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.
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.
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
How you'll learn
PhD programmes consist of individual research and study with the support of at least two expert supervisors who have knowledge of key aspects of your subject, theory or methods. Within the subject area and School you will:
- take part in lively seminar series with nationally and internationally renowned academics
- connect with fellow social scientists across the university in wider networks including the Institute for Social Science and the Gender Research Group
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
We offer a wide range of projects for the thesis. These will be provided by our academics. You can also propose your own topic.
Our mission is to help you:
- stay healthy, positive and feeling well
- overcome any challenges you may face during your degree – academic or personal
- get the most out of your postgraduate research experience
- carry out admin and activities essential to progressing through your degree
- understand postgraduate research processes, standards and rules
We can offer you tailored wellbeing support, courses and activities.
You can also access a broad range of workshops covering:
- research and professional skills
- careers support
- health and safety
- public engagement
- academic development
The rich and varied research strengths of sociology at Newcastle means that you can draw on an excellent range of supervisors to support your doctoral research. PhD students usually have two supervisors who bring together a range of substantive, methodological and theoretical expertise.
We strongly encourage applicants to make direct contact with potential supervisors to discuss a research topic and proposal before applying formally online. Or you can contact the Sociology Postgraduate Research Director to discuss your PhD at Newcastle: Professor Simon Woods
Find out more about:
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.
- techniques for effective research
- methods for better collaborative working
- essential professional standards and requirements
Your programme is flexible. You can adapt it to meet your changing needs as you progress through your doctorate.
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 will normally be funded
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:
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.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2020 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
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 2021 entry (per year)
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.
If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant 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 applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Applications for 2022/23
You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021
Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold open days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
- explore our beautiful campus
- find out about our vibrant city
- discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the courses you're interested in.
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
We also hold various online and virtual events.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
Our Ncl chatbot might be able to give you an answer straight away. If not, it’ll direct you to someone who can help.
You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
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