Students at Lancaster Castle

Welcome to the Department of Sociology

Head of Department: Professor Chris Grover

Welcome to the Department of Sociology

There are many ways that I might introduce our Department. One would be to start in 1969, when the Sociology Department was established, and to trace our growth and change as we have become home for a wide range of pathways and programmes – including Gender and Women’s Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, and Social Work. This story is important because being home to such diverse disciplines has helped to support and foster interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches in both our teaching and research. We pride ourselves in being creative, thoughtful and open-minded about how we approach our subjects, and this has undoubtedly contributed to our excellent national and global reputation.

Another way of introducing our Department might be to focus upon the numbers: how many degrees we offer, how many staff we have, how many research centres we have, or how our subjects are positioned in various league tables. Depending on what has brought you here, this information may indeed be important, and you will be able to find appropriate links on our homepage.

But what is often missing from those kinds of numbers is a sense of what a place is like. Summarising that can be a much more difficult task. Lancaster Sociology is a place where you can explore how theory and practice meet and what happens when you creatively re-work their links. It is a place where you can be first in your family to attend university, or someone who has long wanted to get a PhD. It is a place where enthusiasm can be contagious and debates can lead to new inspiration. It is a place where staff and students are in a lecture together one day and then facing each other in a bake off or on a sports court the next. It is a place where we value a diversity of voices, cultivate links to local, national and global groups, and build opportunities for dialogue, change, and social impact.

Some aspects of our work are recognised by external organisations. The social work degree programme that we offer is a professional qualification accredited by Social Work England. Graduates are eligible to apply to register as social workers with Social Work England. Our PhD programmes and the MA Social Research is accredited as part of the Northwest Doctoral Training Partnership by the Economic and Social Research Council, and the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which highlights the quality of our research training courses and allows us to support Research Council-funded Master's and PhD students. In addition, we are committed to diversity and the advancement of gender equality and hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award. The process of applying for this award has helped created new opportunities for our staff and students to work together to enhance the culture of equality, diversity and inclusion and help ensure a supportive working and study environment for all. For more information on our work within the Athena SWAN Charter please contact our Athena SWAN lead.

The best way to get a sense of what our Department is like, however, is to get in touch. Whether it is by visiting us on campus, communicating by email, or finding us or social media, we hope that you will reach out to find out more about how we might collaborate and work together in the future.

Portrait of Chris Grover smiling.
Professor Chris Grover, Head of the Department of Sociology