Research Degrees in

Sociology and Criminology

in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in the areas of Sociology and Criminology you will:

  • Work with leading experts in the field. Our researchers have an international reputation for excellence. In the most recent research assessment exercise, 67% of our Sociology research and 60% of our Social Work & Social Policy research was ranked either world leading or internationally excellent (REF2014). We are in the top ten institutions in the country for Sociology impact (Times Higher Education).
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer PhD, MPhil and MA by Research, which can be taken either full or part time. We offer campus-based and distance learning programmes.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. You will be a member of our new Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences, an interdisciplinary hub for ground-breaking theoretical and applied research. We are also home to the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU), the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies and the Crime & Well-Being Big Data Centre. Our research is characterised by a particular commitment to research that makes a difference and often that which engages in a two-way relationship with local communities.
  • Engage in innovative public engagement programmes. RAH! (Research in Arts and Humanities) is a curated programme of public lectures, performances, film screenings, fairs, interventions, discussions, artist happenings and augmented reality.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC) provides a unique and comprehensive development programme for research students.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of projects within Sociology, Criminology, Multimedia Journalism, Human Geography and related fields. Particular research specialisms include:

  • Youth studies
  • Urban cultures
  • Sexualities
  • Substance use and addictive behaviours
  • Quantitative methods and big data
  • Criminal justice and policy innovation.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

We are a centre of research excellence. Our academics undertake critically engaged, interdisciplinary research that engages with a social world undergoing constant change. We produce research that is historical and contemporary; that engages with local, national and international communities; and that seeks to understand and transform social structures and cultural phenomena.

More about our research culture

We consider research students to be at the heart of what the faculty does and our aim is to offer a research degree experience that transcends the projects itself and offers applicants a professional training that can take them forwards in their research careers.

You will join a large community of postgraduate and early career researchers. The social and intellectual life of the Faculty is enhanced by the Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC) which provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Our research is also enhanced through several specialist research centres and institutes including:

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

Our intellectually rigorous research degrees will equip you with the necessary skills to pursue academic careers in Sociology, Criminology and related areas.

The programme is designed to support researchers aiming for a wide variety of research careers and not least in academia and/or evaluation research. You will develop vital industry networks and undertake advanced professional development that will equip you for careers in public policy, data analysis, civic administration, social services, criminal justice, and a range of other careers.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and you will review work in progress in regular supervision sessions.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills. Your professional development is a priority and supervisors will thus also offer advice about publications and the broader demands of developing a research career.

Fees and funding

Find out more

2018/19 entry


  • Full time: £4,260
  • Part time: £2,130

Tuition fees are likely to increase each academic year in line with UK Research and Innovation guidelines.

International Students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Read more on our tuition fees

2019/20 entry


Tuition fees for the academic year 2019/2020 will be:

  • £4,327 for full-time students
  • £2,164 for part-time students.

International students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Additional project costs

For some research projects, we may need to charge you additional costs to cover, for example, access to specialist equipment, resources or materials. We will discuss these costs with you during your interview, and they will be clearly outlined in your offer letter before you accept a place here. Where we advertise specific research projects, the complete project costs will be included in the advert.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Sociology are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

We are a member of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership which allows us to offer fully funded scholarships in the Arts and Humanities. The deadline for applications is midnight on 14 January 2019.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Professor Susan Baines,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Sociology.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 6673.

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

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Postgraduate Study