We're rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF
2014), with 78% of our research rated 'world
leading' or 'internationally
excellent'. We're also ranked among the top 50 departments on the planet according to the
QS World University Rankings (2017).
That means, you work with
world-leading scholars who have their finger on the pulse of modern
society, in an exciting and active
Routes to a PhD
- PhD by research (+3/+6): If you have a strong
background in sociology and a well-formulated research proposal, you will be
admitted directly to supervised research.
- Integrated PhD (1+3/+7): In your first year you follow
one of our pathways which provides Masters-level research training, followed
by three years of supervised research.
We offer supervision that stretches out across Europe, North America, Latin
America, and the Asian sub-continent. We have particular strengths in:
- criminology and social justice
- culture and media
- economic sociology
- ethnicity and migration
- citizenship and human rights
- intimacy and gender
- science in society
- social theory and methodology
- survey methodology
This isn't an exhaustive list however, so if you're looking to carry out
research in a different area please
contact us to discuss it further.
We're home to a number of doctoral training centres; research council funded
programmes that offer funding and training via studentships. Two of the Essex
doctoral training centres offer PhD studentships in sociology:
We also offer many other scholarships and funding opportunities. You can
Scholarship Finder to see what's available.
You'll need to apply for your course and have a place before you apply for
You can apply using our online application form.
You'll also need to send us additional information, depending on your
circumstances, so don't forget to read the information carefully as we won't be
able to process your application until we have the completed documents. You'll
normally need to provide the following documentation.
- A research proposal (approximately 1,500 words) stating the key question(s)
that your research will address, the indicative scholarly literature that you
will engage, and your intended research methods (data sources, data collection,
- A statement of purpose (approximately 500 words) specifying your level of
experience, strengths in particular academic areas, and other relevant
- Two academic references
- Academic transcripts or certificates
- A language certificate (if relevant)
- The name of your proposed supervisor (before you submit an application, look
at our staff research
interests and contact the member of staff whose research interests match the
areas of your intended research, to discuss your topic and possibilities of
- All PhD students will need an interview before an offer can be made. The
department will contact you to arrange the details but please read the
interview guidelines (.pdf)
Got a question?
To find out more about our postgraduate research courses, contact our
Graduate Administrator Michele Hall, at
Research degree funding
Join our internationally recognised research community. We’re home to several doctoral training centres and offer many
research degree studentships and scholarships that could make your course fully-funded.
Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be
available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.
Funding and training
Our Doctoral Training Centres offer PhD funding and skills training in a wide range
of subject areas. You'll gain the skills and knowledge to tackle important issues facing the world today.
Proficio is our programme of courses and resources for research students. It includes everything
available across our University to help you manage your PhD, develop your career potential, and meet
and collaborate with students and staff.