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  • PhD Programme
  • Student Life
  • British Journal of Sociology
  • LSE Human Rights

Studying in the Department of Sociology

I would describe my LSE experience in three words: Adventurous, Captivating, Humbling

Yashaswani Bajaj, current BSc Sociology 3rd year

I chose my programme, MSc Human Rights, to experience a multi-disciplinary programme and to enhance my academic knowledge in sociology, law and philosophy

Lowenna Eddy, MSc Human Rights 2023 graduate

My favourite topic studied was the Sociology of Consumption, and my favourite LSE experience was engaging in seminar discussions with both my peers and the academic staff

Rylee Dolezal, MSc Sociology 2023 graduate

Why Study with Us?   LSE’s Department of Sociology was the first to be established in the UK, founded in 1904, and we host a leading peer-reviewed academic journal in sociology, The British Journal of Sociology, established at LSE in 1950. We expand our vital commitments to the role of sociology and the social sciences in forwarding public debate at LSE through our strong links to other LSE departments, centres and institutes, including our direct association with LSE’s International Inequalities Institute. Through theoretically rich and empirically rigorous research, we forge a dynamic engagement with our discipline that encompasses a critical and international outlook and incorporates interdisciplinary exchange. Offering ten programmes across Undergraduate, Taught Postgraduate and PhD, students can expect to study across a comprehensive and diverse range of sociological matters. Students benefit from a vibrant international student body and will study with world-leading faculty who engage with activists, policy makers, community groups, regulators and government bodies, both within the department and the wider School.  

Our Teaching  We are committed to providing all students with a collegial and welcoming educational experience that fosters intellectual curiosity and productive engagement with the changing social world. Students can expect to be taught through a combination of engaging lectures, seminars, classes and workshops, and will be supported in their studies by a virtual learning environment, recommended readings and self-directed study. Lectures are led by both our academic staff and guest lecturers, with classes and seminars creating space for students to develop their knowledge, debate the topics and engage with both staff and fellow classmates. 

Our Research  We strive to conduct innovative research in key areas of expertise, including: economic sociology; politics and human rights; social inequalities; social studies of knowledge, culture and technology; and urban sociology. We are politically engaged scholars, who combine our research with our worldly concerns, and we foster strong research collaborations across disciplines and with non-academic partners. We also co-produce research with partners and the people involved in the research, so that the research we do matters to those who are being asked to participate. We are a lively department, with extensive public events, workshops, conferences and collaborations with internal and external partners and public audiences.  

Our Students  Creating a home to almost 500 students each academic year, our department welcomes students from all corners of the globe who join our vibrant student community. Our students are key members of the department and not only engage with us through teaching and office hours, but also as student academic representatives, student academic mentors, research interns and peer support representatives. Following graduation, our students go into a wide variety of professions including research, politics, public administration, social and health services, law, publishing, marketing, management and much more.        

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Find out about Under- graduate Study

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Find out more about Graduate Study

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Find out more about the PhD Academy

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Find out more about student life at LSE

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Find out more about LSE Careers

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Our Degree Programmes

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Courses Within Our Programmes

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Applying to LSE

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  • PhD Programme
  • Student Life
  • British Journal of Sociology
  • LSE Human Rights

My education

Index of Courses

Sociology courses for current students, this is a list of courses offered by the department of sociology in the academic year 2023-24. , please follow the links below for information about each course..

Courses offered by the Department of Sociology are prefixed by 'SO', e.g. SO100 Key Concepts: Introduction to Social Theory.

For more information on selecting your courses, click here . Extensive student guides are available to guide you through the process.

NB: Half Unit courses run for one term only (either Autumn Term or Winter Term). 

Undergraduate courses

You can find the list of BSc courses for 2023-24 here. 

The above link will list all courses hosted by the Department, you will need to click on the individual course guide where it will list whether it is running this academic year, information on the teaching and assessments and the course convenor. 

Graduate courses

MSc students

You can find the list of MSc courses for 2023-24 here.  

MPhil/PhD students

You can find the list of relevant courses for 2023-24 here. 

students-talking-in-centre-building

Current students Useful links and resources for current Sociology students

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Course type

Qualification, university name, phd sociology in london.

17 degrees at 9 universities in London.

Customise your search

Select the start date, qualification, and how you want to study

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Related subjects:

  • PhD Sociology
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  • PhD Contemporary Studies
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  • PhD Cultural Studies
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  • PhD Demography
  • PhD Development Politics
  • PhD Disaster Studies
  • PhD English Studies
  • PhD Gender Studies
  • PhD Globalisation
  • PhD Government and Politics
  • PhD Humanities
  • PhD Humanities and Social Sciences
  • PhD International Politics
  • PhD International Relations
  • PhD International Studies
  • PhD Japan Studies
  • PhD Jewish Studies
  • PhD Latin America Studies
  • PhD Middle East Studies
  • PhD Middle Eastern Studies
  • PhD Policy Studies
  • PhD Politics
  • PhD Russian Federation Studies
  • PhD Social Anthropology
  • PhD Social Research
  • PhD Social Research Methods
  • PhD Social Sciences
  • PhD Social Studies
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  • PhD Sociology of Specific Subjects
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  • Course title (A-Z)
  • Course title (Z-A)
  • Price: high - low
  • Price: low - high

PhD in Anthropology and Sociology

Soas university of london.

  • 3 years Full time degree: £4,860 per year (UK)
  • 6 years Part time degree: £2,430 per year (UK)

PhD/MPhil Sociology

City, university of london.

  • 2 years Full time degree: £5,110 per year (UK)
  • 3 years Part time degree: £2,560 per year (UK)

Epidemiology and Population Health PhD

London school of hygiene & tropical medicine, university of london.

  • 4 years Full time degree: £6,740 per year (UK)
  • 8 years Part time degree: £3,370 per year (UK)

Sociology and Communication PhD

Brunel university london.

  • 3 years Full time degree
  • 6 years Part time degree

Anthropology MPhil/PhD

Ucl (university college london).

  • 3 years Full time degree: £5,860 per year (UK)
  • 5 years Part time degree: £2,930 per year (UK)

Anthropology PhD

  • 3 years Full time degree: £4,712 per year (UK)
  • 6 years Part time degree: £2,356 per year (UK)

Primary Care and Population Health MPhil/PhD

Mphil/phd visual anthropology, goldsmiths, university of london.

  • 4 years Part time degree: £2,356 per year (UK)

Criminology PhD

Birkbeck, university of london.

  • 4 years Full time degree: £4,712 per year (UK)
  • 7 years Part time degree: £2,500 per year (UK)

Population Health & Environmental Sciences Research MPhil/PhD MD/(Res)

King's college london, university of london.

  • 3 years Full time degree: £6,120 per year (UK)
  • 6 years Part time degree: £3,060 per year (UK)

MRes/PhD Anthropology

London school of economics and political science, university of london.

  • 5 years Full time degree: £4,829 per year (UK)
  • Seminar on Anthropological Research- Core
  • Thesis Writing Seminar- Core
  • Advanced Professional Development in Anthropology- Core
  • Supervised Reading Course and Fieldwork Preparation- Core
  • Evidence and Arguments in Anthropology and Other Social Sciences- Core
  • View all modules

MPhil/PhD Anthropology

Sociology mphil/phd.

  • 4 years Full time degree
  • 7 years Part time degree

MPhil/PhD Sociology

  • 3 years Full time degree: £4,829 per year (UK)
  • SO500: Aims and Methods Research Class- Core
  • Data Analysis Workshop- Core

MPhil/PhD Visual Sociology

Mphil/phd demography (social/formal).

  • Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design- Core
  • Understanding Policy Research- Core
  • Research Student Seminar- Core
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Introduction to Quantitative Analysis

Course type:

  • Full time PhD
  • Part time PhD

Qualification:

Related subjects:.

The side of the Bodleian Library against a blue sky

DPhil in Sociology

  • Entry requirements
  • Funding and Costs

College preference

  • How to Apply

About the course

The DPhil in Sociology provides academically outstanding students an unrivalled opportunity for those who would like to undertake original and independent research in preparation for an academic career and other research-intensive occupations.

The DPhil in Sociology can be taken full-time in three years or part-time over six to eight years. The DPhil is examined by a thesis, prepared under the guidance of one or two academic supervisors.

The DPhil programme offers individualised training in sociological analysis to prepare you for academic life and the job market. You will develop your skills by undertaking empirical research under the guidance of an academic supervisor and by participating in the department's DPhil workshops and seminars. Apart from these DPhil-specific set of seminars, you will be given ample opportunities to present your work in the department, and to develop your research ideas and proposals with the advice and support of your peers. In addition, you will find a wide variety of courses, lectures and seminars taking place all over Oxford, that are relevant for your research and allow you to become a well-rounded sociologist.

As a research student, you will have the opportunity to be fully involved in the department's research environment, which is characterised by a rich tradition of methodologically rigorous empirical sociology. You will be exposed to cutting-edge research undertaken by your supervisor(s), scholars in the department and the many visitors that the department welcomes each year.

Further information about part-time study

The DPhil programme in Sociology is also available on a part-time basis. The part-time version of the degree has the same high standards and requirements as the full-time degree, but spread over six-eight years. The degree is particularly well suited for students who are seeking the flexibility of part-time study. Part-time study also provides an excellent opportunity for professionals to undertake rigorous long-term research that may be relevant to their working life. For more information, please contact [email protected] .

As a part-time DPhil Sociology student, you will be required to attend seminars, workshops, and other events related to your intellectual development in Oxford. Departmentally scheduled events typically take place 2 days per week in the first term of your first year, and up to 3 days per week in the second term of your first year. You may be required to attend additional skills training courses during your first year. You will also be expected to attend the annual departmental DPhil Conference as an observer each year, and to present at the conference in the first term of your fourth year.

You should be present in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days of each academic year of enrolment. Supervisor meetings should take place on a regular basis on dates determined by mutual agreement with your supervisor. Attendance of supervisor meetings may be required outside of term-time.

Supervision

The allocation of doctoral supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Sociology. Allocation takes place as part of the admissions process, and it is helpful for applicants to indicate their preferred supervisor on their application. Moreover, applicants are encouraged to discuss their research plans with potential supervisors in advance of making a formal application, although due to the number of enquiries we receive a response is not always guaranteed. It is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Sociology. You can typically expect to meet your supervisor at least three times a term.

All students will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of four terms as a full-time PRS student or eight terms as a part-time PRS student, you will be expected to apply for, and achieve, transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. This application is normally made in the third term for full-time students and in the sixth term for part-time students.

Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for, and achieve, confirmation of DPhil status to show that their work continues to be on track. This should be done within nine terms for full-time students and eighteen terms for part-time students, though this application is normally made in the sixth term for full-time students and in the twelfth term for part-time students.

Full-time DPhil students are typically expected to submit a thesis after three or, at most, four years from the date of admission. If you are studying part-time, you be required to submit your thesis after six or, at most, eight years from the date of admission. To be successfully awarded a DPhil in Sociology, you must defend your thesis orally ( viva voce ) in front of two appointed examiners.

Graduate destinations

Alumni have gone on to academic/research positions at universities in the UK (eg Cambridge, LSE, Manchester, UCL, Bath, Essex, Birmingham and Durham) and across the world (eg UCLA, Yale, Penn, Stanford, EUI Florence, ETH Zurich, Berlin, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Tsinghua) and to research-intensive jobs in government and international organisations (eg OECD), think-tanks, NGOs and the private sector (eg banks and marketing).

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25

Proven and potential academic excellence.

The requirements described below are specific to this course and apply only in the year of entry that is shown. You can use our interactive tool to help you  evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive .

Please be aware that any studentships that are linked to this course may have different or additional requirements and you should read any studentship information carefully before applying. 

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:

  • a master's degree with a high pass (2.1) or distinction ; and
  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in sociology or a related social science discipline.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

The department will only consider applicants who have a master's degrees in arts, humanities or science subjects if they can demonstrate a strong interest in sociology and have had sufficient methodological training.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0. However, most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7 or above. 

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought, though you may include these scores as part of your application.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Part-time applicants will also be expected to show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and, if applicable, an employer's commitment to make time available to study, to complete coursework, and attend course and University events and modules. Where appropriate, evidence should also be provided of permission to use employers’ data in the proposed research project.
  • Publications are not expected.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.

English language proficiency

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's  higher level . If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) † Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides  further information about the English language test requirement .

Declaring extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.

You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The  How to apply  section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The  How to apply  section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements described under that heading.

References  and  supporting documents  submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our ' After you apply ' pages provide  more information about how applications are assessed . 

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of  the University’s pilot selection procedure  and for  scholarships aimed at under-represented groups ;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about  processing special category data for the purposes of positive action  and  using your data to assess your eligibility for funding , can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the  About  section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our ' After you apply ' pages provide more information about offers and conditions . 

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a  Financial Declaration  in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any  relevant, unspent criminal convictions  before you can take up a place at Oxford.

The Department of Sociology has a vibrant graduate programme. About 60 students are currently engaged in original research for the DPhil degree. Many students come from the United Kingdom and other European countries; the department also attracts students from all over the world, from Chile to China.

The Department of Sociology is based at 42 Park End Street, which is near to the centre of Oxford and the railway station. The Social Sciences Library is the largest freestanding social science library in the UK, and is located in the Manor Road Building. Students also have reference access to the world-renowned Bodleian Library and the many other libraries around Oxford, including the Nuffield College’s library.

Many colleges offer computing facilities and desk space is available in the Department of Sociology for DPhil students. Hot-desking areas with access to printing are also available in the building.

There are also regular weekly lunchtime sociology seminars with many interesting speakers participating.

The Department of Sociology at Oxford is one of Europe's leading research departments,  evidenced by the 2022 QS World rankings .

The department is renowned for its strong analytical, empirical and comparative orientation. The department focuses on developing and testing theories that engage with real world puzzles and problems.

Each year around 30 students are accepted onto the Department of Sociology's MSc and MPhil taught courses. These programmes provide the theoretical and methodological foundations for advanced research. Many MSc and MPhil students go on to study for DPhil degrees either in Oxford or elsewhere.

A select cohort of qualified students are accepted directly into the DPhil in Sociology, which has around 60 students at any point in time.

Many students come from the United Kingdom and other European countries; the department also attracts students from all over the world, from Australia and Singapore to Ghana and Chile, which makes for a diverse and vibrant environment. 

The department prepares students for careers in research-intense environments. Many alumni pursue successful academic careers, but the department also celebrates a substantial number of graduates working in (national and international) government, in think-tanks and in senior positions in the private sector.

View all courses   View taught courses View research courses

The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships , if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. 

For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.

Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:

Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.

Annual fees for entry in 2024-25

Full-time study.

Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

Part-time study

Information about course fees.

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges .

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

Continuation charges

Following the period of fee liability , you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

Where can I find further information about fees?

The Fees and Funding  section of this website provides further information about course fees , including information about fee status and eligibility  and your length of fee liability .

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel, accommodation and living expenses, insurance premiums and, where appropriate, visa and medical fees (eg for vaccinations). Costs can vary considerably according to the duration and location of the fieldwork, but the department would generally expect the cost of such field research to range from £200 to £1,000. If you choose to collect your own data, you may also incur transcription costs. There may also be costs if you choose to acquire quantitative data from non-ESRC sources. The department has no funds available to help with these costs, however, you may be able to apply for small grants from your college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.

If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs). 

If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief  introduction to the college system at Oxford  and our  advice about expressing a college preference . For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.

The following colleges accept students for full-time study on this course:

  • Balliol College
  • Blackfriars
  • Campion Hall
  • Green Templeton College
  • Hertford College
  • Jesus College
  • Kellogg College
  • Lady Margaret Hall
  • Linacre College
  • Nuffield College
  • Regent's Park College
  • Reuben College
  • St Antony's College
  • St Catherine's College
  • St Cross College
  • Trinity College
  • Wadham College
  • Wolfson College
  • Wycliffe Hall

The following colleges accept students for part-time study on this course:

Before you apply

Our  guide to getting started  provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. You can use our interactive tool to help you  evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive .

If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance . Check the deadlines on this page and the  information about deadlines  in our Application Guide.

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to  check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver  before you apply.

Readmission for current Oxford graduate taught students

If you're currently studying for an Oxford graduate taught course and apply to this course with no break in your studies, you may be eligible to apply to this course as a readmission applicant. The application fee will be waived for an eligible application of this type. Check whether you're eligible to apply for readmission .

Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?

Before you apply, you should identify an academic member of staff who is willing to supervise you and has the resources to support your proposed research project. You should do this by contacting them directly. Details of academic staff, including their research interests and contact details, can be found on the department's website.

Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive responses from academics are not guaranteed.

General course enquiries should be directed to the course administrator via the contact details provided on this page. 

Completing your application

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents .

For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application .

If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Proposed field and title of research project

Under the 'Field and title of research project' please enter your proposed field or area of research if this is known. If the department has advertised a specific research project that you would like to be considered for, please enter the project title here instead.

You should not use this field to type out a full research proposal. You will be able to upload your research supporting materials separately if they are required (as described below).

Proposed supervisor

Under 'Proposed supervisor name' enter the name of the academic(s) who you would like to supervise your research. 

Referees: Three overall, academic preferred

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Academic references are preferred, though professional references are acceptable if you have spent a significant amount of time in work.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation for doctoral studies, ability to work independently.

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

Research proposal: A maximum of 3,000 words

Your proposal should give details of the topic you propose to investigate, why it is sociologically significant, and how you would carry out the research. You are encouraged to discuss the research proposal with potential supervisors before submitting the application.

The proposal should be written in English and the overall word count should include any bibliography. 

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

This will be assessed for:

  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the originality of the project
  • understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at the time of application.

Your proposal should focus on the proposed research project rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations.

Written work: Two writing samples, a maximum of 2,000 words each

Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible and should be prefaced by a short note which puts them in context.

The written work ought to have sociological content and should preferably be closely related to the proposed area of study. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes. It is not permitted to submit one 4,000-word essay in place of the two shorter ones. 

This will be assessed for comprehensive understanding of the subject area, understanding of problems in the area, ability to construct and defend an argument, powers of analysis and powers of expression.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please  refer to the requirements above  and  consult our Application Guide for advice . You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide   Apply - Full time Apply - Part time

ADMISSION STATUS

Closed to applications for entry in 2024-25

Register to be notified via email when the next application cycle opens (for entry in 2025-26)

12:00 midday UK time on:

Friday 5 January 2024 Latest deadline for most Oxford scholarships

Friday 1 March 2024 Final application deadline for entry in 2024-25

*Three-year average (applications for entry in 2021-22 to 2023-24)

Further information and enquiries

This course is offered by the Department of Sociology

  • Course page on the department's website
  • Funding information from the department
  • Academic and research staff
  • Departmental research
  • Social Sciences Division
  • Residence requirements for full-time courses
  • Postgraduate applicant privacy policy

Course-related enquiries

Advice about contacting the department can be found in the How to apply section of this page

✉ [email protected] ☎ +44 (0)1865 286183

Application-process enquiries

See the application guide

Visa eligibility for part-time study

We are unable to sponsor student visas for part-time study on this course. Part-time students may be able to attend on a visitor visa for short blocks of time only (and leave after each visit) and will need to remain based outside the UK.

UCL logo

Social Science MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The MPhil/PhD at the Social Research Institute provides a route for students to carry out their own research project within a multidisciplinary and multi-method environment. Our research students engage with the academic community within UCL and benefit from a comprehensive research training programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.

UK tuition fees (2024/25)

Overseas tuition fees (2024/25), programme starts, applications accepted.

  • Entry requirements

The normal minimum requirement is a Master’s degree from a UK university in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed, or a qualification of equivalent standard appropriate to the programme to be followed awarded by a university (or educational institution of university rank) outside the UK. The majority of our successful applicants hold a Merit at Master’s level, and may have additional relevant experience.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website .

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The Social Research Institute is one of the largest multidisciplinary social science research and teaching centres in London. Our staff include sociologists, psychologists, social scientists and economists. We have research-active staff able to supervise research in our key areas of expertise.

Who this course is for

We welcome candidates who have a commitment to social research. They are expected to identify two potential supervisors prior to applying. Overseas applicants also need to satisfy the English Language requirement.

What this course will give you

IOE is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. We are home to many prestigious research centres and projects. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2023), the Institute was ranked first for education for the tenth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), we were ranked first for research strength and research power in Education, according to the Elsevier REF 2021 Results Analysis Tool. We attract extensive research funding each year and host many prestigious research centres and projects.

Doctoral students at IOE have access to the wider UCL community as well as the education cluster constituting the ESRC  UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership . The Institute's programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.

The foundation of your career

Students develop general and specialist skills in research methodology, academic writing and presentation, as well as experience of engaging with a wide range of practitioners across different social science sectors.

Employability

Social Science doctoral graduates are found in a variety of occupational fields and a wide range of career paths including social research, media research, marketing research, human resources, government, health, policy development, charities, education, NGOs, youth work and managerial posts in business and retail.

The Social Research Institute has a wide range of research seminars where students can join discussion of our ongoing projects, and IOE is the base for national and international conferences. The Centre for Doctoral Education holds two annual conferences for doctoral students. There are also opportunities for students to offer specialist reading groups and workshops and to act as facilitators on courses within the research training programme.

Teaching and learning

Our PhD students work closely with a principal supervisor and subsidiary supervisors. At SRI, we have expertise on a wide range of topics. Students will have opportunities to engage in research activities and seminars. In addition, the UCL Doctoral School also offers a range of skills development courses for PhD students.

In addition to UCL's Doctoral Skills Development Programme, IOE's Centre for Doctoral Education provides a comprehensive Research Training Programme.

The Core Course aims to meets the needs of early stage doctoral students.

There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic academic skills courses, as well as student-led workshops and reading groups.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline. It must also represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject, whether through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory, or the revision of older views. It should reflect the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both your own work and that of other scholars in the field.

For those who decide not to pursue the full PhD, or are unable to do so, the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should represent a contribution to the subject, either through a record of your original work or a critical and ordered exposition of existing knowledge.

You must ensure you have adequate time to devote to this research, at least six hours a day (2-3 days a week part time).

Research areas and structure

Our expertise at the Social Research Institute covers the following specialising fields:

  • Children’s rights and advocacy; childhood studies; child development; children in care; maternal and child health; reproductive health; health behaviours; health promotion
  • Families; family formation; parenting; work and family life; fatherhood; motherhood; food practices
  • Gender; sexualities and intimate lives
  • Longitudinal analysis; cohort studies cross-cohort and international comparisons
  • Lifecourse transitions; intergenerational studies; demography; youth and young adulthood
  • Social inequalities; intergenerational and intragenerational social mobility 
  • Education; skills and employment; labour market behaviour
  • Migration; transnational families; sociology of religion; culture and ethnicity
  • Cultural and social psychology
  • Political sociology and the study of social movements
  • Advanced qualitative and quantitative methods; mixed methods and visual methods
  • Systematic reviews of research evidence; study of how research evidence is used in policy, practice and decision making 
  • Time use research; time use data to study social life, gender, work/family balance, family and economics

Research environment

The Social Research Institute (SRI) is one of the leading centres in the UK for multidisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences. With more than 180 academic, research and professional staff, we work to advance knowledge and inform policy in areas including gender, families, education, employment, migration, inequalities, public health, health and child/adult wellbeing. At SRI, our postgraduate research students from all over the world work alongside supervisory teams, staff and current students. Students work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research; supervisors also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support progress towards completion of the final thesis. We offer a wide range of seminars and teaching opportunities. As research students, you will have opportunities to organise your own reading groups, workshops, and seminars, working with other research students in other departments in IOE and UCL.

In addition to the campus-based mode, we offer the option to study online in a distance-learning mode. Choosing the distance-learning mode means that there are no residency requirements and it is not necessary to attend during doctoral study, the viva examination take place in-person at UCL or online. However, you are welcome to visit and use campus facilities including the library, attend seminars etc. In the first year of full-time study (and first two years of part-time study), distance learners take a series of compulsory research methods modules that are studied online. This typically involves provision of materials (articles, eBooks, videos etc.), forums to facilitate discussion of various tasks, and synchronous sessions to discuss the activities. Alongside these you will work with your supervisors on your research (e.g., using Teams/Zoom and email). In addition, there are other resources and training opportunities to support distance-learning students, e.g., sessions to develop generic skills.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time.

You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration.

The Centre for Doctoral Education at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil minimum 20 ‘points’ of training activity in their first year, and are encouraged to fulfil the same in their subsequent years of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status towards the end of your first year of study if full-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you finish writing your thesis.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 5 years for part-time.

IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. A mandatory core course is provided that aims to meet the needs of early-stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic non-credit bearing academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups which you can attend.

Part-time students are required to fulfil minimum 12 ‘points’ of training activity in each year of study. This training can be selected from the UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme, IOE faculty’s Research Training Programme, the multi-institutional Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, and from other sources. Each point is worth approximately a half-day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent. Other activities such as attending and presenting at conferences also count towards research training. Students may undertake additional training beyond these minima, as relevant to their research and/or as agreed with their supervisors.

You are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status at around 18 months if part-time. Students whose performance is satisfactory will transfer from MPhil to PhD status.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk . Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team .

Fees and funding

Fees for this course.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees .

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their thesis.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs .

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding webpage: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/funding-students-postgraduate-research-courses

UCL's Research Excellence Scholarships (RES) are available annually to prospective and existing UCL research students from any country: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/research-excellence-scholarship . The UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership offers studentships annually. More information is found here: https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/

UBEL, RES and other funding programmes are not available to online and non-resident students.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website .

Applications for this programme are accepted throughout the year. It is highly recommended that students start their programme at the beginning of the academic year (usually the end of September-beginning of October). Two supervisors must be identified and agreed upon prior to submitting a formal application. To identify potential supervisors, check the areas of research interest of staff from the departmental staff lists https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/departments-and-centres/departments/ucl-social-research-institute/

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Year of entry: 2023-2024, got questions get in touch.

Social Research Institute

Social Research Institute

[email protected]

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Department of Sociology

LSU Sociology Doctoral Program

As a PhD granting department, we admit all students into our doctoral program and guide them through the milestones needed for successful, timely completion: MA Defense, Completing course work, General Defense, Dissertation Proposal Defense, and Final Doctoral Defense. The MA coursework typically takes about two years to complete and most of our students complete the remaining coursework required for the PhD by the end of their third year. All admitted students have seven years to complete their PhD, though most students complete the program in five to six years.

Annual Reports

To help us guide our doctoral students, we strive to keep updated records of each student's scholarly accomplishments and activities, and progression through the PhD milestones, through annual reports submitted at the end of each academic year. Annual reports are also necessary to ensure that all graduate students maintain satisfactory academic standing. Annual reports are submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies and, after forming a committee, to chair of the doctoral committee.

Transfers from Other Institutions

Students who have completed graduate level courses at other institutions may be permitted to transfer credits toward course requirements at LSU. The maximum number of transfer credits depends upon each student’s situation. All incoming students must take all required core courses at LSU (SOCL 7121, 7131, 7201, 7203, and 7211). Students who have taken equivalent graduate level courses at other universities have an option to “test out” of core courses. Students interested in testing out of core courses should contact the Director of Graduate Studies. Transferred courses must be sufficiently distinct from courses taken at LSU (for example, a student should not transfer in a graduate seminar on Stratification and take the LSU stratification course, too). To request to transfer credits, students should provide course syllabi to their committee chair. The student’s committee will review the student’s request (and meet with the student, if necessary) and notify the Director of Graduate Studies of their decision in writing. The student will earn the LSU course equivalent number of credit hours for each approved course transfer.

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Requirements.

All PhD students must earn an MA at LSU by completing the required coursework and defending an empirical paper or thesis. The MA coursework requirements are based on the philosophy that the MA program should be broad in its orientation. Successful completion of the degree provides students with a background to conduct meaningful scholarly research, and to go on to complete a PhD in sociology. The minimum course requirements include 36 hours of graduate work. Core courses (classical theory, methods, and two statistics courses) should be completed in the first year. See details concerning credit-hours and the course sequence under Graduate Course Requirements . Students may be permitted to transfer some coursework at the graduate level from another institution. In addition to completing required coursework, students must successfully write and orally defend before a faculty committee, a thesis or an empirical research paper. This process typically begins with students forming an MA committee by the end of the first year of graduate study. The committee must be composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members. If it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or Director of Graduate Studies, one graduate faculty member from another department may serve on an MA committee. At least one of the committee members must be a full member of the graduate faculty (i.e., rank of Associate or Full Professor). If the student has a minor, a representative from the minor department must also be on the committee. Before the final semester (generally the spring semester of the second year), and in consultation with the MA committee chair, each student must decide whether to write an empirical research paper or an MA thesis. Most students choose the empirical paper option (also referred to as the non-thesis option) which is designed to introduce students to scholarly writing in a form that is consistent with publishing papers in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal in sociology. As empirical research papers are not considered theses, they are not subject to the formatting requirements for all theses and dissertations which are published in a national database. Each student’s committee chair will provide more information about the specific requirements of an empirical research paper, which, at the discretion of the committee chair may build upon research from a previous master's program at another institution and must meet any added requirements of the committee. Those choosing the empirical research paper option may enroll in SOCL 8900 (Research in Sociology) while writing their paper, but this is not a requirement.

The MA thesis option is also available to all our students, and it is sometimes required for international students as a condition of their funding. Students pursuing the thesis option must write an original thesis at LSU. The format of the thesis may be similar to that of the empirical paper, or it may be more expansive and divided into sections or chapters, depending on the guidance of each student’s committee chair and the requirements of the LSU Graduate School for publishing in the national database of theses and dissertations. Students who elect to write an MA thesis must complete six hours of SOCL 8000 ( MA Thesis Research ), supervised by the MA committee chair. The MA committee chair must agree to the content of the thesis before the student is permitted to enroll in the course. Students who elect to write an empirical research paper should not enroll in SOCL 8000 , as this course is strictly for the thesis option.

MA Defense:

For both the thesis option and the empirical research paper (non-thesis) options, an oral Master’s Defense is required in accordance with normal procedures of the Graduate School. To schedule a Master’s Defense, the student must submit the following two documents to the Graduate School:

  • Request for Master's Defense and Degree Audit
  • Application for Degree (online form)

Students should always download paperwork from the Graduate School , to ensure they use the most recent version. Most forms include this instruction:  Email submission to [email protected] . To avoid errors, we ask each MA candidate to follow the following procedure:

  • Download and complete both forms, following the directions given on the Graduate School website and on the forms themselves,
  • Email the Request for Master's Defense and Degree Audit form to the Director of Graduate Studies to check. Email the confirmation of receipt after submitting the online Application for Degree form to the Director of Graduate Studies to keep with our graduate student records.
  • Make any corrections and collect signatures from the committee members, and
  • Submit the forms to the Administrative Coordinator (Departmental staff person), who will get the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and make a copy for your file.  The Administrative Coordinator will then submit the forms to the Graduate School via email to [email protected] , and copy the student and DGS in the email. After receiving the submissions, the Graduate School will then send the required examination report forms to the Administrative Coordinator in advance of the defense date.

Consulting with the DGS before submitting the forms is critical. MA forms must be submitted by the deadline indicated on the Graduate School Calendar , (typically, late January for Spring semester; early September for Fall semester; or mid June for Summer term). Consult the Graduate School Calendar to determine the latest possible date to file in order to graduate in a particular semester. In addition, both MA forms must be submitted three weeks prior to the date of the exam (students planning to defend early in a semester must be aware of the 3-week stipulation). The empirical paper or thesis must be submitted to the student's committee at least two weeks prior to the MA Defense. 

On completion of the MA Exam, the MA committee will assign one of four grades to be filed with the Graduate School in a timely manner:

  • Pass Plus : The candidate successfully completed and defended the thesis or empirical paper, and is recommended for automatic continuation with the PhD program
  • Terminal Pass : The candidate has successfully completed and defended the thesis or empirical paper, but did not demonstrate to the committee adequate academic and professional aptitudes to continue in the PhD program. The student will earn an MA degree, but they will also be terminated from the program at the end of the semester in which the defense is taken. The committee must provide feedback to the student on why the candidate failed to demonstrate adequate ability
  • Retake :  The candidate has not successfully completed or defended the thesis or empirical paper and that additional analysis and/or writing is required. The committee may also require a second oral defense.  The committee will provide specific feedback on the remaining requirements. Only one Retake is allowed; if a retake is assigned and a second defense is scheduled, the only grades that can be reported for the second defense are Pass Plus, Terminal Pass, or Fail.
  • Fail :  The candidate has not successfully completed or defended the thesis or empirical paper. The student will be terminated from the program at the end of the semester in which the defense is taken. The committee must provide feedback to the student on why the defense was failed.

PhD Coursework

The PhD program in sociology is designed to prepare the student for a career that combines both research and teaching in one or more areas of the discipline. A broad general knowledge of sociological theory and research methods is required of all students. In addition, students should develop a strong specialty area and establish a research program in that area. It is expected that students learn the skills necessary to produce original research. Typically, this is done by developing a close working relationship with one or more faculty members and co-authoring research papers with them. In this way, the student begins as an apprentice and finishes with a substantial research record. The goals of this apprenticeship include presenting papers at professional meetings, publishing papers in professional journals, and participating in the preparation of grant proposals for research funding. The requirements in the right column are the milestones in terms of which student progress is evaluated. Starting in the fourth year the student is expected to gain experience teaching at the university level.

General Defense

Upon completing an MA (or receiving an exemption), each student must take and pass a general doctoral defense. The objective of the general defense is to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the literature in a student’s declared areas of expertise. Students are eligible to schedule their general defense during the semester in which they are completing their final course requirements (not including dissertation credits, SOCL 9000) or at a later date. The General Exam is a committee-driven process. Subject matter and exam structure are determined between students and their chair/committee members, within the parameters outlined below. Preparing for the general defense starts with selecting a dissertation chair and committee. Though not a requirement, it is common for dissertation committee members to be the same as the MA committee members. The student's PhD Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members and the Dean's Representative (designated by the Graduate School). The student may choose one graduate faculty member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or Director of Graduate Studies. For a PhD committee, at least two of the three committee members (other than the Dean's Representative) have to be a full members of the graduate faculty (usually, associate and full professors have full graduate faculty member status). If the student declares an official minor, a faculty member in the minor field must be included in the committee (in addition to the minimum of two sociology faculty members). Together with the committee chair and committee members, each student develops and finalizes a reading list. Because the general exam enables PhD students to gain expertise in broad areas of sociology, the reading list should be much broader in coverage than references for their dissertation. In consultation with their committee, the student selects two or more substantive areas of sociological research for the exam, such as “Work” and “Family” or “Deviance” and “Mental Health.” ” The American Sociological Association’s list of current sections can be helpful in choosing substantive areas but is not an exhaustive list of the options available. The General Defense is based on this reading list and includes a written component and an oral defense. In consultation with their committee, the student may select one of two formats for the general exam’s writing component, as outlined below: 1) a written examination OR 2) a review paper . Each option requires an oral defense, typically administered two weeks after the written exam is completed or review paper is submitted to the committee for assessment. Click here for sample general exam questions .

Written Examination

For written examinations, students begin by selecting a target date for the exam and defense. With their chair and committee members, students create a reading list (see above) that organizes their exam preparation. After their reading list is finalized and approved, students should take approximately 3-5 months to study and prepare for the written exam and oral defense. The written exam can be: (a) open- or closed-book and administered on campus, taking no more than eight hours on a given day (held during one day or two consecutive days) or (b) open-book and take-home, taking multiple days (maximum of one week). Committee members will consider the difficulty of each procedure when assessing performance.

Review Paper

With the approval of their chair and committee, a student can replace the written examination with a review paper. This paper is a critical review of the literature in the substantive areas of sociology their reading list covers. Once the reading list is approved by the committee, it operates as a working bibliography for the review paper. It is likely that additional sources will be discovered in the course of writing and that those sources will be added to the list and cited in the paper. In terms of content, the paper should present and analyze the development of concepts, theory, methodology, and substantive issues in the selected substantive areas. It should both analyze and synthesize the literature(s) covered. The concluding section of the paper should: a) summarize major points made in the paper; b) provide evidence of the author’s unique perspective on the areas and their projections of the direction(s) new research in the areas might proceed. Students may begin writing once their outline has been approved by their committee. Students should take approximately 3-5 months from the time their initial reading list/outline is approved by their committee to complete the review paper and oral defense.

After a reading list is finalized, the candidate should consult with the committee chair to select a date, time, and location (building and room number) for the oral defense.  Every student must consult the Director of Graduate Studies before submitting paperwork for the General Exam. To avoid errors, we ask each candidate to follow the following procedure:

  • Download and complete the Request for Doctoral General Defense and Degree Audit form from the Graduate School , following the directions given on the Graduate School website and on the form itself.
  • Email copies of the completed forms to the Director of Graduate Studies to check.
  • Make any corrections and collect signatures from the committee members.
  • Submit the completed forms, signed by all committee members, to the Administrative Coordinator (Departmental staff person), who will get the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies, make a copy for the student’s file, and submit the forms to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will then send the required examination results forms to the Administrative Coordinator in advance of the defense date.

The form must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the date of the General Exam’s oral defense. After the form is submitted, the Graduate School will choose a Dean’s Representative from another department and will notify the committee chair so they can provide that person a copy of the written exam or review paper prior to the oral defense. If a committee member cannot be physically present and is going to participate remotely, students should review the Remote Graduate Committee Participation guidelines and, if necessary, complete the required form. Before the oral exam, the candidate should get the exam report form from the Administrative Coordinator and give it to the committee chair.  At the discretion of the committee chair, the oral defense may start with the student delivering a short discussion of their exam answers or review paper. The bulk of the oral defense involves the student answering questions about their exam answers or review paper. Provided that the committee tells them beforehand, students may be asked about questions on the exam that they chose not to answer or readings from the list that they did not include in their paper. Students should meet with their committee chair to clarify oral exam expectations. Once the oral defense is completed, the committee assigns a pass/retake grade on the exam report form. If a retake is assigned, the committee will provide specific feedback as to why the student did not pass. The committee will decide how long the student has to retake the general exam.  If a student receives a retake for the review paper option, the committee may direct the student to take the written exam, as described above, for the second attempt. After a second attempt, the committee may only assign pass/fail grades. If a fail is given, the committee will provide specific reasons for why the student did not pass. After graduate students pass the General Examination, they are “advanced to candidacy” and begin work toward their dissertation and final examination.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Before a PhD candidate begins the dissertation research, approval of a proposal by the dissertation committee is required. The candidate works with their committee chair’s input to draft their proposal. After the committee chair’s approval, the student should submit the dissertation proposal to each of the committee members at least two weeks prior to a scheduled meeting with the committee. At the proposal defense, members of the committee may approve the proposal, suggest changes in the proposal, or reject the proposal. The proposal defense is strictly a departmental matter, and the Graduate School is not notified of the defense date or its outcome. Thus, the attendance of Dean’s Representative at the proposal defense is optional, although it is recommended to ask if they are interested in participating as a courtesy. After the committee has approved the proposal, one copy of the approval sheet signed by all committee members must be placed in the candidate's file. The proposal defense must be done at least one semester before the final oral exam on the dissertation. Any major changes in the research design must be approved by all committee members. The proposal should generally include the following items:

  • Approval sheet and title page
  • Subject of the dissertation
  • Significance
  • Preliminary review of the literature
  • Conceptual statement of the problem or clear explanation of the research questions.
  • Research procedure and methodology
  • Timetable, including when data are to be collected, when analysis and writing will be done, and target date for completion
  • General bibliography (typically in ASA Style)

Final Doctoral Defense

PhD candidates typically work very closely with their committee chair while completing dissertation research and writing. Candidates should consult with their committee chair to determine when they will be ready for their final dissertation defense. The Graduate School considers the written dissertation and the final (oral) dissertation defense as integrative; it is not possible to pass one and fail the other. To schedule the Final Dissertation Defense, the Graduate School requires all candidates to submit the following two forms:

  • Application for Doctoral Degree (online form)
  • Request for Final Doctoral Defense

Candidates should always download the most up-to-date version of these forms from the Graduate School .

To avoid errors, we ask each PhD candidate to follow the following procedure:

  • Complete both forms, following the directions given from the Graduate School and on the forms themselves,
  • Email the Request for Final Doctoral Defense form to the Director of Graduate Studies to check. Email the confirmation of receipt after submitting the online Application for Degree form to the Director of Graduate Studies to keep with our graduate student records.
  • Submit the forms to the Administrative Coordinator (Departmental staff person), who will get the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), make a copy for your file, and submit the forms to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will then send the required examination results forms to the Administrative Coordinator in advance of the defense date.

The deadlines for submitting forms are listed on the Graduate School’s Calendar (typically, late January for Spring semester; early September for Fall semester; and mid-June for Summer term). In addition, both forms must be submitted at least three weeks before the date of the final dissertation defense. Candidates must distribute their dissertation manuscript to all committee members (including the Dean's Representative) at least two weeks prior to the final examination. This committee should be composed of the same faculty members as for the General Examination and who approved the dissertation proposal, though this rule recognizes exceptions. The final doctoral examination is an oral defense. At the dissertation defense, the candidate should get the Administrative Coordinator to prepare the Exam Results Form and Doctoral Examination and Dissertation Report from the Administrative Coordinator and give both forms to the committee chair. The committee may render one of three decisions regarding the outcome of the exam:

  • Pass : The candidate has successfully defended the dissertation and is recommended for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology.
  • Fail : The candidate has not successfully completed or defended the dissertation. The student will be terminated from the program at the end of the semester in which the defense is taken. The committee must provide feedback to the student on why the defense was failed.
  • Retake : The candidate has not successfully completed or defended the dissertation. Additional work, which includes a second oral defense, is required. The committee must provide specific feedback on the remaining requirements. The final grade of Pass or Fail must be filed with the Graduate School by the end of the next regular semester.

After the oral defense, the committee chair and Administrative Coordinator submit the Exam Report to the Graduate School. For the degree to be awarded at the end of the semester, candidates must submit their approved dissertation manuscript to the Graduate School by the Thesis and Dissertation Uploading Deadline (typically, late October for Fall semester; mid-March for Spring semester; and late June for Summer term). Consult the Graduate School Calendar for the submission deadlines. The graduate school has more detailed information on final steps and requirements for earning a PhD , including formatting requirements for dissertations and, for those planning to walk, arranging for the cap, gown, and hood needed at the commencement ceremony.

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March 27th, 2024

Increasing diversity in postgraduate phd research: a new lse initiative.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

One of the major strengths of LSE is its international community with students, staff, and faculty coming from a wide range of different countries. Everyone in the LSE community bring their own unique experiences and perspectives, which all serve to enhance the shared academic community we belong to.

What is the ACE PGR Initiative?

As part of the overall plan to achieve the goals set out by the LSE 2030 Strategy, LSE is launching a new pilot programme called the Attaining Comprehensive Equality in Postgraduate Research (ACE PGR) Initiative.

ACE PGR is all about LSE taking concrete and tangible steps to help diversify the postgraduate applicant pool. Research shows that there is a need for universities in the UK to strengthen the academic pipeline for BAME students in the UK. Specifically, black students are among the most underrepresented in academia across the UK.

The initial phase of ACE PGR Initiative is focused on improving and increasing access for UK BAME students to postgraduate research at LSE. All self-identifying UK BAME applicants to MRes/Phil and MPhil/PhD programmes at LSE will automatically be included in the scheme unless they choose to opt-out, which can be done on the online application.

Concrete support

The ACE PGR Initiative will provide the following for students:

  • Application fee will be waived, which will help encourage students to apply for postgraduate research programmes at LSE (where the application fee may act as a barrier to applying)
  • A contextualised admissions process, in line with the  Office for Students’ guidance
  • An academic staff member in the applicant’s desired department will conduct a 15-minute pre-interview session
  • If the applicant is unsuccessful, they’ll be provided with tailored admissions feedback.

Key takeaways

LSE’s international community is strengthened by having a diverse array of students. As a leading UK institution for postgraduate research, the entire university will benefit from the scheme as LSE works to take tangible steps to improve access to postgraduate research programmes for students who have been underrepresented.

ACE PGR Initiative will ultimately focus not only on access for UK BAME students, but also in ways in which LSE can contribute to improving educational experiences and long-term academic success. Additionally, the scheme will provide tangible support to UK BAME students at three different — but equally important — stages within the postgraduate research lifespan: “access” (what the pilot initiative is currently focused on), “student success,” and “career progression.”

This is an exciting programme within LSE dedicated to reducing barriers to higher education in the UK, specifically in the realm of postgraduate research. LSE has ongoing initiatives such as the Access and Participation Plan by the Widening Participation team , which aims to foster increased diversity among LSE’s undergraduate community. The ACE PGR Initiative builds upon this previous and continuing work at LSE to implement support that is specific to postgraduate research applicants and students.

About the author

phd sociology lse

Hi, I'm Mina Rigby-Thompson and I'm in the first year of my MPhil/PhD in International History. I'm from Canada and am really enjoying my first year of living in London. Outside of academics, you'd most likely find me exploring new coffee shops or taking a swim!

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  1. MPhil/PhD Sociology

    Tuition fees 2024/25 for MPhil/PhD Sociology. Home students: £4,829 for the first year (provisional) Overseas students: £22,632 for the first year. The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges home research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend.

  2. PhD Programme

    Email: [email protected] . Share. Email a link to this page Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn. ... London School of Economics and Political Science. Houghton Street. London. WC2A 2AE UK . LSE is a private company limited by guarantee, registration number 70527. +44 (0)20 7405 7686.

  3. Department of Sociology

    PhD enquiries: [email protected]. Communications, events and media enquiries: [email protected]. Research enquiries: Sociology ... LinkedIn FaceBook Twiiter Instagram. London School of Economics and Political Science. Houghton Street. London. WC2A 2AE UK . LSE is a private company limited by guarantee, registration number 70527 ...

  4. MPhil/PhD Admissions

    LSE's MPhil/PhD programmes are designed to be followed full time by fully funded students. However, we recognise that certain circumstances, for example employment, health, disability, caring responsibilities may necessitate your studying part time. If you wish to be considered for part time study, you should mention this in your personal ...

  5. MPhil/PhD Sociology Program By The London School of Economics and

    LSE Sociology embraces a theoretically and methodologically diverse range of approaches. There are four research areas which constitute our strategic priorities and reflect overall a balance between "traditional" sociology and "innovation": economy, technology and expertise; politics and human rights; social inequalities; and urban sociology.

  6. MSc Sociology

    The MSc Sociology provides rigorous and in-depth training in sociological theory, methodology, and key areas of sociological research. These areas reflect the Department's commitment to understanding and analysing global challenges. For instance, we make important contributions to the analysis of escalating inequalities and injustices across ...

  7. Studying in the Department of Sociology

    LSE's Department of Sociology was the first to be established in the UK, founded in 1904, and we host a leading peer-reviewed academic journal in sociology, The British Journal of Sociology, established at LSE in 1950. We expand our vital commitments to the role of sociology and the social sciences in forwarding public debate at LSE through ...

  8. Applying for a PhD

    Known as a research degree, the PhD is usually a four year (full-time) or five to seven year (part-time) course of independent and original research which is supervised by an academic specialist in the subject area. ... London School of Economics and Political Science. Houghton Street. London. WC2A 2AE. UK . LSE is a private company limited by ...

  9. Sociology, Ph.D.

    The MPhil/PhD Sociology programme at London School of Economics and Political Science offers you the chance to undertake a substantial piece of research that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to sociology. ... The Department of Sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science was the first to be ...

  10. About LSE Sociology

    LSE Sociology embraces a fundamentally international sociology critically interrogating theoretical claims about the relationships between economic, political, social, spatial and cultural change. We achieve this by supporting and promoting academic diversity within the School. LSE Cities and LSE Human Rights are formally affiliated to the ...

  11. Academic department PhD contacts

    [email protected]. Department of Sociology. Statistics. Doctoral programme director Prof Clifford Lam [email protected] ... Email a link to this page Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn. Our team Who's who in the PhD Academy. London School of Economics and Political Science. Houghton Street. London. WC2A 2AE. UK . LSE is a private company ...

  12. Transition: Undergraduate to Masters to PhD

    Rabia Nasimi ( @rabianasimi) is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She graduated from the LSE in 2016 with an MSc in Sociology (Research). Her research interests include identity, ethnicity and nationalism, particularly in relation to Afghanistan. If you have any questions for Rabia, feel free to leave a comment or ...

  13. PhD study in Sociology at LSE

    LSE's Department of Sociology will be holding a live online event for prospective PhD students. The event will enable prospective graduate students to find out more about research opportunities in the department, followed by the opportunity for attendees to submit their own questions.

  14. Postdoctoral Research Funding

    Any queries should be sent to [email protected]. British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships This funding opportunity supports outstanding early career researchers in the humanities or social sciences with a full-time, three-year award towards the completion of a significant piece of publishable research and integration into the ...

  15. Department of Sociology, LSE Employees, Location, Alumni

    Department of Sociology, LSE Higher Education London, London 2,186 followers Empirically rich, conceptually sophisticated, socially and politically relevant analysis and insight in sociology

  16. Index of Courses

    Read the index of the courses the Department of Sociology is running in the academic year 2022-23. ... MPhil/PhD students. ... London School of Economics and Political Science. Houghton Street. London. WC2A 2AE UK . LSE is a private company limited by guarantee, registration number 70527. +44 (0)20 7405 7686.

  17. PhD Degrees in Sociology, London UK

    PhD Sociology in London. 17 degrees at 9 universities in London. NEW SEARCH. PhD Humanities and Social Sciences Sociology London. COURSE LOCATION UNIVERSITY CLEAR ... London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London (4.1) 3 years Full time degree: £4,829 per year (UK)

  18. DPhil in Sociology

    The DPhil in Sociology can be taken full-time in three years or part-time over six to eight years. The DPhil is examined by a thesis, prepared under the guidance of one or two academic supervisors. The DPhil programme offers individualised training in sociological analysis to prepare you for academic life and the job market.

  19. About

    Welcome to Researching Sociology. Researching Sociology is a blog based in the Department of Sociology at LSE. It was first established by a group of PhD students in 2013 and used as a forum to share research and ideas. Since then, it has evolved into a hub for academics and students alike; a space to discuss sociology of all varieties ...

  20. Social Science MPhil/PhD

    The MPhil/PhD at the Social Research Institute provides a route for students to carry out their own research project within a multidisciplinary and multi-method environment. Our research students engage with the academic community within UCL and benefit from a comprehensive research training programme. This programme is available to study both face-to-face and online.

  21. Browse by Sets

    Lieutaud, Marion (2021) Paths of inequality: migration, inter-relationships and the gender division of labour. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science. Amini, Babak (2021) "Council democratic" movements in the First World War era: a comparative-historical study of the German and Italian cases.

  22. Welcome to LSE Theses Online

    Welcome to LSE Theses Online, the online archive of PhD theses for the London School of Economics and Political Science. LSE Theses Online contains a partial collection of completed and examined PhD theses from doctoral candidates who have studied at LSE. Please note that not all print PhD theses have been digitised.

  23. The PhD Program

    PhD Coursework. The PhD program in sociology is designed to prepare the student for a career that combines both research and teaching in one or more areas of the discipline. A broad general knowledge of sociological theory and research methods is required of all students. In addition, students should develop a strong specialty area and ...

  24. Increasing diversity in postgraduate PhD research: a new LSE initiative

    The initial phase of ACE PGR Initiative is focused on improving and increasing access for UK BAME students to postgraduate research at LSE. All self-identifying UK BAME applicants to MRes/Phil and MPhil/PhD programmes at LSE will automatically be included in the scheme unless they choose to opt-out, which can be done on the online application.

  25. Advances with Field Experiments (AFE) 2024 Conference

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