A block of flats

Questioning social division, justice and inequality

How do you relate to politicians, celebrities, your teachers or your friends? How do you define yourself, your family and others? We explore the way society works, what connects people and what divides them.

We're ranked among the top 50 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2019) and top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities). We shape modern society today, advising the UN, government departments, think tanks and public bodies around the world on issues from the rights of indigenous peoples, to the regulation of the building industry, and organised crime and terrorism.

As one of Essex's founding departments, we've focused on how people think about major social issues such as poverty, inequality, class, welfare and the 'third world' from the very start.

So, if you want to be stretched and challenged, and make a change in society, welcome home.

Our courses

choose us?

University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2018)
Our academics will teach you to improve modern society
Ranked among the top 50 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2019)
Top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities)
Dedicated Student Resource Centre offering academic and personal support
UoTY winners 2018
Writing on paper on a table
Student chatting in the Secret Garden
Andrew Canessa
"If you want to be challenged, see the world differently, and be taught in innovative and imaginative ways, welcome to Essex."
Professor Andrew Canessa Head, Department of sociology
A row of old looking library books
Our research

We work with departments at Essex and around the world, collaborating on cutting edge research. Our academics are experts in their fields, developing new theoretical and methodological approaches to understand the dynamics of social life. Our students become part of this community and learn how to understand and challenge the world.

Find out more
Latest news
National award for book on the American youth justice system
14 Jan 2020
New national prize named after Essex academic
19 Dec 2019
Ignorance should be no defence when things go wrong according to a new book
17 Dec 2019
Two female students talking
Get in touch with us

If you would like any more information about Sociology or have a question you would like to ask, please complete this short enquiry form.

Contact us
Contact us
Department of Sociology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873275