Sociology and Anthropology

Applying to Graduate School in Sociology or Anthropology?

Here are some things that you should include as part of your application packet:

  • Statement of purpose/interest*
  • Curriculum vitae* (a.k.a. the academic resume)
  • Official transcripts* (1-2 copies)
  • GRE scores*
  • Letters of recommendation (usually 3)
  • Writing samples* (0-2)
  • Application fee ($50-100) – check with the graduate school office of the institution to which you are applying to see if this fee can be waived for financial hardship.
  • Deadlines for submission (usually between Dec. & Feb.)

* indicates more information below

The Statement of Purpose:

  • This is possibly the single most important part of your application
  • Should be approximately 1-2 pages
  • Should include the following information:
    • Why you are applying to the department/institution
    • Your broad research interests (and how they fit with the department’s overall perspective)
    • Your background in addressing/developing these interests (e.g., fieldwork conducted, papers written, conference presentations, travel abroad, competitive awards, key courses that have prepared you or made a significant impact)
    • Your theoretical approach to the discipline (or approaches/scholars that have influenced your way of thinking about the discipline)
    • Do you have a specific research project in mind that you would like to pursue for your master’s/doctoral degree?
    • Which faculty members are you most interested in working with at that department and how do your interests intersect with theirs?

Curriculum Vitae:

  • This is your resume of professional/scholarly activity
  • Generally, you should include some variation on the following subjects:
    • Education (college level, dates of graduation, GPA, cum laude, etc.)
    • List of research interests
    • Honors/Awards (related to your scholarly work; e.g., Dean’s List, Phi Beta Kappa, departmental/university awards, paper awards, etc.)
    • Conference presentations/Publications (Most schools will not expect publications at this point, so don’t worry if you don’t have any!)
    • Research Experience (Participation in field projects, laboratory projects, data collection, etc.)
    • Language Skills
    • Service/Membership in professional societies
    • List of Referees (people submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf and their contact information

Official Transcripts:

  • You will have to request official transcripts from the Registrar’s office (they will send them to the schools/departments to which you are applying)
  • Plan ahead b/c they cost $$
    • $5 (5-7 days processing + regular mail)
    • $20 (Immediate processing + regular mail)
    • $35 (Immediate processing + overnight shipping)

Graduate Record Examination (GRE):

  • Testing is year round at several locations including Prometric Testing Center in Allentown
  • Online registration:
  • Score reporting takes approximately two weeks
  • You will be taking the General test (there are no subject tests for Anthropology or Sociology)
  • Cost = $140
  • 3 Sections: Verbal, Analytical, and Quantitative
  • You can take it once a month – your second score is almost always at least 100 points higher than your first
  • Take a PREP course or download some practice tests:

Writing Samples:

  • Each application will specify whether you should provide writing sample(s)
  • If you are not asked to provide a writing sample, do NOT provide one.
  • If asked to submit a writing sample(s), remember that it does not necessarily have to be a paper written in your discipline. The school wants to see your potential as a writer: your writing style, your analytical skills, and your ability to think/write critically about a topic.

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