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Hey,

Was just wondering if anyone could offer any advice as to what kind of questions an applicant can expect if offered an interview. Haven't been offered one yet, but figured it would be best to prepare sooner rather than later. Not entirely sure how to go about it, tho.

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14 hours ago, Esenabla said:

Hey,

Was just wondering if anyone could offer any advice as to what kind of questions an applicant can expect if offered an interview. Haven't been offered one yet, but figured it would be best to prepare sooner rather than later. Not entirely sure how to go about it, tho.

What programs are you applying to that you know have interviews? Chicago is the only one I know of. Not sure what advice there is beyond basic interview advice, since they don't appear to be that common.

Edited by xyz234

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22 hours ago, xyz234 said:

What programs are you applying to that you know have interviews? Chicago is the only one I know of. Not sure what advice there is beyond basic interview advice, since they don't appear to be that common.

Wait what? You sure about Chicago? I didn't see any information on an interview on their web page....

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40 minutes ago, syza said:

Wait what? You sure about Chicago? I didn't see any information on an interview on their web page....

Oh no, I should've double checked about this! I did not apply, so I may just be repeating misinformation I heard elsewhere. Take this with a grain of salt and sorry if it stressed you out.

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I do believe that Chicago interviews potential admits; the results page on this site says they had interviews last year, at least. I'm not sure where else does, though. 

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I interviewed several places last year, but I think UCSF was the only sociology program that interviewed. (Other programs were public health/health services research.)

Be prepared to talk about your research interests and how they developed. Be prepared to talk about one or two specific ideas you might propose for a dissertation. (They don’t have to be well developed, and no one will hold you to them. You just need to show you’ve thought about it.) Be prepared to talk about your previous training and experience with quant and/or qual methods and which you prefer. Be prepared to talk a little about your previous experience with theory and how it’s shaped your work. Be prepared to talk about why you want a PhD and what you’ll do with it. Don’t be afraid to think on your feet and toss out ideas. Not everything has to be perfectly thought through. They want to see how you think and respond in real time.

If they tell you who you’re interviewing with in advance, it’s a good idea to read their bio and skim a few papers so you can talk about how your work intersects. It’s also good to be able to talk about who you hope to work with in the department. If you’ve been in touch with them, say so! While you probably have a particular POI, it’s also good to be able to talk about how you fit into the department more broadly. You won’t just have one mentor or work with just one professor while you’re in school. Something like, “I’m hoping to primarily work with X because of their interest in A, B, and C, but I also think I’ll benefit from Y’s experience with [method or topic] and the department’s overall strength in [method or topic]/connections with the D center/interdisciplinary focus on E.”

Finally, remember that an interview is a dialogue. It should give you a better sense of the department’s culture and how you would fit in there as well as giving them a better sense of who you are as a candidate. You will ideally already know a lot of the basics about the department and their process by the time you interview, but definitely have some questions ready to ask them: funding, qualifying exams, time to completion, opportunities to work with other departments if relevant to your interests, etc. Go into interviews thinking, “If I got into every school I applied to, what would I need to know to make my decision?”

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Thank you everyone! I was under the impression that most programs interview before deciding to accept a candidate. Is this not the case?  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Esenabla said:

Thank you everyone! I was under the impression that most programs interview before deciding to accept a candidate. Is this not the case?  

To my knowledge, no. I posted the top 20ish programs' decision dates (which I found through this site's results page) in another thread and if those data are correct/complete, it looks like Indiana and Chicago are the only programs in that group that interview. I know Notre Dame interviews as well. I'll go through and create an equivalent list for programs ranked 20-40 later this week, I think. 

 

TL;DR: You'd think it would be very common, but it isn't. I think it's more common in other disciplines, though.

Edited by sociopolitic
clarity

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