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Department of Sociology

What our graduates say

“Studying sociology at Durham was a life-changing experience, whose value is becoming clearer as I am faced with new professional opportunities and challenges. Although there are many things that make this course – and department – remarkable, I think there are three main aspects that are truly outstanding.

First, the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the department creates a vibrant environment. Not only does the curriculum provide a wide array of choices, but the multidisciplinary structure of the department ensures that these subjects are approached from different angles. From the onset, the department encourages you to think broadly, both within and outside of your discipline.

The second key aspect is that you are truly and thoroughly trained as a social researcher. This might sound obvious but now that I have had the chance to be part of other sociology departments, I have been able to appreciate the remarkable quality of the research training that Durham offers. Throughout the degree, you are encouraged to design and implement your own research, and you are provided with the tools to do so effectively. I am currently conducting research for my master’s dissertation and the education I received at Durham has been of invaluable help.

Finally, the quality and helpfulness of the staff make this department an ideal context to develop your interests. The lecturers and academics are not only conducting excellent and exciting research but they are also willing to approach students as equals and to collaborate with them. This was crucial for me because it allowed me to gain confidence in my own ideas and skills. I decided to explore these ideas at a postgraduate level; a decision that would have been impossible without the help, encouragement, and training that the department offered.”

Nicolás Restrepo Ochoa , BA Sociology, Graduated 2014

“Throughout my time at Durham I was provided with a wealth of opportunities to develop myself in a whole host of areas, both academic and extra-curricular. These proved instrumental in helping me secure my position on a marketing graduate scheme once leaving university.

What makes the Durham Sociology department unique is the calibre of both the academics and students within the department and its constant focus on further developing itself. It is because of this that I gained a rich and interesting education particularly through my modules of Social Policy and Gender and Sexuality; both led by researchers at the forefront of their field.

Not only did Durham provide me with an excellent and challenging curriculum, it also developed my extra curricula skills, from rowing for my college, to founding the Applied Social Sciences Society in my final year. Durham motivates students to push themselves in their chosen areas of interest and provide the skills and support to succeed. It was these skills which have provided incredibly valuable to me upon graduating.

I would highly recommend both the Sociology Department and Durham to anyone who is interested in further pursuing their education. There are few places which can match Durham both academically and aesthetically and I look back at my time there with great fondness.”

Joshua Parker, BA Sociology, Graduated 2014

“After 18 years working in the retail sector as a retail assistant, I decided a career change was long overdue. Having undertaken an Access to HE Diploma with Gateshead College and Darlington College, I applied to Durham’s Foundation Centre to Study Sociology with Foundation. As a mature student and mother of two small Children, I was grateful for the University’s support and assistance from my foundation year throughout my study. I relished the opportunity also to be a student ambassador at Durham and enjoyed helping at University Events. I progressed through each stage of my degree and graduated with a 2:2 Honours degree in 2014. After leaving Durham University, I secured employment with St Cuthbert’s Hospice and achieved my dream of working within the Third Sector. I am now working on the Management Team as Retail Supervisor for the Hospice and assist in all aspects of the daily running of two high street outlets and a large furniture outlet based outside of Durham. None of this would have been possible without the continued support and opportunities given to me by Durham University and the Academic Staff and Administrative team in the Department of Sociology. ”

Clare Gilderoy – BA Sociology, Graduated 2014

“Having graduated in 2013, I am really happy to see how much of the knowledge and skills gained at Durham I am using in my current studies and work.

I am a part-time student at LSE now, doing a MSc in Health, Community and Development, at the department of Social Psychology. It’s amazing how useful all my degree’s readings have been – I am using sociologists’ works and their concepts in my essays, seminars and exams. In particular, my insights into the realities of excluded people, the sociology of health and medicine, social policies, social movements and art history (my optionals) have been directly useful!

Moreover, the work for my dissertation has proven invaluable too. I am volunteering part-time for a homeless charity in London, and my first task was to conduct research with black market workers. The study was, for me, like a mini-dissertation. I used the concise, clear and elegant style of writing, as well as the rigorous style of social research that I had practised while at Durham. And I am soon going to present my research within an event aimed at gaining support for the population that was part of my study.

Furthermore, through my extra-curricular involvement with a special school in Durham, and with children in my home country, I am now able to relate to and empathise with vulnerable people. This was useful in my work for BBC Panorama, where I acted as a ’gatekeeper’ to a vulnerable population, thus helping them to win their trust and engage with the people.

Finally, I also grew at a personal level during my time at Durham University. I had made long-lasting friendships, met wonderful academics and people in general, as well as got involved in exciting activities. And, together with the knowledge and skills I acquired, these beautiful memories will remain with me.”

Laura Chilintan, BA Sociology, Graduated 2013

“The Sociology department at Durham was a constant source of support and stimulation during my time at University. I studied for a BA Sociology and thoroughly enjoyed being taught by the passionate academics in the department, who helped me develop as a writer and massively improved my communication skills.

The broad scope of subjects I had available to study, from rock music to mental health to the surveillance society, was the main reason the degree was so challenging, enjoyable and useful.

I am now working as a journalist with a media company in London, the skills I learnt in my 3 years doing Sociology at Durham are invaluable.”

Nico Franks, BA Sociology Alumni, Graduated 2011