Sociology, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #41 ,
This PhD degree provides a structured programme of research training to equip students with the skills required to complete doctoral-level research in sociology. The degree is an ideal way for students to make an original contribution to the field of sociological research by pursuing a long piece of research on a topic of particular interest to them. An MSc/Diploma by Research in Sociology is also available.


Sociology is an integral part of the Graduate School of Social and Political Studies and our staff are heavily involved in teaching on the ESRC recognised Research training courses offered by the School. These courses form the shared core of our programme of research training in social and political science. The programme aims to equip postgraduate researchers with skills in key research methods, and in the use and interpretation of techniques for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. It is designed to ensure that all students attain the level of competence set by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) postgraduate research training guidelines.

Sociology Postgraduates who do not have an ESRC recognised MSC qualification (or equivalent) are expected to spend part of their first year following a programme of research training, drawn from the core MSc by Research courses. All students, irrespective of prior training, are expected to take the core course: Advanced Issues in Sociological Research & The Writing Workshop. The course focuses on the organisation of research in practice, rather than just understanding the abstract principles behind it and introduces students to the range of work undertaken in the Sociology subject area. Students are expected to present their research ideas and plans to peers and discuss research design in a constructive and supportive environment. The Workshop aspect of the course seeks to develop practical sociological craft skills that are directed towards producing a successful PhD thesis and getting your ideas into publication.

Edinburgh Sociology is one of the premier research units in the United Kingdom, as indicated by its excellent rating in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. We have a long-standing commitment to original empirical and theoretical work on society, and to the production of cultural and scientific knowledge. We work closely with other colleagues in the School of Social and Political Science and supervise many cross-disciplinary projects.

Applications are particularly welcome from students wishing to specialise in:

  • auto/biography and narrative studies;
  • comparative sociology;
  • South Asian studies;
  • Southern Africa;
  • family and intimate relations;
  • innovation in genomics;
  • medical sociology;
  • health and illness;
  • nationalism studies;
  • constitutional change and governance;
  • social studies of finance and markets;
  • social, cultural and feminist theory;
  • gender, inequality and social stratification;
  • work, consumption and organisations;
  • Scottish society and politics;
  • science and technology studies.


  • This programme (as a stand-alone or combined with the MSc by research) has ESRC-recognition.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • Project Type Open
  • Educational Form Academic

Programme Structure

The emphasis on research training not only means that you will be excellently placed to complete your doctoral research to a high standard but gives you a firm grounding in multiple sociological research methods and modes of analysis. After graduating, you will be able to apply for a wide range of social research and arts and humanities academic posts, contribute to the social science community, contribute to community-provided cultural and media activities, and participate in global networks of professional sociology.

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 6.5

    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.

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  • Minimum required score: 580

    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score: 92

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

  • Degree certificate(s) – for all previous degrees. Please note that this can be provided after assessment in most cases.
  • Final/interim transcript(s) – for all previous and current degrees. Interim transcripts with current cumulative averages are acceptable for those still studying, though the final average is required if the degree has been completed.
  • Grading scale(s) – for each university transcript is submitted.
  • Research proposal – Proposals should be no more than two to three A4 pages for MScR and three to four A4 pages for PhD applications in 12pt Times New Roman font (this does not include references). See the University's Research Proposal information page for help with this.
  • Academic references – Referee email address must be institutional (i.e not a public email account). Uploaded references must be dated within one year of submission, on institutional letterhead, signed in pen (not a signature image) and in a non–editable format.

Student Visa

Students from United States of America need a visa in order to study in the United Kingdom.
Read more about visa information and requirements for this country.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 13800 International
  • GBP 4121 EU/EEA

Social Work (PhD) (Part-time) - 6 Years

  • Home/EU:£2,061
  • Overseas:£6,900


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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