About the course
Join one of the top sociology departments in the UK and further your understanding of the tensions, interactions and networks that dictate how societies are organised. You contribute to the thinking that guides organisations such as the Home Office, Amnesty International and the United Nations.
You explore some of the most important and significant debates in contemporary social theory, learning to think analytically about theoretical questions. You discover the importance of social theory in developing a politically engaged understanding of concepts such as post-structuralism, feminism and actor-network theory, focusing on topics such as:
- The history of digital piracy
- Sociology of human rights
- Media and criminology
- Gender and sexuality
You also develop the skills needed to make your own contribution to the field, gaining a critical and coherent perspective on empirical research and examining the key assumptions and ideological underpinnings of qualitative and quantitative research.
Our Department of Sociology was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014), and we consistently receive strong student satisfaction scores, including 96% overall student satisfaction in 2015.
Our expert staff
We are a large and friendly department, offering a diverse range of research interests and with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication that covers a broad geographical spectrum.
Many have worked at the local level with local authorities, justice councils, community partnerships and charities. Others have worked at a national and international level with bodies like the United Nations, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science, Amnesty International, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Home Office and national non-governmental organisations.
- Dedicated postgraduate support facilities
- Our renowned off-campus Graduate Conference takes place every February
- A unique Student Resource Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, is stocked with daily newspapers, magazines and journals, and has free drinks available
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
A good sociology course, especially one from a recognised centre of excellence like Essex, opens many doors.
This course provides excellent preparation for further academic study, and many of our postgraduates go on to successful academic careers, both in the UK and overseas.
Others have established careers in non-governmental organisations, local authorities, specialist think tanks, government departments, charities, media production, and market intelligence.
We work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
What is the significance of 'the de-centring of the subject'? What problems does the materiality of the body pose for sociology? Do claims for objectivity now make any sense at all? Gain an understanding of the significant debates in contemporary social theory, while learning to think analytically about theoretical questions.
How do you design social research for projects? Examine the research process, from forming initial research questions through to writing up your findings. Develop your own research ideas via the approaches discussed, building a critical perspective on empirical research that will help you with future research goals.
What interests you? Do you want to deepen your knowledge, build invaluable research skills and develop your academic freedom? Your dissertation lets you study a topic of your choosing, in depth, with supervision and guidance from our world-leading academics.
How do you critically analyse quantitative data? What are the appropriate statistical techniques for your research questions? And how do you interpret your results? Learn to conduct investigations relevant to your own research, as well as be a critical user of other research.
Do hackers have ethics? Who owns digital media? Is surveillance justified? Explore the history of the digital media economy, looking at hacking, digital media piracy and peer-to-peer networks. Build your understanding of the social, economic and cultural role that digital media now plays in developed Western societies.
Is one man’s terrorist another’s freedom fighter? Go beyond that debate to really challenge your understanding of terrorism. Learn how to define and analyse terrorism. Examine themes on dimensions of terrorism, including political, animal rights and religious extremism. Explore counter terrorism, covering topics like surveillance, policing and the law.
What are the different approaches to qualitative data analysis? And when should qualitative interviews be used? Learn about the qualitative research process, including design, selection of interview subjects and analysis, so that you are equipped to tackle your own qualitative research in the future.
- We have a strong research group culture
- Graduate students are encouraged to take part in our weekly Departmental Seminar which regularly features eminent outside speakers
- Your modules are assessed by coursework and your dissertation
- Your 15,000-word dissertation allows you to focus in-depth on your chosen topic from April onwards
- You work with close supervision from academic staff
UK entry requirements
A degree with an overall 2:1.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 6.0
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.