About us LSE

About LSE Sociology

We are committed to empirically rich, conceptually sophisticated, and socially and politically relevant research and scholarship
Sociology - an introduction Sociology - an introduction

Established in 1904, the Department of Sociology at LSE is committed to empirically rich, conceptually sophisticated, and socially and politically relevant research and scholarship. Building upon the traditions of the discipline, we play a key role in the development of the social sciences into the new intellectual areas, social problems, and ethical dilemmas that face our society today.

Our values

Core Sociology

Our work should be making a significant contribution to core debates about theory and method in sociology. We aim to publish in leading journals – both of the generalist kind, such as the AJS and BJS – and the best outlets within our relevant fields.

Empirical Sociology

All of the sociologists in the Department work on areas that are topic-driven in the first instance. Our identity as a department is therefore geared to the substantive areas we work on, in which issues of theory are assessed in the context of empirical research informed by our strengths in quantitative and qualitative methods.

Big Questions

There is a strong agreement throughout the Department that our work should be focused on topics of major global importance. The key focus here is on analysing the character and causes of contemporary social change at a global level. We thus address the ‘issues of the day’ – climate change, financialisation, increasing inequality, migration – as well as what we consider to be great historical turning points and macro-historical change, such as the rise of democracy, the remaking of class politics, key transformations in capitalism, racial and gender divides, and world war. What unites is here is the belief that we are engaged in debates over ‘big questions’.

Public Engagement

We are committed to public-facing work that engages with and informs the practices of major public bodies and community organisations, as well as wider non-academic audiences. We strongly believe in the importance of taking part in major public debates, as well as making a full contribution to public policy, and are proud to have one of the strongest sociology twitter accounts and blogsites in the world.

Interdisciplinarity

We all see ourselves as undertaking work that contributes to developing sociology as a key social science discipline. This means that we aim to cultivate strong links with other LSE departments, centres and institutes, to work across department lines on major research themes and initiatives at the LSE, and to collaborate with colleagues from other departments in developing inter- and cross-disciplinary teaching.

Inclusive Education

We aim to develop a strong research-led teaching community within the Department, which involves students from undergraduate to doctoral level in our core activities. We want to teach a cross-section of students, so that we have a genuinely inclusive and ethnically diverse student body that also includes local, UK-based students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as students from overseas. We also aim to provide a sociological education to students from other LSE departments, as well as ensuring that sociology makes a key contribution to LSE-wide courses, such as LSE100.

Innovative Education

We strive to make full and imaginative use of a wide range of teaching and assessment practices, and to make the best possible use of technology in the way we teach and assess our students.

Relevant Education

We aim to involve our students in our research and public engagement, and to give them a hands-on education in the discipline that serves as an apprenticeship for acquiring core sociological skills that will ensure that all of our graduates – at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level – are extremely well-placed to pursue careers both within and beyond academia.

Research

LSE Sociology has a dynamic research culture, organized into four research clusters that span the central concerns of the discipline. It also plays a core role in several research centres and institutes, including LSE Human Rights, LSE Cities and the International Inequalities Institute. The four research areas that constitute our strategic priorities and reflect overall a balance between ‘traditional’ sociology and ‘innovation’ are: Economic Sociology; Politics and Human Rights; Social Inequalities; and Urban Sociology.

Find out more about our research. 

Study

The Department aims to deliver a world-class education in sociology, building on the Department’s research expertise in its four research clusters: Economic Sociology; Politics and Human Rights; Social Inequalities; and Urban Sociology. Across all four areas, we aim to provide students with a thorough grounding in methods and theory, which enable them to produce rigorous, analytical work in projects and essays.

As a Department, we seek to produce sociology that is public-facing, fully engaged with London as a global city, and with major contemporary debates in the intersection between economy, politics and society – with issues such as financialisation, inequality, migration, urban ecology, and climate change. Our educational strategy is therefore oriented towards developing a curriculum and teaching methods that make this type of engagement an integral component of the learning experience of our students at both Undergraduate and Masters level.

The Department welcomes and values the racial, ethnic, religious, national and cultural diversity of its students, staff and visitors. The Department believes in equal treatment based on merit and encourages a learning environment based on mutual respect and dialogue.

The Department offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study. As well as a BSc programme in Sociology, the Department offers MSc programmes in Sociology; Political Sociology; Culture and Society; Economy, Risk and Society; Inequalities and Social Science, as well as an MSc in Human Rights; City Design and Social Science; and International Migration and Public Policy. There is also a thriving doctoral programme in Sociology.

The Department has around 380 students: 130 undergraduate students; 200 taught postgraduates following our MSc programmes; and some 50 research postgraduates. In addition, many students following degrees in other departments take our courses.

Interdisciplinary initiatives and journals

LSE Sociology embraces a fundamentally international sociology critically interrogating theoretical claims about the relationships between economic, political, social, spatial and cultural change. We achieve this by supporting and promoting academic diversity within the School. LSE Cities and LSE Human Rights are formally affiliated to the Department of Sociology – though operate with considerable autonomy. We also have strong alliances with the LSE International Inequalities Institute, leading critical and cutting edge research to understand why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world.

The Department is committed to its research having maximum impact outside academia. Our work has informed the policies and deliberations of numerous leading international bodies, including central and local government in numerous nations, businesses, NGOs, journalists, broadcasters and educators. We are home to the British Journal of Sociology, Britain’s highest ranking journal in the discipline, as well as Economy and Society, one of the most significant UK-based interdisciplinary journals. We take advantage of the LSE’s extensive social media platforms and run a regular programme of high profile events attracting speakers from all over the world.