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UCLA sociology - 500 word limit for SOP?

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Hey everyone,

Could anyone familiar with UCLA's sociology department help me out with a quick question on the SOP word limit? The division-wide application portal says up to 500 words allowed, but since this is so much lower than the requirement for all other sociology departments I'm applying to it struck me as odd. I also happened to read someone's statement for UCLA that went significantly over that (1000+ words) from a few years ago who was accepted (I didn't get the statement directly from them so I feel weird to reach out and ask them myself about this). The sociology department website also doesn't specify one way or another, just defers to the "prompts on the application portal". 

I know people advise to stick to the word limit for these things, and that it doesn't look good to the admissions committee if you don't, but I was wondering if anyone specifically familiar with UCLA's sociology admissions might be able to advise on how they view this (I already tried to contact their office but it's closed until monday/past the deadline on sunday). Or anyone not at UCLA: if there's a word limit set division-wide, do admissions committee necessarily default to that? Or if this isn't addressed specifically on the department's website may they not abide by it too strictly?

Reallyyy stressing out about this as deadline is Sunday so any advice would be helpful! ???Thank you!


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I think content is the most important thing. If the admissions committee isn’t interested after the first however-many words, they’ll stop reading. If they are, they’ll continue. My SOP was nearly twice the length it should have been for my NYU application, and somehow I still got in. 

But to answer your question more directly: you probably don’t need to worry. I was accepted to UCLA last cycle and my SOP was definitely definitely definitely longer than 500 words. 

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I definitely recommend writing to the DGS or a POI about the issue. If you can't get in touch with anyone there, my rule of thumb is that the specifications on the department website take precedence over the specs on the portal. (Think about it this way: the department faculty are the ones reading your SOP, and they're also the ones in charge of coming up with and communicating their specific application requirements.)

I'm applying to UCLA's political science program and the department website specifies a different [and fortunately for me, longer] word limit than the one on the division-wide portal [which I assume is the same as the one you're looking at]. So I'd defer to UCLA's sociology PhD landing page first. Especially since UCLA is such a massive university.

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I think they just changed the requirement for this year, because I am pretty sure they said "no more than 3 pages, double-spaced" on their homepage last year. 

If I were you, I would follow what "the prompts within the online application portal" says, which is up to one page, single-spaced.

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