School of Social Science
The Department is committed to providing nationally and internationally recognised training in social research and equipping postgraduate students with broader transferable skills. Students applying for either the PhD or MPhil should have prior training in research methods at postgraduate level. The Department offers a postgraduate MRes (Social Research) that may be taken over one year full-time or two years part-time. The MRes and PhD together constitute our ESRC-recognised 1+3 postgraduate research programme.
The Department is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council for the quality of its postgraduate education. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the ranking of the quality of research carried out by the UK government, the department performed strongly, with 55% of research publications submitted being ranked by an independent panel as world-leading and internationally recognised. It has been rated consistently amongst the top two departments of sociology in Scotland, and in the top cohort of all departments in the United Kingdom.
All full-time graduate students are provided with fully networked personal computers and shared office space, and all postgraduate students have access to an excellent central computing service and the use of a library that is well stocked for sociology and the social sciences more generally.
The general entry requirement is a very good degree in sociology or a cognate subject, normally understood as an upper second-class honours or equivalent. Applicants for research degrees should also have completed significant research training at postgraduate level, for example through the MRes in Social Research that is taught within the department. Applicants should note that the ESRC has its own entry requirements. The department will accept appropriately qualified research students if their proposed research topic is sufficiently in line with the research interests and capabilities of academic staff.
Applicants to the MPhil or PhD must provide a detailed research proposal and two academic references from their most recent academic institution.
The Department is a mainstream sociology unit, with a broad spread of research interests. Postgraduate supervision is available in many fields.
Applicants should consult the list of supervisors available on the departmental webpages to see the specific research interests of staff. The Department is internationally known for its research particularly in these areas:
Sociology of Religion
Interests cover secularisation, sectarianism, ethno-religious conflict, religion and politics, fundamentalism, comparative religions, religion and social attitudes/values, religion and conflict resolution, religion and modernity, gender and religion
Interests cover post-violence societies and comparative peace processes, new social movements, demography and social change, European societies, globalization, international migration, and comparative value change
Cultural diversity and socio-economic inequality
Interests cover cultural representations, gender and culture, gender and the body, sociology of art, popular culture, social theory, cultural theory, global culture, cultural identity, and historical change in the family In addition to broad research themes, the Department's research activities exemplify three features that characterise our research culture.
Methodological pluralism: the use of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies
The integration of theory and empirical research methods - Attention to diverse sociological spaces and fields Methodological Pluralism
The Department has specialists in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Several staff have produced methods textbooks, and all staff have extensive experience of employing a range of different research techniques.
Research in the Department employs techniques from log linear modelling through to archival research and ethnography. There is a commitment to use research to contribute to methodological debate, and to support and enhance the methodological pluralism that characterizes sociology in Britain and elsewhere.
The Integration of Theory and Research
Most staff routinely integrate theory and empirical research in their individual projects, and as a collective research unit we engage in work ranging from theoretical exegesis through to large-scale surveys. The Department’s members undertake empirical substantive research, such as national surveys of social attitudes and values, and has members who contribute to theoretical commentary and debate.
Special theoretical interests include globalization theory, cultural theory, the Scottish Enlightenment, classical sociology and interactionist theory.
Attention to Diverse Sociological Spaces and Fields Research undertaken by members of staff moves between different sociological spaces, from the local (such as social histories of localities), the national (for example, nation-wide social attitude surveys), regional blocs (e.g. attention to the EU), and to the global (such as broad historical-comparative studies). The Department gives attention to Scotland in recognition of its geographical location, but is very much focussed on global forces and phenomena that affect many different parts of the world.
Our training ethos is centred around equipping students to become well-rounded social scientists, as well as experts in their specific research area. A postgraduate degree with us provides a stepping-stone to a variety of careers. Many of our recent postgraduates have moved on to full-time academic posts in universities around the world. Other students, especially those who have taken the MRes programme in social research training, have entered a variety of careers in both the private and public sectors. Possible careers include social researcher for governments and charitable bodies, journalism, market research, and a range of jobs very much involving working with and organising people.
Tuition fee rates for the academic year can be found at :- http://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/tuitionfees/
The Department is recognised by the UK government’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as an outlet for training and supervision through our linked Masters and PhD programmes (1 year Masters + 3 years PhD) as well as for the 3-year PhD programme. This means that prospective full-time research postgraduates can apply for ESRC studentships. For UK residents, these studentships cover fees and maintenance costs; for non-UK residents who are nevertheless citizens of an EU country, they cover fees only. For details of application procedures, see the ESRC website: www.esrc.ac.uk/esrccontent/postgradfunding/foindex.asp
Prospective applicants should look closely at the closing date for these awards. They should also contact the Department well in advance of these dates to identify and consult potential supervisors. The College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) at the University of Aberdeen provides several postgraduate studentships each year. For application details, please see the CASS webpages. See http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cass/graduate Links: 'College Funding' or 'External Funding'
he MRes programme in social research is recognised by the Scottish Government's Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), and studentships are available in the form of the Postgraduate Students Award Scheme (PSAS). These are available for students defined by SAAS as Scottish residents. Students who are not UK residents but who are EU nationals are also eligible to apply to the PSAS scheme in order to meet the cost of tuition fees.
Those interested in this form of support require to be nominated by the Department for consideration, and should contact the Department at the beginning of the application process, through the contact details indicated at the top of this document. Although the Department does not directly fund postgraduate study, some support may be available in the form of hourly-paid tutorial teaching of undergraduates, and many postgraduates avail themselves of this opportunity. However, we realise that such income can only supplement other forms of finance. Prospective students are strongly advised to seek funding or secondment from an external body before applying to the University for admission to a postgraduate course.
Students from overseas (non-EU countries) may consider applying for an Scottish Overseas Research Awards Scheme (SORSAS). Students may opt to study part-time (for the MRes 2 years; for PhD 5 years).
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
ABERDEEN AB24 3FX
Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576