Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Dr Kate Woodthorpe

A senior lecturer in sociology with expertise in death, bereavement and families


Senior Lecturer BA, MA, PhD, Dip

3 East 3.27
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6852

Death, Dying and Devolution

Dr Woodthorpe is working with the Scottish Government as the Social Fund Funeral Payment gets transferred.

Government Special Advisor

Dr Woodthorpe acted as a Special Advisor to the Government Work and Pensions Committee Special Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits 2016.


Since joining the university in 2010 I have completed funded research on funeral costs and practice, and professional development for staff in the deathcare industry. I acted as a Special Advisor to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits in 2016 and over the years my work has been widely disseminated through the media, including numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, BBC Breakfast, and features in The Guardian and The Telegraph. I have undertaken consultancy work with Royal London, Axa SunLife and Volunteer Cornwall.

 Externally I am co-editor of the journal Mortality and on the editorial board for the journal Sociology. Internally, I am the Director of Teaching for the department.

I supervise two PhD students and was twice voted Supervisor of the Year by the University of Bath and Students' Union (2013-14 and 2014-15). I would welcome enquiries about doctoral supervision.

Prior to working at the University of Bath I undertook my bachelors degree in sociology at Lancaster University, my masters degree in sociological research at the University of Warwick, and my PhD at the University of Sheffield. My thesis investigated cemetery usage. I have completed two postgraduate certificates in teaching in higher education, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am a member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), the UK’s only research centre devoted to the study of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.

Research interests

  • Funeral practice
  • Families and familial obligation
  • Qualitative methods and research ethics

Research projects