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UK Sociology Depts


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I did my MPhil at a UK university, but decided to return to NA for my PhD. Unfortunately my PhD applications to American depts were unsuccessful (I'm assuming that UPenn's & Harvard's silence = bad news), so I'm reconsidering the UK.

At the moment I'm considering Edinburgh, Warwick, York, Goldsmiths, and maybe Oxford (though from what I understand Edinburgh, Warwick, and York all have stronger depts than Oxford).

Any suggestions regarding departments or persons known for their research in the Sociology of Health & Mental Illness would be appreciated (I focused on the Sociology of Employment for my MPhil, so health is a new area for me)

Edited by sararuwani
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Essex has one of the best, if not the best, Sociology departments in the U.K.... but the university as a whole has little name recognition outside the country. It may be worth looking into... I did my M.A. there (partly within the Soc department - in a research centre housed within it) - the campus and facilities are tired and depressing but the faculty are both brilliant and supportive and the research is top notch.

I did my MPhil at a UK university, but decided to return to NA for my PhD. Unfortunately my PhD applications to American depts were unsuccessful (I'm assuming that UPenn's & Harvard's silence = bad news), so I'm reconsidering the UK.

At the moment I'm considering Edinburgh, Warwick, York, Goldsmiths, and maybe Oxford (though from what I understand Edinburgh, Warwick, and York all have stronger depts than Oxford).

Any suggestions regarding departments or persons known for their research in the Sociology of Health & Mental Illness would be appreciated (I focused on the Sociology of Employment for my MPhil, so health is a new area for me)

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Essex has one of the best, if not the best, Sociology departments in the U.K.... but the university as a whole has little name recognition outside the country. It may be worth looking into... I did my M.A. there (partly within the Soc department - in a research centre housed within it) - the campus and facilities are tired and depressing but the faculty are both brilliant and supportive and the research is top notch.

Excellent, thanks!

What about funding? As far as I'm aware I'll need to apply to the department and submit separate applications for funding.

Also, what is your perception of Goldsmiths?

Best of luck with your applications (especially the Canadian universities! I attended U of Toronto for my BA hons, so let me know if you have any questions).

Edited by sararuwani
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Excellent, thanks!

What about funding? As far as I'm aware I'll need to apply to the department and submit separate applications for funding.

Also, what is your perception of Goldsmiths?

Best of luck with your applications (especially the Canadian universities! I attended U of Toronto for my BA hons, so let me know if you have any questions).

Thanks! - U of T is one of my top, top choices - I may get back to you with some questions actually.

Goldsmiths is the "creative" college of the University of London, I'm not sure about Sociology there but have a vague recollection that it is quite strong - my sister did her M.A. there and enjoyed it a lot, it's in a fairly gritty part of the city and has a very arty and alternative vibe.

Also - Oxford is not really known for Sociology... I think that's somewhat down to it being a more modern subject which was picked up by the modern universities earlier, it's not necessarily a bad department - I did my undergrad' there, in another subject, and know people doingthe DPhil there in Social Policy (which is its own little department ..but somewhat tied in with Sociology) who find the department plenty rigorous and the experience rewarding - but it's not known as a powerhouse of Sociology research. I would say that Cambridge is probably thought of more as the social sciences place.

In the U.K. you apply and are accepted first, and then you apply for funding separately. There's not a lot available at all - hence my looking to North America (among other reasons). At Essex, most PhD students become graduate teaching assistants, and similar is available (to those who search it out) at other universities, but this is by no means a given, or mandated, part of doing a PhD here.

Oh - also Joan Busfield is at Essex, and she's very big in Sociology of Mental Health!

Edited by wreckofthehope
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Thanks! - U of T is one of my top, top choices - I may get back to you with some questions actually.

Goldsmiths is the "creative" college of the University of London, I'm not sure about Sociology there but have a vague recollection that it is quite strong - my sister did her M.A. there and enjoyed it a lot, it's in a fairly gritty part of the city and has a very arty and alternative vibe.

Also - Oxford is not really known for Sociology... I think that's somewhat down to it being a more modern subject which was picked up by the modern universities earlier, it's not necessarily a bad department - I did my undergrad' there, in another subject, and know people doingthe DPhil there in Social Policy (which is its own little department ..but somewhat tied in with Sociology) who find the department plenty rigorous and the experience rewarding - but it's not known as a powerhouse of Sociology research. I would say that Cambridge is probably thought of more as the social sciences place.

In the U.K. you apply and are accepted first, and then you apply for funding separately. There's not a lot available at all - hence my looking to North America (among other reasons). At Essex, most PhD students become graduate teaching assistants, and similar is available (to those who search it out) at other universities, but this is by no means a given, or mandated, part of doing a PhD here.

I did my MPhil with Cambridge and my fit with the department wasn't perfect, though my supervisor was and continues to be exceptionally supportive of my career.

That's good news! I'd actually prefer becoming a TA; I expect it to be a rewarding experience and it adds to the CV.

Thanks again

Edited by sararuwani
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  • 1 month later...

I'd like to revisit this topic and get some advice . . .

I've been accepted to Warwick and Leeds, and I'm still waiting to hear from LSE (where I did an MSc in a related field), Goldsmiths, and Edinburgh. I really want to return to the UK for my PhD, but I've already missed most of the deadlines for applying for funding, and I hold a funded offer from a U.S. school (ranked 50-60). I'd be happy to TA/RA to fund my degree, but I don't think it's possible to line up a position before committing to a program. Additionally, since I'm an international student, I'm ineligible for a lot of university funding and have higher fees to pay. Meanwhile, I need to respond to my U.S. offer by April 25th. Does anyone have advice on how to fund a UK PhD? Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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