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Research Degrees

Sociology at Durham is grounded in the Department's four core research themes. We welcome candidates for our research degrees who are interested in developing their own thesis in an area that intersects with these and where we have staff available to supervise. Our themes include:

Communities and Social Justice, Health and Social Theory, Higher Education and Social Inequality and Violence and Abuse

The following research degrees are offered:

  • MA by Research
  • MPhil by Research
  • PhD 

Main research areas

The Department’s research activity focuses on four main research themes, around which we organise research groups of staff and postgraduate researchers to share and develop research ideas and practices. These groups are currently:

  • Communities and Social Justice
  • Higher Education and Inequality
  • Violence and Abuse
  • Health

Find out more

Disciplinary expertise

The Department also has expertise in the following disciplinary areas:

  • Criminology - Criminology and deviance, hate crime, crime reduction and prevention, forensic investigation, criminal justice systems, prisons

  • Sociology - Globalisation, science and technology, identity, culture, social capital, entrepreneurialism, social inequality, health and illness, complexity theory, methodologies

  • Social Policy - Health inequality, social exclusion, regeneration, housing, education, local and regional government, professional ethics, cultural strategies

  • Social Work - Child well-being, children’s rights and child mistreatment; adoption, fostering, and residential child care; disability, mental health and older age; green social work, post-disaster social work, professional ethics, service user involvement, community development and social change, globalisation and international social work

  • Community and Youth Work - Community development, community-based research, participatory action research, faith-based community and youth work, cross-community interaction, community-based responses to debt, ethics and politics of community development.

 Previous research topics

On successful completion of a PhD, student’s ‘etheses’ are made publicly available. A list of previous students together with their topics and published thesis are available on Durham Research Online.

Search for PhD ‘etheses’ for the department of Sociology

The Department hosts a friendly and supportive postgraduate community. Besides working with excellent supervisors, I benefited from countless conversations with staff members and felt supported by excellent and understanding administrators. Postgraduate researchers are encouraged to take part in academic events and to become active members of research groups. We also independently run a Forum which organises workshops on career progression, encourages peer support and meeting up socially.

Karel Musilek
PhD Candidate - Department of Sociology