Few sociology departments in the country are able to match the level of resources that we now provide to our graduate students. All students are brought into the program with five years of full funding via a Dornsife/Graduate School Fellowship. The fellowship includes a $35,700 yearly stipend (AY 2023-24), health and dental insurance, and mandatory university fees. The Fellowship provides two years of fellowship, without other obligations, and three years of support as a teaching assistant. Students may also be funded by research assistantships and competitive internal and external fellowships.

Incoming students may be selected to receive the Provost’s Fellowship Top Off. These top-offs represent the university’s highest award for incoming students, and increase a student’s stipend to $38,500.

Incoming students may also be awarded Sociology’s W.E.B Du Bois and Ida B. Wells-Barnett Graduate Student Scholars Award. The award is given to incoming graduate students who exemplify the scholarship and spirit of Du Bois and Wells-Barnett, Black critical sociologists and activists. Students will receive two years of paid memberships to a sociological organization of their choice, a $1,000 research fund for the first year, and an additional $500 travel award to attend one Du Boisian Scholar Network Convening or similar convening related to BIPOC experience.

In addition to our financial support package, our graduate students can apply for as many as three different types of additional funding each year. These awards are funded, in part, by the Frey Endowment.

  • The Bessie McClenahan Research Collaboration Grant provides summer research money to graduate students who are working on a paper collaboratively with a faculty member. Bessie McClenahan was the first woman to earn a PhD in USC’s Sociology department in 1928, and became a half-time faculty member in Sociology.

  • The Emory Bogardus Research Enhancement Grant pays for costs related to dissertation research and/or attendance at specialized training seminars. USC’s Sociology department was founded in 1915 by Emory Bogardus, who served as the department’s founding chair for 31 years.

  • The Constance Ahrons Travel Award pays for costs related to participation in professional meetings. Connie Ahrons (1937-2021) joined USC in 1984. She became director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Training Program (MFT) in 1996 and a professor emerita in 2001. She was a founding member of the Council on Contemporary Families. She is widely known for her 1994 book, The Good Divorce. Sociology’s PhD program owes a special debt to Professor Ahrons — she ensured that the Frey Endowment that we use to support graduate student travel and research transferred to our PhD program when the MFT program ended. (Download Form)

In addition, the Graduate School also provides several Advanced Fellowships, including Endowed PhD Fellowships, Research Enhancement Fellowships, the Final Year Fellowships, the Summer Research and Travel Grant and the PhD Achievement Award. Students must have completed two years of study to be eligible.