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Department of Social & Policy Sciences research student community

Read about the Department of Social & Policy Sciences research student community.


Our community

Our growing research student community forms a vital and highly valued part of the research life in the Department. Our current research students are studying a wide range of topics, often at the leading edge of their field, and their research represents the breadth of the five research themes in the Department.

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds, and many already have established careers in research, policy, consultancy and other fields, bringing further richness to our research student community and the Department.

What we do

Departmental research seminars

Our research student community life revolves around our weekly departmental research seminars. These seminars are attended by research students and staff, and provide students with the experience of presenting their evolving work, and the opportunity to receive feedback in a friendly and supportive environment.

Some of these sessions consist of seminars given by departmental staff, and some are led by PhD students at all stages of the doctoral process. Additionally, some sessions are held jointly by PhD students and their supervisors.

Students are encouraged to present on any or all aspects of their theses. This could concern methodology, some issue or question with which they are grappling, or tentative conclusions that they wish to ‘test drive’. Seminars also provide an opportunity for regular social contact with fellow students and academic staff.

Postgraduate research discussion forums

In addition to Department seminars, the PhD student community gathers for a Postgraduate Research discussion forum session, usually twice during a semester. These sessions are more informal and provide a space to engage with fellow colleagues in an open dialogue on pertinent issues.

Other activities

Research students receive a regular newsletter updating them on events and the achievements of their colleagues, which also allows them to stay in touch with activities and funding opportunities.

Informal get-togethers, such as monthly lunchtime walks, coffee meetings or gatherings at the pub, are organised by students as well.

At the end of each semester, students and staff gather for an informal lunch (the Summer Forum and Winter Forum) which provides additional space for students to engage with staff.

Beyond the activities and opportunities offered in the department, we also encourage students to attend Doctoral skills workshops, which are run by the University’s Doctoral College. These workshops not only assist students in developing their researcher knowledge and skills, but also provide an opportunity to meet doctoral students from other departments.

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