The extended deadline for applications for the 2020 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship is May 1, 2020. 


The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to an advanced sociology Ph.D. student who began their study in a community college or technical school. A student advanced to candidacy (ABD status) in an accredited Ph.D. program in sociology is eligible to apply if they studied at a U.S. two-year college either part-time or full-time for the equivalent of at least one full academic year that was not part of a high-school dual-enrollment or enrichment program. Students who attended the international equivalent of U.S. two-year college are also welcome to apply.

The Scholarship carries a stipend of $18,000 from Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) with assistance from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) to be used to support the pursuit of a Ph.D., as well as one-year memberships in SWS (including a subscription to Gender & Society) and SSSP. The first award payment of $9,000 will be given at the SWS Summer Meeting banquet, with the second $9,000 payment to come at the SWS Winter Meeting. Recognizing Beth Hess’s significant contributions to the American Sociological Association (ASA), ASA joins SWS and SSSP in supporting and celebrating the awardee at their Annual Meeting. The awardee’s economy class airfare, train fare or driving mileage/tolls will be paid jointly by SWS and SSSP. ASA also supports applicants for this award via their student travel award program (more than one such award may be given, but students must apply to ASA separately). Each association will also waive its meeting registration and provide complementary banquet and/or reception tickets for the awardee.


To honor Beth Hess's career, the committee will be looking for:

  • Commitment to teaching, especially at a community college or other institution serving less-privileged students.
  • Research and/or activism in social inequality, social justice, or social problems, with a focus on gender and/or gerontology being especially positive.
  • Service to the academic and/or local community, including mentoring.
  • High quality research and writing in the proposal and letter of application.

All else equal, candidates who are already in the writing stage and apparently close to completion will be preferred. While repeat applications are not prohibited, the odds of success are improved by waiting to apply until the applicant is obviously no more than 18 months from defending the dissertation, making the award available to the recipient in the last full year of the Ph.D. program.


Review the list of the past winners for the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship.


Applications for the award should be submitted via the SWS MemberClicks system at in one file.

Any questions should be directed to Sarah Bruch, Beth B. Hess Memorial Subcommittee Chair at: ( ).

Applications must contain the following items in the following order:

  1. A cover sheet with:
    • Name and full contact information, including phone and email
    • Current academic affiliation, with years attended and expected degree date
    • Community college or technical school attended, with years and number of credits completed
    • Name and contact information for graduate faculty reference
    • If included, name of honored faculty member
  2. A letter of application (no more than 2 pages) describing:
    • The student's decision to study sociology
    • Commitment to teaching
    • Career goals
    • Research agenda
    • Service and activism
    • Dissertation project, including progress to date (this summary statement should be approximately 1 page)
    • A description of challenges overcome by the candidate, how these experiences have shaped their service, teaching, and research related to social justice, inequality, or social problems, and their continuing commitment to helping others to overcome challenges specific to them. In recent years these challenges have included family drug use, social class, immigration status, racial minoritization, nonconforming sexuality, etc.
    • Financial need and an overview of how the stipend funds would be used (a budget is not required)
  3. Full curriculum vitae, including all schools, degrees awarded, dates/years of study, and full or part-time status in each.

  4. (Optional) A one-page letter describing a community/technical college faculty member who contributed in a significant way to the decision to study sociology or pursue higher education.

Applicants should also arrange for the following to be submitted via the MemberClicks system. The items below must clearly specify the applicant’s name.

  1. A letter confirming advancement to candidacy (ABD status) in a sociology Ph.D. program and aid award, if any. ABD status is required.
  2. A letter of recommendation from a sociologist.
  3. Transcript (official or unofficial) from the community or technical college attended.

To be considered, all application materials must be RECEIVED by May 1, 2020.

For further information, contact:

Dr. Barret Katuna
SWS Executive Officer


Dr. Sarah Bruch, Chair
Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Subcommittee