College of Social Science - Information for International PhD Applicants
Prepared by Professor Jo Brewis, Director of Postgraduate Research, College of Social Science
You can download a printable version of this advice.
General Information about Research Areas for PhD Applicants
For more information about our research activities see the College website and follow the links there.
You can also access the University’s Study With Us website for postgraduate research programmes pages.
The list on the right hand side of the page takes you to pages for each of the disciplinary clusters within the College. These pages then allow you to navigate down to each School/Department’s website for full information about their PhD programmes. It is very important that you follow the links through to each School/Department’s site, as you will find all of the information you need about their PhD programmes there.
Weblinks for each School/Department for their PhD programmes are also listed below.
Conditions for PhD Entry to the College
Bachelor’s degree plus a Master’s or equivalent qualification
English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language then you must also satisfy the University's language requirement of:
- IELTS 6.5 (with at least 5.5 in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) or
- TOEFL ibt 90 (with at least 17 in Listening, 20 in Speaking, 18 in Reading and 17 in Writing)
Further advice on English language entry requirements.
Please be aware that individual departments and Schools in the College may in fact have different requirements for English language levels, and you should ensure that you fulfil these requirements where they apply. Details will be available on the individual School/Department websites.
English Language tuition is available at Leicester through a series of pre-sessional courses which will help applicants to reach the required level where necessary. Please also note that, if there is any doubt about your English language ability, the University of Leicester reserves the right to require you to achieve a satisfactory score in a recognised English language test, or to pass a test of competence, set and marked by our English Language Teaching Unit.
Ability to Pay Tuition Fees
For 2012/13 these are:
- Full-time, campus-based international students: £10,915
- Part-time, campus-based international students: £5,457.50
- Part-time, distance learning international students: £17,539*
* This fee is for the complete period of the degree, not per annum.
We also offer a discounted fees rate to Distance Learning PhD students studying in the School of Management, the School of Education, and the Department of Sociology only who are resident in eligible countries. This fee is currently £13,315.
All fees are subject to inflation year on year.
You should also check for details of scholarships currently offered by College departments. These scholarships vary in type and funding available, but at best will include a combination of full-time fees at Home/EU level only, a bursary, and a Research Training Support Grant.
Applicants must submit all relevant documentation to support the application. This varies by School/Department in the College, but will at minimum include the following:
- A completed Postgraduate Application Form
- A 3,000-4,000 word research proposal
- Two references, preferably from academics who have taught or supervised you previously
- Proof of English language capability where required
- Copies of your degree transcripts
Please ensure you check what is required by the relevant School/Department before applying. Also do be aware that not all Schools and Departments in the College can accept online applications. Again you need to check the individual School/Department website to find out - please see the weblinks below.
Availability of two members of Leicester academic staff with the appropriate experience and who have sufficient capacity, resources and time to undertake supervision of the PhD project. Academics will pay specific attention to the quality of your research proposal in deciding whether to offer you an interview or not. Do check to see whether your proposed area of research is shared by any of the faculty in the relevant School/Department before you apply.
However, it is not necessary to then contact members of staff directly to see if they will supervise you - please, having made these checks, simply apply using the process advised by the School/Department.
Please note that decisions about applications cannot be made instantaneously. Schools/Departments normally need up to six weeks to process an application, which will always involve interviewing candidates in person, by telephone, or by Skype.
The College usually admits something of the order of 100 FTE (full time equivalent) students in any one calendar year. Schools and Departments vary in size and therefore also vary as to their capacity to admit numbers of students.
School and Departmental Information - Supervisory Interests and Modes of Postgraduate Research Study
Department of Criminology
Research in this department is currently organized around six broad overlapping areas:
- Media, communication and surveillance
- Cultures, subcultures and deviancy
- Communities and policing
- Globalization and security
- Gender and sexuality
Also see individual Criminology staff pages for areas in which they would be able to supervise doctoral students.
The Department of Criminology offers PhD study on campus only, either full time or part time. Usually four PhD students are admitted each year.
School of Education
See the School of Education PhD website.
Research in this department is currently organized around seven broad areas:
- Leadership learning and change
- Innovative pedagogies and reform
- Mathematics and science education
- Education for social justice
- Engagement and vulnerability in education
- Professional learning and teacher identity
- Language teaching, learning and use
Also see individual Education staff pages for areas in which they would be able to supervise doctoral students.
This School of Education offers PhD study on campus, either full time or part time, and part-time via distance learning.
The School of Education also offers a part-time professional doctorate – the Doctor of Education (EdD). This is designed to empower professional educators to conduct robust research focused on improving policy, practice and the quality of education. Learn more about the Doctor of Education degree.
Usually twenty PhD students and fifteen EdD students are admitted each year.
Department of Economics
See the Department of Economics PhD website.
Check staff supervisory interests.
The Department of Economics offers PhD study on campus only, either full time or part time. Usually fifteen PhD students are admitted each year.
Department of Geography
Although this department is located within the College of Science and Engineering, it offers PhDs in Human Geography which is a social science subject. Human Geography PhD students therefore follow College of Social Science rules and regulations.
See the Department of Geography PhD website.
Human Geography research in this department is currently organized around these broad areas:
- Geographies of emotions and feelings
- Geographies of communities and the everyday
- Environmental geographies
- Spatial literacy and digital geographies (with the GIS Research Group)
Check Human Geography staff research interests.
The Department of Geography offers PhD study on campus only, either full time or part time. Usually five Human Geography PhD students are admitted each year.
Institute for Lifelong Learning (LILL)
See the LILL PhD website.
The Institute can supervise doctoral students in the following areas:
- Civil safety and security
- Popular culture and spirituality/religion
- Counselling and psychotherapy
Check staff supervisory interests.
LILL offers PhD study on campus only, either full time or part time. Usually one PhD student is admitted each year.
School of Management and the Centre for Labour Market Studies (CLMS)
Research in the School/ Centre is currently organized around the following broad themes:
- Academic practice and Distance Learning
- Alternative organisations
- Behavioural finance
- Branding and relationships
- Consumption and identity
- Critical marketing
- Business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
- Finance and physics
- Employability and locality
- Employment and education
- High Involvement Management
- International business
- Management of culture
- Management of science and technology
- Public sector management
- Public finance
- Performance measurement
- Philosophy, politics and organisational theory
- Skills, performance and development
- Small business finance
- Sociology of finance
- Work and worker organisation
- Youth transitions to work
The School of Management offers PhD study on campus, either full time or part time, and part time by distance learning.
The School of Management/CLMS also offers a part-time professional doctorate – the Doctorate in Social Science (DSocSci). This is designed to produce leading practitioners who have mastered the full range of theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for the conduct of their professional activities at the highest levels. Learn more about the Doctor of Social Science degree.
The School of Management/CLMS usually admit 18-20 PhD and 20 DSocSci students each year.
Department of Media and Communication
Research in this department is currently organized around these broad areas:
- Advertising and consumerism
- Crime, justice and security
- Disability and health
- Environment/science (including climate change)
- Media ethics/regulation
- Migration, transnationalism and multiculturalism
- New media/ digital media and their social consequences
- News and journalism
- Political communication
Also see individual Media and Communication staff pages for areas in which they would be able to supervise doctoral students.
This Department of Media and Communication offers PhD study on campus, either full time or part time, and part-time via distance learning. Usually eleven PhD students are admitted each year.
Department of Politics and International Relations
See the Department of Politics and International Relations PhD website (this site also contains details of individual faculty’s research interests).
The Department of Politics and International Relations offers PhD study on campus, either full time or part time, and part-time via distance learning. Usually eight PhD students are admitted each year.
Department of Sociology
See the Department of Sociology PhD website.
Research in this department is currently organized around these broad areas:
- Political sociology, social movements and civil society
- Wellbeing and health
- Social theory
- Language and interaction
- Migration and ethnicity
- Gender, sexuality, consumption and the body
- Media, culture and identity
Also see individual Sociology staff pages for areas in which they would be able to supervise doctoral students.
The Department of Sociology offers PhD study on campus, either full time or part time, and part-time via distance learning. Usually at least six PhD students are admitted each year.