PhD Social Statistics

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
3 years
Entry requirements
  • Bachelor's (Honours) degree in a cognate subject at 2:1 or above (or overseas equivalent); and
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject - with an overall average of 65% or above, a minimum mark of 65% in your dissertation and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent)

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

For consideration in internal funding competitions, you must submit your completed application by 1 December 2023.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the below deadlines to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these dates have passed.

  • For September 2024 entry: 30 June 2024
  • For January 2025 entry: 30 September 2024

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Programme overview

  • Join a thriving and diverse research community across social statistics, data analytics, biosocial research and sociology.   
  • Develop your research and professional specialisms under the guidance of supervisors that are experts in their specialism. 
  • Choose from a wide range of research themes in social statistics.
  • Many students are funded by the ESRC or sponsored by government departments.
Social Statistics - PGR Virtual Open Week Session (September 24 entry)

Open days

To find out what studying on a postgraduate research programme at Manchester is like, visit our Open days and study fairs page and explore our virtual open week or future on-campus and international events.

We will be conducting our PGR virtual open week in October 2024. Find out more about future events and postgraduate research sessions by signing up for our email alerts.  


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,786
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £2,393
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £10,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.


There are a range of scholarships, studentships and awards available to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers, details of which can be found via the links below.

To apply University of Manchester funding, you must indicate in your application the competitions for which you wish to be considered. The deadline for most internal competitions, including School of Social Sciences studentships is 1 December 2023.

All external funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting your funding application and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below.

For more information about funding, visit our funding page to browse for scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Contact details

School of Social Sciences
Contact name
Humanities Doctoral Academy Admissions
+44 (0)161 275 1200

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

  • Bachelor's (Honours) degree in a cognate subject at 2:1 or above (or overseas equivalent); and
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject - with an overall average of 65% or above, a minimum mark of 65% in your dissertation and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent)

English language

International applicants must provide one of the following:
  • IELTS test minimum score - 7.0 overall, 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in other sections.
  • TOEFL (internet based) test minimum score - 100 overall, 25 all sections.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) UKVI/SELT or PTE Academic minimum score - 76 overall, 76 in writing, 70 in other sections.
  • To demonstrate that you have taken an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a majority English speaking nation within the last 5 years.
  • Other tests may be considered.
Please note, CAS statements are only issued when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, offer accepted, and a PDF copy of passport received.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

For consideration in internal funding competitions, you must submit your completed application by 1 December 2023.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the below deadlines to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these dates have passed.

  • For September 2024 entry: 30 June 2024
  • For January 2025 entry: 30 September 2024

Advice to applicants

Before you start your application, you should:

  1. Develop your own research proposal and project title.
  2. Find a supervisor by browsing our academics' profiles, and reach out directly to discuss if they are interested in supporting your research.
  3. Consider how you plan on funding your research and discuss this with your supervisor.

When you submit your application, you must include each of the below required documents:

  • A 1,500 word PhD research proposal;
  • Copies of the academic transcript and certificate from both your Bachelor's and Master's degrees. If your Master's degree is pending, please provide an interim transcript;
  • An up to date academic CV, detailing your education and qualifications; employment history; publications; and any other relevant information;
  • You must nominate two academic referees (including one from your most recent institution). Your referees will be contacted directly via the Referee Portal following submission of your application form. You may wish to contact your referees to request they submit your reference in a reasonable timeframe as this forms part of the review process;
  • International applicants must additionally provide English Language evidence (e.g IELTS).

Interview requirements

As part of the offer making process, applicants will be required to undertake an interview assessment. This may be in the form of an in-person interview or video call.

The interview is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the broad topic area, the viability of your proposed research and its intellectual contribution, alongside the fit of your project with the supervisory team. You also may be asked to identify and address any potential ethical considerations in relation to your proposed research, and discuss how best to progress your ideas in line with University of Manchester ethics guidance.

The interview panel will consist at minimum of your proposed primary supervisor and an independent interviewer.


It is normally possible to defer your offer to a later entry point, with the approval of your supervisory team and Department PGR Director, and if applicable, funder. Please be aware that the University of Manchester permits applications to be deferred only once, for a maximum of two years. Your English Language evidence must be valid on the date of registration.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful, you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard programme entry criteria for that year of entry.

In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen programme.

Programme details

Programme description

The PhD programme in Social Statistics at The University of Manchester has a thriving and diverse research community.  

Our research themes include:

  • census and survey methodology;
  • statistical methods in the analysis of social data;
  • social network analysis;
  • latent variable modelling;
  • population studies and demographic methods;
  • global inequalities and international comparisons;
  • employment;
  • the labour market.

For example, recent PhD titles include:

  • `The Role of Privacy and Confidentiality in the Collection and Dissemination of Census and Survey Data'.
  • `Race and Population - a Statistical Demographic Approach'.

You will be supervised by two members of staff who are experts in their areas of research. Social statistics staff can support applications for funding.

You also have an array of potential training options available, including places on postgraduate course units and continuing professional development short courses including, for example, in publishing and public speaking. Students may also have the opportunity to undertake paid teaching work.

PhD students are encouraged and supported to present their research at seminars and conferences.

Read more about our research groups .

Special features

The Social Statistics department hosts two Economic and Social Research Council Centres for Doctoral Training on Biosocial Research and on Data Analytics and Society.


Additional programme information

Humanities Doctoral Academy

Our Humanities Doctoral Academy combines the strengths of our four schools to bring expertise, knowledge, support and high-quality services for postgraduate researchers.  

We are a community of academic leaders and postgraduate researchers across all levels in the Faculty of Humanities. The Doctoral Academy Hub houses our specialist professional service teams who support postgraduate researchers throughout the programme journey.   This includes admissions, registration, student experience, progression, examination, and graduation. We collaborate closely with other University directorates including Manchester Doctoral College, Researcher Development team, and the corresponding Doctoral Academies in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. Together we provide the best experience and support for your studies and research. 


Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities.

We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Teaching and learning

You will join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.  

You'll be assigned to a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes. 

Our working environments are spacious and open-plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, and you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus.

All of our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research. 

You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project. 

You will have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development. 

We provide additional financial support for a number of activities related to your PhD, including:  

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.
Graduate Teaching Assistants

You can also get hands-on, paid teaching experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.  

Graduate Teaching Assistants are valued members of the teaching team. As such, we take pride in the opportunities provided for your professional development.  

Our training includes preparation for application to the Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. This brings a range of benefits: 

  • consolidates your personal development and emphasises your professional practice in HE
  • entitlement to use post-nominal letters - AFHEA;
  • provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;
  • recognised and valued by a growing number of international institutions.
For more information, visit the Associate Fellowship HEA website.

REF 2021

In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) 'Social Statistics' was assessed as part of The University of Manchester's 'Sociology ' submission.   

The University of Manchester was ranked 3rd in the UK in terms (by grade point average) among the 37 departments assessed under Unit of Assessment 21.  

92% of our research was judged to be in the highest two categories (4*) 'world-leading' or (3*) 'internationally excellent'.  

Our research environment such as support for PhD students and our seminar programme was also judged to be strong, with 100% (4*) 'world-leading'.

Read more about our Social Statistics research at Manchester.  

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to undertake a postgraduate research degree at Manchester on our Humanities PGR blog .


The University of Manchester Library

Manchester is home to one of the UK's five National Research Libraries - one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK and widely recognised as one of the world's greatest research libraries.Find out more about libraries and study spaces for postgraduate research students at Manchester.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a PGR and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help support you with your goals for the future.  

Typical first destinations at the end of the PhD in Social Statistics programme include: 

  • lectureships; 
  • research posts; 
  • senior administrative positions in local government;
  • NHS;
  • Consultancy. 

There is a need for well-trained social scientists who are able to apply advanced methods of analysis to complex data. These skills are in short supply and our graduates leave in a good position to obtain jobs in:

  • the academic sector;
  • central government;
  • the Office for National Statistics;
  • local government;
  • the commercial research sector.

Our researcher development programme will enable you to become more aware of your developing researcher identity, equipping you with the skills you need during your PhD and preparing you to integrate into the researcher community.  

We offer training sessions to build your skills and confidence in writing and presenting, with specific sessions on viva preparation, thesis submission and preparing for your Review Panel.  

You'll also have access to a range of workshops, covering areas such as:

  • increasing research impact through blog posts;
  • making the most of social media;
  • publishing in journals;
  • applying for fellowships;
  • designing academic posters;
  • improving time and self-management.

In addition, our Humanities training hub gives you additional training opportunities in public engagement, wellbeing, language training and teaching, alongside specialist courses in tools and software such as Python, R and NVivo.  

methods@manchester is an initiative that gives you the chance to learn from the very best in research methods expertise at Manchester and beyond. Regular talks, workshops and other methods-related events are organised throughout the academic year.  

Finally, taking a placement provides a great opportunity to engage in knowledge exchange and to develop professional networking opportunities for your future career development. 

We have established Postgraduate Researcher Exchange programmes with a number of institutions around the world, offering you the opportunity to visit another institution, access research resources and experience another academic culture as well as build professional networks. 

Successful applicants will receive some funding towards travel expenses, accommodation, subsistence, education materials and/or other education-related costs.  

For more information, visit our Research training and professional development page.

Career stories from former PhD students include:

“I completed my PhD in Social Statistics, which pursued a quantitative analysis of Home Office crime data. I am now a Senior Lecturer in Criminology.”

“I completed a PhD in Social Statistics researching ethnic inequalities and collaborated with the Alan Turing Institute. I am now a Research Associate working on a study of life expectancy.”

Find out more