Indiana University Bloomington

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Graduate Sociology Program


Overview |  Financial Assistance | Getting Admitted | Diversity

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IU Graduate Student GuideDownload the Guide to Graduate Study, PDF file (300K).

Sociology researchers having named rank at Indiana University.  
Shaffer Professor
William Corsaro
Tom Gieryn
Rudy Professor
Thomas Gieryn
Long 98
Chancellor's Professor Scott Long
Eliza Pavalko
Grimshaw Professor
Eliza Pavalko
Pescosolido 98
Distinguished and Chancellor's Professor Bernice Pescosolido
Brian Powell
Rudy Professor
Brian Powell
Rob Robinson
Chancellor's Professor
Rob Robinson
Peggy Thoits
Roberts Professor
Peggy Thoits

Rudy Professor
Pamela Barnhouse Walters


The graduate program in Sociology at Indiana University ranked 12th among all American graduate departments in scholarly research and 5th in effective teaching of Ph.D. candidates in a 1995 study by the National Research Council. In the 2006 rankings of U.S. News & World Reports, IU sociology ranked 11th nationally. IU graduate students rank the IU department higher than graduate students of other sociology programs rank their departments, according to a 2001 national survey.

A measure of our success is the placement of our graduates in a wide range of employment opportunities. In recent years, Indiana Ph.D.'s have landed jobs in research universities (University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, Emory University, University of Iowa, Duke University, University of Maryland, Ohio State University, University of California - Irvine, and Vanderbilt), teaching-oriented small colleges (Albion College, Winthrop College, Meredith College, Western Maryland College, Depauw University), applied research settings and government agencies (ChildTrends, Center for Disease Control, the State of Indiana) and in the business world.

The sociology faculty assembled in Bloomington consists of a congenial group of researchers and teachers, each with a national reputation in his or her specialty. Faculty members examine a wide range of sociological problems, using a variety of theoretical and methodological orientations. No matter what sociological research interests you might have, you are likely to find someone on the Indiana faculty who shares those interests.

We have a tradition of close collaboration between faculty and students. If you look at recent issues of major sociology journals, you will see that many of our students have co-authored articles with faculty members. At Indiana, students learn sociology not just through formal course work, but also through active participation in faculty research projects. Moreover, our graduate students are prepared well for careers in teaching as well as research. Most will work as teaching assistants for faculty members, as preparation for teaching their own undergraduate courses at IU. In 2001 the department was awarded the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award for our teacher training program.

During the first year of graduate study, students typically take six courses, most of them required for the Ph.D. During the Fall Semester, most students will take S558 (Research Methods) and either  S530 (Introduction to Social Psychology) or S540 (Social Theory). During the Spring Semester, most will take S554 (Statistical Techniques in Sociology I), S510 (Introduction to Social Organization), and participate in the Sociological Research Practicum—the first opportunity to work hands-on with a faculty member on a continuing research project. Students typically select other courses in their areas of interest during the first year. Entering students who have already earned the M.A. degree will pursue a slightly different program of study, depending upon their previous coursework.

(For more details, see the welcoming letters for new graduate students by the Director of Graduate Studies and by the President of the Graduate Student Association.)

Alicia Suarez

Financial Assistance

We provide financial support for virtually all of our full-time students during their first five years in residence (and sometimes after that). Almost all of our students receive fee remissions which cover most tuition costs. In addition, most students are provided a stipend to offset a significant portion of living costs. Most first- and second-year students are funded as Graduate Assistants, assigned for 20 hours per week to assist faculty members with large sections of undergraduate sociology. Students in their third through fifth years are typically funded as Associate Instructors, responsible each semester for teaching a course in their specialty area to 70 Indiana University undergraduates.

Additional financial support for graduate students in Sociology comes from a variety of other sources, both inside and outside the University. In recent years, our advanced graduate students have competed successfully for a number of University fellowships. In addition, the Department of Sociology, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, offers research fellowships to advanced students.

Extramural support for graduate study also has been abundant. During recent academic years, we have had graduate students supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Ford Foundation, American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Spencer Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Javitz fellowship program.  The Department also participates in the Minorities Fellowship Program in the Social Sciences, sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (Big Ten universities, plus Chicago).

Advanced students also are provided financial assistance through faculty members' research grants. During the past few years, students have been supported by grants from the NIMH, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and others. Our faculty's reputation for outstanding sociological research makes it likely that these (or other) external sources of funding for graduate students will continue in the years ahead.


Getting Admitted

We encourage applications from students with strong academic records. In recent years, about 150 applicants have competed for 10 to 12 openings in the first-year cohort. As a very rough rule of thumb, the chances of admission are improved if: (1) your undergraduate grade point average is at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale; (2) your GRE scores are above the 70th percentile; (3) your letters of recommendation indicate a strong aptitude for graduate study in sociology; (4) your personal statement suggests an awareness of the professional demands and rewards of a career in sociology. Please bear in mind that we examine each application carefully, and idiosyncratic or unusual circumstances are taken into consideration.

For additional information about the Graduate Program in Sociology at Indiana University, contact the Director of Graduate Studies: Ethan Michelson—telephone 812-856-1521; email


The University Graduate School created the Emissaries for Graduate Student Diversity program. The goal of the Emissaries program is to provide insight into life as a graduate student at a Midwestern research institution through the voices and various experiences of current IUB graduate students. The Emissaries are comprised of a diverse group of graduate students who apply, interview and receive training in extending that famous Hoosier hospitality (the art of making one feel right at home) to prospective graduate students.

2010-11 features of the program include:

  1. A webpage profiling ten graduate students serving as Emissaries -
  2. The Emissaries' blog, containing reflections about life as a graduate student on the Bloomington campus -
  3. A way to reach individual Emissaries with general questions about becoming a graduate student through e-mail,
  4. Six campus tour scripts featuring places of interest to graduate students. These hour-long walking tours are designed to introduce the campus environment.
  5. Emissaries are available to provide one-on-one campus tours to prospective graduate students.
  6. Panel presentations can be scheduled as part of departmental and graduate program recruitment efforts. Emissaries can share advice ranging from practical issues to IUB being the right place to pursue a graduate degree. To schedule, email: