Sociology PhD

My supervisors always give me good feedback and constructive criticism, which I see as vitally important for improving my own writing and development.

Alex Seal PhD Sociology

Why choose this course?

The Department of Sociology has an international reputation for both research and teaching, and was ranked in the top 12 sociology departments in the UK for world-leading research by the latest REF exercise.

We are also in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015 top 5 for sociology. These external ratings reflect the high quality of our research, our publications and our academic environment.

Members of academic staff have research interests and expertise in a number of substantive areas, in a range of theoretical approaches and in the full diversity of research methods, from mixed-method and qualitative research to statistical analysis of large and complex datasets and social simulation.

We engage in innovative methodological and theoretical work, employ a diversity of methods and perspectives, and make a major contribution to applied and policy-related sociology, criminology and media research.

We provide research students with office space, PCs and online research tools and resources. You will normally become a member of a subject/research group and participate with academic staff in its activities.

What you will study

We welcome applications from prospective doctoral students in a wide range of subject areas.

Doctoral students are supported through a carefully designed programme of regular postgraduate day schools and monthly professional seminars, and may be directed to take relevant modules from the MSc Social Research Methods – or, if appropriate, from the MSc Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research – during their first year of study.

They can attend in-house day courses in social research (about 20 per year) and the extensive range of courses run by the Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) Networking Project.

Key research areas include:

  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Ethnicities
  • Identities, Diversity and Lifecourse
  • Childhood, Youth and Later Life
  • Education
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Media, Culture and Communication
  • Sexuality
  • Science, Environment and Technologies
  • Developments in Methodology



Faculty Studentship Opportunities

Faculty studentships are available for top-quality students, covering tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and maintenance at current research-council rates for full-time or part-time study. Please see the Faculty studentships webpage for further information.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, January, April, July
PhD Part-time 60-96 months October, January, April, July

Entry Requirements

Applicants usually hold at least an upper second-class honours degree in sociology or a related discipline. Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally require IELTS 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £16,000
Part-time £2100 £8,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our academic staff