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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Sociology (Political and Economic Sociology) is no longer accepting new applications.


The course offers seminar-style teaching on eight core lectures and additional research methods courses.

Students are expected to write two 3,000 word essays in the Michaelmas term. These are formative essays, which are not assessed, giving students the opportunity to receive feedback on their writing and research before submitting any assessed work. .

During Lent term, building on readings, lectures and supervisions, students submit a 4,500 to 5,000 word Field Review Essay, which offers a comprehensive review of research related to one of their core lectures.  

Students work towards a written dissertation supported by supervisions and a dissertation workshop. 

One to one supervision

Students will typically receive approximately eight hours of supervision on their dissertation, spread across the three terms. Additional supervisions are provided for the research essays and the assessed Field Review Essay. 

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Core course: 16 hours (eight two-hour sessions) in the Michaelmas term.

Research methods: seminars:  twelve hours of optional seminars.

In addition, students are welcome to attend any other relevant lectures offered by the Department or across the university, including any specialist research methods courses run by the Social Science Research Methods Programme.


8 lecture-seminars during Michaelmas term (usually 2 hours each). In addition, students are welcome to attend any other relevant lectures offered by the Department or across the university.


Dissertation workshop: ten hours.

Journal clubs

Within the Department, various reading groups and clusters are offered.

Literature Reviews

Written assignments require students to conduct extensive literature reviews in their chosen areas of research.

Posters and Presentations

Students present their dissertation proposals in a workshop usually held during the Lent term.


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.


Thesis / Dissertation

Students write a dissertation of not less than 15,000 and not more than 20,000 words on a subject approved by the Sociology Postgraduate Education Committee, falling within the field of the pathway chosen at the beginning of the course. The dissertation counts for 70 percent of the final mark.


Students write one Field review essay of between 4,500 and 5,000 words  on topics approved by the Sociology Postgraduate Education Committee. This essay counts for 30 per cent of the final mark.

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:

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.