The study of people and societies.

Study Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MRes or PhD

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The Department is one of the leading centres for the study of sociology in the United Kingdom, providing nationally and internationally recognised training in social research and equipping postgraduate students with broad range of transferable skills. Students entering the PhD should have prior methods training at the postgraduate level. For students lacking this background, the Department offers a postgraduate MRes (in Social Science), which 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 MRes can also be taken as a standalone degree.

All full-time doctoral students are provided with fully networked personal computers and shared office space within the Department. Additionally, all postgraduate students have access to excellent central computing services and the full use of the University library, which is well stocked for sociology and related social sciences.

Doctoral studies in The School of Social Science can be undertaken on a full or part time basis and we would be happy to discuss the feasibility of distance study which will depend on the nature of the research project. For the session 2020/21 we can support all students to take up their PhD study at a distance and either remain as a distance student or complete their studies on campus in Aberdeen.

Our Research

Our academic staff are internationally renowned for conducting high-quality research in religion and secularisation, political violence and peace studies, gender and social conflict, identity processes and well-being, global social change and political economy, and animals and society.

The Department houses the Institute for Conflict, Transition, and Peace Research (ICTPR), which brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and students to develop in-depth theoretical understandings of the concepts and practices of transitions in terms of conflict and peace. The Institute provides a unique setting for learning and innovative research-based teaching for post-graduate students.

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Entry Requirements

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 PhD must provide a detailed research proposal and two academic references from their most recent academic institution.


Please see PhD Supervision which details our research interests and our leaflet: Guidelines for writing a Research Proposal.


Our social research training equips our students to become well-rounded social scientists, as well as experts in their specific research area. A postgraduate degree with us provides entry into a variety of careers. Many of our postgraduates move into full-time academic posts in universities around the world. Others enter a variety of careers in both the private and public sectors, with some becoming social researchers for governments and charitable bodies, market researchers for firms or consulting agencies, and leaders in social enterprises and civic organisations.

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Contact Details

School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
AB24 3QY