PhD Social Statistics / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

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.

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.  

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.  

Additional programme information

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.

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: