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PhD Position in Sociology:
‘Social Inequalities, Child Development and Longitudinal Research’


Post specification

Post Title:

PhD Position in Sociology

Post Status:

48 months, Full-time

Starting Date:

September 2020


Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Reports to:

Dr. Pablo Gracia; Prof. Richard Layte


Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)


20,000€ net payment per annum  

Closing Date:

15th of May 2020, 1pm (Irish time)


Post Summary

The Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is seeking to appoint an outstanding and highly motivated PhD candidate with excellent qualifications and strong potential to write a PhD dissertation in the social sciences. The successful candidate will conduct an innovative and cutting-edge PhD thesis on how social inequalities and family dynamics operate in children’s lives and development across the life course. The successful candidate will apply state-of-the-art theoretical models in social sciences on advanced methodological techniques using longitudinal methods. Candidates with strong interests in the life course, social inequalities or child development, an MSc in Sociology, Economics, Demography, Psychology, Social Research, Social Policy, Education, Public Health or related fields, and a strong profile in quantitative methods, are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will be integrated into the Department of Sociology at TCD. We look for an enthusiastic PhD candidate who is highly motivated to get excellent training in social science research and in advanced social research methodologies. The new PhD student will get advanced methodological training in social sciences, and particularly in quantitative and longitudinal techniques. The successful applicant to this PhD position will be embedded into a stimulating intellectual and scientific community of social scientists at the Department of Sociology and School of Social Sciences and Philosophy at TCD, with junior and senior social scientists who apply innovative theories and methodologies to investigate important real-world sociological problems, such as inequalities, population dynamics, family and gender, health, ethnicity and migration, social networks and social policy evaluation.
The successful PhD applicant will gain expertise in the most critical skills and training required to write a strong PhD dissertation. Also, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the undergraduate teaching within the Department of Sociology at TCD.

Informal enquiries from interested applicants, referees or organisations are most than welcome and can be made directly to Dr Pablo Gracia (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, TCD; and Prof. Richard Layte (Head of Department, Full Professor, Department of Sociology, TCD;


Person Specification


  • MA, MSc or MPhil in Sociology, Demography, Social Research, Economics, Psychology, Social Policy, Education or cognate fields.
  • Evidence of solid training in Research Design, Advanced Methods in Social Sciences, and Quantitative Methods.

Expected Skills

  • An analytical, independent and systematic approach in social science research
  • Ability to adopt an interdisciplinary approach in social sciences
  • High level of quantitative method techniques and data analysis
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English language
  • Experience in management and analysis of quantitative data
  • Advanced technical skills in Stata, R or comparable statistical packages
  • Good organisational skills and ability to engage in team work
  • Interpersonal and relational skills

Desirable Skills

  • Experience in using large survey longitudinal data 
  • Interest in further pursuing a research (or related) career development

Output Expected

  • Writing an excellent PhD dissertation in sociology
  • Submission of articles to competitive international scientific journals
  • Gaining solid theoretical and methodological training in social stratification, family research and applied demography at high international standards 
  • Contribution to the intellectual and academic community of TCD by actively engaging in seminars and training courses at the Sociology Department.
  • Teaching contribution to the Sociology Department (limited hours per year)


The Department of Sociology

Sociology is a member of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, one of 24 Schools within Trinity College. The Department’s principal research clusters are: ‘Inequalities, Education and Families’; ‘Migration, Integration and Diversity’; ‘Social Networks and Digitalisation’; ‘Power, conflict and resistance’. Combining advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies applied to real-world data, our research is internationally recognised by leading several priority research themes and centres: 'International Integration' centred within Trinity Research in Social Science (TRISS); 'Identities in Transformation', within the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLRH); ‘Trinity Research in Childhood Centre’ (TRiCC); 'Inclusive Society'. The Department has a long-standing collaboration with one of Ireland’s premier research institutes in socio-economic analysis, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Members of the Department have successfully obtained NORFACE or Horizon 2020 funding, including other leading funding schemes.
The Department has an active postgraduate programme. It is home to an MSc in ‘Comparative Social Change’, delivered jointly with University College Dublin, as well as an MPhil in ‘Race, Ethnicity, Conflict.’ It has a structured a PhD programme combining advanced methodological training with transferable skills workshops. There are over 20 PhD students and the Sociology doctoral graduates obtain relevant positions in academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Further information on the Department of Sociology is available at:


School of Social Sciences and Philosophy

The School of Social Sciences and Philosophy was formed in 2005 and comprises the Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology, together with the Policy Institute. With over 50 full-time academic staff, the School has an international reputation in research and is committed to the dissemination of its knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the wider community, with the Policy Institute providing an important channel for policy analysis and evaluation.

The School is home to the unique undergraduate degree in PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology). It also contributes to undergraduate degrees in Business, Economic and Social Studies (this includes Political Science and Sociology), Philosophy, History and Political Science, Philosophy and Political Science, Law and Political Science, Geography and Political Science, Sociology and Social Policy, European Studies and to the TSM programmes in Economics, Philosophy and Sociology. Over 100 graduate students are conducting research across the four disciplines.

Further information on the School is available at:


Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is at the nexus of tradition and innovation, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 24 schools and three faculties: arts, humanities, and social sciences; engineering, maths and science; and health sciences. Spread across 47 acres in Dublin’s city centre, Trinity’s 17,000-strong student body comes from all 32 counties of Ireland, and 16% of students come from outside the country. Of those, 40% are from outside the European Union, making Trinity’s campus cosmopolitan and bustling, with a focus on diversity.

As Ireland’s leading university, the pursuit of academic excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of the Trinity education. Trinity is known for intellectual rigour, excellence, interdisciplinary approach, and research-led teaching. Home to Nobel prize-winners such as scientist Ernest Walton and writer Samuel Beckett, Trinity draws visitors from across the world to its historic campus each year, including to the Book of Kells and Science Gallery which capture the university’s connection to both old and new. Trinity accounts for one-fifth of all spin-out companies from Irish higher education institutions, helping to turn Ireland into an innovation-intensive, high-productivity economy. That culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is a defining characteristic of our campus as we help shape the next generation of job creators.


Equal Opportunities Policy

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to the employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds such as gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the travelling community.


Application Procedure

The deadline to submit applications is the 15th of May 2020, 1pm (Irish time).

Interviews planned: shortlisted applicants will be contacted very soon after the application; Online interviews are planned for the end of the 3rd week of May, 2020.

Candidates should submit the following documentation via email no later than May 15th 2020 at 1pm to the address and adding Dr Pablo Gracia ( and Prof. Richard Layte ( in the same email (as cc) and indicating exactly “PhD Position in Sociology” in the subject line:

  1. A motivation letter clearly indicating how the applicant’s profile and skills fit the requirements of this PhD position  (max. 2 pages);
  2. A full curriculum vitae;
  3. Names, affiliation, and contact details of 2 or 3 referees (with their email addresses included);
  4. One example (at least) of a written piece –expected in English– showing the analytical, writing, and empirical skills of the candidate in a social science discipline.