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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Sociology (The Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion) is no longer accepting new applications.

This pathway aims to integrate the consideration of themes in social theory with the study of substantive topics, as well as give a thorough grounding in research methods. There are three elements to the pathway:

1) A core course of 4 modules of 6 hour sessions on the Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion

This course is taught by Dr Monica Moreno Figueroa, Dr Brendan Burchell, Dr Darin Weinberg and Mr Ali Meghji; it covers some of the major theoretical contributions to the sociological study of marginality and exclusion and some key substantive topics. The theoretical contributions covered will explore current conceptual debates on marginality, exclusion and precarity, intersectionality, racism, sexism and class exclusion; postcolonial debates on exclusion and marginality, health inequalities and precarity; housing and the reproduction of everyday life; labour inequalities and social production.

The substantive topics vary from year to year but will address the dimensions of marginalisation in relation to the production and reproduction of social life as well as the exercise of power. The topics are likely to include at least some of the following: gendered labour markets, the role of good employment, precarious employment, new forms of employment based on internet technologies and unemployment in processes of creating inequality and social exclusion; the relationship between marginality and pathology; homelessness and its implications for the reproduction of social life, the logics of institutional, systemic and structural forms of racism, the debates around anti-racism, forms of resistance, and internalised racism.

Topics for the field review essay will be drawn from the topics taught in this course, and students will study their chosen topics in more depth in the Lent term. In addition to the social and cultural theory offered in this course, students will have the opportunity to attend other lectures in social theory that are offered by the department.

2) Research methods

All students will receive training in research methods and take a course on research methods which includes sessions on philosophical issues in the social sciences; research design; data collection and analysis in relation to quantitative and qualitative methods; reflection on research ethics and practice; library and computer skills. Students will also have the opportunity to take courses and attend lectures on many other aspects of research method and design and will select these courses in discussion with their supervisor.

3) Dissertation

All students will write a dissertation on a topic of their choice that allows for theoretically informed empirical analysis of some aspect of marginality and exclusion in contemporary societies. The choice of dissertation topic is refined in consultation with your supervisor, who can advise you on the suitability and feasibility of your proposed research and on research design. A dissertation workshop provides the opportunity to present aspects of your dissertation work and to receive constructive feedback from course teachers and fellow students.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme students should have:

  • an advanced understanding of current research on selected topics in the sociology of marginality and exclusion;
  • an understanding of the basic principles of social research, the skills necessary to conduct independent research and practical experience in the use of research methods;
  • an ability to apply modern social theory with respect to empirical topics;
  • a deeper understanding of their chosen specialist area, including command of the literature and current research; and
  • the ability to situate their own research within current developments in the field.


Students are encouraged to proceed to the Faculty's PhD programme, provided they reach a high level of achievement in all parts of the course. MPhil students who would like to continue to the PhD would normally need to have a final mark of at least 70 per cent overall and 70 per cent on the dissertation.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Sociology


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
April 26, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 5, 2018
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018