Sociology PhD Application Process

Applications open on October 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Applications close on December 15th


We are pleased that you are considering us for your doctoral studies. On this page, you will find detailed information on how to apply to our program.

For more general information about our Sociology PhD program, please visit the overview pages found throughout this site.

Our goal is to make the process of applying for admission as convenient and efficient as possible. All of the forms and instructions you will need are available on this website and the application website. You will first be asked to set up an account and login (with a password) so you can save your progress and re-open/access your application at any time. Please type carefully and use upper- and lower-case letters as appropriate. Before you begin, please review the following.

Technical Requirements

  • Almost all users with personal computers and access to the web should find our application system easy to use and accessible, provided that the computer has up-to-date operating software (e.g., all security patches have been installed). Hand-held devices such as cell phones are unsuitable.
  • All required documents need to be uploaded in PDF format
  • To protect your privacy and security, avoid using computers which are shared by many people, such as those found in airports, hotel lobbies, public libraries, and similar settings. For the same reason, it is unwise to use public/open wireless connections such as those found in coffeehouses, "internet cafés," or hotels.
  • Supported web browsers include the current releases of Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Your web browser should have the normal/default settings for JavaScript and allow cookies.
  • Pop-Up Blockers should be temporarily disabled while using the UCSF web site.
  • When your application is complete and finalized an application fee will be collected; see below for details.
  • Remember to log out of the application after each session.
  • Important information on privacy, security, and your safety is found at the bottom of this page.

Starting your application

The application for our program opens on October 1 and closes December 15 at

  • When starting your application, double check that you have entered the correct email address as it will become both your username and will be where all communication will be sent about your application status.
  • Choose PhD on the "Select your desired academic level" menu.  This will open the option to choose Sociology as your program.

Composing Your Documents

We suggest you keep a copy of each draft as you are developing your CV/Resume, and your Statement of Purpose ("Goal Statement"). We recommend that you ask another person to proofread your statement. A well-written statement of purpose is an essential component of a successful application.

Remember that you can sign in and out of your UCSF application as many times as you may need to as you continue the process of completing each part of your application. We recognize that identifying and summarizing your work and academic achievements can take time and effort.

The application consists of several sections. When you have completed all of the required sections and you have determined that your submissions are ready for review, you may submit your application which marks it as being ready for review by our faculty.

You will be required to arrange for recommendation letters to be sent electronically; on the application website, you will need to provide the name and contact information of your recommender. You will also need to upload unofficial transcripts. Alternatively, you can send transcripts directly to the Sociology Program Administrator (address below). Transcripts sent to the department need to be received before December 15th. Should you be accepted into the program, UCSF will require official, sealed transcripts.  There is no need to send official transcripts unless you are accepted to the program.

Please note:

  • On the December 15th deadline, all existing applications will be locked and further submissions/uploads to your application will be impossible. New applications cannot be started after the deadline; all applications should be initiated well before the published deadline dates. The deadline is enforced using local time (see Time and Your Application below). Only those applications completed, submitted, and paid by the deadline may be further finalized with any missing documentation from third parties and received at the SBS department office.
  • You can check your progress on the application overview column on the left.
  • Do not wait until the last day. Well before the deadline day, be sure your application is complete (final and submitted), your application fee is paid, and all required self-submitted materials have been uploaded. Be prepared for the possibility of service disruptions or computer problems.

Finalizing/Submitting Your Application & Follow-Up Steps

Do not wait until the very last day to finish your application or you will not have enough time to check over and proofread your submission. Unlocking to revise or repair a submitted application is not permitted after the deadline has passed.

When you are confident your materials are complete, final, and ready to be reviewed, you should submit your application. There is no advantage to submitting early, so plan ahead. Be sure to allow time to correct any information you intend to submit before you apply the lock.

Note: fee payment is also required before your application will be reviewed.

Application Fee Payment

When your application is complete and finalized, a fee will be collected; the web site accepts secured payments using credit cards. Alternate payment methods are available and are explained on the application site. Eligible applicants may apply for a fee waiver in the fee payment section of the online application system. 

Some applicants may qualify to have their application fee waived. Although some applicants receive automatic waivers based on prior program participation, waivers must still be processed manually in our system; therefore, requesting a waiver well in advance of the application deadline is necessary. Applicants will NOT be able to submit their application for program review until the waiver has been processed; however, they still have the option to pay the fee.

Waivers are processed each Monday during regular business hours, and applications must be at least 60% complete before a waiver is reviewed. The typical time frame for waiver approvals is one to two weeks. Fee waivers are reviewed only by the Graduate Division Dean's Office and are not visible to or taken into consideration by the program to which you apply.

Note: If you request a waiver less than five days prior to your application deadline, chances are that it will not be approved in time and you will be expected to pay the application fee. Waivers should be requested at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.

Applicants should not email individuals within UCSF to request an application fee waiver. More information on the application fee waiver can be found at the Graduate Division's website.

Privacy, Safety, and Security

As part of this application process you will be sending your private and personal information via internet. Your submissions are encrypted using your computer's browser software for your safety. Check that all currently available updates and patches are correctly installed on your operating system, web browser, and software programs.

We urge you to avoid using public terminals (shared computers, kiosks) or public wireless access points for the application process; avoid situations where eavesdropping or identity theft could occur. We protect your privacy at our end of the application process, but your end is beyond our reach or control.

Also remember that if a virus, worm, or spyware has compromised your computer, your privacy is at risk. Security compromises are likely if you have not installed regular security updates and service packs in the time since it was first put into use. We recommend you keep up-to-date security features offered by your system vendors and service providers. For example, anti-virus software is now offered as a free download by most internet service providers and is widely available online.

It is your first responsibility to be certain your equipment and your software is current, secure, and safe. Review and update your system as needed before you begin uploading any of your personal information through the internet.

The University of California will not share, sell, or release your personal information without your consent.

Time and Your Application

Deadlines are enforced according to the local calendar and time in California. San Francisco is within the Pacific Time Zone and follows Daylight Saving Time. Most UCSF offices are closed during the holiday period from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day. In certain years, deadlines which fall on weekends or holidays and will be enforced on the following normal work day.

All deadlines are enforced according to San Francisco local time.

Ready to Start your Application?

The application for the UCSF Sociology Doctoral Program is found at:

Diversity Statement

The University of California, San Francisco is committed to a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Diversity refers to the variety of experiences and perspectives that arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical capabilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.

UCSF values diversity because it enhances the educational experience, the workplace, and services to the public provided by this campus.