I'm basically a defector from Science to Social Science. I studied Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science as an undergraduate and obtained my Master’s in Physics in India. However, my involvement in activism and social work eventually led to a second Master’s in Education. During the programme I developed a passionate interest in researching inequality in and through education. My thesis is tentatively titled: 'Thinking emancipation, "rethinking education": difference, oppression and resistance in Indian classrooms’.
I found the Sociology department at Warwick particularly attractive as there was a lot of interest in school education and different kinds of inequalities, and Warwick offered me a fully-funded position. Before applying I had contacted 3-4 faculty members with my research proposal and written to some students to find out about their experience of supervision.
The supervisor-student relationship is really crucial. Supervisors oversee the decision-making process and help find ways to resolve theoretical and practical concerns; overall planning and execution are the student’s responsibility. There is a lot of freedom in terms of political, methodological and theoretical choices available to a PhD student, (which also implies great responsibility).
The department is a great place in which to work and grow. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in and organise events like conferences and workshops, teach or interact with faculty and early career researchers across departments. Workshops and support services offered by the department, and graduate school, help tremendously in identifying opportunities, tackling problems and planning one’s work.
PhD programmes can be quite isolating – and gruelling – and it is worth the time and trouble to establish a circle of friends and colleagues at the department. Mine have talked me through the more demanding and exciting phases of my project.
After submitting my thesis, I plan to apply for postdoctoral fellowships. I hope to teach and research in the UK or India.
- Reva Yunus, current candidate, PhD Sociology
My PhD investigates how the European Central Bank has changed throughout the past years of the financial and sovereign debt crisis. It looks in particular at the changing perceptions of central bankers, on the concepts of independence and power in the European central banking system.
Although my research could also be situated in economics or political economy, I chose the department of Sociology at Warwick, because I was deeply interested in how society perceives the changes in the financial and macroeconomic environment in Europe. Looking back on my three years with the department, I have very much enjoyed my experience in terms of studying, the friends I made, and the support from staff and academics throughout my time. Warwick provides excellent facilities, which makes studying an extensive project, such as a PhD, much easier and much more pleasant. After studying in cramped universities in London for my BA and MSc, the facilities were a game-changer.
Despite not having figured out what I will do post-PhD I know many doors are open. Not only because of having an advanced degree and the reputation of the university, but because I have learned what it means to follow through with a project that takes several years and how to manage the immense workload. This is a skill that any future employer will cherish, whether it is a university, a company, a government organisation or an NGO.
- Thore Behrens, PhD Sociology (2017)
I completed a BA (Hons) in Media and Sociology, and an MA in World Cities and Urban Life at Goldsmiths, University of London. I was aware that the Sociology department at Warwick offered an interesting mixture of disciplinary specialisms and has a cutting-edge focus on employment, work and labour markets. My decision to attend Warwick also derived from a keen interest in being supervised by experts in my research areas. This includes social policy, sociology of youth and education, histories of social security and employment support, and urban ethnography. I thought that Warwick would provide space in which to learn how to conduct high-quality ethnography research, all whilst also developing my knowledge of various analytical approaches in the social sciences.
My thesis title is ‘Intervention work: an ethnography of NEET-to-EET transitions’. In this thesis I describe the social organisation of youth employment and training programmes, and how they are delivered by front-line staff in local authorities. The thesis is made up of four case studies with each focusing on the everyday practices that front-line staff undertake in order to deliver NEET interventions. This project was supervised by Alice Mah and Noel Whiteside. In support of this research, I was able to draw upon the expertise of staff in the Sociology department. Staff were always willing to offer support, share new ideas and make suggestions about theoretical or practical research questions. During my four years I also benefited from seminars, lectures, international visits and informal discussions with staff and students from across the WBS, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, and the Centre for Applied Linguistics.
- Julian Molina, PhD Sociology (2017)
I chose Sociology because I wanted to understand how people's lives have been affected by social changes, especially in the 21st century. Every society across the world has differences, and everything can be done differently depending on the culture, politics and history. Understanding how ordinary people and societies around the world are affected by economic forces and political agreements, is something that I believe sociology is particularly useful for.
The department of Sociology at Warwick is a very inclusive, diverse and creative environment. As a PhD student, since I submitted my application, I had the support of the department and my supervisor in order to conduct my research and do my PhD studies here. It is a place in which students are relevant when the decisions are made. They advised me to get into different activities in the Graduate Schoo,l which allowed me to expand my academic perspectives and personal skills. They have supported my research and guided me in the best possible way. They also supported my research through funding my attendance to different conferences and fieldwork abroad.
Besides the academic staff, the other candidates and students in the department are very friendly. The common room is shared by undergraduates, postgraduates, academics and staff, which I think it is very inclusive. We share the same space, and everyone can join social events, academic events and even carry on their ideas with the support of the department.
- Isabel Margarita Nuñez Salazar, current candidate, PhD Sociology