Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Sociology & Anthropology

Interested in Graduate School?

The Graduate School Admission Process

Applying to graduate school can be a lengthy and involved process, so we recommend that students begin the process as soon as they know they are interested. Applications for PhD programs are typically due in December or January. Some graduate programs have two separate deadlines (one for admissions and one for financial aid) and applicants are encouraged to submit everything before the earlier deadline. Because admission to graduate programs is extremely competitive, we suggest that students send applications to at least five schools. We encourage students to use the rankings below to choose the schools to which they will apply. Students should use the internet to begin learning about graduate schools’ strengths and specialties and to request paper applications or access to on-line applications.
Once the student has chosen the schools to which they will apply, they should then begin the process of putting together their application. Typically, graduate school applications require the following

  • Transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation (usually three)
  • Personal statement or Statement of purpose
  • Application fees
  • Writing sample
  • Financial aid application

Some applicants also choose to send additional materials, such as a CV (curriculum vita). While many aspects of the graduate school application are straightforward, others require careful thought. Students are encouraged to discuss their interest in graduate school and their applications with professors in the department.

Rankings of Top Graduate Programs in Anthropology and Sociology


Anthropology research-doctoral programs were evaluated by the National Research Council in 1993. The methodology is described in “Rankings of Research-Doctorate Programs in 41 Disciplines at 274 Institutions,” Chronicle of Higher Education 42: A21-A30, September 25, 1995. The ranking is reprinted in Lynn C. Hattendorf Westney (Ed.), Educational Rankings Annual: 2003, Detroit: Thomas Gale, 2003.

  1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

  2. University of Chicago
  3. University of California – Berkeley
  4. Harvard University
  5. University of Arizona
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7. Stanford University

  8. Yale University
--. UCLA
--. University of California – San Diego

  9. University of Florida
  10. University of Texas – Austin
  11. New York University
  12. University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana

  13. University of California – Davis


Rankings of Top Graduate Programs in Sociology-2009 
(from US News and World Report) 

1.    University of California – Berkeley
2.    University of Wisconsin – Madison
3.    Princeton University (NJ)
       University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
5.    Harvard University (MA)
       Stanford University (CA)
       University of Chicago
       University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
9.    Northwestern University (IL)
       University of California – Los Angeles   
11.  Columbia University (NY)
       Indiana University – Bloomington
       University of Pennsylvania
14.   Duke University (NC)
       New York University
       University of Texas – Austin
17.  Cornell University (NY)
       Ohio State University
       University of Washington
20.   Pennsylvania State University – University Park
       University of Arizona
       University of Maryland – College Park
       University of Minnesota – Twin Cities    
       Yale University (CT)
25.   Brown University (RI)
       Johns Hopkins University (MD)
27.   University of California – Irvine
28.   CUNY Graduate School and University Center
       SUNY – Albany
       University of California – Santa Barbara
31.  Rutgers State University – New Brunswick (NJ)
       University of California – Davis
       University of California – San Diego
       University of Massachusetts – Amherst
       Vanderbilt University (TN)
36.   Emory University (GA)
       University of Iowa
       University of Virginia
39.  Florida State University
       University of Southern California