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MPhil in Sociology (Political and Economic Sociology)

Course Description

This MPhil pathway is designed to give students a basic understanding of major themes and debates in political and economic sociology. There are four core substantive modules on political and economic sociology that students are expected to attend, taught by Dr. Manali Desai, Dr. Hazem Kandil, Prof. Lawrence King, and Dr. Jeff Miley.

Other substantive modules may also have an economic sociology component, and these would complement the core modules well. In addition, all students must attend the module on comparative historical research methods taught by Dr. Miley as well as one other methods module to be decided in consultation with their supervisor.

Students have the option of doing one of their coursework essays on a topic taught on any sociology MPhil module (for instance, media, culture, globalisation or reproduction); all of the rest of the coursework essays and the dissertation (based on original research) must relate to the political and economic sociology options.

Topics to be covered include: the Marxist critique of capitalism; Weber’s theory of legitimacy; the transition from feudalism to capitalism; the emergence of the modern state; theories of the capitalist state; class structure and class formation under capitalism; the rise of democracy and dictatorship; theories of revolution; the rise of the welfare state; social movement theory; theories of imperialism; theories of development and underdevelopment; gender and ethnicity in post-colonial states; nationalisms; war and militarism, and state violence and genocide.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hssomppes

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme students should have:

- an advanced understanding of current sociological research in selected topics;
- skills necessary to conduct independent social research and experience in their use;
- an ability to apply and develop modern social theory with respect to empirical topics;
- a deeper understanding of their chosen specialist area, including command of the literature and current research;
- the ability to situate their own research within current developments in the field.


The course offers teaching on Social Theory, Substantive modules and Research Methods. Students work towards a written dissertation supported by supervisions and a dissertation workshop.

Students receive written feedback on each essay and the dissertation. Feedback is also given during the dissertation workshop on the direction and progress of the dissertation research.


Students write a dissertation of not less than 15,000 and not more than 20,000 words on a subject approved by the Degree Committee.

Students write one methods essay of not less than 2,500 and not more than 3,000 words (or prescribed course work) and two substantive essays of not less than 4,000 and not more than 5,000 words.


Students are encouraged to proceed to the Faculty's PhD programme, provided they reach a high level of achievement in all parts of the course. MPhil students who would like to continue to the PhD would normally need to have a final mark of at least 70% overall and 70% on the dissertation.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

The Department of Sociology holds ESRC funding awards. Sociology is a recognised Doctoral Training Centre pathway toward a PhD. Therefore candidates for the MPhil in Sociology (Political and Economic Sociology) can apply for 1+3 ESRC funding.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Sociology (Political and Economic Sociology) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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