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Postgraduate Admissions

The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-class centre for teaching and research in Sociology, with a proud tradition of research grounded in engagement with contemporary real-world issues.  

Our 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.  

The MPhil in Sociology provides students with a firm grounding in theoretical and empirical analysis, which are at the core of understanding the workings of social inequality. 

The Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion pathway will equip students with a broad understanding of theoretical approaches to marginality and exclusion, as well as providing students with the ability to explore research-led areas of marginalization and forms of exclusion in-depth, examining their contextual specificity, their transformations over time and their impact on other aspects of social and political life.

The Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion pathway, within the MPhil in Sociology, provides students with the opportunity to study the logics and processes of marginality and exclusion at an advanced level. This pathway aims to integrate the consideration of themes in social theory with the study of substantive topics, as well as give a thorough grounding in research methods.

There are three elements to the pathway:

1. A core course of 8 two-hour sessions covering some of the major theoretical contributions to the sociological study of marginality and exclusion and some key substantive topics. Both core and substantive topics vary from year to year but will address the dimensions of marginalization in relation to the production and reproduction of social life as well as the exercise of power. 

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 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 marginality and exclusion in contemporary societies. 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 research on selected topics in the sociology of marginality and exclusion;
  • a broad understanding of theoretical approaches to marginality and exclusion;
  • an understanding of the basic principles of social research;
  • the skills necessary to conduct independent research and practical experience in the use of research methods;
  • an ability to apply 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.

Continuing

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.