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Postgraduate Study

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.  

Our PhD programme combines taught content in research methods and academic skills with independent study under the supervision of one or more experts in the student's chosen field.  

Many of those who graduate from our PhD programme go on to become professional researchers or academics; others go on to work in the national government, international organisations, NGOs, think tanks and consultancies. 

Our PhD programme aims to create an environment which supports our students:

  • to think critically;
  • to undertake state-of-the-art research in their chosen fields;
  • to engage with the world at the interface between theory, policy and practice;
  • to develop a full portfolio of research skills;
  • to produce a scholarly, exciting and socially relevant PhD;
  • to move on to interesting and fulfilling jobs.


Admission to the PhD programme is via a competitive process, in which current Cambridge students are considered on the same basis as external applicants. Cambridge MPhil students require a final mark of at least 70 per cent overall, and 70 per cent on the dissertation, to continue to PhD study.

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

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor 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.

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