The University of Essex is one of the UK's leading academic institutions, ranked ninth nationally for research excellence following the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The Department of Sociology is one of the best in Europe and was ranked first in the UK following the last RAE. We pride ourselves on our intellectual breadth and diversity, offering a range of expertise and enthusiasms. We are a large, friendly, international and diverse department, and build upon the traditions of sociological analysis whilst exploring the contributions of cultural history, criminology, social psychology, social anthropology, social philosophy, feminism and cultural studies.
This course provides a strong foundation in empirical research, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We offer you advanced study of research design, specific research techniques, and their evaluation. You also study a variety of data collection and analysis techniques, and acquire a critical appreciation of empirical research methodology.
Graduates will understand the connection between theory and empirical methodology, and be able to produce, evaluate and effectively communicate research findings. You gain a broad-based research training which will be indispensable if you wish to proceed to a PhD, and is invaluable training if you seek future employment in a wide range of social research occupations.
This course has ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation, meaning it can form part of a 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £18,000 for talented postgraduates. The University is one of only 21 ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK.
“Essex has a very strong reputation for the high caliber and standard of both its social and criminological research. I felt that the Department of Sociology at Essex would be an ideal environment where I could not only develop a deeper appreciation of the theoretical aspects of my subject, but also how to practically apply and implement these ideas in the field.
I settled into the academic side of life at Essex quite easily as my course is flexible, and I could choose optional modules that appealed to me the most. The added luxury of being able to choose optional modules is that you can pick those which best suit your future career plans.
I enjoy the theoretical modules that are also rooted in current contemporary social events the most. We learn about quite abstract ideas such as theories of globalisation, whilst discussing how these concepts and ideas can be used to understand contemporary social changes, like the expansion of the global forms of crime and crime control.
There is good support available and lots of social events to help you make new friends. I live at the Quays which have spacious bedrooms and lovely views over the river Colne. It’s great for me because it’s more peaceful allowing me study easily. Being here has also really helped me to understand the options and opportunities available. I have a strong belief that studying here at Essex will greatly help my chances of getting into a successful career.”
"I initially wanted to study at Essex because my potential supervisor was teaching there. However I soon realised what an exceptional reputation the Department of Sociology has, which made me even more determined to come here.
I completed my undergraduate degree in sociology and wanted to pursue an academic career, so I took the next step which was research methods training (through Essex’s MA Sociological Research Methods), followed by my PhD. The teaching in the Department was excellent; lectures were always really interesting and well-delivered. It was also great be surrounded by so many like-minded people; everyone on the course worked hard but had a sense of humour. I have made lifelong friends at Essex and for that I will always be thankful.
Since completing my PhD, I have been working in the UK Data Archive, based at the University, and am in the process of applying for post-doctoral funding. I’m also working on my journal articles and conference papers in order to disseminate my research findings. Studying at Essex has provided me with a thorough grounding in sociological research methodology and definitely prepared me for an academic career. "
ESRC Doctoral Training Centre scholarships
For 2011-12, our ESRC Doctoral Training Centre will offer 16-fully funded ESRC studentships, most worth £18,000 per year, across over 20 doctoral pathways. The University of Essex has become one of only 21 Doctoral Training Centres accredited by the UK Economic and Social Research Council following a highly competitive selection process. Our Doctoral Training Centre will fund 16 doctoral students each year across many different social science disciplines. It also offers excellent training opportunities and a highly stimulating research environment to hundreds of postgraduate students, researchers, professionals, practitioners and users.
Value of Scholarship(s)
Up to £18,000
We encourage applications from top students seeking to research over a range of social science areas, including: criminology and socio-legal research; economic and social research; economics and econometrics; environmental governance; finance; health and organisational research; human rights; language and linguistics; management and accounting; politics and international relations; political economy; psychoanalytic studies; sociology and social change.