Sociology & Anthropology

Admission Requirements

  • Required GPA:
    • Cumulative: 2.75 or
    • Last 2 years: 3.00
  • Admission Requirements:
    • Transcripts
    • Goals Statement/Statement of Purpose (at least 2 pages)
    • Three Academic Letters of Recommendation
    • Writing Sample (approximately 7 to 10+ pages)
    • GRE not required, but suggested
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Admissions:
      • Domestic students are admitted on a rolling basis in Fall and Spring, meaning that application is accepted and reviewed regularly any time during the academic year.
      • International students must follow the application due dates posted on School of Graduate Studies website—usually April 1st for Fall Intake and August 15th for Spring Intake every year (see
    • Assistantships: Domestic and International Students who wish to be considered for an assistantship need to file a separate assistantship application when they apply for regular admission. See
    • In addition to regular materials entailed in the admission application (e.g., transcript), a full “Review Package” (see section below) needs to be submitted for the review of the Graduate Committee. The following dates are the ideal deadlines for the committee to receive the Review Package from new students.

      • Fall Semester - February 15th
      • Spring Semester – October 15th
  • Review Package:
    • Statement of purpose/goals statement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and writing sample
    • The Letters of Recommendation for the program will be needed before an assistantship decision can be made.
      • Those who are applying for Graduate Assistantships MUST have their writers
        address both abilities for graduate studies as well as fitness for a graduate

      • Those who are NOT applying for Graduate Assistantships are still required to
        submit Letters for Admission addressing abilities for graduate studies.

      • Only three letters are needed, not six.

    • Ideally, the submitted writing sample should demonstrate some degree of sociological
      understanding of an issue or topic of students’ choosing. 

      • A course/seminar paper, honor's thesis, completion of essay assignments, prior publication, or original work geared toward the application will be sufficient. A typical writing sample should range between 7 and 10+ pages. The Writing Sample must be separate from the Statement of Purpose/Goals Statement.

  • Submission Method and Update
    • The School of Graduate Studies is a central office at WIU that processes graduate admissions materials and questions. Please send review package materials should be sent by email to This includes students who wish to update their existing package with new materials (e.g., updated transcript, new writing sample, etc., updated resume, etc.)
    • The link to their application site is:

    • International students who have questions about GPA conversion, living costs, financial proof, visas, and other matters that relate specifically to international students can email International Admissions at

Admission Policies

Not surprisingly, graduate programs in sociology seek to admit sociology majors with high undergraduate grade point averages, high Graduate Record Exam scores, and strong letters of recommendation. The implementation of this policy can vary from program to program.

Sociology Majors

The Sociology master's program admits most applicants who have a bachelor's degree in sociology with an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher. Sociology majors are most likely to be well prepared for graduate work in sociology. They have taken courses in theory, statistics, and research methods which are prerequisites to required graduate courses in these areas. Sociology majors have taken courses in several substantive areas as well, and may already have developed clear, or specialized sociological interests.

We often admit students with undergraduate majors in history, political science, law enforcement, and social work. Through the years, we have also admitted students with degrees in journalism, biology, business, theology, philosophy, psychology, English, mathematics, and nursing. Probably at any one time, about one third to one half of the graduate students in our program have undergraduate majors in sociology. The rest have undergraduate degrees in other areas.

Grade Point Average

Sociology graduate programs look for students with good grades. Even though many graduate schools will admit students on a probationary basis who had undergraduate GPAs of less than 2.5, sociology graduate programs can, and often do, require substantially higher GPAs for admission. The Sociology master's program seldom admits students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.7. Exceptions have been made for students who have strong grades in sociology and who show marked improvement in their academic performance during the last three semesters of undergraduate work. Probationary students with strong letters of recommendation may also be admitted. Students admitted on probationary status must achieve at least a 3.0 grade point their first semester of graduate work.

The Graduate Record Exam

Many graduate programs in sociology require high scores on both the general and sociology components of the Graduate Record Exam. In order to keep our admission process as simple as possible, we do not require, but strongly suggest that students submit Graduate Record Exam scores. Obtaining current GRE scores can seriously delay admission decisions for those who have been out of school for years, applicants having majors other than sociology, and international applications. If GRE scores are submitted with applications, we take them into account in our decision to admit the student.

As an undergraduate applying to a new graduate program, you will probably be unaware of the particular admission policies of the program to which you are applying. Your best course of action is, therefore, to work hard to get the best grades you can, and score high on the Graduate Record Exam. You should also get to know your teachers and academic advisors. These people can provide you with accurate information regarding graduate education and they can write good letters of recommendation for you.


Application deadlines are clearly stated in university graduate catalogs. Attend to these deadlines with care! In general, people seeking admission for fall semester should plan to have all application materials in by late March or early April, particularly if you are applying for a graduate assistantship. Remember to allow time for the U.S. Postal Service to operate, and you should avoid faxing materials. Check with the graduate admission offices to see if letters of recommendation have arrived. Be prepared to remind faculty and others to write your letters of reference.