Graduate Division

Sociology Ph.D.

Section 1


The Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine offers graduate training in several areas of concentrated expertise, with special strengths in: Immigration, Political Sociology and Social Movements, Global Inequality and Change, and Social Networks, among others.  We welcome students from all areas of sociology and range of theoretical and methodological perspectives.  We are committed to inclusive excellence through diversity and encourage mentoring and collaboration to support the well-rounded education and development of our students as they move through our program.

What Sets Us Apart?

The Department of Sociology is home to several vibrant research clusters including:

  • Culture
  • Economy, Inequality, Labor, and Organizations
  • Education
  • Gender and Family
  • Global Inequality and Change
  • Immigration
  • Population
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Movements and Political Sociology
  • Social Networks.  

We are committed to theoretically informed and empirically grounded scholarship.  We welcome multidisciplinary pursuits, forging links with other units on the campus and beyond including opportunities for study in these areas.  Members of the department have close ties with the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences; the Center for the Study of Democracy; Center for Organizational Research; the Center in Global Peace and Conflict Studies; the Center in Demographic and Social Analysis; the Center in Law, Society, and Culture; and the Center for Immigration, Population, and Public Policy.  We also embrace a broad range of methods – including ethnography, experiments, formal modeling, historical-comparative analysis, and surveys – to pursue answers to questions of substantive and theoretical importance. 

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

6 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

All applicants for the PhD programs must apply online using the UCI Online Application for Graduate Admissions

The graduate application will be available starting at 12:01 AM on September 3rd.

The deadline for applications is December 2nd.

The following items are required as part of the graduate application:

  • Application Fee - US $105 (US Citizens and Permanent Residents); US $125 (international applicants)
  • Application fee waivers are available to qualifying US citizens and permanent residents:
    • Fee waivers are not available to international applicants.
  • GRE scores
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • One (1) Writing Sample

For further information about these requirements, please click here on FAQ for prospective students.

If you have further questions, please visit the School of Social Science's FAQ Page  or contact the Graduate Admissions Office at or (949) 824-7352.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE General Test is required of all applicants for PhD admission. We cannot waive this requirement; even when the applicant has completed an advanced degree at another college or university in the United States.

We cannot accept GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT scores in place of the GREs. We do not require that applicants file scores from any of the various GRE (subject) tests available.

Test scores for Fall admission must be dated no earlier than four years prior.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The internet-based TOEFL(-ibT) is required of all international applicants except citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The test is also required of US permanent residents who did not attend four full years and graduate high school in the United States.

A minimum overall score of 80/120 is required for admission, while a minimum sub-score of 26/30 on the Speaking component of the test is needed to qualify for financial support consideration. We cannot waive either of these minimum score requirements under any circumstances. Neither can we waive the requirement for current TOEFL or IELTS scores.

We can accept current IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores as an alternative to the TOEFL-ibT, in which case a minimum 7/10 (overall) is required for admission, and 8/10 (Speaking component) for financial support consideration.

TOEFL-ibt or IELTS test scores for Fall  admission must be dated no earlier than February of the previous year.

Financial Support

All applications for PhD admission are considered also for financial support, and all admission offers to Sociology currently include five years of funding. Applicants are not required to apply separately for admission and financial support.

Virtually all our incoming Ph.D. students have some form of financial assistance. The department awards merit-based fellowships and assistantship guarantees to incoming students on the strength of their individual applications as a whole. We give careful consideration to letters of recommendation, to the skills and capacities evidenced by writing samples, and to educational achievements indicated by test scores, grade-point averages, and academic honors.

All applicants are automatically considered for a variety of funding options. Departmental support takes many forms, ranging from full fellowships and tuition to competitive aid packages offering various combinations of fellowships, tuition and/or fee credits, teaching or research assistantships, and/or loans. In addition, there are a number of competitive fellowships. Among these are the Cota Robles Fellowship and the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship to encourage diversity and the Chancellors Fellowship, and the Regents Fellowship. Additional information about financial aid is available through the UCI Graduate Office. Particularly qualified applicants across the various subfields are encouraged to consider extramural application to nationally competitive graduate fellowship programs.

The Department also offers a variable number of multi-year fellowship packages. These consist of various combinations of financial support and Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantships. These multi-year fellowships and fellowship packages are awarded to the most competitive candidates for admission.

In addition, the Center for the Study of Democracy offers several Democracy Fellowships for incoming Ph.D. students in political science or sociology who participate in the training program and activities of the Center. The program focuses on the empirical study of democracy in the United States and internationally. These awards normally include fellowship support for the first year, and TA commitments for additional years.

After the first year, TAships are the basic funding vehicle for most students. A number of graduate students are employed by externally funded research projects organized by members of the faculty. The University and the School of Social Sciences also provides competitive dissertation research fellowships for top ranked students admitted to candidacy, and our dissertation students are generally very competitive for both campus-wide and extramural fellowships.

All offers to non-residents of California, including non-US citizen international students, include nonresident tuition in the first year or two of study.

Financial assistance based on need (loans, primarily) is available to qualifying student applicants, through UCI Financial Aid &  Scholarships:

All students applying for need-based financial aid are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

International students who are not US citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply for federal need-based financial aid. Further information on assistantships and funding resources can be found here.

Applying for Extramural Funding

Any time you apply for extramural funding (funding coming from a source other than UC Irvine), you will need to work with Maryann (SSPB 4215; 949.824.7637; ) to get your proposal approved by the Dean's office and Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA).  Our office needs three weeks prior to the due date to help get you started. For example, if you have a deadline of Oct. 21st, you should notify Brenda of your intention to submit no later than October 1st. We understand that sometimes you may not find out about an opportunity till very close to the deadline, but please try to help us out by giving us the advance notice whenever possible.  If you have any questions about the process don't hesitate to contact Brenda.


  • Make an effort to identify multiple sources of funding for your project, and find out if you would be allowed to submit your proposal to multiple agencies.
  • Make use of campus resources, such as the Office of Research Development for funding opportunities.
  • Carefully read through the calls and be sure to obtain the most recent guidelines to understand the requirements and restrictions.
  • Seek advice from advisors and allow enough time for your proposal to be read and revised internally.

Initial Steps

  • Begin the approval process with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) if your research project involves Human Subjects.
  • If you are applying to NSF for the first time and need to file through FastLane, please contact Jonathan Lew (949.824.3029) for log in account information.
  • Contact the Department Office at least three (3) weeks prior to the submission deadline to inform your intent to apply:
    • Please send Maryann the web link or email of the program announcement.
    • Answer the following questions:
      1. What is your project title?
      2. Who is your faculty sponsor/advisor?
      3. What are the start and end dates of your projects? (paying attention to the requirement set forth in the program guidelines)
      4. Will there be travel involved with your project? If yes, please list the destination(s).
      5. Would your project involve human subject research? Please answer any and all of the following that applies to you:
        1. If yes, have you started your IRB application?
        2. What is your HS number assigned by the IRB office?
        3. What is the approval date from the IRB office?
        4. If exempted, what is the subcategory number?
        5. Please provide approval letter/email from IRB office
  • By two weeks before the due date, Maryann will need to have an abstract, a budget and a budget justification (at a minimum; see below for more information on budgets). These can be in draft form, but are required for us to get the approval process started with the Dean's office and Sponsored Projects. Note, if the agency is providing just a flat stipend and doesn't request a budget, then the budget documents are not required.

Proposal Preparation

  • Prepare a clear, well organized proposal, following application guidelines. Agency guidelines are organized according to the topics that need to be addressed.  Since reviewers must make sure that each proposal addresses each of these topics, it is usually helpful to organize your proposal around them.
  • Budgets: send Maryann an email listing the project personnel and the initial amount you would like to allocate for supplies and materials, equipment, and travel.  You will need to provide a detailed explanation of the cost estimation methods used in preparing the budget. There should be a separate budget spreadsheet from the budget justification. Here is a sample of a budget spreadsheet. Here is an example of a justification. Of course if the agency has only a set stipend amount that doesn't allow for you to itemize expenses, you will not need to include these budget documents.
  • Additional forms, such as financial disclosure (Statement of Economic Interest), may be required.

Final Copies and Mailing

  • Preparing final copies and mailing of the proposal to the external funding agency are the responsibility of the PI.

Post Award Administration

  • Before any award is set up, SPA will make sure that IRB protocols have been approved and that they have received the financial disclosure forms.  Be sure you have both of these items taken care of promptly so that your award is not delayed.
  • In most cases, SPA is the official office of record and will be notified by the agency if a proposal is funded.  In some cases, the PI will be notified by the external agency directly.
  • SPA will notify the School and PI of the award and will set up an account number for the grant.  If you have been notified personally, please forward the notification to Maryann to set up an account through SPA so that you may be paid through the university.
  • PI should contact the Social Science Business Office for all post-award actions including grant-related hires, payroll, expense spending and monitoring, compliance, no-cost extensions, and award closeout.

Additional Funding Resources

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Edwin Amenta
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1989
political sociology, historical and comparative sociology, social movements, social policy
SSPA 4101 | 949-824-6800

Stanley R. Bailey
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2002
race and ethnicity, religion, immigration, latin america
SSPA 4177 | 949-824-6800

Nina Bandelj
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2003
economic sociology, culture, organizations, globalization, social networks, political economy, globalization, central and eastern europe
SSPB 4263 | 949-824-8872

Frank D. Bean
Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Duke University, 1970
international migration, demography, mexian immigration, racial and ethnic relations, economic sociology, family
SSPA 4139 | 949-824-7497

Catherine Bolzendahl
Associate Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Indiana University, 2006
gender, gender and sexuality studies, the welfare state, political sociology, comparative sociology, family, quantitative methodology
SSPB 4257 | 949-824-1311

Susan K. Brown
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of Washington, 2001
immigration, inequality, urban sociology
SSPA 4175 | 949-824-9382

Jennifer Buher Kane
Assistant Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2011
fertility, population health, social inequality, family, demography, quantitative methods
SSPA 4171 | 949-824-9594

Carter Butts
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 2002
mathematical sociology, social networks, quantitative methodology, human judgment and decision making, economic sociology
SSPA 2145 | 949-824-8591

Katherine Faust
Professor and Co-Graduate Director, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1985
social networks, animal social organization, population processes and social networks, research methods
SSPA 4117 | 949-824-9383

Cynthia Feliciano
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2003
race/ethnicity/minority relations, migration and immigration, education
SSPB 4265 | 949-824-6800

David John Frank
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1995
globalization, sexuality, the natural environment, higher education
SSPA 4107 | 949-824-1117

Rachel Goldberg
Assistant Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Brown University, 2012
health, social demography, family, children and youth, gender, migration
SSPB 4289 | 949-824-9683

Paul Hanselman
Assistant Professor
Ph.D.,  University of Wisconsin-Madison,  2014
stratification/inequality, education, quantitative methods, treatment effect heterogeneity, data visualization
SSPB 4251 | 949-824-1933

Ann Hironaka
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1998
political sociology, war and peace, environmental sociology, ethnic and racial conflict
SSPB 4269 | 949-824-6800

Matt Huffman
Department Chair and Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997
inequality, organizations, work and employment, research methods
SSPB 4219 | 949-824-6460

Julia C. Lerch
Assistant Professor
Ph.D.,  Stanford, 2017
comparative sociology of education, global and transnational sociology, globalization, refugees and humanitarian emergencies, international development
SSPA 4145 | 949-824-1733

David S. Meyer
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Boston University, 1988
social movements, public policy, peace and war, social justice
SSPB 4207 | 949-824-1475

Andrew Penner
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2008
education, inequality, gender, race, family
SSPA 4181 | 949-824-8411

Francesca Polletta
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Yale University, 1994
social movements, democracy, culture, sociology of law, political sociology, social theory
SSPA 4183 | 949-824-5041

Charles Ragin
Chancellor's Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Sociology, University of North Carolina
comparative and historical sociology, social inequality, political sociology, quantitative methodology, qualitative methodology
SSPB 4225 | 949-824-9450

Belinda Robnett-Olsen
Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Diversity, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1991
social movements, race and ethnicity, gender, social change, african americans
 SSPB 4297 | 949-824-1648

Rocio Rosales
Assistant Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D.,  University of California, Los Angeles,  2012
international migration, immigrant and ethnic economies, urban sociology, qualitative methods, ethnography, latino/a studies, race and ethnicity, immigrant detention
SSPA 4189 | 949-824-7884

Rubén G. Rumbaut
Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Brandeis University, 1978
international migration, immigration laws, criminalization, incarceration, social inequality and mobility, race and ethnicity
SSPB 2293 | 949-824-2945

David Schaefer
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Arizona ,  2006
social networks, social psychology, criminology, health, adolescent development
SSPB 4253 | 949-824-6245

Evan Schofer
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1999
comparative political sociology, sociology of education, quantitative methods and statistics, globalization, sociology of the environment, organizations, sociology of science
SSPB 4271 | 949-824-1397

David A. Smith
Professor and Co-Graduate Director, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1984
world systems analysis, urbanization, development, comparative-historical sociology, dependent development in east asia
SSPB 5291 | 949-824-7292

David Snow
Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1976
collective behavior, protest, and social movements; framing processes, social psychology, and culture; homelessness and social problems; and qualitative methods
SSPB 4295 | 949-824-9323

Judith Stepan-Norris
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1988
labor unions, sociology of work, political sociology, american society, research methods, historical-comparative methods, class formation
SSPB 4203 | 949-824-6043

Sabrina Strings
 Assistant Professor, Sociology, UCI
 Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2012
 race, gender, embodiment, sociology of medicine, sociology of media
 SSPB 4209 | 949-924-9745

Yang Su
Associate Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2003
social movements and collective action, political sociology, china's political transition
SSPB 4279 | 949-824-6800

Judith Treas
Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1976
gender, inequality, family, aging and life course, social demography
SSPB 4291 | 949-824-8324

Kristin Turney
Associate Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2009
social inequality; family demography; population health; incarceration and punishment; intergenerational transmission of disadvantage; child wellbeing
SSPB 4283 | 949-824-8846

Feng Wang
Professor, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D. Sociology,  University of Michigan
contemporary demographic, economic, and social processes, social inequality in state socialisms, contemporary china
SSPB 4285 | 949-824-1417

Jacob Avery
Assistant Teaching Professor, Honors Program Director, and Undergraduate Director, Sociology, UCI
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2010
poverty and inequality, culture and interaction, city and community, human services organizations, sociology of knowledge, ethnography
 SSPA 4109 | 949-824-5859

Career Outcomes

career outcomes data

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