School of Sociology and Social Policy

School History

Original university library 1930

The original University library, 1930.

The School of Sociology and Social Policy is a diverse centre for social science teaching and research, which builds on an established history dating back to 1948 and the creation of the Department of Social Administration. That year also saw the appointment of the first UK professor in this field, Professor David Marsh, who joined a team of just five other staff. At that time, sociology was taught in a separate department of Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology under Professor Jack Sprott.

In 1964, philosophy and psychology were given their own professors and departments. Sociology, with the appointment of Professor Julius Gould, initially became a sub-department of the Department of Social Administration. In due course, a separate Department of Sociology was established, by which stage, the Department of Social Administration had been renamed the Department of Social Policy.

Having delivered social work programmes since the 1950s, the Centre for Social Work appointed its first professor in 1984, Professor Olive Stevenson. In 1987, the two departments, with the Centre for Social Work, merged to form the School of Social Studies, with Professor Stevenson as Head of School until 1991, when Professor Robert Dingwall took over.

The school obtained its current name while Professor Nick Manning was Head of School. The school grew to around 30 academic staff under the leadership of both Professor Julia Evetts (2001-2006) and Professor Elizabeth Murphy (2006-2008).

Research interests

The school's research interests have expanded significantly in the last 30 years to cover not only sociology, social policy and social work, but also public policy, medical sociology, trauma studies, cultural sociology and criminology.

Today, we are taking forward our research expertise and thriving culture through the work of our research centres.

We seek to undertake world-class research that contributes to the advancement of theory and debate, and where possible, makes a meaningful contribution to society at the international, national and local levels.

The Ann Craft Trust

We are host to the Ann Craft Trust, which works to combat abuse of people with learning disabilities and we have strong links to local, national and international communities including:

School timeline


  • University College Nottingham receives a Royal Charter and becomes the University of Nottingham
  • Department of Social Administration established


  • Sociology becomes a sub-department of Department of Social Administration
  • Department of Sociology established
  • Department of Social Administration renamed Department of Social Policy


  • Centre for Social Work appoints its first Professor, Olive Stevenson


  • The Centre for Social Work, Department of Sociology and Department of Social Policy merge to form the School of Social Studies


  • School of Social Studies is renamed the School of Sociology and Social Policy


School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us