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This page outlines our answers to some of the most frequent questions regarding the PhD Sociology programme.

The Sociology Graduate Office and the Department as a whole are working hard to support our prospective students, and we will endeavour to help you as best as we can with the process going forward. We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this exceptionally difficult time.

FAQ Last Updated 08/06/2020 10:07

I need to book an English language test, but the test centre in my country is closed - what do I do?

Due to the test centre closures we are now also accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test which may be taken at home, subject to eligibility. The online test is the same format and level as the one you would take at a test centre. If you take this test, please upload your certificate in the normal way. If you successfully pass the test at the required level for your course, you will then be assessed remotely by the Language Centre (free of charge) before we complete the English Language offer condition. 

If you are not able, or do not wish to take the above test, you should continue to check the availability of the TOEFL and IELTS test centres in your country. If your course starts in Michaelmas Term 2020 (October), the deadline to provide meet your offer conditions has been extended to 21 August 2020, so there is currently still time to provide a test certificate by this date. We recommend you check the following websites regularly for updates on language test centres. 

Have you envisaged an extension to meeting the offer conditions?

Yes, we have. The default position is that conditions to MT 2020 offers can be met by 21 August. Further extensions will be considered case by case and we encourage offer holders to contact Graduate Admissions Office directly.

Would students be able to access the University Library?

The University is currently re-opening some essential University facilitates, including the University Library, which will open its doors by July 6. The Library plans to begin providing limited services for students and staff via “zero contact” collection point at which they will be able to pick up books ordered online, return books to an external drop box, and request digital scans.

Are all my teaching and supervisions going to be online?

As research student, you will have the opportunity to attend a fortnightly lunchtime seminars on Tuesday and one-to-one meetings with your supervisor as part of your educational experience at Cambridge.

You are also welcomed to join MPhil and undergraduate core and subsidiary lectures. During Michaelmas Term all lectures will be online, eight lectures per MPhil pathway. Depending on the student’s decision or ability to arrive in Cambridge, we may arrange in person supervisions and small group sessions provided that social distancing rules allow for it. The department follows Government and University guidance on this and for health and safety reasons this might not be possible.

This arrangement is also applicable to Lent and Easter Terms, as the guidelines allow for greater social interaction, we will adjust our reaching offering opportunities as and when is relevant and possible.

In the current circumstances, will I be able to move to Cambridge?

Please follow your country and the UK travel safety advice and contact your college to seek advice on condition of residence in Cambridge. Please note that even if you do come to Cambridge, your supervisor and other teachers may be working remotely.

If I choose to take the course remotely how can you accommodate different time zone?

You will have the opportunity to meet your supervisor virtually with the same frequency as in previous years. If you are planning to attend lectures, these will be recorded and made available in advance to the timetable slot; during the timetable slot we will offer live Q&A with the lecturers and this will be also recorded to provide you continuous access to teaching materials.

How will you ensure you that students will have enough opportunity to interact with each other and with lecturers?

We will offer the same exposure to lecturers and seminars to students; you will have the opportunity to join seminar series and pre-existing reading groups as well as to set up your own reading groups. Any teaching and community building opportunities that we have been delivered in person so far will be now moved online as far as possible.

Would students be able to defer under the current circumstances?

The department would encourage you to start your course in October if you can, however deferrals to Lent and Easter terms are allowed under the current circumstances. We would advise you to contact your supervisor for advice and follow the University procedure if you are considering deferring your study. The method of requesting deferrals depends on the status of your offer and the time of the year. Please see the Deferring my Application ( page for more details.