Graduate Admissions


January 7, 2022 for Admissions in Fall 2022

The department only offers admission in the fall.  The online application process for admission to our MA and PhD programs opens annually in October (for the following fall) at uApply, McGill’s online graduate admissions system.  The deadline to apply for Fall 2022 is January 7, 2022.  For detailed instructions on how to apply and upload required supporting documents into the application system, see McGill’s instructions on “Preparing to Apply.”  Applicants are notified of the decision of the Graduate Admissions Committee via uApply and by (e-)mailed letter from the department, at the very latest, by the end of April. 

NOTE: It is the applicant’s responsibility to insure that ALL supporting documents are received by the January 7 2022 deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Questions? Contact our graduate.sociology [at] (Graduate Program Coordinator).


The strength of an applicant’s academic record is of key importance in considering his/her application for admission.  The Graduate Admissions Committee assesses applications to both the MA and PhD programs on the basis of the following required materials:

  • transcripts for all coursework pursued at the post-secondary level (including those involving transfer credits)
  • two reference letters
  • GRE results (quantitative, verbal and analytical), only for students who have not received a degree from a Canadian university.
  • proof of English language proficiency  (e.g., TOEFL) only in certain cases
  • a personal statement (maximum 1,000 words, double-spaced)
  • a writing sample (maximum 30 pages)
  • personal CV

The department’s acceptance rate (approximately 10% of the applicant pool) means that admission to our programs is quite competitive.  

Note that the M.A. program in Sociology and related options is primarily organized around the non-thesis degree. We currently do not accept students into the M.A. Thesis option

Degree and Cumulative Grade Point Average

Applicants – whether for an MA or PhD program –should ideally have a Bachelor’s degree with a standing equivalent to a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.3 or better out of a possible 4.0.  The degree may be in sociology or in another relevant social science.  In the latter case, applicants may be required to take additional sociology courses to fill gaps in their background.

            Course Prerequisites: MA Programs

Many of our students enter the MA program having already taken the equivalent of one or more of the following required undergraduate level courses:

  1. SOCI 210: Sociological Perspectives
  2. SOCI 211: Sociological Inquiry
  3. SOCI 330: Classical Sociological Theory
  4. SOCI 350: Statistics in Social Research

For recent syllabi for these courses, see our courses and syllabi page.

Applicants who lack the majority of these prerequisite courses may be admitted to a qualifying semester or year during which they can take the prerequisite courses.  During the ‘qualifying’ period, students must take a minimum of 12 credits (4 courses) per semester.  No more than one qualifying year is permitted.  Each course must be passed with a grade of B+ or higher to be considered for admission to the MA program.  Admission to the qualifying semester or year does not mean automatic admission to the graduate program afterwards.  Applicants admitted for a qualifying semester or year must reapply for the MA program; chances for admission depend on performance during the qualifying period and the quality of the overall application compared with other applicants at that time.  No funding is available for students taking a qualifying semester or year.

Course Prerequisites: PhD Program

We normally expect students applying to our PhD program to have taken the equivalent of the following required courses in our MA programs:

  1. SOCI 580: Social Research Design & Practice
  2. SOCI 504: Quantitative Methods 1
  3. SOCI 600: Qualitative Research Methods 1
  4. SOCI 652: Current Sociological Theory

For recent syllabi for these courses, see our courses and syllabi page.

All PhD students are required to take the first class on this list (SOCI 580: Social Research Design & Practice) during their first year in the program, regardless of whether or not they took a similar class in the past. Students who did not take the equivalent of one or more of the remaining 3 classes will be required – once admitted to the PhD program – to take the missing course(s) during the first year of the program. Students who already took an equivalent class for one of these 3 courses may request the Graduate Program Director for an exemption, though such exemptions are not guaranteed and will be decided on a case-to-case basis.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants who have not attended a Canadian university are required to submit GRE scores (in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytic writing).  Applicants should arrange to take the GRE well in advance of the application deadline in order to insure that the scores reach us electronically by that time; it takes at least 10-15 days from the date the test is taken to be electronically received by usArrangements to take the GRE should be made directly with the Educational Testing Service.  We generally expect applicants to have GRE scores in the 80th percentile or better. 

Proof of English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed a degree from a recognized institution where English is the main language of instruction are required to provide proof of English language proficiency.  For further information, see McGill’s requirements on English language proficiency.  International students may also contact McGill’s International Student Services at 514-398-4349 for more information.

Personal Statement

All applicants are required to submit a personal statement (maximum 1,000 words, double-spaced).  The statement should: 1) outline the applicant’s areas of academic interest (e.g., proposed research topic) 2) identify faculty members of interest (e.g., possible supervisors) and with whom the applicant’s research interests align and 3) discuss future academic and/or career plans.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members with whom they may wish to work – in advance of applying – to ascertain their availability (e.g., ensure they will not be on leave, are able to take on more students).

Writing Sample

All applicants are required to submit ONE research paper or publication in English or French (maximum 30 pages, double-spaced).



In principle, it is possible to pursue graduate studies in sociology on a half-time basis, but we discourage students from pursuing this route.  Why?  Well, first, there is no financial advantage.  You will have to register and pay tuition fees for twice the number of terms.  Second, half-time amounts to no more than a one-third course reduction since McGill requires that you take at least two 3-credit courses per term.  Finally, the courses in our graduate program form an integrated whole which we strongly recommend you take in sequence and in the intended time-frame.

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