
  • International Services Office – 813-974-5102
  • INTO USF – 813-905-4686

Helpful Links
Grad School departments and program information: http://www.grad.usf.edu/programs_college.php
GRE - https://www.ets.org/gre/
TOEFL - http://www.ets.org/toefl
Transcript Evaluation Services - http://www.grad.usf.edu/graduate-admissions-Foreign-Transcript-Evaluation.asp
Grad School Forms - http://www.grad.usf.edu/student-forms.php
New Grad Student Orientation - http://www.grad.usf.edu/student-forms.php
Graduate Catalog - http://www.grad.usf.edu/catalog.php
Graduate Research & Funding - http://www.grad.usf.edu/research.php
ETD Information - http://www.grad.usf.edu/ETD-res-main.php
Link to tuition and fees:  http://usfweb2.usf.edu/uco/cashaccounting/Current_Tuition_with_Differential.asp
Link to Graduate Assistantships:
http://www.grad.usf.edu/assistantships.php
*Some of these questions and answers have been compiled by the Sociology admissions counselor, Tom Storrison.