The study of people and societies.

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 Science) 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.

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.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MPhil, MRes or PhD

Our Research

Our academic staff have gained international reputations for conducting high-quality research in religion and secularisation, political violence, conflict and peace, social movements, identity processes, global and political sociology and animals and society.

The Institute for Conflict, Transition, and Peace Research (ICTPR) brings together a diverse and 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 MPhil or PhD must provide a detailed research proposal and two academic references from their most recent academic institution.

Applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors before making an application.

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


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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