Graduate Program in Sociology

Graduate Program in SociologyThe Berkeley Sociology Graduate Program is the heart of our collective enterprise. We have been able to recruit superlative students year after year thanks to the efforts of the University, the faculty, and our current graduate students. Students who come here find a graduate program that has been carefully designed to offer them a rich and complete sociological education, while simultaneously allowing space and incentives to explore and develop their original ideas.

We have a great many indicators of both our selectivity and our success. In the past five years, we have averaged around 380 applications to our graduate program. We have admitted about 30 students per year (about 8%) and about 15 come each year. The quality of our graduate students is also indicated by their ability to win nationally competitive fellowships. In the past dozen years, Berkeley graduate students were awarded near one-quarter of the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships in Sociology (53 of 226), almost double that of any other program. In 2011 one third of our entering cohort were NSF Fellows.  In addition, our students support their research with fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Fulbright Graduate Student Program.  They also receive funding for their dissertation research from the National Science Foundation, the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

The U.S. News & World Report published its ranking of sociology programs in the U.S. for 2017.  They rated UC Berkeley Sociology as the best graduate program in the country.


Graduate Students


Our PhD students have been extraordinarily successful in obtaining research and teaching positions in research-oriented universities; recent graduates currently hold faculty positions at Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Chicago, Northwestern, UCLA, Columbia, Cornell, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSF, UCSC, Syracuse, USC, Arizona, Washington, Illinois Urbana-Champaign, MIT, Georgetown, Boston U, SUNY Albany, UMass Amherst, William and Mary, Tufts and Oregon.  Students have also taken jobs at more teaching-oriented schools, such as the Cal State campuses, Oberlin, Wellesley, Barnard, Boston College, Wesleyan and Sarah Lawrence.  Outside the US, students have taken jobs at McGill (Montreal), University College (Dublin), Universidad Carlos III (Madrid) and Tsinghua (Beijing).  A smaller but significant number have pursued careers in research institutes, business, government, and non-profits.

Berkeley graduate students go on to publish widely and influence the field. The American Sociological Association has an annual competition for the best dissertation in sociology. In the 24 years that the award has been given, Berkeley graduate students have won a quarter of the time (6), far more than any other department. Berkeley graduate students frequently end up publishing their dissertations as books. For example, the students who finished from 2000 through 2007 currently have 34 books published or in press.

In short, the Berkeley graduate program receives the best would-be sociologists and then produces the best practicing sociologists.