School of Social and Political Science

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A leading centre of study

We are one of the UK's leading centres for research and teaching in sociology. One of our major strengths is diversity, both in who we are and what we do.

Our staff and students come from all over the world and our research covers Scotland, the UK and other parts of Europe; the Americas (including Latin America); the Middle East; South and East Asia; and Africa. The sociological issues and themes we research are similarly diverse in scope, ranging from personal life to global phenomena.

We have particular strengths in researching culture; digital sociology; finance and economic sociology; the environment and energy; nationalism and political action; intimacy; and race and decolonisation.

Our work is also methodologically diverse. We have expertise in advanced quantitative approaches; digital research; qualitative and ethnographic methods; documentary analysis; and mixed methods. This expertise is reflected in large methodological initiatives hosted at the University, including one of the key UK units of the Economic and Social Research Council National Centre for Research Methods.

Teaching led by diverse research

Since all our teaching is research-led, this geographical, thematic and methodological diversity is also reflected in our degree programmes and the wide choice of courses available to our students.

The structure of our four-year undergraduate degrees mean that students inevitably combine breadth of subject choice in their first two years of study with depth of specialisation in their final two years.

We also stress the importance of sociology as something our students should do and not just read about. So as well as the more advanced research training and guidance we provide to our postgraduates, students on our undergraduate degrees are also given a thorough grounding in designing and doing research using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, as well as learning about the key ideas and theories, which are an equally important part of our degree programmes.

An interdisciplinary approach

Sociology has strong links with other centres for research and teaching in the School of Social and Political Science, particularly the Centre for South Asian Studies and Centre of Canadian Studies, and with Science, Technology and Innovation Studies.

We offer four-year undergraduate MA degrees in Sociology and in Sociology with Quantitative Methods, as well as leading combined programmes in Sociology and Politics, Sociology and Psychology, and Sociology and Social Anthropology.

Students can also combine Sociology with Economics, Geography, Law or Social Policy. Sociology staff also have a leading role in the MA Sustainable Development degree programme. At postgraduate level, as well as PhD programmes in Sociology and in Socio-Cultural Studies, we also offer one-year (full-time) and two-year (part-time) master's (MSc) degrees in Digital Society, Nationalism Studies, and Sociology and Global Change.