Western University SociologyFaculty of Social Science

Applicant FAQs

Who should I ask for a reference? Can I use professional references?

Two references are required. Every effort should be made to obtain academic references, especially if you have completed any kind of studies (full degree/diploma, individual courses for interest or upgrading, etc.) within the last few years. Academic referees should be current or past instructors (not teaching assistants) who can attest to your research and writing abilities. Academic references are preferred by the Admissions Committee, so even if you can obtain one academic reference instead of two, this will help. If any academic references are not possible, use professional reference(s).

Do I need to contact a faculty member in advance or to find my own advisor?

It is not necessary to find a supervisor at the time of application. In Sociology, the Graduate Chair is the supervisor pro tem for all students. MA students select their supervisor at the end of their first term in the program; PhD students select their supervisor in their first year of study. To ensure that there is someone in the department suitable to supervise you, we encourage you to explore our Finding a Supervisor webpage and note your interest in particular faculty members in your statement.

What should I include in my statement?

The Statement of Academic Interests/Research is a key component of your application to graduate school. The Admissions Committee uses this statement to make admission recommendations, and to match students with faculty supervisors. In this statement, you should explain your interest in graduate studies in Sociology at Western, and outline your research interests. PhD applicants should identify their intended research area, and if possible, outline a research project they would like to undertake, briefly contextualize it in the sociological literature, and outline their proposed methodology. MA applicants may not have a well-formed research topic, but it should be clear from your statement where your interests lie and whether these interests are compatible with department and faculty research strengths. For both MA and PhD applicants, the clearer you can be about your research interests and plans, the better. Although graduate students are not required to have a faculty supervisor upon entering the program, it would be helpful in your statement if you could list faculty members with whom you would like to work, or with whom you share research interests (See our Finding a Supervisor webpage).

How much are tuition and fees? How much funding can I expect to receive?

Graduate students at Western pay fees each term (Fall, Winter, Summer). Fee Schedules are listed on the Registrar's web site. Click here for details regarding funding.

Do you have January admissions (or at any time other than September)?

We have only one intake of new students each year: September. In exceptional circumstances, registration may be deferred for one term, with approval of the program and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

I have missed the application deadline - can I still apply?

Applications received by the applicable deadline will be assessed on a priority basis and recommendations for admission made to these students first. Prospective applicants are advised to contact the graduate program assistant to confirm whether a late application will be considered.  Late applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis if there are still spaces available in the program.

I forgot to include some information on my application/need to make a change. What should I do?

You will not be able to access your application once it has been submitted. You may send changes via email to the graduate program assistant.

I have submitted my on-line application, including all supporting documents. What happens now?

Once you have completed the application, your admission average is calculated and the review process begins. Our Graduate Chair, Department Chair, and four additional tenured professors serve on our Admissions Committee.

PhD files are reviewed by faculty members whose area(s) of research interest match those of the applicant and then by the Admissions Committee; MA files are reviewed by the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee considers all relevant and applicable information including, but not limited to, grades, references, statement, and compatibility with faculty research.

Results of admission decisions will be sent by email.  Successful applicants will receive an Offer of Admission from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as well as a funding letter from the Program. Successful international students will also receive a Letter of Acceptance from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

When can I expect to hear the decision on my application?

The Admissions Committee begins its review of applications early in February. By the end of March, most applicants whose application was received by the deadline can expect to receive a letter, indicating whether they have been accepted, not accepted or placed on “hold”. Being placed on “hold” means either that the committee would like to see final grades before making their final decision or that they are considering the possibility of accepting the applicant but are uncertain, at that time, about the availability of spaces in the program.

How will you communicate my decision/information to me?

Application decisions and all other information is communicated via email. We will use the email provided on your application initially. Those who are extended an offer of admission must activate their Western student email account in order to accept their offer of admission.  Once you begin your program, all email messages will be sent to your @uwo account.

How do I accept (or decline) my Offer of Admission?

Successful applicants must accept or decline their offer on-line. The web link and instructions will appear on your formal Offer of Admission from the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Instructions are also available on the School of Graduate and Postodoctoral Studies web site (see 4. APPLY Passwords and Access).  This step is important even if you are declining the offer as it allows us to extend offers of admission to applicants on waiting lists.

Once you click to accept or decline your offer of admission, a message will appear on your screen to indicate you have successfully accepted (or declined) and this is the only confirmation you will receive. If you are unsure whether you successfully accepted your offer of admission, you can go through the process again; once you have accepted your offer it no longer appears. Therefore, if your offer still appears you did not successfully accept or decline.

Is there anything else I need to know after accepting my Offer of Admission?

Welcome to the program!  All new students are encouraged to browse our Graduate Handbook, starting with the New Students' FAQs page .