For our PhD Applied Social and Economic Research, University of Essex we offer supervision in quantitative research in sociology and other social sciences. This involves the use of secondary data to answer socially relevant research questions and we offer supervision in: social stratification, social class and other forms of disadvantage; social behaviour, beliefs and values; occupational choice and mobility; migration; social change; life cycle and biography; social group identity; sociology of education; and family and socialization.
Studying with us will open doors to an academic career for you, as well as to a professional life in government departments, international organisations and statistical institutions. Several of our PhD students now work at: Department of Economics, University of Chicago, USA; Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia; Department of Economics and Public Finance, University of Turin, Italy; Department of Economics, University of Linz, Austria; Centre for Research on Social Dynamics, Bocconi University, Italy; Applied Microeconomics Research Unit, University of Minho, Portugal; and School of Health Administration, Dalhousie University, Canada.
We also offer an MPhil in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
Why study PhD Applied Social and Economic Research at Essex?
Our Institute for Social and Economic Research enjoys an outstanding reputation at both a national and international level for cutting-edge and high profile research, which is reflected in our publications in top-ranked journals, in our contribution to our University’s outstanding Research Assessment Exercise ratings for economics and sociology, and in our consistently high level of support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Our research focuses primarily on the life course of the individual and the changing nature of society, so our work to date has examined the family, labour markets, income and poverty, social disadvantage and public policy. This means our research is used by academics and researchers around the world, by policy makers, by politicians and by journalists involved in ongoing debates about society.
Our Institute for Social and Economic Research is home to the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, an interdisciplinary centre with a prestigious team of staff who have a wide range of expertise in social science disciplines, including economics, sociology, demography, geography, health research and statistics.
We are also home to the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre (ULSC), funded by the ESRC, which aims to promote longitudinal research. Our experienced and talented team support users of longitudinal data through the provision of advice, information, training in longitudinal analysis and resources to make data easier to use. Methodological research is carried out to improve longitudinal survey methods and to ensure the production of high quality data for users. We run the British Household Panel Survey, which has interviewed the same sample members since 1991, and Understanding Society, the world’s largest longitudinal survey with 100,000 sample members from 40,000 households.
Our PhD students are provided with their own desk, usually in a shared office, and have access to specialist resources such as The Hilary Doughty Research Library, with significant holdings of published and unpublished material on longitudinal and panel data methodology, and its application to economic and policy issues. In addition, you can use our variety of longitudinal and panel data sets, including the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and Understanding Society. Access to such unique materials enhances and furthers your individual research.
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 Institute for Social and Economic Research, 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.
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.
How you will study
Within our Institute for Social and Economic Research, our students invest time mainly working on their thesis under the supervision of one or two researchers. Most of the theses in ISER are organised in three main chapters, plus introduction and conclusions. Ideally, you should produce a complete draft of a new main chapter by the end of each academic year. If your chapter is judged of enough good quality, you can progress to the following year. You can decide to structure your thesis differently, if needed, but you should discuss and agree the structure with your supervisor.
We encourage our PhD students to attend training courses whenever their research requires acquiring new skills. You are also invited to take part in our Institute for Social and Economic Research group meetings and to attend research seminars. You should also present your research work at ourresearch student seminar series at least once per year.
Finalising your PhD
Within our Institute for Social and Economic Research, our students are supposed to have a supervisory board meeting every six months to discuss progress, training needs and other issues. Any potential issue is considered at the Student Progress Research Committee.
You can enter into completion if, by the end of your third year, you have a complete draft of all thesis chapters (excluding introduction and conclusions) and these are of good quality.
Seminars and conferences
Within our Institute for Social and Economic Research, our students attend research presentations by distinguished visiting speakers, as well as by our staff and fellow postgraduates. We run a number of seminar series, as well as occasional research seminars and workshops.
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For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit: www.essex.ac.uk/studentfinance.
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