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The PhD experience

It is part of the Department’s philosophy to encourage graduate students to participate fully in its intellectual life. This includes a considerable range of activities from peer study and support groups and themed writing workshops among students, to departmental Research Seminars involving both staff and students. There are also a variety of seminar series involving guest speakers that are organised by Research Centres, both within and outside of the department, at which you will be very welcome.

Research activity

There are two active research centres, (the Centre for the Study of Women & Gender, and the Social Theory Centre), and a number of research groups and networks that are led by members of our department. These interact across our research cluster areas, as well as across disciplines within the university and beyond, and frequently play host to guest workshops, conferences and seminars. In addition, we offer limited funding for students to attend conferences outside of Warwick and present their research to a wider audience.

Student-led initiatives

There’s more to life as a PhD student than research—in fact, we offer many opportunities for you to engage with the academic community in the department, and participate in university-wide activities. One of these is the Warwick Sociology Journal, a student-run journal within the department seeking to showcase some of the best undergraduate and postgraduate work, on a range of contemporary topics. Students and staff also organise and participate in seminars and workshops, within our research centres and clusters.

Events and societies

We also host a number of events featuring staff members and guest speakers, including our departmental Seminar Series, the focal point of research culture and activity in the department. Past presentations have covered topics including ‘The Culture of Competition in Modern Liberal Societies’ and ‘Decentering Beauty in Latin America’.

Beyond the department, there is a vibrant campus atmosphere, with many societies and initiatives to get involved with, including the Warwick Sociology Society, which regularly holds academic talks, charity and careers events, mentoring and an annual Christmas dinner. Students also frequently organise drinks and socials after seminars or other events in the department.

My PhD experience

I had a great, eye-opening experience whilst studying for an MA in Sociology at Warwick three years ago, so the decision of coming back to do a PhD is never a difficult one; not to mention the department’s strength in teaching and researching. We are always encouraged to engage in conversations about what others are researching on, and the diversity in the department allows me to be friends with sociologists from different backgrounds and research interests.

I enjoyed the variety of the seminars in the Sociology department, from topics about gender and race, to neoliberalism, and critical reflections as academics. The inspiration I got from all of the different speakers are essential to kindle my passion in sociology and spark interest in new areas.

The Sociology PhD community is always fun, caring and supporting. I have benefited greatly, emotionally and intellectually, from professors or classmates in coffee time after lectures and seminars; these warm interactions are exactly what I need to get through the ups and downs of life as a PhD student.

- Andy Chiu,

MA Sociology (2015), current PhD candidate