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Sociology and Social Policy

UK Quality Assured
In our rapidly changing world, there’s a growing need for highly trained social researchers. As a postgraduate student you will be introduced to UEL’s pioneering research methods and topics, including urban change, class, gender, race, terrorism, nationalism and social policy.
School of Social Sciences
  • OUTstanding research

    Our research is outstanding. We were the top-ranked modern university in London and the second modern university in the UK for sociology research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework – the national review of higher education research.

  • Making an impact

    Our sociology research makes a difference. Our strong showing in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework meant we were ranked the top university in London in the ‘Impact’ league table and in the top ten in the country.

  • Perfect location

    You will be studying in one of the most fascinating areas in the whole of Europe in terms of social change, brought about by the massive urban development taking place in east London.

Why us?

UEL is based in an area with one of the fastest rates of social change in Europe. It’s an exciting time to study sociology and social policy, and there is no better location to do it than in east London with its mix of poverty and wealth, its extraordinary diversity and the breakneck pace of urban development.

Our surroundings represent a living laboratory for students of sociology and social policy, and we will encourage you to consider wider contemporary issues and policy dilemmas with reference to the local area. You will have opportunities to contribute to modern sociological thinking by carrying out research in collaboration with organisations and research partners.

Our lecturers are known for their ground-breaking research and they bring this into every aspect of their teaching, so you can be sure you will have access to the very latest thinking in your subject.

why us

One of UEL’s key strengths is in narrative research – analysing issues and experiences through personal story-telling. Our Centre for Narrative Research serves as a meeting point for researchers from around the world.

We are highly ambitious, but we are also friendly and supportive. We are large enough to offer a wide range of courses but small enough to ensure you will have ample personal contact with your lecturers.

why us


I've found the Narrative Research course invaluable for my own teaching, supervision and planned research. Staff are extremely supportive as well as knowledgeable and the course has been a pleasure to attend - with a very detailed online and interactive distance learning module available as well.

Nick Wood , MA Narrative Research
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What we’re researching

We are involved in wide range of research through numerous research centres and groups – united by a desire to improve social justice and individual wellbeing.

As we are located in the Olympic borough of Newham, it’s only natural that we are taking the lead on local issues. Dr Penny Bernstock has recently written a book on the housing legacy of the London 2012 Games. She has also published extensively on housing and urban regeneration in east London.

Much of our research has attracted international interest in areas such as housing and urban studies, political narratives, gender studies and post-structural theories, racism and the work on terror, multiculturalism and the Holocaust, poverty and the media, nationalism and religion, crime and prevention, young people and urban identities.

Our research interests are clustered around five vibrant research centres and groups, including The Centre for Narrative Research - the leading international centre for narrative work in the social sciences.

Centre co-director Professor Molly Andrews recently completed a project, The Unbuilding of East Germany: Excavating Biography and History, which was at the centre of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Fellow co-director Professor Maria Tamboukou is involved in writing feminist genealogies which currently focus on women’s work and, in particular, conditions for women working in the garment industry.

Racism is a key research topic. Dr Helen Kim is conducting research on racism in London nightclubs while Syd Jeffers has worked on racism and policy for government bodies such as the Home Office.

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya takes an international perspective, researching racism in relation to the War on Terror. Bob Cannon’s research interests include modernity, the Holocaust, race, multiculturalism and social justice.

Dr Tracey Jensen is exploring the current fascination with poverty in reality TV shows, while Dr Eric Taylor Woods is researching nationalism and religion.

Alice Sampson is a criminologist who specialises in community-based research on violent crime and prevention. She has conducted research on domestic violence, youth criminality and armed violence in the UK and Brazil.
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