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About us

Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology is a department of excellence for teaching and research across a diverse range of areas. We are a dynamic, highly productive, and friendly team who offer intellectually stimulating teaching and a well established research culture. The department is part of the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

High quality teaching

  • Our varied undergraduate and postgraduate programmes include philosophy of science, anthropology, science and technology studies (STS), applied ethics, sociology of art, cultural sociology, and social theory.
  • A distinctive feature is our commitment to interdisciplinary work. Philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists work together in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as well as research projects. We are committed to the idea that drawing sociology and philosophy together, and in ways that include empirical philosophy, enriches both fields.
  • We pride our department on having a student-friendly and informal atmosphere that delivers a high quality education.
  • 82% of our research is internationally excellent1
  • We are top 15 for Sociology and Philosophy in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
  • 3rd for Anthropology in The Complete University Guide 2022
  • Internationally recognised for work in science and technology studies, philosophical anthropology and the sociology of culture
  • Funding opportunities available through ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre - a hub of world-class social sciences research 

International calibre research

  • In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, we were 9th in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research1
  • We are highly successful at receiving grants from research councils, charities and philanthropic institutes. Since 2005, the department has received over £6.5 million in external research income.
  • The department houses Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences, an internationally recognised leading centre for the philosophical and social analysis of genetics and the life sciences.   
  • We have a strong track record of supervising PhD study and have a growing postgraduate culture. 
  • Our excellent support for postgraduate students includes ESRC, Wellcome Trust, and other studentships.

1 Based on research impact rated 4* + 3* in REF 2021, our research in Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology and Criminology was returned to this UoA