MPhil & PhD in Visual Sociology

  • Length
    3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The MPhil/PhD in Visual Sociology offers you the opportunity to combine written sociological argument with film, sound, or photographic representation. 

It will allow new researchers to re-think both the conduct of social research and the forms that social research writing takes in the 21st century.

Students registered on this degree will complete all of the research training modules outlined for the MPhil/PhD programme. The PhD will allow you to re-think the gathering, analysis and presentation of research data and consider the future of sociological representation.

Assessment will be via a thesis, visual/aural component (a video or sound feature, or a photographic project), and viva voce.

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Postgraduate Research Officer, Sociology


Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
9th in the UK and 45th in the world for this subject area**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research***


The Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are interested in everything from the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice to the ‘micro’ issues of cultural identity and the presentation of self in a digital world.

Our staff are some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – they’re the pioneers who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. They’ve played a key role in developing social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural policy, and linking theory to practice.

Through their world-leading research you’ll be at the forefront of current debates and will be encouraged to see the world differently.

Find out more about the Department of Sociology.

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2015
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Recent and current funded research

Goldsmiths Sociology has a long track record of funded research, with research funded by UK research councils, British Academy, European Union, and charities including Leverhulme, Wellcome and Joseph Rowntree. We are also in research collaboration with industry, local and national government and public bodies.

Current and recent projects include: 

Member of staff Title of project Funding body Start date End date
Monica Greco Biopolitics and Psychosomatics: Participating Bodies Wellcome Trust April 2016 July 2016
Maria O'Reilly Gendered Agency in War and Peace BA Leverhulme Small Grant April 2015 July 2016
Vik Loveday Precarity at Work BA Leverhulme Small Grant April 2015 May 2016
Emma Jackson The Choreography of Everyday Multiculture: Bowling Together? ESRC January 2015 December2017
Val Gillies Troubled Families and Inter Agency Collaboration: Lessons from Historical Comparative ESRC December2014 November 2015
Marsha Rosengarten, Martin Savransky & Daniel Neyland ‘Situated efficacy’ as a novel approach to interdisciplinary in the devising and delivery of effective medical and behavioural interventions Brocher Foundation November 2014 March 2015
Katrina Jungnickel Near Miss Project Creative Exchange October 2014 May 2015
Evelyn Ruppert Peopling Europe: How data make a people (ARITHMUS) ERC Consolidator Grant May 2014 April 2019
Marsha Rosengarten & Martin Savransky Towards a Concept of Situated Efficacy: An Alternative Mode for Collboration between Social Science and Biomedicine BA Leverhulme Small Grant April 2014 March 2015

Find out more about . 



"There is a sense of being part of a lively community of learning and of contributing to a fruitful research enterprise."

"I used to work full-time, 9 to 5, in Peckham Jobcentre Plus, and had done this for a few years, until my son was born: this gave me a chance to re-think my daily routine, and consider the important things in life. So I decided to enrol in a part-time MPhil & PhD in Visual Sociology, which could both upgrade my photographic skills and make me see life around me in a more meaningful way.

After that, at my own pace, I decided to continue the studies and enrolled on a part-time PhD in Visual Sociology. What I most like about it are the supportive environment, the feeling that you are valued as an individual, and the mix of tools, both theoretical and practical, that have been proposed to me. There is a sense of being part of a lively community of learning and of contributing to a fruitful research enterprise."

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • Details of your research proposal

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. You should look at our staff research interests to see if we are the right department for you and whether there is a member if staff who may match your research interests.

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

This should be in the form of a 1,500-3,000-word statement of the proposed area of research and should include: 

  • delineation of the research topic
  • why it has been chosen
  • an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
  • a brief list of major secondary sources
  • the name of a staff member who you believe would be interested in acting as your supervisor

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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