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Admissions to the M.A. Program in Sociology

Priority Application Deadline: February 15

To review frequently asked admissions questions, click here.

Application Process:

Note:  a detailed description of USF Graduate School policies surrounding admission can be found at:

1.  Application and application fee:

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2.  The following materials need to be submitted (uploaded) with your online application:

  • official transcripts from previous college work leading to the B.A. degree.  Successful applicants typically will have an accumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in undergraduate work;
  • official  GRE scores.  Successful applicants typically will have a GRE score of at least 153 verbal and 144 quantitative.  International students must have their transcripts evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation service.
  • international students having earned a B.A. or higher degree in a country whose official language is not English are required to send official TOEFL scores which should be a minimum of 100 (internet based), 600 (paper based).
  • statement of purpose (no more than three pages, essay form) detailing:  Research interests, reasons for seeking a M.A. degree at the University of South Florida, future career goals, a summary of scholarly and extra-curricular activities.
  • a writing sample written solely by the applicant (such as a senior research project or seminar paper) which demonstrates the ability to effectively communicate.

  • three letters of reference from academic sources or others able to judge academic abilities and potential.

  • resume / CV.


    1. All applications are subject to a competitive review by the members of the Sociology Department Graduate Committee. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. 
    1. Students can begin study only in fall semesters. 
    1. Students need not be formally admitted to enroll in graduate courses:  Courses can be taken as a non-degree seeking student ( )  Upon approval of the Graduate Director, it is possible to transfer up to 12 credit hours into the program.  To apply for transfer of units follow the links at  Students requesting such transfers also might be required to provide syllabi and/or samples of work accomplished in these courses.
    1. It is highly recommended that applicants establish contact with the Sociology Graduate Director early in the application process.

Graduate Assistantships for M.A. Students

M.A. Graduate assistantships carry a stipend of around $10,000 per year (two semesters) and a tuition waiver (not including student fees) for 9 hours each semester.

Students with assistantships:

  • must enroll in and successfully complete nine credit hours of course work each semester;
  • are expected to work about 20 hours each week.

Students with assistantships typically serve as teaching assistants to faculty members teaching large-enrollment courses. Depending upon department needs, students in their third and/or fourth semester of assistantship might be assigned to independently teach one course (typically Social Problems or Introduction to Sociology).  If available, such assignments will be offered to students who (a) have at least 18 credit hours in graduate Sociology classes, (b) did exemplary work in the Teaching Sociology course and (c) are making excellent progress through the M.A. program. 

  • must take the Teaching Sociology course (taught in Spring semesters).  Advisors will determine whether a student should enroll in this course during the first or second year of study;
  • should be active members of the Sociology department graduate student community;

Note:  Assistantships awarded to students entering the M.A. program from outside the state of Florida require that students apply at the Office of the Registrar for Florida residency immediately upon entering the program

Applying for an Assistantship: 

Send with the application for admission a short essay describing why you wish to be considered for an Assistantship as well as a description of how the assistantship will affect your ability to progress through the M.A. program in a timely manner.

Award criteria for new assistantships:

Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.  The criteria for being awarded a first-year assistantship is the same as the criteria for entry into the program (GRE, GPA, letters of recommendation, writing sample).

Award criteria for continuing assistantships:

Decisions about renewing graduate assistantships for a second year will be made by the Graduate Committee the end of March.  Barring budgetary shortfalls, students with a first year assistantship will be awarded a second year of assistantship providing there is

  • adequate progress being made through the M.A. program, including evidence that the thesis project is advancing in a timely manner.  It is expected that students applying for a second-year assistantship will sucessfully defend their thesis proposals by the end of May.

            The Sociology Graduate Committee will meet at the end of May to
            discuss the progress of all funded graduate students who are
            applying for a second year of funding.  Depending on
            the circumstances, committee members can decide at that time to not
            renew an assistantship or to renew it for only the first semester of
            the second year. 

  • evidence of responsibility in the first year assistantship.

Other Funding Opportunities

The Office of Graduate Studies offers funding to academically talented individuals who contribute diversity in graduate programs through the USF Graduate Student Success program. Master's students receive $8,000/year for up to two years in addition a tuition waiver. Both newly admitted and continuing students are eligible to apply. Click here for additional information.

Program Requirements

Find the current Graduate Programs Guide here.

To review frequently asked admissions questions, click here.

  • Complete 36 hours of graduate-level coursework including:

Sociology Classes

Core requirements (9 credit hours)
SYA 6126 (Sociological Theory)
SYA 6305 (Sociological Methods)
SYA 6405 (Statistics)
Electives (21 credit hours)
Thesis (6 credit hours)

  • Follow the rules for choosing electives: (a) at least credit 12 hours must be in graduate seminars in Sociology; (b) credit hours can not include SYA 6933 (Teaching Sociology) or 4000 level courses taken for 6000 level credit;(c) no more than 6 credit hours can be transferred from another university (requires Graduate Director approval); (d) no more than 9 credit hours can be taken in departments other than Sociology at USF (such course transfer requires Graduate Director approval); (e) no more than 12 credit hours as a non-degree seeking student can be transferred; (f) no more than 6 credit hours of Independent Study or Directed Research.
  • Constitute a thesis committee consisting of at least three faculty members: (a) the committee chair must be a faculty member in the Department of Sociology; (b) at least one other committee member must hold a Ph.D. in Sociology.
  • Demonstrate the research skills necessary for professional sociologists. This is accomplished through the process of completing a thesis which includes sucessfully (a) designing an empirical study suitable for a thesis project; (b) defending the thesis proposal; (c) conducting the research (d) analyzing the data; (e) writing the results and (f) defending the project.
  • To remain in good standing, students must meet all requirements of the Graduate School including, but not limited to (a) maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0 (B) in all courses; (b) successfully completing at least 6 credit hours of coursework per year; (c) successfully completing at least 2 credit hours of coursework per semester when working on thesis research after coursework is completed; (d) completing all requirements within seven academic years prior to the date of graduation. Complete regulations covering graduate studies at the University of South Florida are found at:
  • It is students’ responsibility to: be informed of, and abide by, all rules and regulations of the USF Graduate School and the Department of Sociology; be informed of, and meet, all deadlines for the USF Graduate School and the Department of Sociology; check e-mail regularly and notify the Graduate Director of any e-mail address changes; be actively engaged in the education process.