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Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time;
eight years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Part-time study requires daytime weekday attendance in the first year.
Start date Most students will start in September 2022 or January 2023, however other dates can be considered. Please contact the postgraduate student administrator to discuss the options available.

Programme overview

This degree provides an opportunity to develop your own research expertise by studying a sociological issue in an interdisciplinary School. You will study with internationally renowned sociologists in a dynamic and supportive research environment. They are involved in funded research, research centres and groups looking at everything from Digital Economies & Futures, Food Security, and Integration, to Music Festivals, Migration, Modern Slavery and Social Inequalities. Our staff also have particular expertise across a range of cultural and social theory and champion diverse research methodologies.

You will join an international community of students working in a range of sociological areas. You will be assigned two PhD supervisors whose current active research interests and expertise are relevant to your chosen research area.  

We are committed to rigorous conceptual and empirical research that is politically and socially relevant and problem-orientated. We aim to advance theory, knowledge and methods at the cutting edge of sociology. Our aim is not just to monitor the social world but to contribute to a better understanding and to ways that might improve it. 

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) and a master's qualification (or equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Our research activity in the School is guided by focusing on key themes:

  • critical security
  • cultural work
  • ethnicity, migration and citizenship
  • Europe and Europeanisation
  • digital society
  • science and technology
  • food security
  • gender and sexuality
  • political and social inequalities
  • social, cultural and political theory
  • south and east Asia.

All researchers across the school identify with one or more of
the themes. This enables collective identification over themes
within the school and aims to generate further collaboration
and interdisciplinarity in our research activities. In addition, the
themes provide a basis for internal and external recognition of the
main questions and topics that our research addresses.


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation. Please visit the school website for statements from our former graduates.

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

The application deadline is not fixed for self-funded applications.

The closing date for ESRC studentship applications (September 2022 start) is January 2022. For further details on applying for ESRC funding, please visit the SWDTP website.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Student Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 7572 Email:

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
University of Bristol
11 Priory Road
School website: School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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