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Postgraduate research

Sociology PhD

University of Gloucestershire

What is Sociology?

Join our supportive and expert community of researchers as a student on our MSc by Research or PhD programme. We produce innovative research offering insights and solutions for society’s most pressing challenges.

We welcome proposals for research degrees on a wide range of sociological topics. Our team’s particular research strengths lie in:

  • Gender inequalities
  • Migration, diversity and diaspora
  • National identities
  • Families and care
  • Class identities and inequalities
  • Austerity and residualisation
  • Social mobility
  • Poverty and welfare policy
  • Post-conflict societies
  • Militarisation
  • International security
  • Community groups and the third sector
  • Street art and urban visual cultures.




Study style

Students can study either full time or part time alongside employment or family commitments. In recognition of the fact that no two research projects – or research students – are the same, we offer a flexible approach to supporting you and you will have access to hot-desk office space and library and ICT support. MSc students will typically take two research methods training modules, which are also available to PhD students.

Contributing original knowledge to your chosen specialism in sociology, you will develop your own research project under the guidance of an expert team of academic supervisors. Develop a 30,000-word thesis on the MSc by Research programme, or an 80,000-word thesis on the PhD programme. You may also have the opportunity, subject to progress, to upgrade from the MSc by Research programme to the PhD programme if you wish to develop your MSc project into a PhD.

You will be supported to develop an extensive range of research skills and professional aptitudes to ensure you graduate as an expert independent professional researcher. This training is delivered through an exciting research design and methods programme and a range of bespoke workshops – connecting you to researchers and research students across the university. You will be invited to participate in our Academic School’s research seminar series and to attend events and training arranged by our Early Careers Researcher Network, and dedicated office space is provided for postgraduate researchers at our Francis Close Hall campus in Cheltenham.

Get Sociology course updates and hear more about studying with us.

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Entry requirements

    • At least a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area.

    • A master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic.

    • We strongly encourage applications from students from a range of diverse backgrounds who demonstrate appropriate research experience and achievement

    • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent.

    • Please provide a copy of your research proposal. This should be 1,000 words (excluding references and appendices) following the structure outlined in this research proposal guide.

      Please note; we’re unable to process applications without a proposal for the School’s consideration. Not supplying one will delay the processing of applications.

Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Course code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
October 2023 £5,100 £11,730
February 2024 £5,100 £11,730
October 2024 TBC TBC
February 2025 TBC TBC
October 2025 TBC TBC

Ready to apply?

Possible careers

• A wide variety of research roles within industry, government, the third sector, academia and the private sector.
• Policy and research positions within local or national government or non-governmental organizations.
• Lectureships within universities, colleges and schools.
• Analyst roles in the civil service and private sector organizations.
• Research consultancy.

Industry links

You’ll benefit from networks with local and national government agencies and third sector organisations; as well as established collaborations between our academics and Sociology scholars based at a range of UK and international universities.

Join our Research Community

You’ll be part of our Academic School’s research seminar series, enabling you to learn about the range of cutting-edge research taking place at the university, and network with the wider academic community. You’ll also have the opportunity to share your own research as part of the seminar series– great for developing your research dissemination skills and receiving feedback from a range of academic experts – and to join our Early Career Researcher network.

Become an Expert Researcher

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods develops your skills as a professional researcher and supports the development of your project.

Share your Research at Academic Conferences

The School of Business will support you to present your research at academic conferences. These opportunities ensure that you stay abreast of the latest developments in your field and can develop your external research networks.

Dr Demelza Jones is Academic Subject Lead for Social Sciences

“My work primarily concerns sociological and criminological issues relating to migration and diversity, as well as experiences of families, children and young people. Within the EC Horizon 2020-funded CHIEF project, I was part of a team of researchers across 9 countries examining diverse young people’s understandings of culture, heritage and inter-cultural dialogue. Other projects have included research with the Church of England Diocese of Birmingham around migrant and ethnic minority-led congregations; work commissioned by The Children’s Society into impacts of austerity on families in a disadvantaged neighbourhood; and a study of experiences of becoming a new parent during the CV-19 pandemic.”

Dr Louise Folkes is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and convenor of the Early Career Researcher network

“My research interests encompass social mobility; community and place-making; class identities and inequality; higher education inequalities; and poverty and welfare policy, explored through ethnographic approaches and creative qualitative methods. Recent projects include work examining the impact of the CV-19 pandemic on community relations within a deprived ward of Stroud with Dr Hazel Roberts, and collaborative research with colleagues at the University of the West of England, University of Exeter and Bath Spa University to explore the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on students’ learning experiences in HE.”

Dr Natalie Jester, Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology

“My work is located within critical security studies. I focus on in/security and identity on digital platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and online news websites asking what practices of violence these discourses make possible. Common sub themes in my work include gender, technology, states, and secrecy. I have an expertise in discourse analysis, digital methods and visual material such as images and videos.”

View our full list of academics within the Social Science subject community and the wider School of Natural, Social and Sports Science.

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