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Postgraduate Student Profiles

Here you can find out what students in the Department of Sociology think about the benefits of studying for a postgraduate degree and what they have gained at York.

Germaine Günther (PhD student @ York)

Germaine Gunther

In my stereotypical image of a scientist, I pictured a lonely figure studying in solitude.  Luckily for me, studying a PhD here at York is full of life, engagement and closer to ‘working with people’ than I had imagined.

My PhD revolves around one core question: How do people experience coincidences in their everyday lives? Analysing talk using conversation analysis, I analyse how people make sense of these often life-changing experiences.

Not only does my research therefore focus on human interaction, but also not a day passes without truly interesting conversations. I have regular meetings with my supervisor who, a key expert in his field, stimulates and challenges my thinking and writing. Teaching undergraduate students fills my days with a buzz. And then there is the Postgraduate Village, the hub for the PhD students, where students from around the world share offices and a common room, and share experiences and laughs while studying.

Having previously studied my undergraduate degree here at York at this department, I can say that staff are friendly and supportive and York is a truly intellectually inspiring environment. Having left my hometown Hamburg three and a half years ago to come here, I can say with absolute confidence it was worth the move.

Dr Kimberly Jamie (a former York Sociology PhD student who is now a Lecturer in Sociology at Durham University).

Kimberly Jamie

During my PhD I grabbed every opportunity that came my way and there was certainly no shortage of opportunities in Sociology at York. As well as researching a fascinating topic, I presented at academic and non-academic conferences both in the UK and abroad; I organised postgraduate conferences; I did teaching in three different University departments; I completed a teaching qualification; I published some of my work; and even became a member of an expert steering panel for a theatre company! I loved every minute of doing my PhD but it became clear quite quickly that the actual PhD thesis is just a fraction of what doing a PhD is all about. It was also grabbing these sorts of opportunities during my PhD that helped me secure a permanent lectureship position just over a year after I handed my thesis in.’

Dr James Allen-Robertson (A former York Sociology PhD student who is now Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex)


Doing a PhD at York was an incredibly formative experience for me. It gave me the time and space to become an expert in something I was intensely interested in. My thesis was published as a book shortly after completion.

As well as being a great experience in itself this has helped to get me a job doing what I've always wanted.’

Alejandra Jaramillo Vazquez (PhD Student @ York)

Alejandra Jaramillo Vazquez

My research examines the implementation and practice of the cultural policy of Mexico City, concerning arts education and creativity. More specifically, I conducted fieldwork for a year in a cultural institution, where I examined its everyday practice concerning arts education and creativity, identities and representation.

I originally started my studies at the University of Manchester where I completed a Masters in Anthropological Research, then I had the opportunity to continue my studies with Sharon Macdonald at the University of York. I joined the department of Sociology in 2012 and should say this experience has been rewarding since I have been able to increase my knowledge in the field of Sociology.

The meetings with my supervisor have enabled me to develop my research progressively. Also, the staff members and my colleagues are supportive and friendly. Thanks to the seminars and other activities - undertaken by staff and students - I have been supported intellectually. The university is beautiful and there are always many activities to do here. It provides an inspiring environment.