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Postgraduate Admissions

The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is department is ranked first for Sociology in the Guardian's Best Universities league table. The UK's 2021 Research Excellence Framework ranks our department second overall in the UK, and joint first for the research environment. And the QS World University rankings list our department as 6th of 330 sociology departments across the world.  

This MPhil pathway is designed to give students an advanced understanding of major themes and debates in political and economic sociology. There are eight 2-hour core lectures that students are expected to attend during the Michaelmas term. The topics may vary from year to year and might include some of the following - state institutions, nationalism, capitalism, democracy, revolution, ideology, social movements and environmental catastrophe, among others. Prospective students are therefore encouraged to check if they are concerned about the coverage of specific topics in the year of entry.  

This pathway provides students with the opportunity to study the major themes and debates of Political and Economic Sociology at an advanced level. This pathway aims to integrate the consideration of political and economic debates with the study of substantive topics, as well as give a thorough grounding in research methods. There are three elements to the pathway:

1. There are eight 2-hour sessions covering some of the major theoretical contributions to the study of the Political and Economic Sociology and some key substantive topics. The substantive topics vary from year to year depending on staff availability. Other substantive modules may also have an economic sociology component, and these would complement the core modules well.

2. Research Methods: all students will receive training in research methods and will take a course on research methods which includes sessions on philosophical issues in the social sciences; research design; data collection and analysis in relation to quantitative and qualitative methods; reflection on research ethics and practice; library and computer skills. Students will also have the opportunity to take courses and attend lectures on many other aspects of the research method and design and will select these courses in discussion with their supervisor.

3. Dissertation: all students will write a dissertation on a topic of their choice that allows for theoretically informed empirical analysis of some aspect of political and economic sociology. The choice of dissertation topic is made in consultation with your supervisor, who can advise you on the suitability and feasibility of your proposed research and on research design. A dissertation workshop provides the opportunity to present aspects of your dissertation work and to receive constructive feedback from course teachers and fellow students.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme students should have:

  • an advanced understanding of current sociological research on selected topics;
  • an understanding of the basic principles of social research, 
  • the skills necessary to conduct independent social research and practical experience in the use of research methods;
  • an ability to apply and develop key concepts and theories with respect to empirical topics;
  • a deeper understanding of their chosen specialist area, including command of the literature and current research; and
  • the ability to situate their own research within current developments in the field.

Continuing

Students from a wide range of backgrounds attend the course, which is designed to enable the application of more specialist knowledge of political and economic sociology in a variety of fields, including government, social policy, law, journalism, third sector, as well as academia. MPhil students who would like to continue to the PhD would normally need to have a final mark of at least 70 per cent overall and 70 per cent on the dissertation.


Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Details of Open Day events run by the Sociology Department can be found on the Department's Outreach Page.

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Sociology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2023

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
May 1, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 1, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.