Sociology and Social Policy

MPhil / PhD

Sociology and Social Policy has a thriving, expanding postgraduate research culture, with activities in three broad areas: Urban space, culture and regeneration:- The social, cultural and economic impact of Liverpool’s designation as European Capital of Culture 2008 is of particular interest, as is the impact of culture-led regeneration on aspects of social inclusion.

Thriving postgraduate research culture

Studying at Liverpool has allowed me to frequently interact with colleagues who are leaders in this field and gain widely recognised postgraduate qualifications to take forward into my future career. The diversity of the city opens up a field for research and engagement across a variety of disciplines. The University of Liverpool is a fantastic place to study.

Sarah Greenhow - Sociology and Social Policy PhD student
  • 30%

    of our research activity is deemed 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' REF (2014).

  • 1905

    one of the world's first social science departments is established by the University of Liverpool.

  • 2010

    awarded the prestigious status of ESRC Doctoral Training College.

Research at Liverpool

Staff have particular strengths in Critical social policy:- This addresses particular questions of welfare, health, state social work, poverty, inequality and social justice. Age, generation and life course analysis, childhood, youth and older age, are other strengths.  

Research themes

Our department's Research Clusters cover areas such as social justice, crime, health, welfare, housing, inequality and the operation of political power at local, national and global levels.

International Criminological Research Unit

Publics & Practices


  • Access to Methods NorthWest , a cross-institutional initiative that promotes methodological innovation, excellence and an interdisciplinary approach
  • Prestigious events such as the Eleanor Rathbone Lecture Series and the engage@liverpool 'how to' talk series where lectures and lively debates focus on innovative research methods and practice.
  • Opportunities  to experience and conduct  ‘real life’ research with  voluntary groups and organisations across Merseyside through Interchange, our registered charity
  • Unique, flexible opportunities for in-house Research and Development Departments to upgrade their employees’ research skills through part-time study.

Research groups

  • Charity Law and Policy Unit
  • Critical Approaches International Criminal Law
  • EU Law@Liverpool
  • European Children’s Rights Unit
  • Health Law and Regulation Unit
  • International Criminological Research Unit
  • International Law and Human Rights Unit
  • Liverpool Economic Governance Unit
  • Publics & Practices

Study options and fees


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 2-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

For research degrees we expect candidates to normally hold a UK first degree in the first or upper second class, or a second class degree plus a Masters degree or equivalent, preferably in the Social Sciences.

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

View supervisors in this area

Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

Related studentships


LDC module

Your training and development

Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

More about Liverpool Doctoral College


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