PhD (School of Social Sciences)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

All of the Academic Divisions in the School of Social Sciences invite PhD applications.

The research areas are only broadly indicative, and our staff place great store by creative and innovative approaches to issues whether they are novel or familiar – and to intellectual analysis, both established and path-breaking.

Subjects we supervise include the following areas:

  • Development Studies
  • Peace Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Criminology
  • Social Work and Social Care

Undertaking a PhD is an exciting opportunity but can also be quite daunting as there are lots of stages to think about including application, arrival, admission, expectations, and progression to name but a few. At the School of Social Sciences, we believe it is important that, although our research students are working on individual projects, they are not working in isolation. We offer a range of opportunities for training, developing skills, regular supervision sessions and ongoing peer support.


The University of Bradford is ranked 301-400 in the world for Social Sciences in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Entry requirements

For the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy

  • First or upper-second class degree of Bachelor at an approved university or institution
  • A higher degree at an approved university or institution
  • Exceptionally, candidates with lower than above but with experience and training as suitable preparation

Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy now register directly on the Doctor of Philosophy award.

For the degree of Master of Philosophy

  • Degree of Bachelor at an approved university or institution
  • Professional qualification approved by the Faculty Research Postgraduate Degrees Sub-Committee and suitable general education and training
  • Exceptionally, candidates with less than above but able to give satisfactory evidence of having obtained the adequate standard of knowledge may be accepted by the Faculty Postgraduate Research Degrees Sub-Committee

If you would like to discuss any aspect of studying for a PhD or your research proposal, please contact:

Dr Clare Beckett
01274 233521

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as a first language must obtain at least a 6.5 in their IELTS scores or have completed a degree in which the language of instruction is English.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course.

What you will study

A research degree gives you the opportunity to determine your own field of study. Your supervisor(s) will help formulate your research topic and ensure you are on schedule to complete your research on time. Research projects are, almost by definition, unique. It is not easy to describe a typical project. However, certain common features apply to all.

In order to confirm progress on your PhD, a recommendation must be made by a Progression Panel proposed by your supervisor. If you opt nevertheless to submit for an MPhil then your remaining work should be accomplished in the following year.

The second year of your PhD programme may well be taken up with actual data collection. Towards the end of the year, it should be possible to attempt an initial analysis of your results.

In the third year, you may conduct detailed collation and analysis of your results and organise them in to a logical and persuasive thesis.

During your fourth year, your supervisor may confirm that you are ready to submit your thesis for examination. Following submission, your thesis will be read by two examiners and you will be required to attend an oral examination, at which you will be expected to answer questions on your thesis.

Learning and assessment

In order to confirm your progression, a recommendation must be made to the Faculty Research Degrees Committee. The student is required to produce detailed documentation with a timetable of further work to completion and attend a progress meeting. This is sometimes called a progression or transfer panel and is a compulsory university requirement.

Students will be required to go through this process between the 12 and 13-month mark of their registration. The documents required for the meeting are as follows:

  • a three-page overview report on your study, that reflects on your progress to date and raises anything that you would particularly like feedback on;
  • a substantive chapter of your thesis;
  • a research proposal;
  • a thesis planner.

These documents must be submitted 14 days in advance of the meeting.

A further monitoring meeting can be held at any time following the Progression meeting if the supervisor thinks it is necessary. This would again take the form of a panel of academics reviewing written work, but the number of academics and the type of written work, that will be reviewed, is up to the supervisor to decide. Often a third monitoring meeting is held towards the end of the programme of study and takes the form of a review of the first draft of the thesis or a mock viva.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

At the University of Bradford, you’ll benefit from - and be a part of – teaching and research that harnesses technology for the good of society. You’ll learn from academic and industry experts who are ... Read More

At the University of Bradford, you’ll benefit from - and be a part of – teaching and research that harnesses technology for the good of society. You’ll learn from academic and industry experts who are shaping the future of their sectors in world-class facilities. We’ve invested millions of pounds in high-tech learning environments, such as our motion capture studio and new School of Management facilities. During your time with us, you can become the very best version of yourself. The University is a place where you can expand your mind and make lifelong friends; where you can grow, learn, experience. Where you can belong, and where we support you every step of the way. Read less