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Sociology celebrates a half-century at Cardiff University

20 November 2014

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The School of Social Sciences is celebrating 50 years of Sociology at Cardiff.

Sociology was established in 1964 with the appointment of the first Chair in Sociology at Cardiff and the formal inauguration of the Department of Sociology, which included social administration and social work. A separate Department of Social Administration and a School of Social Work were both created by 1971 and the Department of Sociology was, for the first time, a specialised sociology department.

In 1974, the headship of the department passed to Martin Albrow, who joined in 1967 as senior lecturer. This was followed by the establishment of a research unit under the direction of Tony Coxon. Research officer posts were created alongside further lectureships to meet the growing demands of teaching sociology to medical students and education students.

An expansion of the range of courses followed, together with the development of a new generation of research projects. A suite of taught postgraduate courses was created, which in time included one of the first masters in social research methods and an interdisciplinary  women's studies programme.

The School of Social and Administrative Studies (SOCAS) was established in the 1980s, with sociology again joining social policy, social work and, in time, criminology. Paul Atkinson became Head of School in 1990 and Sara Delamont was at the helm prior to merge with the School of Education in 1999. Both Paul and Sara are still with the School today.

Under the leadership of sociologist Huw Beynon, the Cardiff School of Social Sciences has gone on to become a major centre for research and teaching, encompassing sociology, social policy, education, criminology and social work. Malcolm Williams was appointed Head of School in 2010 and Professor Amanda Coffey took over in the summer of 2014.

Professor Coffey says: "I am extremely proud to lead the School as we celebrate 50 years of success in Sociology. The School continues to have firm sociological foundations, as well as a truly interdisciplinary research and teaching profile"

The School of Social Sciences now has over 1000 students and over 200 staff. Over 10,000 alumni have graduated from the School. The Sociology programme at Cardiff is ranked within the QS rankings top 100,  with social sciences in Cardiff University as a whole within the top 100 of the Times University rankings.

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