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Department of Sociology


The results from the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) have highlighted the outstanding quality and impact of Cambridge’s research in the field of Sociology.


The Times Higher Education’s rankings of REF 2021 place Cambridge Sociology at #2 for research quality in UK higher education. 89.6% of Cambridge’s outputs submitted within the Sociology unit of assessment have been rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The research environment of Cambridge Sociology has received exceptional recognition, with a 4* ranking that places it in shared first place.


The Department of Sociology at Cambridge is distinctive for its commitment to a transformational and global public sociology. The diversity and reach of this critical and collaborative research are evident in key contributions to several areas ranging from science and technology studies, public health, race and racism, and intellectual history to emerging fields such as reproductive sociology, digital sociology, the sociology of the environment, and the sociology of war. Much of this research employs innovative practices and methods to connect with politicians and policymakers, technologists and practitioners, community groups and activists.

The REF 2021 recognises the growing influence of Cambridge Sociology's research, with a grade-point average that increased from 2.98 in 2014 to 3.54 in 2021. In addition to exceptional results in outputs and environment, the unit of assessment was highly rated for the impact of its research, with 100% of its case studies receiving 4* and 3* rankings.

Professor Manali Desai, Head of the Department of Sociology, said, “This outstanding result is a testament to the brilliant work and team effort of all colleagues in putting together one of the most impressive research environments and cultures in the UK. We are mindful of the importance of thinking and working collaboratively across the HE sector with colleagues to increase the profile and research excellence of Sociology as a discipline”.