If you have a strong background in sociology, and a well-formulated research proposal, then our standard three-year PhD could be appropriate. We offer supervision that stretches out across Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Asian sub-continent, with particular strengths in: criminology and social justice; culture and media; economic sociology; ethnicity, migration and rights; intimacy and gender; science in society; social theory and methodology; and survey methodology. Reflecting this, we are home to two major research centres: the Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) and the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship (CISC).
Many of our postgraduates go on to successful academic careers, both in the UK and overseas. Others have established careers in non-governmental organisations, local authorities, specialist think tanks, government departments, charities, media production, and market research.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
Why study PhD Sociology at Essex?
Our Department is top 10 in the UK for research with more than three-quarters of our research rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), meaning our students are taught, supported and supervised by world-class scholars, thus graduating with an outstanding qualification that will help in all your future endeavours.
We are a large and friendly department, offering a range and diversity of research interests and with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication that covers a broad geographical spectrum. Many have worked at the local level with local authorities, justice councils, community partnerships and charities. Others have worked at a national and international level with bodies like the United Nations, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science, Amnesty International, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Home Office and national non-governmental organisations.
At Essex, our library holdings in sociology are strong and there are also relevant archives, including the Peter Townsend archive, as well as an extensive collection of papers relating to the work of Sigmund Freud.
Within our Departmen of Sociologyt, we have an ever-increasing range of open-access computing facilities available for your use and, to furtherassist you with your research, we have bibliographic and qualitative analysis packages available on some of these machines.
We have our own Student Resource Centre which provides a range of support for all our sociology students, including help with study skills.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers.
Within our Department of Sociology, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
How you will study
Within our Department of Sociology, our PhD is a structured three-year programme of advanced study and research. We also offer an MPhil, which is a two year programme. If you wish to undertake a PhD but are not sufficiently qualified, you may be offered our MA/MSc and PhD (four-year programme), where progression to your PhD is conditional on successful completion of your MA/MSc.
We therefore offer two routes to a PhD. If you have a strong background in sociology, and a well-formulated research proposal, you may be admitted directly to do supervised research and complete your PhD. Alternatively, we offer an Integrated PhD, where you follow one of our pathways in your first year, which provides you with Masters-level training, then undertake three years of PhD research.
Finalising your PhD
Within our Department of Sociology, your thesis should be no longer than 80,000 words. We expect our PhD students to complete their PhD within four years of entering, so you will be regularly monitored to ensure this is met.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Seminars and conferences
Within our Department of Sociology, we have a strong research group culture, and our graduate students are encouraged to take part in our weekly Departmental Seminar which regularly features eminent outside speakers.
our renowned off-campus Graduate Conference takes place every February. This sees presentations by our academic staff and students in full panel or poster sessions, as well as being a major social event for all in our Department.
You need the following IELTS score:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more
For research study within our Department of Sociology, we normally require a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. A well developed research proposal is also essential.
However, if you do not have a Masters degree, we also offer a four-year integrated PhD, where your first year is spent doing a Masters before embarking on your research. This preparatory year ensures you develop your knowledge before embarking on your independent research.
If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.
For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit:
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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