Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Our policy-based and theoretically-informed empirical research reflects our engagement with academic and public sector stakeholders in local, national and international issues. Innovative research is undertaken within our academic disciplines and in interdisciplinary collaborations within the school and university, and with other institutions.

MRes | MPhil | PhD
Start Date
February and October

If you undertake a research degree, you will join an active and vibrant research community, working alongside and being supported by experienced researchers and academics.

We encourage specialised expertise in research-led teaching within an inclusive research culture that extends to postgraduates and undergraduates. The success of this can be measured by our burgeoning research activities and the extent that research underpins our highly regarded teaching programmes.

We welcome proposal submissions from students to undertake research in the following indicative areas, although other areas will be considered:

  • Political violence; corporate social responsibility; informal settlements and resilience - Professor Stephen Vertigans
  • Investigating the psychological, behavioural, cognitive and functional benefits of intervention programs in patients with dementia; application of social and cognitive theories to predict mental wellbeing, health behaviours, successful engagement with behavioural change interventions and clinical decision making  - Dr Katrina Forbes-McKay
  • Urban climate change adaptation governance; just transitions for high-emitting city regions; environmental governance in coastal areas
  • Post-conflict societies, political violence and peace processes; governance of development and development organisations; time and temporality; governmentality approaches to the study of development and conflict  - Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth
  • Anthropology: art and creativity, community and organisational development, interaction and identity; corporate social responsibility: partnership development between NGOs, transnational corporations and government ministries -Dr Sarah Buckler
  • Medical sociology, health inequalities, urban sociology/urban cultures - Dr Chris Yuill
  • Gender and culture; sociology of fashion; industrial ruins and urban regeneration; sociology of the body; microsociology and qualitative methods  - Dr Lucia Ruggerone
  • Forensic psychology; effects of stress on memory; psychology of police/legal interviewing; false confessions - Dr Sarah Henderson
  • Health psychology: disability resulting from chronic illness, and health behaviour and health behaviour change - Dr Francis Quin
  • Illness experience; impacts of learning in illness; illness identity; illness transitions; determinants of physical activity in intellectual disability population; learning theory; communities of practice - Dr Gemma Stevens
  • Children’s social development; public perceptions of climate change and sustainability - Dr Ruth Woods
  • Social perception; adaptive memory; long-term memory; relationship behaviour; evolutionary psychology; gender differences; group behaviour - Dr David Smith
  • Academia-practice interface for clinical psychology - practical application of clinical psychology theory - Dr Susan Griffiths
  • Children and young people in relation to: poverty and social exclusion, education, therapeutic practice and all aspects of group care - Dr Janine Bolger
  • Radical and critical social work; Decoloniality, anti-colonial practice and transformation; social justice and social change; community work and critical pedagogy; ideology, knowledge and discourse; collective trauma - Dr Linda Smith

We can also offer research degrees in the following broad areas:


  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Personal and Social Identity
  • Language
  • Psychology of Memory


  • Collective Violence and Terrorism
  • Historical Sociology
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Social Exclusion and Homelessness
  • Drugs and Substance Misuse
  • Sociology of the Body
  • Sociology of Health
  • Gender
  • Theoretical Sociology
  • Development and Post-conflict Societies
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Energy and Environmental Change 

Social Work

  • Adoption and Fostering
  • Housing Policy and Urban Issues
  • Ageing and Older People
  • Migration
  • Child Protection, Residential
  • Organisational Change, Child Care, Youth Justice
  • Social Care and Social Welfare
  • Disability
  • Social Work Education
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Evaluation
  • Family and Kinship
  • Substance Abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Service Users & Carers

Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University. Applicants holding qualifications other than those above shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. 

Applicants holding qualifications other than those above shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. Applicants will normally register for an MSc/PhD or MRes/PhD with transfer to PhD dependent on satisfactory progress. However, applicants who already possess a Master’s degree which includes a significant research component could be registered directly for a PhD, subject to a satisfactory research proposal, and clear evidence of research expertise. 

English Language

Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Pre-Sessional English Programme at RGU

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


For Academic Year 2022/2023


  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year


  • Full time - £17,000 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £10,200 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £8,500 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:


Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.


Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However, there are a limited number of SAAS funded places on certain postgraduate courses.
There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.


Scholarships and Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:



For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:

Student Finance


All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students.

Our Research degrees usually start in February and October each year. There is no official deadline for you to submit your application, though we recommend you submit it as early as possible in order to ensure we can help you join us at your preferred time.

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:
  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 in each of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking).
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.


For more information on your proposal and application:

Cookie Consent