Leah Constable

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

Sociology and Social Sciences research degrees

Postgraduate - Research


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About our programmes

Social science research at Hull is focused on creating a positive impact on the real-life conditions and experiences of individuals and communities, at a local, national and global level.

Our work has contributed to the renowned Global Slavery Index, which charts the scale of contemporary slavery, and has affected policy changes at all levels.

To help achieve this, we encourage and develop innovative yet pragmatic approaches to research. This means actively encouraging involvement from both academic and non-academic users to ensure that the main beneficiaries of our research are not only key policy makers and public sector professionals, but are also users of health and social care services, and those working in voluntary and community organisations.

Apply for research programmes in Sociology and Social Sciences

During your four-year programme (seven years part-time) you will research and write a dissertation of 70,000 to 100,000 words on a topic chosen in conjunction with your supervisor.


Open for admission in 2022/23

Full time Part time
PhD 3 years* 5 years*

* plus writing-up time

Start in January, May or September


research in sociology and social sciences fits broadly within five key themes:

Globalisation, Power and Post-Colonialism

This research theme, supported by and associated with the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, is concerned with theorising global processes and systems of power, critically interrogating Western ideologies and addressing issues of governance, citizenship and social change in the contemporary world.

  • Modern slavery and trafficking in human beings
  • Inequalities, class and power in the UK
  • The policing of minority communities
  • ‘Race’ and multiculturalism
  • Racism and anti-fascism
  • Globalisation and resistance
  • Social justice

Staff: Dr Mick Wilkinson


  • Postsocialist transformations
  • Central and East European ethnography
  • Russian / Ukrainian relations
  • Nationalisms, identities and conflicts
  • Communities and development
  • Experience of loss and dispossession

Staff: Dr Julia Holdsworth


Gender and Sexualities

The theme of gender and sexualities, supported by a dedicated Centre for Gender Studies, brings together a critically engaged and intellectually diverse body of work.

  • Gender and crime
  • African theatre
  • Restorative justice
  • South Africa - women and political change/ sex and sexuality
  • Violence against women
  • Women's narratives
  • Youth and crime

Staff: Dr Bev Orton


Culture, Religion and Society

This emerging area of work draws together studies of contemporary cultural practices, their inter-relationships and their social impacts, including in the media and the digital world.

  • Media, culture and society
  • Digital culture
  • Cyberethnography and online research
  • Internet safety
  • Media and religion
  • Film and religion
  • Religion and digital culture
  • Technology and religion

Staff: Dr Denise Carter, Dr Alexander D. Ornella, Paul Dearey


  • The body in culture, politics and society
  • Historical sociology
  • Political sociology
  • Cultural politics
  • Classical and contemporary social theory
  • Warfare, security and military power in theoretical perspective
  • Literary sociology (fictions as social theory/sociology)
  • Memorialisation (funerals, monuments, remembrance practices, collective mourning)
  • The body and religion
  • Visual and material study of religion

Staff: Dr Alexander D. Ornella


  • Children and families
  • Professional education
  • Professional ethics
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Sport, religion and spirituality

Staff: Dr Denise CarterDr Alexander D. OrnellaPaul Dearey

Health, Well-being and Social Inclusion

This theme encompasses work that theorises notions of health, illness and well-being integrated with empirical studies and evaluations of health, social work and social care provision.

  • Sociology of chronic illness
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Obesity
  • Health and the family
  • Marginal masculinities

Staff: Professor Liz Walker


  • Adolescent development
  • Domestic violence
  • Young people and suicide

Staff: Dr Jo Bell


  • Disability studies
  • Equality and diversity
  • Social Identities

Staff: Dr Ruth Butler


  • Kinship care
  • Foster care
  • Looked after children
  • Child sexual exploitation

Staff: Dr Karin Cooper 


  • International population health (focus on sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Maternal/child health
  • Adolescent sexual and reproductive health
  • Quantitative research (including multilevel modelling) and mixed methods research

Staff: Professor Monica Magadi


  • Sexualities
  • Chronic illness
  • Music and well-being

Staff: Dr Liz Price


  • Youth work and youth studies
  • Professional practice learning in higher education
  • Health and wellbeing of young people
  • Student experience of teaching, learning and assessment

Staff: Julie Rippingdale


  • Youth offending
  • Youth justice
  • Problematic drug use

Staff: Dr Luke Cartwright

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Criminological research is supported by a dedicated Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice. It has built on our strengths in evaluative criminal justice and penological research while developing an increasing focus on the research questions posed by new forms of surveillance, terrorism, information and communication technologies, and the transnational agenda in criminology.

  • Alcohol and crime
  • Violence prevention
  • Knife and gun crime

Staff: Dr Iain Brennan


  • Victims and victimisation
  • Restorative justice
  • Cultural criminology / social theory
  • Community justice and punishment
  • Reducing reoffending

Staff: Dr Simon Green


  • Areas of the history of crime and punishment between 1750 and 1950, particularly those interested in imprisonment, penal policy and other custodial settings
  • Contemporary imprisonment and penal policy

Staff: Dr Helen Johnston


  • The social impact of ‘new surveillance’ technologies
  • Media representations of crime and surveillance
  • Contemporary theoretical perspectives on penal transformation

Staff: Dr Mike McCahill


  • Modern slavery and trafficking in human beings
  • Inequalities, class and power in the uk
  • The policing of minority communities
  • ‘Race’ and multiculturalism
  • Racism and anti-fascism
  • Globalisation and resistance
  • Social justice

Staff: Dr Mick Wilkinson


  • Restorative justice
  • Mediation and conflict management
  • Peacemaking criminology

Staff: Dr Margarita Zernova


  • Gender and crime
  • African theatre
  • Restorative justice
  • South Africa - women and political change, and sex and sexuality
  • Violence against women
  • Women's narratives
  • Youth and crime

Staff: Dr Bev Orton


  • Media representations of crime
  • Victims and victimisation
  • Victimisation, identities and narrative
  • Ethical methods of researching with victims

Staff: Dr Nicola O'Leary

Fees and funding


Full time: £4,596 per year

Part time: £2,298 per year


Full time: £15,200 per year

These fees are for all research degree programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit the fees and funding page.

The standard length of a full-time PhD programme is three years, or five years part-time, plus 'writing-up'.

For full-time students, writing up typically takes about three months but may be extended to one year without further paperwork. For part-time students, writing up typically takes one year, but may be extended to two years without further paperwork.

If you need to move into the writing up period of your research degree, you will be liable to pay a continuation fee if you don’t submit within the first three months after the end of your research period (full-time) or six months (part-time). Whilst you can take up to 12 months (full-time) and 20 months (part-time) to write-up your thesis, the expectation is that you submit within 3 months (full-time) and 6 months (part-time).

The fees for the writing up period are:

0-3 months into writing up period - £0
0-6 months (part-time) into writing up period - £0
Full time study - £230 every three months thereafter
Part time study - £230 every six months thereafter

The writing up fees will increase by inflation each year.

Doctoral Loan

UK students who haven’t secured a scholarship can take out a Doctoral Loan to help with tuition fees and living costs. They provide up to £26,445 for full-time and part-time PhDs in all subject areas.

EU students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to get student finance. Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Additional costs

There are some extra costs that you may have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary:

  • Student visas (international students).
  • Books (you’ll have access to many books through the University library, but you may want to buy your own copies).
  • Optional conference/field/archive/library trips (Faculties support some travel and conference attendance financially. Details vary. Please check with the Department/School to which you are applying).
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PCs on campus, but you may want to buy your own).
  • Printing and photocopying (There is a printing allowance in place for all students, currently £20 a year. Some Faculties grant PGR students access to printing and photocopying as staff. Please check with the Department/School to which you are applying).
  • Professional-body membership.
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography).

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

For information about bursaries and how to fund your studies see our money page, or take a look at our PhD scholarships page for specific funded PhD opportunities.

Watch: find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Hull.

Watch the video

The University’s Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

Explore our Postgraduate Training Scheme

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

Discover the Library

The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential.

Explore our Doctoral College

Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain to slavery.

Discover our Research

Entry requirements

e sFor entry onto one of our research Master programmes, you should normally have, or expect to obtain at least 2:1 Honours degree (or international equivalent).

For entry onto one our PhD, you should normally have, or expect to obtain, at least Master’s degree (or international equivalent) at merit or 60% and above in a closely related subject to your proposed disciplinary field of study. For applicants whose backgrounds do not qualify them for direct entry, we may recommend a ‘conversion course' in the form of one of our Masters courses.

Applicants with other qualifications, including relevant experience or a strong professional background, such as criminal justice practitioners, are welcome to apply. We will carefully consider your application.

Intending research students are expected to have relevant prior research training at postgraduate (for PhD) or undergraduate (for MRes or MPhil) level or equivalent.

Your research proposal should clearly set out your research questions, the kind of empirical research they visualise, the reasons why you wish to undertake the research and a general indication of the theoretical background and approach.

Selection is based on the strength and viability of your research proposal and the school's ability to provide supervision in your proposed research area amongst other factors.

International students

If you require a student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.