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PhD/MPhil Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology

The Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology programme from University of Birmingham offers two types of research degree: an MPhil or a PhD – in any of the disciplines represented in our department, including social policy, criminology and sociology.

Quick Facts

Duration: 2 years (MPhil Full-Time)
3 years (PhD Full-Time)
4 years (MPhil Part-Time)
6 years (PhD Part-Time)
Starting in: September
Tuition Fee: TBA
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom

In the School of Social Policy we offer much more than a degree. PhD students have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events including Departmental Research Seminars, Research Centre Seminars, Postgraduate Research Student Seminars, as well as a vibrant and engaged PhD researcher community.

Prospective applicants for research degrees in any aspect of social policy, sociology or criminology are invited to apply, outlining their special interests. All research degree programmes may be undertaken either by full-time or part-time study or via distance learning.

Our PhD programmes offer you a combination of taught courses in the first year and careful supervision throughout your study, with the aim of helping you to produce a thesis that makes a significant and original contribution to the discipline.

The Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology programme from University of Birmingham take care to match you with a suitable supervisor, and welcome applications to work in a wide variety of areas. Joint supervision, both between staff within the Department, and with staff in other departments is possible.

All research students have regular meetings with their supervisors. PhD students also have annual panel meetings to support and review progress. We encourage you to give conference papers and to publish your work.

Courses included:

  • Youth Justice, Youth crime, Criminology and Mobilities.
  • Experiences of disability and impairment (including mental distress); Individual and family experiences of social care and health services
  • UK trade unionism and union renewal; Social unionism; Evaluating the efficacy of non-traditional agendas as vehicles for union renewal (and their behaviour as employee relations negotiables).
  • Poverty and inequality, Foodbank use, and welfare reform, with a particular focus on stigma
  • Integration and cohesion; Poverty and social exclusion; Gender and health; Approaches to welfare provision for migrants in an age of super-diversity.

“The transition from undergrad to postgrad can be a big step up in terms of workload and what is expected of you, but there is so much support available to you as a postgrad student, from academic writing support (if you’ve been out of education for a few years or just want a bit of extra help) to mental health and wellbeing services. The careers support is fantastic – the uni puts on employer fairs throughout the year and you have access to one on one support from the Careers Network team, who can help you develop your skills ready for your next step!”

Emma Sutton // PhD Psychology


Graduates from the School of Social Policy are able to develop analytical skills and the ability to gather, assess and interpret data, all of which require clear and logical thinking, making them an attractive prospect for employers.

Birmingham’s School of Social Policy postgraduates enter a wide range of occupational sectors: the majority in the public sector in areas such as youth work but others including events, sales, administration and education. Graduates also opt to continue in academia.


  • References
  • Academic certificate and transcript(s) for all prior degrees
  • Proof of English Language Skills
  • Research Proposal
  • Sample Work
  • Explanation of Key Phrases/Words

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