Digital cultures, social networks and political change

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Digital devices, practices and networks have entered nearly every domain of our lives – from the most intimate private spheres to the most public and political, and blurring the boundaries between. At the OU we have been researching the cross-cultural and international political dimensions of digital society for over a decade. We have experience of gathering and analysing digital data to shed insights into how organisations and institutions, as well as individual and social groups are responding to the challenges of the digital. Our recent work has included digital diasporas, refugee social networks and smartphone use, social media networks, political protests and change, social media and religious change.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English

Potential research projects

  • Social media, political protest and change
  • Social media and religious change
  • Digital cultures and the public sphere/s
  • Digital media audiences and interactivity
  • Digital transformation and public policy
  • Disinformation and Fake news on social networks

Current/recent research projects

  • Digital migration: refugee social networks and smartphone use
  • Digital diplomacy and / or political propaganda

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Arab friends using mobile phones

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Marie Gillespie
Email: FASS-Sociology-Enquiries
Phone: +44 (0)1908 654558

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.