Student Laptops

Student laptop for PGR study

Get free use of a laptop for PGR study to work where and when you want.... Find out more...

We welcome applications or enquiries from prospective research students to study for the degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in any of our areas of research expertise.

We are proud of our interdisciplinary research tradition covering sociology, social policy and social anthropology. This is represented by established strengths in family studies, health studies, and political economy, and newer strengths in sexuality, citizenship, and youth and student lives. The same emphasis on interdisciplinary social science is found in the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre, where some of our PhD students are based.

Sociology also plays a major role in the cross-faculty Gender Research Group ; the directorship and the MAs of the Centre are based in Sociology and a number of staff are active in associated research and teaching activities. Cross-school research synergies are also being promoted by newly established Research Institutes including Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (NIASSH) and the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS).

We have numerous international links in our research activities: these include Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Korea and Taiwan. A number of our postgraduates are engaged in research abroad, currently including Taiwan, Korea, Germany and India.

Over recent years the number of PhD students registered with us has grown substantially. We aim to maintain our sizeable postgraduate body and provide high-quality postgraduate education. We are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as an outlet to receive full-time doctoral students.

Postgraduate students in the quad

Three research groupings act as the intellectual focus for the development and exchange of ideas. All postgraduate students join one or more of these research groupings.

  • The key contribution of the Identities/ Cultures/ Narratives research cluster has been to theoretically and empirically explore the changing nature of cultures, identities and narratives in contemporary society in relations to a range of social relationships and issues.
  • There has been a longstanding strand of research concerning the Sociology of Health and Life Sciences . The most significant development here was the formation of Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) in 1999. Specific expertise in PEALS is evident in interdisciplinary research on social, ethical and legal aspects of the life sciences.
  • The Social Transformations cluster has emerged out of a longstanding body of work concerned with social justice, political economy and regional and cultural change.

Current research postgraduates are conducting research into issues such as sexuality, youth transitions, student lives, domestic violence, inter-country adoption, child-care, lone parenthood and consumption, social assistance and health care for older people, and environmentalism and gender.
Some recent and current projects include:

  • Young People's Participation in Community Music Activities in the North East
  • Human Trafficking, Asylum and Immigration
  • Pathways to Youth Crime Reduction
  • A Silenced Violence? Rethinking Violence in Lesbian Relationships
  • The Lowest Common Denominator? A Newcastle Case Study on the Nature of Co-operation in Nanobiotechnologies
  • Spatial Mobility and Changing Gender Roles among the Women of VideoSEWA in Ahmedabad
  • The Dynamics of Americanization: the Hip Hop Encounter in South Africa

Further Information

To discuss your ideas and plans please contact the relevant member of academic staff or the Director of Sociology PhD Programmes Mr John Vail (semester 1) or Dr Simon Woods (semester 2).

For any further general information, please contact the Postgraduate Research Secretary at