"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 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 on 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 studied Sociology at Warwick for my undergraduate degree before going on to study a Masters at Cambridge in ‘Modern Society and Global Transformations’. I have always held an interest in the sociology of work and employment, social and political theories and especially feminist theories, so I focused on these areas at undergraduate level. After my masters, I went to work in policy and research roles for charities before ending up as a press officer. I returned to academia in September 2014 to take up an ESRC sponsored PhD focusing on the (re)production of gender inequalities among local politicians. I chose to return to Warwick because of the great memories I had as an undergraduate; of an intellectually vibrant, welcoming and friendly department which valued and nurtured its students. Since starting my PhD, these qualities have only become more apparent, with regular and highly supportive supervisions, as well as support from other members of staff. At Warwick, you are given two supervisors which allows for a greater range of input on your thought process and writing as it develops, as well as being reassuring that should one supervisor be absent, you know you will carry on receiving support throughout. The academic staff are very good at offering opportunities to PhD students to get involved with a range of relevant activities. For instance, I’ve been a part of the organising committee for the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender graduate seminar series, have coordinated a one-day conference at Warwick with the support and financial backing of the department, and have had the pleasure of teaching in the Department. My supervisors have also encouraged and supported me to give conference papers, and to apply for an overseas research visit with a gender scholar in Sweden, which I take up in September 2017. The first year can be daunting especially if you’re returning to academic life after a break, but the core classes designed to ease the transition into PhD life are incredibly valuable, as is the presence of the wider PhD community, many of whom choose to work in the department’s dedicated PhD rooms which helps to foster a PhD community. As I approach my final year, I’m looking forward to developing an academic career. The university offer useful workshops on how to demystify this process, for example through advice on publishing in academia."
- Liz Ablett, current candidate, PhD Sociology