PhD opportunities at CRESS

We welcome applications to work towards a PhD at the Centre.  There are three pre-conditions:

  1. You need to have an idea suitable to be developed into a proposal for the topic of your thesis.
  2. You need to have identified some source of funding support.
  3. You need to have a sufficient command of the English language (Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 7.0 or above or equivalent).

The proposal

The first step in formulating an application should be to develop a proposal outlining the topic of your research and your initial ideas about how you would carry it out.  The proposal should be no longer than 1000 words and should include relevant items from:

  • General area of research
  • Specific topic, preferably phrased as a question
  • Brief summary of existing research or debates on the topic
  • Methods to be employed, including sources of any data to be used
  • Timetable of research

This will help us to evaluate the feasibility of your ideas and their fit to the work going on in CRESS.  You should also send a CV.


CRESS does not have any funding support  of its own for PhD research.  The Sociology Department is a member of the ESRC South East Doctoral Training Centre, which has some bursaries for UK students.  However the scheme is highly competitive and funding is not available for students who have not lived in the UK for the last three years.

If you are not a UK student, you should look to your own national funding schemes first of all.  There are also some limited international schemes; for details see here.

Lastly, some students are able to fund themselves from savings or from part-time work, although this is not recommended.

The environment

In addition to other doctoral students studying various aspects of social simulation, CRESS includes researchers working on a range of large projects to provide a stimulating intellectual environment.

CRESS is a friendly and supportive place to work and study.  All PhD students have their own desk, computer (most often a high end Apple iMac), email and library card.  We have an active social life as well.  Guildford is a pretty, peaceful and rather expensive place to live.  It is also very well connected to London and London airports.

The Department of Sociology hosts CRESS.  Its thriving group of over 50 doctoral students benefit from regular postgraduate seminars and workshops, day conferences, and interaction with international visitors. Doctoral students have opportunities to undertake paid undergraduate teaching.

Research in the Sociology Department at University of Surrey has consistently been ranked in the top 6 Sociology Departments in the UK by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), recognising the excellence of our research environment. As a leading national centre for the advancement of social research, we provide state of the art research methodology training through our MSc in Social Research Methods, and Day Courses in Social Research.


For further information on fees, please visit the University of Surrey Postgraduate Research website.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are expected to hold at least an upper second class honours degree in one of the social sciences. However, several successful students have had first degrees in engineering, the sciences, or philosophy.  If you do not have sociology background, you can receive extra support in sociology by taking relevant modules on the MSc in Social Research Methods and other programmes.

Career opportunities

A PhD in some aspect of agent-based modelling is a valuable qualification if you want to go on to work as a researcher in academia, policy or business.  To see some examples, take a look through the pages about CRESS researchers.

Next steps and Contacts

The Director of CRESS, to whom proposals for PhD research and your CV should initially be sent, is Nigel Gilbert <>.

The Postgraduate Research Director is Professor Lynn Prince Cooke <>.

The Postgraduate Research Administrator is Richard Sandiford <>.