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Sociology PhD Application - Do I need a MA???


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Hi y'all

I am an international student from Japan graduating in 2017 March. I am thinking of applying to sociology phd programs in the US, entering in 2017 September.

So this is my question. I was just looking at the sociology graduate website of Brown and this sentence came up,

"Although a formal background in sociology is not a requirement for admissions, many of our incoming students do enter our program with Masters’ degrees in sociology or other related fields, and certainly a solid background in the social sciences and clear sense of direction is essential for early success."

I understood that some universities do require prospective students to have a background in sociology. I have no problem with that as I major in sociology. But as soon as I read "incoming students do enter our program with Master's degrees in sociology...," I kinda freaked out.

Do successful applicants in top tier programs/universities often hold a MA in sociology? I know holding a MA would bring along some benefits (publications, TA/RA experience, maybe some work experience) compared to a potential bachelor graduate. But "many of our incoming students"???

I am not focusing on Brown specifically, but how is it like in phd applications in general? 

Some input would be lovely. 

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You will see successful applicants who do hold an MA in sociology, but people pursue master's degrees before applying to PhD programs for different reasons. It is definitely not necessary to have one before you apply.

If you have good GRE scores, a high GPA, strong letters of recommendation, an interesting personal statement, and a decent research fit with multiple professors, then you should be fine. What is most important is to apply widely so you have a better chance of getting accepted. Hope that helps!

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I'm applying for a PhD in sociology and anthropology (depending on my fit at each school) and at none of my current 4 schools do I need a MA degree. Of course I didn't know this because (well, I didn't know I was gonna apply in the States) and I have spend 3 years on a research master here in the Netherlands. I mean I'm happy I did, but its not super fortunate if you take into consideration that at one school you have to partake in their 5 year master anyway. The actual PhD is only 3 years.

In conclusion :P I wóuld do a master in Japan if it is only 1 year and it is not costing you loads of money. I mean, why not develop yourself further? However, if a master in Japan is super expensive and you don't really need it, then why not try to find a job for one year to save some money so you have that as your preparation?  

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