Scholarships and financial aid

The annual Wayne State University Scholarship Application period runs from October 1 – March 1. Applicants will be considered for the scholarships listed below, as well as the scholarships available throughout the university, by using just one application.

Graduate funding

Fellowships, awards, assistantships, and scholarships for graduates are available at

For sociology specific funding, see the Application for Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships/Scholarships.

Departmental scholarships

Aaron Irving Geselis Memorial Endowed Scholarship 

Mr. Geselis was an undergraduate sociology major at Wayne State University who graduated in 1952. His family has endowed a scholarship to honor his memory. The scholarship is established to recognize scholastic achievement, to encourage continued progress, and to provide assistance to undergraduate and graduate students in financing their education in the Department of Sociology at Wayne State University. Candidates for this award are undergraduate or graduate students majoring in Sociology with an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA in Sociology of 3.3. Recipients may use the award for tuition and other educational expenses.

Frank Hartung Award

Frank E. Hartung was a professor in the Department of Sociology from 1942-1978. He promoted the sociological approach to crime and deviance. He was a great proponent of the notion that crime was a freely chosen behavioral pattern and was not the result of psychological abnormalities.

In 1965, he published Crime, Law, and Society with Wayne State University Press. His published articles covered a variety of topics including: "White-Collar Offenses in the Wholesale Meat Industry in Detroit" in American Journal of Sociology; "Problems in the Sociology of Knowledge," Cultural Relativity and Moral Judgments" and "Social Function of Positivism" in Philosophy of Science; and "Trends in the Use of Capital Punishment" in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. After Dr. Hartung died in 1985, Professor Mary Cay Sengstock wrote, "Frank's writings were not only scholarly explications, they were also delivered in a witty and incisive style which delighted those who agreed with him and infuriated his opponents" (ASA Footnotes, May 1986, page 11).

While Vice President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Professor Hartung testified before the House Special Committee on Education, urging "more highly qualified personnel (e.g., teachers) to staff prisons" (Sengstock, 1986). After Professor Hartung's death, his family, colleagues, and students established the Frank Hartung Memorial Award to recognize students who wrote outstanding papers, theses, or dissertations in sociology. An award in his memory is given once a year to either undergraduate or graduate students. Students applying for the award must write a paper in the area of sociology. This paper could be a course paper, a master's essay, master's thesis, or dissertation.

The recipient of a Hartung award receives a monetary award and plaque. The Hartung Award is given out every year at our annual Student Research and Award Day, and a member of the Hartung family always comes to this event to help us present students with this award.

Lucille Makarov Memorial Scholarship 

This scholarship is provided by Lucille Makarov who expressed at age 84 that she remained deeply grateful to the Wayne State University Department of Sociology for her B.A. degree in 1953, which had enabled her to have a 30-year career at General Motors as a research librarian. This scholarship fund is established to recognize scholastic achievement, to encourage continued progress, and to provide assistance to students in financing their education in the Department of Sociology. Candidates for this award are sophomore or Junior undergraduate students majoring in sociology with an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA in Sociology of 3.3 and demonstrate financial need. Recipients may use the award for tuition and other educational expenses.

Mary Cay Sengstock Diversity Scholarship

In view of the fact that sociologists must be keenly sensitive to the diversity of groups and cultures in modern society, this scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to full-time or part-time graduate students who are contributing to the knowledge and promotion of social and cultural diversity. The contribution of specific social and cultural perspectives should be demonstrated through educational vehicles. Members of racial, ethnic, and other underrepresented groups are particularly urged to apply as is anyone interested in studying the importance of diversity.

The scholarship was endowed by Dr. Mary Cay Sengstock, a former faculty member in the Department of Sociology, to 1-2 graduate students each year, to be used towards tuition and/or other academic fees. Dr. Sengstock funded this scholarship anonymously for four years before her death in May 2014, and it has now been renamed in her legacy.

Outstanding Master's Thesis Award

Given an increasingly competitive academic and non-academic job market, the Department of Sociology has created this scholarship to encourage the production of master's theses at or near the level of a publishable academic paper. The scholarship will be granted up to two times per academic year. Full-time or part-time graduate students who complete a master's thesis in the previous term are eligible to apply. Consistent with the purpose of this scholarship, the graduate committee will score each submitted thesis on the following criteria:  contribution to knowledge, methodological rigor, and professional preparation. The award recipient will be granted to be used towards tuition and/or other academic fees.

Shirley Falconer Slayman Memorial Scholarship

Shirley Falconer Slayman enjoyed her life to the fullest. She was an individual, wife, mother, grandmother, social worker and student enriched by Wayne State University. The purpose of this scholarship is to fulfill her wish to enable others to be equally enriched.   Her husband, William Slayman, established the Shirley Falconer Slayman Memorial Scholarship for Sociology students in her memory in 1993 to recognize scholastic achievement, encourage continued progress and provide economic assistance to female students majoring or co-majoring in sociology at Wayne State University. Applications are accepted from female students at Wayne State University who are specializing in sociology at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Recipients are selected on the basis of financial need, scholastic achievement, qualities of leadership, and commitment to contribute to community improvement, with financial need being the primary consideration. Selected recipients receive the award for one academic year.

Undergraduate Sociology Award for Academic Excellence

This award recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence in sociology. Candidates for this award are sociology majors at Wayne State University whose undergraduate records exemplify academic achievement. Candidates should demonstrate some level of involvement in WSU on or beyond campus in research-based activities, community engagement and/or non-profit work related to our discipline. The award recipient will be granted up to be used toward tuition and/or other academic fees.