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Application Information

Applications are made via the postgraduate admissions website, simply search for "Sociology" in their course directory.


The Department of Sociology operates a “gathered field” admissions process in which applications are collected and processed in three rounds. All applicants are encouraged to apply early, if possible, as the availability of supervisors will decrease from round to round as places are awarded.


Deadlines for applications

Postgraduate Funding Competition

Outcomes of applications

1st Round

3 Dec 2020


Late Jan/Early Feb

2nd Round

24 Feb 2021


Late Apr/Early May

3rd Round

30 Apr 2021


Late May/Early Jun

Entry Requirements

Applicants to our postgraduate programmes must meet the minimum entry requirements specified by the University of Cambridge. These requirements include:

*Related disciplines include most degrees in the social sciences and humanities. These differ depending on your course of study but include; psychology, politics, economics, media and/or communications with a sociology component.

**Students continuing from a Cambridge MPhil onto the PhD in Sociology need to obtain marks of at least 70% in their MPhil dissertation and 70% overall. This applies specifically to Cambridge, where the MPhil pass mark is 60% and a distinction is awarded for marks of 75% and over.

Research proposal

All applications should include a research proposal, the length of which, excluding references, should be approximately:

  • 1,000 words for MPhil applicants
  • 2,000 words for PhD applicants

The research proposal should contain:

  • A clear, viable and well-motivated research question
  • A brief literature review, outlining the state of knowledge in your chosen area and the gaps which your research is intended to fill
  • The data and research methods you propose to employ
  • You may also like to explain your own interest in the project, and any skills or experience which mean you are particularly well equipped to undertake the work.

No special formatting is required; please do not include appendices.

Nominating a supervisor

Postgraduate applicants are required to indicate a preferred supervisor in their application using the designated box on their application form.

Supervisors act as academic advisors that help students plan their individual study programmes and provide guidance throughout the course of study. As a result, it is important that there is some overlap between students and their supervisors in terms of research interests or approach. Applicants can find a list of supervisors and their research interests on our academic staff pages.

Prospective students are permitted to contact their chosen supervisor by email in advance of making their application to ask if they would potentially be interested in supervising. When emailing a potential supervisor, you should include a one-page research proposal and a Curriculum Vitae. Please do not send transcripts or references, as these will be managed separately in your application. 


The Department of Sociology will usually interview all competitive PhD applicants, as well as those MPhil applicants who are considered competitive for the postgraduate funding competition. Topics to be covered in interviews will vary depending on the nature of particular candidates’ application, their proposed research project and their particular academic background.

Candidates need not prepare for these interviews but should anticipate a discussion pertaining to their research proposal and preparation for postgraduate study in the Department. These interviews also give candidates an opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the University, Department or course.

Fees and Funding