Researching with us

Students using laptops

A research degree can be the start of an academic career, or a way of further developing your skills and expertise, to provide a gateway to higher-level roles in the public or private sector. 

As a postgraduate researcher in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, you will have a range of support services and opportunities available to you — each designed to be tailored to your individual needs —  which help to enhance your studies and career prospects.

Your supervisors

At the beginning of your research degree you will be assigned two supervisors who are there to guide and support you throughout your postgraduate research journey. You will meet with your supervisors on a regular basis to discuss your progress, which you'll keep track of through an agreed postgraduate development plan that reflects your previous experience and personal and professional aspirations. 

You can find out more about supervisor expertise on our staff directory.

Leeds Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College provides overarching support and development for all postgraduate researchers across the University, including:

Training and development

The School is part of the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP), which brings together the Universities of Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan, Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield and York. This delivers cutting edge advanced social science training to our post-graduate researchers.

Facilities, library and IT support

As a university, we have all the facilities you’ll need to support and enhance your academic experience, and we’re investing millions of pounds each year to ensure we maintain a first-class learning and research environment.

The Library’s Researcher@Library service provides specialist support and training designed to meet the needs of PhD students and early career researchers. Topics include how to make your research more visible, how to search for literature, using reference management software, and issues around copyright for PhDs.

Research events

Being a researcher isn’t just about carrying out your research, but also being able to communicate your work to a wider audience. Leeds Doctoral College organises a number of events from discussing your work with a wider audience, talks about career development and celebrating your work with the wider research community. You may also have the opportunity to participate in national and international conferences, work with industry on projects and placements, and with large-scale collaborative research partnerships, widening your professional network.

Find out more about Leeds Doctoral College

Graduate School

Being a postgraduate researcher in the School of Sociology and Social Policy means you are also part of the faculty Graduate School. Through the Graduate School, you will have the support of a Graduate School Administrator who will be able to assist you with any specific queries you might have about your PhD candidature, from funding payment and extensions, to training opportunities and graduation.

University community

Leeds University Union and the Language Centre offer the perfect opportunity for you to meet new people from across the University and take a break from your research, whether you want to join a club or society or meet up with a language exchange partner to practice a new language. The Union also organises a number of dedicated postgraduate activities such as postgraduate pizza and film nights, walks and even garden therapy.

School of Sociology and Social Policy opportunities

The School of Sociology and Social Policy also has a number of additional school-specific opportunities available, including:


As a postgraduate researcher, you will have an allowance to spend over your first three years of your candidature on relevant research activity such as attendance and presentation at conferences, fieldwork, visits to external libraries etc.

Attendance at conferences will provide the opportunity to present your ideas to academic audiences as well as networking with other researchers working within your field.

Showcase your research

You will have the opportunity to present work-in-progress and gain feedback prior to submissions of work for publication. You can use such sessions as a dry-run before a conference presentation, or just to gain wider feedback on chapters of your thesis.


Teaching opportunities are offered to select candidates who will have the opportunity to share their expertise in a number of teaching areas as module assistants. At the outset of each year, teaching opportunities are advertised and postgraduate applications are assessed according to skills and school needs. Teaching allocation is made in line with our equality policies.

Postgraduate teaching assistants are given guidance and training before they begin teaching.


Lesley Ellis PhD

View profile for Lesley Ellis
“There are many workshops and programmes for PhD students to help you adjust to your studies and gain the skills required to work as a teaching assistant while pursuing your degree.”
View Profile for Lesley Ellis