As I started studying MSc Sociology at LSE last September, the Department of Sociology has become my home for a year. I couldn’t ask for a better one.
The department is focused on a range of theoretical and comparative research on the most pressing and interesting social issues of the 21st century. It is unique (just like LSE as a whole) for its international profile and its strong emphasis on both the global and the local. This is reflected in the range of courses it offers, and the breadth of available modules within each.
From “Fascism, Authoritarianism, Populism” to “Nature and Technology: More than Human Sociology”, the modules give students a chance to actually engage with cutting-edge research and develop their critical thinking and analysis skills. Importantly, the department doesn’t really have one profile (for example focus on political or economic sociology) but gathers a diverse group of scholars who study a wide range of topics.
Indeed, the Department of Sociology stands out due to the expertise of it academic staff. They reflect the international character of LSE, coming from diverse backgrounds. These scholars are specialists in their fields of sociology and engage in theoretical, empirical and comparative research. Being a student in the department means easy access to all of them as they hold office hours every week. This offers a unique chance to just come and talk to them face-to-face about one’s research interest or their work.
Interested in class and social stratification, I was drawn to LSE’s Sociology precisely for this reason. I am now taking the “Class, Politics and Culture” course with Professor Sam Friedman whose research has been broad and impactful and who worked on some real-life class-related projects for the government and BBC. I also attended the talk with Professor Mike Savage whose book The Return of Inequality has been a huge influence on me and my decision to study sociology.
What I think sets apart the Department of Sociology at LSE from others is the engagement of its academics in current social issues. They are often intellectuals who do not shy away from social commentary which I personally find extremely important nowadays. Rather than simply focusing on the world of academia, they act as advisors, consultants and commentators.
The department also organises events on a variety of the most relevant contemporary debates in sociology which constitute an excellent addition to the formal academic curriculum. This term, the topics discussed will be “Irregular Rights: Abortion, Domestic Violence, and the uses of Illegality” and “Reconstructing the Symbolic Location: Racism, Spatial Injustice and Black Community Activism” which demonstrate the department’s commitment to current important issues.
The department has also a lively social life. There are regular occasions to meet with fellow students and professors to have an informal chat. From drinks receptions, through seasonal parties to games and arts and crafts socials, there is always a chance to unwind and have some fun.
Last but not least, for all of the above reasons, the Department of Sociology at LSE is widely considered one of the best and the most prestigious in the field of sociology. The department is committed to interdisciplinary research and collaborates with other departments and institutions. As such, it is one of the leading institutions in social research nowadays, at the same time being a wonderful home for so many students.