Social Sciences MPhil, PhD

Social Sciences
Entry requirements:
2:1 +
3 years (PhD), 2 years (MPhil)
6 years (PhD), 4 years (MPhil)
Start date:
January, April, July, October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



in the UK for Communication and Media

The Complete University Guide 2018


in the UK for Sociology

The Times Good University Guide 2017


The Department of Social Sciences has long been recognised as an international centre of academic excellence and for our cutting-edge interdisciplinary work.

The Department of Social Sciences comprises the disciplines of communication and media studies, criminology and social policy, social psychology and sociology. All of our academic staff are active researchers, working within and across the following disciplinary boundaries – Communication and Media Studies, Criminology, Social Policy, Social Psychology, and Sociology.

We provide training in digital culture, media, communications, sociological and anthropological theory, as well as quantitative and qualitative methods.

Loughborough is home to world-leading, original and internationally-excellent research in communication, media studies, sociology, and social psychology.

We are ranked in the world top 40 for Communication and Media Studies (QS World University Rankings 2017), and are winners of a Queen's Anniversary Prize and home to the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture.

Our staff work with a wide range of public and third sector bodies (eg BBC Trust, Metropolitan Police, the Electoral Commission, the College of Mediators, UK Drug Policy Commission, and the Department of Health). Our social policy and criminology research has world-leading impact, particularly in services for children and minimum income standards.

Our research centres and research groups host the highest concentration of innovative research in the UK, drive and lead the way, nationally and internationally, in their respective fields of expertise.

Every year, we recruit a lively community of postgraduate students who conduct research at the cutting-edge of developments in their fields. The University offers different types of funding support according to the status of the prospective UK, EU and Overseas postgraduate students. Further details are available on our prospectus.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent. Applicants without a postgraduate qualification will be required to complete research training in tandem with their research.

IELTS: overall 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component.

Our facilities

Our extensive range of first-class facilities are designed to help you throughout your studies and fully-equip you for your future endeavours. You will have use of spacious study areas, well-equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment.

Research areas

Communication and Media Studies

This Group uses multidisciplinary approaches to analyse media and the communications industries, and to develop theory. Comparative perspectives feature strongly in much of its work and members are internationally renowned for their research and publications.

Criminology and Social Policy

Analysis of issues associated with crime and social policy, and on the evaluation of policy in practice. Members of the Group have been invited to contribute to government policy debates and proposals, and have published widely in their areas of specialism.

Social Psychology

This Group is internationally renowned for its research on social interaction across a range of everyday and institutional contexts, and on social identities, groups, and processes. Leaders in the areas of conversation analysis, discursive psychology, and political psychology, the group publish prolifically on topics such as prejudice, identity, children and families, and communication in professional and clinical contexts.


Members of the Group are recognised internationally for contributions to their specialist fields, which include, among others, qualitative and digital research methods, gender, policing, health and illness, tourism, citizenship and social theory. Often of interdisciplinary significance, colleagues publish in leading journals and university presses as they engage in a wide range of issues of contemporary society and culture.

Centre for Child and Family Research

The Centre conducts a programme of research and development work to inform, influence and support policy and practice for children and families. The current programme covers three streams: safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children in need; transitions from care to adulthood; and exploring costs and outcomes.

Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP)

CRSP is one of the UK’s most established centres specialising in innovative and applied social policy research and critical policy analysis. Our core business is undertaking research for the government, so we are always involved in the burning issues of the day. As the welfare state faces fundamental change the Centre’s work has never been more urgent.

Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

Comprises the world-leading Discourse and Rhetoric Group (DARG) and Culture and Media Analysis Research Group (CAMARG) involving staff from across the Department. Their influential research has real world impact through their engagement with private and public sector organisations.

Crime Science Research Group (CSRG)

A newly established multidisciplinary group, it brings together expertise to find real world solutions to a broad range of crime problems using scientific methodologies.

Your personal and professional development

Support from your supervisor

You’ll be assigned two supervisors, who are international experts in their respective fields, plus the Director of Doctoral Programmes, who can provide academic and pastoral support throughout your research. You’ll have access to courses in teaching and research skills and methods organised by the university and the department, and will be encouraged to submit and present your work in national and international conferences. You will also have access to a shared office and labs, library and IT services and allowances for photocopying and inter-library loans.

Skills and experience

A PhD programme will give you the opportunity to develop new and highly sought after skills which can set you up for a range of careers. It’s a chance to make a novel contribution to knowledge, to become a world expert in a particular field, and it can open a range of doors with different employers. You'll also enhance your interpersonal skills, such as networking and relationship building, which will be invaluable in your future career.

In addition to the University’s extensive training provision, you will have access to courses in teaching and research skills and methods organised by the University and the Department.

Future career prospects

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Rochester College, USA, Associate Professor and Department Chair
  • The University of Manchester, Lecturer
  • Bournemouth University, Senior Lecturer.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Who you'll be working with

How to apply

If you can't find a suitable PhD opportunity that fits your interests and experience from our funded (studentships) and unfunded opportunities, you can submit a research proposal to the Department of Social Sciences in the hope of finding a supervisor who will work with you on your dream project.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD in the Department of Social Sciences through this method, you should prepare a research proposal giving details of the research they wish to undertake. Detailed information about what the proposal should include can be found on our website.

A research proposal will ordinarily give consideration to the following:

  • Aims and objectives: what are the major research questions and why is the subject worth investigating?
  • Literature review: what work has already been done on the topic?
  • Methodology: what approach offers the most feasible as well as appropriate means of conducting the research? What, if any, fieldwork might be involved?
  • Data: what might this be and how will it be collected and analysed?