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Associate Professor in the School of EducationCB2020 
DRMC Co-Director (MA in Research Methods) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health  



I am an academic with a strong interest in educational and digital practices and inequalities. I am particularly interested in exploring – both in my research and in my teaching - the intersection of education and emergent social phenomena through different social theory lenses. I have conducted research on widening participation, digital literacies and digital inequalities, curriculum innovation and digital scholarship practices in the last few years.

Recent projects:

  1. 2023-24: Co-production of digital cultural knowledge with primary school children: fostering early digital literacy development(with Dr Micahela Oliver). Funded by Research England
  2. 2020-22 From on-campus to online: International students returning to academia in the context of COVID-19 with Dr Huaping Li (Shanghai Normal University), funded by BA/Leverhulme Small Grants. (see report + Blogpost)
  3. 2022 - The Durham University Digital Literacy Clinic with Dr Michaela Oliver. Funded by ESRC IAA.

I have supervised PGR students in a wide range of areas, including digital literacies and digital practices, internationalisation of curriculum, estranged students, gendered practices, etc.

I currently convene and teach the PGT modules Digital Technologies and the UG module Digital Society: Theory and Practice. I currently also teach the following MA modules:

  • Narrative inquiries 

I served as Programme Director (student experience) for the Master's in Education programme (2020 - 2022) and Research Environment Co-ordinators within the School of Education (2022).

Currently, I coordinate Student Recruitment, Marketing & Internationalisation for the School. 

I am Co-Director (MA in Research Methods) in the Durham Research Methods Centre

I act as co-convenor of the BERA Social Theory and Education SIG

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Information for Prospective Doctoral Research Student Supervisions

I would be pleased to work with students interested in pursuing research in areas of inquiry related to to interplay between digital society/teachnology and critical education, curriculum, student experience and/or educational and/or digital inequalities. I have a strong interest in working with students wishing to engage with social theories as part of their research projects, including the wrks of Pierre Bourdiue, Paulo Freire, Axel Honneth, amongst others,

Research interests

  • Social Theory
  • Critical Digital Literacies
  • Widening Participation
  • Educational and Digital Inequalities
  • Digital Scholarship Practices
  • Higher Education
  • Digital education

Research Projects

  • From on-campus to online: International students returning to academia in the context of COVID-19

Esteem Indicators

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Subject specialists:
  • General policy:
  • Education:
  • Subject specialists:
  • Social and ethical inequality:
  • Sociology:


Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Murphy, M., Burke, C., Costa, C. & Raaper, R. (2020). Social Theory and the Politics of Higher Education. Critical Perspectives on Institutional Research. Social Theory and Methodology in Education Research. Bloomsbury.
  • Murphy, Mark, Burke, Ciaran Costa, Cristina & Raaper, Rille (2020). Social Theory and the Politics of Higher Education: Critical Perspectives on Institutional Research. Social theory and methodology in education research. Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Breeze, Maddie, Taylor, Yvette & Costa, Cristina (2019). Time and Space in the Neoliberal University. Palgrave.
  • Costa, Cristina & Condie, Jenna (2018). Doing Research In and On the Digital: Research Methods across Fields of Inquiry. Routledge.
  • Murphy, Mark & Costa, Cristina (2015). Theory as Method in Research: On Bourdieu, Social Theory and Education. Routledge.
  • Costa, Cristina & Murphy, Mark (2015). Bourdieu, Habitus and Social Research: The Art of Application. Palgrave.

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


Supervision students