Postgraduate study

Sociology PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Sociology

Sociology at Edinburgh is one of the premier research units in the UK, as indicated by our excellent rating in the latest Research Assessment Exercise.

We have a long-standing commitment to original empirical and theoretical work on society, and to the production of cultural and scientific knowledge.

We work closely with other colleagues in the School and supervise many cross-disciplinary projects. Applications are particularly welcome from students wishing to specialise in:

  • refugee and migration studies
  • auto/biography and narrative studies
  • comparative sociology
  • South Asian studies
  • Southern Africa
  • family and intimate relations
  • innovation in genomics
  • medical sociology
  • political sociology
  • nationalism studies
  • constitutional change and governance
  • social studies of finance and markets
  • social, cultural and feminist theory
  • gender, inequality and social stratification
  • work, consumption and organisations
  • Scottish society and politics
  • science and technology studies
  • sociology of emotions

MScR option

We’ve updated our portfolio of programmes. Individual MSc by Research programmes have been replaced with MSc by Research Social & Political Science.

You will work with a supervisor on an original research dissertation and participate in advanced sociology research-training workshops, work-in-progress seminars and a writing workshop.

The Graduate School provides a suite of ESRC-recognised research training courses for social science students across the University. We are developing an exciting package of flexible, web-based training courses in line with the increased emphasis on ongoing training throughout your doctoral studies.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDSociology3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDSociology6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Advisor, Dr Liliana Riga
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1853
  • Contact: l.riga@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2019 11 July 2019

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit two references with your application.

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Advisor, Dr Liliana Riga
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1853
  • Contact: l.riga@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD