Master of Philosophy in Sociology and Demography

Differences from 2020/21 to 2022/23

The regulations made by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Sociology are as follows:

Qualifying test

EveryIn the first year, every candidate must pass a qualifying test at the end of the third term from the beginning of the course in theoffer four compulsorycore papers, in Methods of Social Research, Sociological Analysis, Demographic Analysis, and Life Course Research. Full details of the methods of assessment and onetimings Optionalwill Paperbe fromset out in the listCourse Handbook.  

In addition, candidates must also offer one option paper. Details of optionalthe option papers, specifiedavailable byincluding the Departmentmethod and timing of Sociology.the This listassessment will be published annually by Friday of the third week of Michaelmas Full Term in the DepartmentCourse of SociologyHandbook.  

Where coursework forms a part of theany assessment for an option paper, an electronic copy must be uploaded to the UnversityUniversity approved online assessment platform  by noon on Friday of the eighthtime weekand of the Trinity Full Term in which the examination is to be taken unless otherwisedate specified in the Graduate StudiesCourse Handbook, or, in the case of options taken outside the Department of Sociology, as specified by the department or faculty concerned. The examiners may examine candidates viva voce.  

Candidates who fail the qualifying test are allowed to retake the test before the beginning of the first week of the next academic year. Such candidates are required to retake only those elements of the qualifying test that they have failed. Candidates who fail only one out of the five papers may, by permission of the Sociology Graduate Studies Committee, proceed to the second year of the course and re-sit the failed paper at the same time as the final examination. No candidate will be permitted to re-sit any of the compulsory papers more than once.

Final Examination

Every candidate must offer:

  • 1. One further optionaloption paper from the list of optionaloption papers specified by the Department of Sociology;

  • 2. A paper in the Replication project as specified in the Graduate Studies Handbook;

  • 3. A thesis1  of not more than 30,000 words on a topic within the subject of the course, to be specified jointly by supervisor and student; an electronic copy  to be uploaded to the University -approved online assessment platform  by noon on Friday of theweek sixth week6 of the Trinity Full Term in which the examination is to be taken. Successful candidates will be required to deposit a copy of their thesis in the Department of Sociology. Candidates are warned that they should avoid repetition in their theses of material used in their option papers and that substantial repetition may be penalised.

The examiners may examine any candidate viva voce.

Compulsory Papers

Methods of Social Research

The satisfactory completion of a course of practical work including (i) statistical methods, and (ii) research design. Candidates shall submit reports of the practical work completed to the University approved online assessment platform by the following deadlines: for (i) statistical methods by 12 noon on Friday of the fifth week of the second term of the course; for (ii) research design by 12 noon on Monday of the first week of the third term of the course. The reports must be accompanied by a statement that they are the candidate's own work except where otherwise indicated. For (i) statistical methods, candidates will also be required to take a two-hour in-class test to be held on the Friday preceding the first week of the second term of the course. The Director of Graduate Studies, or a deputy, shall draw to the attention of the examiners the names of any candidates who have failed to complete to a satisfactory level of quality the course of practical work, and the examiners may require candidates to retake the course or a specified part thereof. The reports of practical work shall be available for inspection by the examiners.

Sociological Analysis

The object and objective of sociological analysis in relation to other social sciences. The nature of different sociological explanations, their possibilities and methodological implications. The relevance of rationality and of its limits with regard to both individual agents and institutions. The interrelationships between description and explanation, theory and empirical data, macro- and micro-levels of analysis as they emerge from areas of major sociological enquiry.

Demographic Analysis

The object and objective of demographic analysis in relation to other social sciences. Core demographic concepts, their related indicators and methods; and their application to the study of populations and population change. Demographic transition; the Second Demographic Transition; Fertility; Mortality; Migration; Life Tables; Temporal dimensions in demography; Demographic data.; Population projections.

Life Course Research

The theoretical foundation and practical implementation of the multilevel, actor-oriented life course approach in its application to demographic and sociological problems; the theoretical implications of life course designs; methods, design, and statistical techniques of life course research; key life course events (including births, deaths, migrations and relationship transitions); the role of the historical and geographical context for individual life courses; the role of kinship and network ties; and the role of human development (e.g. generalising the traditional demographic emphasis on period, cohort and age).


1 See the general regulations concerning the preparation and dispatch of theses.