Research Programmes for Graduates
Cambridge provides a lively environment for postgraduate study in sociology at both the MPhil and PhD levels. Our one-year MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations offers an excellent opportunity to study sociology at an advanced level and to acquire a range of research skills. There are normally around 25 students on the MPhil course each year. A student on the MPhil course can apply to continue as a PhD student, or you can apply directly for admission to our PhD programme. There are currently around 50 students pursuing PhD research who are being supervised by members of the Department of Sociology. Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science also includes many graduate students in psychology and politics, creating a large and diverse graduate community in the social sciences in Cambridge. There are many seminars, workshops and visiting speakers, and many opportunities to participate in discussions with some of the world’s leading figures in sociology and related disciplines.
MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations
The overall aim of the MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations is to provide students with an opportunity to study sociology at an advanced level with some of the most internationally renowned and cutting edge researchers in the world. Our programme features a broad spectrum of subject areas including both recent social changes like the Arab Spring and more enduring themes in the social sciences like culture, gender, globalization, health and illness, inequality, intellectuals and knowledge, mass media, nationalism, political economy, revolutions, social movements and war. Our approach to teaching emphasizes the fundamental inseparability of theory and empirical research and seeks to inspire students to challenge themselves both as scholars and world citizens. Beyond the faculty itself, graduate study in sociology at Cambridge offers a perhaps unrivalled opportunity to learn in a truly world class, immensely rich and dynamic intellectual environment. The MPhil offers students a robust preparation for research at the doctoral level or its equivalent in other professional contexts.
On completion of the course students should have:
- An advanced understanding of current research in specific areas
- Independent research skills and experience of putting them into practice
- An ability to apply modern social theories to substantive research topics
There are four elements to the degree: Social Theory, Research Methods, Modern Society, and the Dissertation. Use the links of the headers to access representative reading lists.
This course provides a basis for understanding, explaining and evaluating social action and social processes in the contemporary world. The course deals with current issues and debates but builds on a range of both classical and contemporary social theorists
There is an emphasis on fostering students’ abilities to think critically about different theoretical approaches, to evaluate the analytic coherence and empirical research potentialities of theories in relation to each other, and to provide you with the tools to examine carefully the relationship between theory development and empirical research.
This course considers a series of key dimensions or institutions of modern society and places particular emphasis on current changes, resulting from the interaction of global forces, national, and local institutions. The course has a modular structure with typical modules consisting of four 3-hour sessions delivered weekly during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Modules cover various dimensions of modern society including: culture and media; economy and society in Europe; health and illness; rethinking culture; war and militarism; transitions to capitalism; the individual in the labour market; political economy of global health and development; religion and globalisation; and politics and intellectuals.
In addition to the Department's rich pool of both qualitative and quantitative research methods courses, students have access to the very comprehensive set of course provided in the University of Cambridge more generally. In particular, students should peruse the research methods offerings available through the interdisciplinary Social Sciences' Research Methods Centre (SSRMC). The exact combination of methods courses you will take varies from student to student depending on the research methods training you have already received and the specific methodological requirements of your proposed dissertation. Students are encouraged to discuss their choice of methods courses with their supervisors.
The Department provides a series of fortnightly seminars on Tuesday lunchtimes throughout the Michaelmas and Lent terms. These lively and popular seminars provides a forum for shared discussion and debate between students, faculty and visiting scholars.
Students prepare a dissertation on a topic, informed by the teaching received in the above courses. They receive extensive individual supervision, as well as the opportunity to present their work for discussion at a dissertation workshop.