Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work

Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work

The Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Pathway is offered at Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside, Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast.

About the pathway
The Sociology, Social Policy and Social work pathway is offered at Durham University, Newcastle University, Teesside University, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast. The pathway covers research in three areas, sociology, social policy and social work and offers training and PhD supervision in each of these areas.

The pathway links Newcastle Sociology with three outstanding Social Work and Social Policy Subject Areas. Sociology at Newcastle University is the location for the ESRC recognised MA in Sociology and Social Research (MASSR), a long running programme providing core social science research and sociological training. The Department of Sociology at Durham University is host to the established and ESRC recognised Masters programmes in Social Research Methods (Social Policy) and Social Research Methods (Social Work) and provides core methods training for all students in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health. Queens University Belfast Social Work and Social Policy’s research expertise includes an interdisciplinary Doctorate in Childhood Studies. Teesside University’s Social Work and Social Policy provision is based within its School of Social Science Humanities and Law and School of Health. Social Work and Social Policy at Ulster University is located across the School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies and in the School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy. The excellence of research in each of these subject areas across the partner universities in NINE means that this pathway offers rich, rigorous and high quality training and supervision.

Doctoral training and development
Doctoral training provides advanced level knowledge and skills and understanding necessary to prepare students for a doctoral degree and to train a professional researcher. The research training modules across the pathway cover the core skills of (with some variation depending on disciplinary focus): epistemological approaches to social research, statistical techniques and frameworks, quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods, experimental design, production and management of complex datasets, project design and planning, and policy evaluation and research techniques. All of our programmes have well-established structures for monitoring the training needs and study progression of PGR students, with annual monitoring of progress and supervisor training. Specialist training modules on research design and progress and career development are provided across all years of PGR study.
Postgraduate students are integral to the rich and heterogeneous research cultures of the units involved in the pathway, they are encouraged to co-convene and organise events and participate in external research networking activities. The research capacity available across the pathway and within the individual units offers an excellent research infrastructure, access to research and community partnerships and innovative support for doctoral students. A strength shared across the units is a commitment to international and inter-disciplinary collaborations, participatory and rights-based approaches; strengths that will be enhanced by the collaborations fostered by the pathway.

All students are located within research areas of excellence in relation to published outputs, local, national and international research collaboration, and international reputation. At Durham, these include four core research themes: Communities and Social Justice, Health and Social Theory, Higher Education and Social Inequality, Violence and Abuse. At Newcastle, these include the Identities, Embodiments and Selves, Imagining Pasts and Futures and Power, Inequalities and Citizenship Research Clusters and the Research Centre Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS). At Queens University Belfast, these include the three substantive programmes: improving outcomes for children; family violence; and disability, mental health and wellbeing. At Teesside University, these include the Centre for Realist Criminology that is located within the Social Futures Research Institute and the Centre for Health and Social Evaluation, located within the School of Health. At Ulster, these include the Action Research Knowledge, the International State Crime Initiative and the centre for Young Men’s Studies.

If you would like further information, please feel free to contact departments directly.