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Social Sciences

PhD or MA by Research

Key facts

Start dates

June 2022 / September 2022 / January 2023

Application deadline

International and EU applicants apply 5 months before enrolment date. Applications received less than 5  months before cannot be guaranteed. UK applicants apply 4 months before enrolment date. Applications received less than 4 months before cannot be guaranteed.

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 1 - 3 years

Part time: 1 - 4 years

Funding status

Self-funded

Overview

The School of Social Sciences is an environment of critical enquiry and rigorous research. Our innovative and influential research has received international recognition; changing attitudes and informing policy across areas as diverse as primatology, biodiversity conservation and wildlife trade, gendered practices in family and work lives, and Eastern European politics.

We offer students close supervision from experts with research expertise in your research area and plentiful opportunities to present your work and participate in our research training and other research events. 

You may have the opportunity to develop your teaching, mentoring and assessment skills by undertaking paid teaching activities for up to six hours a week.

The School comprises a number of collaborative research clusters supporting our doctoral students and encouraging wide participation both through our partnerships and our full programme of conferences, public events and lectures. Some of our research clusters are grouped together within the three research centres within the school.

Student reading a book

Research expertise

Our school comprises a number of collaborative research clusters which support the work of researchers and doctoral students. We encourage wide participation through partnerships and our busy programme of conferences, public events and lectures.

We strongly recommend that prior to submitting a full application you identify and make contact directly with a potential Director of Studies. Please look at our research group pages and individual staff profiles to help you identify the appropriate member of staff and to find out whether your proposed research focus is one that we can supervise.

Some of our research clusters are grouped together within the three research centres within the school.

Degree routes

All students enrol as probationer research students. During the first year you will formally register your research proposal for one of the below routes. 

The degree for which you register will depend on your academic qualifications and research experience. 

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Each research student in the Faculty will be allocated £630 towards the costs associated with specific research activities during the research programme.
  • Close supervision from experts in your chosen research area, including joint supervision across departments for interdisciplinary projects. 
  • Plentiful opportunities to present your work. Depending on your chosen subject you may have the opportunity to attend:
    • research seminars with presentations from high profile external guest speakers
    • specialist seminars organised by individual research groups and clusters
    • methodology workshops.  
  • You will also be encouraged to submit publications to leading research journals.
  • You may have the opportunity to develop your teaching, mentoring and demonstrating skills by undertaking paid teaching activities for up to six hours a week. You may also be required to attend the Associate Teachers course which is run by the University’s Oxford Centre for Academic Enhancement and Development .

After you graduate

Career prospects

We are passionate about fostering the careers of our researchers and ensure that they gain research skills training, leadership experience and teaching practice as part of the doctoral programmes we offer.

Bespoke careers advice is also embedded into our programme as we think this is a key element of your personal and professional development during your time with us.

Social science graduates are highly-valued by employers in public, private and non-government sectors for a range of skills including numeracy, literacy, communication, problem-solving, research methods and being able to engage a comparative perspective. Social sciences graduates have gone on to enjoy varied careers in a number of NGO, public and commercial settings.

How to apply

Entry requirements

Please see the specific entry requirement details in the degree routes section above.

If you choose to study full-time you must be able to devote a minimum of 35 hours per week over a 44-week year to your research. You should not undertake more than 20 hours per week paid employment or other commitments (including a maximum of six hours per week teaching, demonstrating, or other paid work directly related to your research training).

If you choose to study part-time you must be able to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week over a 44-week year to the programme of research.

You must also meet our residence requirements.

English language requirements

Applicants whose main language is not English must meet the Faculty’s English language requirements. The minimum IELTS score required for entry to the research degree programme is 6.5–7 overall. 

In addition, we require a minimum of 6.5 in each component of the test. We do not accept IELTS certificates that are over two years old. 

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Application process

It is essential that you first check whether your specific research interests can be adequately supervised before submitting a full application. To do this please email the Research Administrator (hss-researchdegrees@brookes.ac.uk) your provisional research proposal. This should be 1500–2000 words in length and should include a title and a summary of the proposed subject area.

There is no specific format for research proposals but the following areas are usually covered:

  • introduction
  • evidence of background reading and knowledge/previous experience of research area
  • details of research methods proposed to carry out the project
  • the aims of the research project and any proposed hypotheses/outcomes
  • literature review
  • how your research project will make an original and independent contribution to knowledge.

If your area of research can potentially be supervised you will be encouraged to submit a full application via our online application system.

The Research Administrator will acknowledge receipt of your application by email. We strive to make a decision within one month of receiving your application. Please note, however, decisions may take longer during busier periods of the academic year.

Supporting documents

Please read through the list of supporting documentation that must be uploaded along with your application or emailed separately.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities by visiting our finance web pages: 

Fees increase by approximately 4% each year and apply to all MPhil, MPhil/PhD, PhD, MA by Research, MSc by Research and LLM by Research programmes.

If you have any questions about fees get in touch with the Research Degrees Team at rd-enquiries@brookes.ac.uk

Funding

Find out about funding options for UK studentsEU students and international students.

Please also see the UK Government information about funding Postgraduate study.

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