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Sociology PhD

Advance the discipline and engage critically with pressing social issues on our PhD in Sociology programmes.

You are currently viewing course information for entry year:

Start date(s):

  • September 2024
  • January 2025


You'll join a lively and supportive group of leading sociologists. This provides a rich environment to grow your own ideas and make a major research contribution within our discipline and beyond. Our PhD in Sociology programme supports students to explore social issues and debates. You'll have opportunities to conduct innovative theoretical and empirical research to a high international standard.

At Newcastle you'll find a group of research-active staff across a range of specialisms in Sociology and Social Anthropology. We have strong interdisciplinary links particularly with anthropology, health studies, geography and politics. Research at Newcastle is world-leading. We have a reputation for impact and relevance for policy and practice.

Meet our Sociology research students and read more about their research

You will join us in:

  • sophisticated theoretical and conceptual work that redefines the core concerns of sociology, especially through inter- and trans-disciplinary conversations;
  • empirical investigations that expand state-of-the-art knowledge about important social issues
  • meaningful forms of social engagement that help to inform policy and public debates through the research process

Our PhD students have generated cutting edge research on a wide range of topics:

  • from ethnographic studies of post-disaster livelihoods to sex trafficking and self-harm
  • from higher education and underemployment to gay and lesbian families
  • from female identities in African and Middle Eastern societies to new religions in post-socialist Europe
  • from the relationship between social class and everyday food practices to the experiences of migrant communities.

With our support you'll make your own original contribution.

We're recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for PhD training. We're also part of the ESRC-funded NINE Doctoral Training Partnership which runs an annual competition for PhD studentships.

Four research centres and clusters act as the intellectual focus for the development and exchange of ideas.

The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) research centre produces internationally recognised and often inter-disciplinary research. It focuses on the social and ethical debates around the contemporary life sciences.

The Imagining Pasts and Futures research cluster is concerned with how societies and biographies are shaped by memories and narratives of the past, and visions and anticipations of the future – both individual and collective.

The Identities, Embodiments and Selves research cluster theoretically and empirically explores the complexities embedded in the production, maintenance and transgressions of social identities and modes of embodiment.

The Power, Inequalities and Citizenship research cluster focuses on how social inequalities emerge and manifest themselves in organisations, social structures and individual's life experiences, looking at both macro-sociological trends and micro-level analyses.


Important information

We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.

How you'll learn

Your development

You'll have the opportunity to:

  • lead and deliver special events and workshops, seminar series, reading groups and conferences.
  • be involved in the organisation and development of sociology's research clusters
  • develop a mixed portfolio of research and training skills through contributions to our teaching programme and other disciplinary activities.
  • get involved with our fantastic postgraduate Sociology blog

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) researcher development programme 

Each faculty offers a researcher development programme for its postgraduate research students. We have designed your programme to help you:

  • perform better as a researcher
  • boost your career prospects
  • broaden your impact

Through workshops and activities, it will build your transferable skills and increase your confidence.

You’ll cover:

  • techniques for effective research
  • methods for better collaborative working
  • essential professional standards and requirements

Your researcher development programme is flexible. You can adapt it to meet your changing needs as you progress through your doctorate.

Find out more about the Researcher Education and Development programme

Doctoral training and partnerships

There are opportunities to undertake your PhD at Newcastle within a:

  • Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
  • Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

Being part of a CDT or DTP has many benefits:

  • they combine research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics.
  • you’ll study alongside a cohort of other PhD students
  • they’re often interdisciplinary
  • your PhD may be funded

Find out more about doctoral training and partnerships

If there are currently opportunities available in your subject area you’ll find them when you search for funding in the fees and funding section on this course.

The following centres/partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area in the future:

Your future

A PhD deepens your understanding of the social world and enriches your methodological skills. It is the route into academic research careers but will also prepare you for a range of professional roles across the public, private and third sector.

Our Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Quality and ranking

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body


Postgraduate students within the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology have access to modern, high specification facilities. This includes:

  • dedicated postgraduate research workspace
  • a personal laptop or desktop computer upon registration
  • access to high specification computer clusters
  • field equipment
  • laboratory facilities

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2024 entry (per year)

What you're paying for

Tuition fees include the costs of:

  • matriculation
  • registration
  • tuition (or supervision)
  • library access
  • examination
  • re-examination
  • graduation

Find out more about:

Search for funding

Find funding available for your course

Entry requirements

The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Download our admissions policy (PDF: 201KB)
Other policies related to admissions

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course

How to apply

Using the application portal

The application portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.

You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.

If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the application portal.

Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.

Apply Online  

Open days and events

You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year including:

  • campus tours
  • on-campus open days
  • virtual open days
  • webinars

Find out about how you can visit Newcastle in person and virtually

Overseas events

We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.

Visit our events calendar for the latest events

Get in touch

Questions about this course?

If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:

School of Geography Politics and Sociology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3921 


For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.

Fill in our enquiry form

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