University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Berkeley Sociology Graduate Program is the heart of our collective enterprise as a department. 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.

Visit Department Website


Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

    • courses in English as a Second Language,

    • courses conducted in a language other than English,

    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and

    • courses of a non-academic nature.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold a bachelor of arts degree or its equivalent from an institution of acceptable standing and may hold a master of arts in Sociology or another field. Previous concentration in Sociology is not required.

The department does not accept applicants interested in a terminal Master of Arts in Sociology; this graduate program leads to the PhD.

Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS).  The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years. 

Additional Required Documents for Applications (continued from above)

4: Graduate Record Examinations (GRE): A GRE is required for our Ph.D program. GRE scores are only valid for 5 years.  There are no minimum required scores. 

5. Statement of Purpose: Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you.

6. Personal History Statement: In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree.

7. Writing Sample: One Writing Sample of your work in English (e.g. term paper, thesis, publication). Written work should be non-fiction and conducive to evaluation on its own merit. Admission committee members are especially impressed with writing samples that attempt to link theoretically informed arguments with empirical evidence. The average length is 15-20 pages. 

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Required Courses

Students are required to take a minimum of eight courses for the MA. An additional three courses for a total of eleven courses are required to receive the PhD. In their first year, most students are required to take the methods sequence (271A-B-C) and the theory sequence (201A-B). Students who receive special consideration may fulfill all or part of the Methods requirements through a combination of exams, exercises, and/or written work. This option is discouraged because the 271A-B–C sequence is unlike similar sequences offered elsewhere. Students without a previous MA who are exempted from a methods course still need to complete an alternate course in its place. 

Additional course requirements include two 280s (pre-MA, introductions to subfields), one 273 (post-MA) advanced methods course, and three additional elective courses. Some recommended courses are SOCIOL 202s (advanced theory), additional 280s or 290 (special topics). In addition, two graduate-level, sociologically relevant, 3 or 4 unit courses are allowed from a department outside Sociology.  A minimum of 35 units is required to complete the PhD program.  Finally, no more than two substantive, letter-graded independent study 299s are allowed toward the 11-course PhD requirement. 

Students Entering with an MA

Students who enter the program with an MA must meet with the director of graduate studies during their first semester in the department to work out an acceptable program of study. Normally, students who enter with an MA take the five courses required of students seeking the MA at Berkeley (i.e., Sociology 201A, 201B, 271A, 271B, and 271C) or petition for special consideration as described above. Most students also take two other courses (280s). Students who are exempted from one or more of these required courses must still take a minimum of three courses at the MA level.


SOCIOL 200Proseminar1
SOCIOL 201AClassical Social Theory3
SOCIOL 201BModern Social Theory3
SOCIOL 271AMethods of Sociological Research4
SOCIOL 271BMethods of Sociological Research3
SOCIOL 271CMethods of Sociological Research3
SOCIOL 280Two Subfield Courses Required6 total
SOCIOL 273 One Advanced Methods Course Required3
SOCIOL Electives Three Elective Courses Required9-12 total

Normative Time Requirements

Normative Time to Advancement

Normative time to advancement is the end of the fourth year (eighth semester) in the program. Normative time to complete the masters paper is the fifth semester in the program (must also have completed eight of the eleven required courses before this time). Normative time to complete the qualifying examinations is seventh semester in the program (must also have completed the eleven required courses before this time).

Normative Time in Candidacy

Normative time in doctoral candidacy is two years.

Total Normative Time

Total normative time is six years.

Pre-Candidacy Academic Milestones

Master’s Paper

The department requires students to write a master’s paper to receive the MA degree. This paper needs to be approved by an MA committee composed of two to three faculty members. Sometimes these research papers begin as coursework, but the finished product is significantly more developed than a typical term paper.

Qualifying Examination

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to ascertain the breadth of the student’s comprehension of fundamental facts and principles that apply to theory and at least two subfields of sociology. It also determines whether the student has the ability to think incisively and critically about the theoretical and practical aspects of these subfields.


The dissertation prospectus is the last requirement that graduate students must meet before advancing to candidacy. The prospectus is a description of the proposed dissertation research. Through the prospectus, students articulate the topic and research question that motivates the dissertation research; explain why this question is of importance to the relevant fields of study; and describe as thoroughly and succinctly as possible their research design.

Time in Candidacy


The student assembles a committee that generally consists of two regular sociology faculty, one of whom will serve as chair, as well as one regular member from another department at Berkeley. The research project is carried out and analyzed in dissertation form. Most dissertations go through several drafts. Once the committee members accept the final draft, the work is signed and submitted to the Graduate Division as complete. There is no formal defense of the completed dissertation.

Required Professional Development


First-year students attend SOCIOL 200. This proseminar offers an introduction to the faculty and the discipline as well as advice about completing the requirements of the program.

Teaching Opportunities

Students are encouraged to teach during their graduate study in the program as part of their professional training. A significant number of our undergraduate courses offer graduate student instructor (GSI) positions. The department offers training for our new GSIs through our pedagogy course (SOCIOL 375). New GSIs are required to attend the Teaching Conference for First-Time GSIs each year and are encouraged to attend further offerings through the GSI Teaching & Resource Center on campus, including their Certificate Program in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Professional Development Activities


Students are strongly encouraged to attend the sociology colloquium series. The departmental colloquium is generally a who’s who of contemporary sociology. Attending these talks is a very efficient and lively way of getting an overview of the discipline. It is also a means by which students are introduced to the profession.


The department offers a variety of workshops (SOCIOL 292) each semester which is formed in collaboration with faculty and interested students. Topics cover a variety of subfields and topics, such as immigration, race, economic sociology, gender, archival methods, qualitative data analysis as well as mathematical, analytical and experimental sociology. New workshops are often arranged according to student interests.

Professional Conference Attendance and Presentation

Each year our students attend and present at conferences relevant to their research interests, including the American Sociological Conference and the International Sociological Conference, among others.

Job Market Workshops 

Our PhD students have been extraordinarily successful in obtaining research and teaching positions in research-oriented universities as well as more teaching-oriented colleges. A smaller but significant number have pursued careers in research institutes, business, government, and nonprofits.

To prepare for the current job market, we encourage students to produce publishable research papers early in their studies, master both quantitative and/or qualitative research techniques, and gain relevant teaching experience. Students also benefit from presenting their own research in department workshops and at professional conferences.

We encourage all students who are about to enter the job market to attend our departmental Job Market Workshops. These workshops are designed to help locate both academic and non-academic job openings as well as post-doctoral positions and refine application materials. The workshops also help students prepare for the job talk and understand the interview process.



Faculty and Instructors

* Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Irene Bloemraad, Professor. Immigration, social movements, political sociology, multiculturalism, race and ethnicity, Canada, non-profit organizations, research methods.
Research Profile

Robert Braun, Assistant Professor. Altruism and social solidarity, comparative historical sociology, peace, war, and social conflict, political sociology, sociology of religion, social movements and collective behavior .
Research Profile

* Michael Burawoy, Professor. Sociology, Russia, capitalism, industrial workplaces, postcolonialism, socialism, global ethnography, Hungary.
Research Profile

Laura J. Enriquez, Professor. Social movements, political sociology, sociology, development in Latin America, rural sociology.
Research Profile

Neil D. Fligstein, Professor. Sociology.
Research Profile

Marion Fourcade, Professor. Culture, social theory, political sociology, economic sociology, comparative methods, knowledge and science.
Research Profile

Cybelle Fox, Professor. Historical sociology, American welfare state, race and ethnic relations, immigration policy.
Research Profile

David Harding, Professor. Poverty, inequality, causal inference, mixed methods, incarceration, prisoner reentry, education, neighborhoods, urban, community, adolescence.
Research Profile

Heather A. Haveman, Professor. Organizations, economic sociology, entrepreneurship, China, careers and social mobility, gender, social history.
Research Profile

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Professor. Culture, population, social action, intentions, Africa, gender, fertility, marriage.
Research Profile

Danya Lagos, Assistant Professor. Gender studies, transgender studies, LGBTQ communities, survey research methods.
Research Profile

Armando Lara-Millan, Associate Professor. Historical ethnography, urban austerity, medicine, law, criminal justice, organizations, economic sociology.
Research Profile

John Lie, Professor. Social theory, political economy, East Asia.
Research Profile

Yan Long, Assistant Professor. Global and transnational sociology, contentious politics, health and medicine, international development, organizations.
Research Profile

Mara Loveman, Professor. Comparative and historical sociology, political sociology, ethnoracial politics, development, Latin America.
Research Profile

Samuel R. Lucas, Professor. Research methods, demography, sociology, social stratification, sociology of education, and research statistics.
Research Profile

G. Cristina Mora, Associate Professor. Classification, organizations, race and ethnicity, Latino Migration.
Research Profile

Christopher Muller, Associate Professor. Inequality, incarceration, historical sociology.
Research Profile

Trond Petersen, Professor. Inequality, comparative gender inequality, hiring, promotions, wages, quantitative methods, social stratification, economic sociology, comparative studies, and quantitative methods.
Research Profile

Raka Ray, Professor. Feminist theory, gender, social movements, South and Southeast Asian studies, relations between dominant subaltern groups in India, women´_s movements in India.
Research Profile

Dylan John Riley, Professor. Political sociology, comparative historical sociology and social theory.
Research Profile

Michael Rodriguez-Muniz, Associate Professor. Race and Ethnicity, Sociology of Knowledge and Culture, Latinx Politics and Identity, Political Sociology, Du Boisian Sociology, Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods.
Research Profile

Martin Sanchez-Jankowski, Professor. Sociology of poverty, gangs and crime, sociology of violence, race and ethnic relations.
Research Profile

Ann Swidler, Professor. Religion, culture, Africa, AIDS, political sociology, theory, development, NGOs.
Research Profile

Cihan Ziya Tugal, Professor. Political sociology, social movements, religion, Islam and the Middle East, culture, poverty and class, social theory, ethnography.
Research Profile

Kim Voss, Professor. Labor, social movements, inequality, higher education, political sociology, historical sociology.
Research Profile

Loic Wacquant, Professor. Sociology.
Research Profile


Jill A. Bakehorn, Continuing Lecturer.

Laleh Behbehanian, Continuing Lecturer.

Fatmir Haskaj, Continuing Lecturer.

Linus B. Huang, Continuing Lecturer.

Szonja Ivester, Continuing Lecturer.

John W. Kaiser, Continuing Lecturer.

* Mary E. Kelsey, Continuing Lecturer.

Edwin K. Lin, Continuing Lecturer.

Joanna M. Reed, Continuing Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Victoria Bonnell, Professor Emeritus. Labor history, sociology, Russia, comparative development, Soviet Union.
Research Profile

Manuel Castells, Professor Emeritus. Sociology of information technology, urban sociology, sociology of social movements, comparative sociology (current emphases: Latin America, Europe).
Research Profile

Nancy J. Chodorow, Professor Emeritus. Sociology, psychoanalytic theory/psychoanalytic sociology/clinical methods, feminist theory and methodology, psychoanalysis and feminism.
Research Profile

Robert Cole, Professor Emeritus. Japan, management of technology, Japanese work organization, organizational learning, knowledge management, organizational transformation.
Research Profile

Troy Duster, Professor Emeritus. Ethnicity, law, sociology, science, deviance.
Research Profile

Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus. Sociology of sport, family, race and ethnic relations.
Research Profile

Peter Evans, Professor Emeritus. Sociology.
Research Profile

Thomas Gold, Professor Emeritus. Post-socialism, China, sociology, East Asian studies, comparative institutions, Pacific Rim societies, Taiwan, globalization and development.
Research Profile

Leo Goodman, Professor Emeritus. Sociology, statistics, log-linear models, correspondence analysis models, mathematical demography, categorical data analysis, survey data analysis, logit models, log-bilinear models, association models.
Research Profile

Arlie R. Hochschild, Professor Emeritus. Family, market culture, global patterns of care work, social psychology with a recent focus on the relationship between culture, politics, and emotion.
Research Profile

Michael Hout, Professor Emeritus. Demography, sociology, social mobility, higher education policy.
Research Profile

Jerome B. Karabel, Professor Emeritus. Political sociology, sociology of education.
Research Profile

Kristin Luker, Professor Emeritus. Social policy, jurisprudence.
Research Profile

Richard J. Ofshe, Professor Emeritus. Coercive social control, social psychology, influence in police interrogation, influence leading to pseudo-memory in psychotherapy .
Research Profile

Barrie Thorne, Professor Emeritus. Feminist theory, gender theory, ethnography, qualitative methods, sociology, women, sociology of gender, sociology of age relations.
Research Profile

Margaret M. Weir, Professor Emeritus. Political science, political sociology, sociology, American political development, urban politics and policy, comparative studies of the welfare state, metropolitan inequalities, city-suburban politics in the United States.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Sociology

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-4766

Fax: 510-642-0659

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Cybelle Fox

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-4766

Head Graduate Advisor

Mara Loveman

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3495

Director of Student Services

Anne Meyers

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-643-4630

Graduate Advisor

Catherine Norton

422 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-1657

Graduate Admissions & Curriculum Advisor

Amie Thach-Acik

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-1445

Back to Top