The Department of Sociology has an international reputation for research and teaching and boasts a thriving academic environment.
We were ranked in the top ten of sociology departments in the UK for publications in the latest 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise and more than three quarters of our research publications were rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. This reflects our strong postgraduate community, diverse research centres, research training activities, and funding successes.
We have expertise in a wide range of substantive areas and theoretical approaches across sociology, criminology and related areas. We are host to several prominent research centres and a number of prestigious academic journals are based in or edited from the Department.
As a postgraduate researcher in Sociology at Surrey you will join a richly diverse community of full and part-time PhD students from the UK, the EU and around the world. Our PhD students play a important part in the life and culture of our vibrant and friendly Department.
We have a global reputation for our expertise and innovation in a wide range of research methods, from qualitative and ethnographic work to statistical analysis of large and complex data sets, and online research and social simulation. As a PhD student you will be provided with the opportunity to undertake in-depth methodology training via a range of optional taught courses.
As a Department we are renowned for our applied approach, something reflected in the ways we work in partnership with a range of private, public and third-sector organisations including the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the Environment Agency, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Police Dependants’ Trust.
The PhD programme centres on close individual tuition and guidance from your supervisory team, comprising a principal supervisor, a co-supervisor and, in some cases, an additional third supervisor. Supervisors offer advice, feedback and guidance on all aspects of the PhD process, as well as - where appropriate - on career and CV development and research dissemination via publications and conference papers.
Progress is reviewed formally twice a year, offering the opportunity for medium and longer-term research planning, the identification of training needs and provision of CV and career advice. Progress reviews also offer you the opportunity to raise any queries, concerns or suggestions. Close to the end of your first year, you will complete a PhD Confirmation process in which you will receive detailed feedback and guidance on your work from staff outside your supervisory team.
In addition to individual supervision you will also attend a range of courses, workshops, seminars, conferences and other events as appropriate to your project. As well as offering training in research skills or different aspects of the PhD process, such events offer opportunities for students to present their work to one another or exchange findings and ideas with staff or external speakers.
You will also have the option to take relevant modules from our MSc courses in Social Research Methods or Criminology and Social Research in your first year of study, to extend and deepen your field of knowledge.
Establishing a vibrant academic environment whereby PhD students develop supportive and valuable relationships with one another as well as with staff in the Department is central to our approach. In addition to close one-to-one mentoring and tuition from supervisors, you will benefit from a range of bespoke departmental events.
Doctoral students can also attend the Department's day courses in Social Research and the extensive range of courses run by the CAQDAS Networking project. There is also an extensive Researcher Development Programme run at university level and our students benefit from the extensive central resources and research training opportunities provided by the University’s Doctoral College.
We strongly encourage students to attend external conferences and other training events relevant to their work and they have access to an annual allowance to cover the cost of such events as well as other research expenses.
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There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
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).