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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, offers mentoring and puts on an annual Christmas dinner. Students also frequently organise drinks and socials after seminars or other events in the department.

My PhD experience

"My desire to study at Warwick was sparked by the positive experience that my 11-month younger sister had as an undergraduate in the department that is home to world-leading sociologists with diverse research areas - alongside opportunities to teach and engage in various departmental and wider university activities. Opportunities within the department have been plentiful: I have partaken in the ESRC overseas institutional visits scheme, working as a visiting research student at the university of Western Ontario, Canada; have been on the organizing committee for Centre for the Study of Women and Gender (CSWG) graduate seminar series; and initiated and launched a second graduate seminar series entitled ‘Inequality and Social Justice in Education: Issues of Class, Race, Gender and Sexuality’.

Recognizing my desire to pursue a career within higher education research and teaching, the department has provided me with ample opportunities to acquire the necessary skills. For instance, I have worked in the department as an associate tutor; have had the experience of authoring and delivering lectures; and recently completed to distinction level the Postgraduate Award in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The department and university also supported and financed my successful application for Associate Fellow status of the Higher Education Academy.

Above all else, the department of Sociology has supported me through times of personal and intellectual challenge; the support and guidance provided by my doctoral peers and senior academic colleagues (without prompt) has been the foundation of my successful doctoral experience."

- Carli Ria Rowell

PhD Sociology 2017
ESRC +4 pathway