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  1. Research degrees
Study at City

PhD / MPhil Sociology (including Criminology, and Media and Communication)

City's Sociology research degree produces scholars who have the analytical and methodological skills to design independent research projects, generate publications, and teach at university level.

Key information

Start date



Full-time: 2-4 years

Part-time: 3-7 years



Full-time: £4,680 per year

Part-time: £2,340 per year


Full-time: £12,480 per year

Part-time: £6,240 per year


City's Sociology research degree is intended to produce scholars who have the analytical and methodological skills to design independent research projects, generate publications that advance substantive and theoretical knowledge and understanding and who are able to teach at university level. The substantive and methodological nature of the PhD programme, the diverse research interests of staff members and our London location have resulted in the completion of a range of innovative disciplinary and inter-disciplinary doctoral dissertations.

The Department of Sociology has a vibrant research culture and welcomes suitably qualified applicants with original research topics for its PhD programme. We are one of the leading sociology departments in London and we have an impressive track record of seeing our students through to successful completion. Our PhD programme attracts students from a variety of geographical locations, meaning that you are part of a cosmopolitan research community.

We are particularly interested in applications from students who wish to carry out research in the areas of:

  • new media and the digital society
  • trends and developments in global news-media
  • media, campaigning and social change
  • crime and criminality
  • crime and popular culture
  • policing, criminal justice and crime prevention
  • victimology
  • contemporary social theory
  • gender, sexualities and social change
  • work, employment and socio-economic change
  • youth studies and
  • cultural studies.

Find out more about our Sociology MPhil/PhD Workshops programme for 2020/21


Entry requirements

Applicants should, at a minimum, have an Upper Second Class undergraduate degree plus a merit in a Masters degree in an academic discipline related to the proposed research topic. We will also accept the overseas equivalent of UK qualifications. In exceptional cases, professional qualifications and experience in the proposed research area may compensate for the lack of a Master's degree, or a grade below that specified above.

English requirements

For students whose first language is not English, the following qualifications will meet the English language requirement for entry to the course of study:

  • A first degree from a UK university or from the CNAA.
  • A first degree from an overseas institution recognised by City as providing adequate evidence of proficiency in the English language, for example, from institutions in Australia, Canada or the USA.
  • GCE O-level/GCSE English language or English literature, grade C minimum.
  • For students whose first language is not English, we require an overall IELTS score of 7.0, including 7.0 in writing, with no component score below 7.0. (Please note, IELTS test scores are valid for a maximum period of 2 years from the time at which the test was taken).
  • Other evidence of proficiency in the English language which satisfies the Board of Studies concerned.

Visa requirements

International Students (EEA and Non EEA) coming to study in the UK, may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study. The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • EEA nationals joining the programme in 2020 and EEA nationals joining from January 2021
  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.


As a student on our graduate research programme, you are initially registered for an MPhil award. Progression to PhD registration is not automatic, but contingent on the satisfactory outcome of a review process. This takes place towards the end of the first year of your registration for full-time candidates. You will submit a substantial formally constructed upgrade or transfer document for assessment to an academic panel and present at the annual research colloquium.

Subject to demonstrating, both in writing and presentation, the intellectual and methodological ability and motivation to complete a PhD and providing a viable timetabled plan for timely completion of the research, you will be upgraded to PhD. Your progress is periodically assessed during years two and three of research. This also ensures that you are receiving appropriate levels of supervision, training, and practical support. Your doctoral studies will conclude with submission of your completed research in the form of a PhD thesis or dissertation and attendance at a viva voce examination in front of at least two examiners, at least one of whom will be external to City. For full details about the City PhD programme structure, please see the Guide for Research Students.

The current research interests of our staff can be found on our staff profile pages.

You can also find a list of our current research students and their projects.

Funding options

Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.

Find out more about Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

SeNSS collaborative studentship competition

The Violence and Society Centre – in conjunction with the Department of Sociology at City, University of London – is offering a fully funded PhD studentship.

  • Project: Patterns of victim-survivor utilisation of domestic violence support services
  • Deadline for application to City: 18th January
  • Deadline for application to SeNSS: 1st March 2021
  • Supervisor: Prof. Sylvia Walby

The studentship provides the opportunity to join a research collaboration between the University and Women’s Aid Federation of England, as well as invaluable experience working at the intersection between policy-relevant academic research and support services in the domestic violence sector.

The research explores patterns of utilisation of services for women experiencing domestic violence and the most effective configuration of domestic violence support services. This studentship would suit someone with an interest in pursuing a career in data analysis concerning violence and society, especially domestic violence and abuse, either in academia or in the third sector.

How to apply

Download the flyer

SeNSS Studentships

The South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) consortium of 10 leading UK universities offers fully funded doctoral studentships, post-doctoral fellowships and placements.

Find out more and apply for SeNSS Studentships before 18th February 2021.



Research students are appointed a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors. One of these will be designated as the primary point of contact with personal responsibility for ensuring that effective supervision is provided. Supervisors offer expert guidance on appropriate theoretical and conceptual frameworks, methodologies, ethical issues, conducting the research, writing the thesis and publications.


Specialist theoretical, empirical and research training is provided both by the department and across the School of Arts and Social Sciences and City. Throughout the research process students also discuss individual training needs with their supervisors in order to identify subject or topic specific training. Teaching skills are developed through seminar teaching with undergraduate students in your subject area and/or working with your supervisors on curriculum development. City runs a training programme covering the transferable and generic skills required for postgraduate study and career development.

Find out further details about research degree training provision in our City graduate school area.

Research Environment

Our students constitute an important part of an innovative empirical and theoretical research culture.  Students play an active role in the department's high-profile research centres, often helping with seminar, workshop and conference organisation as well as presenting progress papers at their own seminar. As appropriate to their research interests and needs, throughout the study period, students are encouraged to attend specialist seminars, conferences and graduate summer schools. Our location ensures that students also have the opportunity to participate in the numerous research events organised by London's world class universities and public and private institutions.

How to apply

Preliminary enquiries

When considering potential applicants, we attach great importance both to the applicant's academic profile and record of achievement, and to the fit between the proposed research and the interests of the supervisor. It is therefore essential that potential applicants identify staff with relevant research expertise, and then contact an individual member of staff to discuss their willingness to offer supervision for their particular topic before submitting a formal application to undertake a research degree. Please consult individual staff webpages for our specialist research profiles and interests.

Please note that we will not consider applications unless the applicant has initially discussed their proposal with a member of staff.


We accept applications for full-time study for entry in September each year. To apply, you should submit the following documents after submitting a research proposal to your preferred supervisor:

  • one copy of the Online Research Degree Application Form (full-time)
  • your research proposal
  • testimonials from at least two academic referees sent by email from an official work (not private) email account
  • copies of your degree transcripts and certificates (originals or certified copies)
  • proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
  • a non-technical summary of the proposed research of no more than 400 words.

Find out more about how to prepare your research proposal.

Apply online

PhD/MPhil in Sociology (including Criminology, Media Studies and Cultural and Creative Industries) (full-time) starting in September 2021.

PhD/MPhil in Sociology (including Criminology, Media Studies and Cultural and Creative Industries) (part-time) starting in September 2021