Support and Development

The university is one of only 21 national ESRC accredited Doctoral Training Centres which support postgraduate training to help ensure the flow of highly qualified people into research careers. The centre supports the doctoral training programme provided by the College of Social Sciences which aims to provide students with a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills.

Students will acquire a general overview of the philosophy of social research and understand how this informs research design, methods of data collection and analysis. They will also develop an ability to use a range of research methods, to communicate research findings effectively and an understanding of the potential use of and impact of their research within and beyond academia. 

All PhD students are required to complete the three core research training modules and full-time students must submit the assignments for assessment. Part time students are not required to submit the assignments although they may choose to do so. The modules are offered on a Saturday as well as a Tuesday for those who are part-time. There is also the option to undertake the Saturday modules as blended learning, so you would only need to attend two Saturdays instead of four and spend the equivalent time working online and from home for each module.

The three core research modules are:

In addition to the training you will receive through the modules, all doctoral students within the School of Education will have the option to participate in the annual Doctoral Research Conference which is organised by students for students.

Postgraduate Workshop

A Regional Postgraduate day on the theme of Researching Social Inequality Across the Social Sciences: Contemporary Sociological Analyses of Power and Exclusion will take place in spring 2016. Date TBC


Cross College Collaboration

In 2013 and 2014, post-graduate researchers from the Social Policy, Government and School of Education took part in the ERSC Festival of Social Science event at the Library of Birmingham. The sessions allowed the public to view posters displaying the current and diverse research areas within the University of Birmingham as well as take part in debates which gave many ‘food for thought!’ All of the researchers agreed that this was truly a fantastic and proud moment to represent the University of Birmingham.

Postgraduate students take part in ESRC Festival of Social Science

The photo above shows researchers from the School of Education displaying their work in the Library of Birmingham in 2013: Tom Perry, Marilena Mademtzi, Sarah Clemerson, Judith Buckley, Ricky Wang, Frederick Ebot-Ashu. 

Doctoral Researcher Diversity Network (DRDN)

The Doctoral Researcher Diversity Network (DRDN) is the first cross-University network for PhD students (DRs) studying aspects of diversity and is supported by its Alumni Impact Fund. The Network will provide opportunities for doctoral researchers (DRs) to meet other DRs with shared interests through a series of networking lunches and workshops, develop new skills aimed at enhancing their employability, and provide opportunities to collaborate with each other across different disciplines.

Midlands Graduate School

As well as the support provided by your supervisor(s), the Midlands Graduate school webpages details support provided by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and Warwick Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre. 

Careers support 

The Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) within the university has dedicated career development resources for PGRs. In addition, the College of Social Sciences works closely with CEC to provide more tailored opportunities. 


All full-time postgraduate research students have access to their own workspace in the ‘Research Suite’ of rooms dedicated to research students, where there are computer and telephone facilities. They have access to the University’s libraries, including a dedicated education library and to the computer laboratories and there are other entitlements such as grants towards conference attendance and access to free photocopying and printing. Many research students work with supervisors in publishing articles ad making their work public.

Postgraduate Research