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Professor Sin Yi Cheung BSoc Sc. M.Phil. D.Phil. (Oxon)

Professor Sin Yi Cheung

BSoc Sc. M.Phil. D.Phil. (Oxon)

Professor of Sociology

School of Social Sciences

Glamorgan Building
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am Professor of Sociology, Co-Director of Research in the School of Social Sciences. I served on the Senior Management Team in the School as International Director (2014-2017) before establishing the Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Diversity Research Group. Externally, I served on editorial boards of the BSA journal Sociology and the ASA journal Sociology of Education, the UKRI REF2021 Research Excellence Framework Social Work and Social Policy sub-panel (SP20) as a full panel member. I also sit on the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) Independent Advisory Board. I am editor-in-chief of the Open Access Journal Frontiers of Sociology: Race and Ethnicity. 

My research addresses different forms of social inequalities in contemporary societies. I have published on refugee integration, the changing inequalities in higher education, ethno-religious penalties in the labour market, lone parents on benefits, claimants' dynamics, and children in care. Trained as a quantitative sociologist, committed to interdisciplinarity and methodological pluralism, I collaborate with researchers in social policy, education, economics, psychology and human geography. My research has received funding from the British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, European Union, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, as well as central government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions, and local authorities. Over the years I have held invited guest professorships and visiting scholar positions at Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, Stanford University, the University of Tokyo, New York University and Keio University. 


Professor Sin Yi Cheung joined Cardiff University in 2011 having previously taught sociology at the University of Birmingham and Oxford Brookes University. Before completing her M.Phil and D.Phil. in Sociology at St. Anthony's College, Oxford, Sin Yi worked as a research officer at the Department of Applied Social Studies and Social Research, University of Oxford at Barnett House, which is now the Department Social Policy and Intervention. She worked on a number of research projects on claimants dynamics, lone parents in and out of benefits, Oxfordshire Poverty Mapping (with Oxford City Council), as well as the early development of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) in the Social Disadvantage Research Group. Sin Yi is an elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales since 2022.

Honours and awards

Outstanding Contribution Awards 2015

Celebrating Excellence Awards 2017 Finalist: Outstanding Contribution to the University's International Activities.

JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Invitation Fellowship at the University of Tokyo (2017)

Global Guest Professorship, Keio University, funded by JSPS (2019-2020, 2020-2021)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society
  • American Sociological Association
  • British Sociological Association
  • European Sociological Association. Board member of Research Network on Quantitative Methods (RN21) 2013-2015
  • International Sociology Association (ISA): Research Committee on Social Stratification and Social Mobility (RC28)

Speaking engagements

  • Takenoshita, H. and Cheung, S.Y. 2019. "Cross-border Marriage and Immigrant Integration in Japan", New and Old Diversity Exchange UK-Japan Symposium. Waseda University, December 2019.
  • Cheung, S. Y. 2019. "Perceived Discrimination in Healthcare: evidence from four European Countries". JSPS Research Symopsium, Cardiff University, August, 2019.
  • Cheung, S. Y. 2014. Migration statistics: What can the data tell us? Presented at: getstats in Parliament: Migration Statistics what the data tell us?, Houses of Parliament, 4 December 2014.
  • Cheung, S. Y. and Henderson, M. 2014. Outcomes of Educational Welfare Officer contact with teenagers in England. Presented at: Research Seminar, Institute for Economic and Social Research, University of Essex, UK, 17 November 2014.

Committees and reviewing

  • Director of Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Diversity (MEAD) Research Group
  • Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers in Sociology (Race and Ethnicity)
  • NCRM (National Centre for Research Methods) Advisory Board
  • EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) Expert Advisory Panel
  • ESRC Peer Review College
  • Race Equality Staff Working Group, Cardiff Unversity (2014-2020)
  • REF Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
  • International Academic Liaison Steering Group, AHSS. (2014-2017)























Sin Yi welcomes PhD applications on topics related to any areas of her research interests on migration, refugee integration, racial ethnic and religious inequalities, as well as sociology of education and intersectional labour market inequalities.

Undergraduate Teaching - Migration, 'Race' and Ethnic Relations, Equality and Diversity in Education and Work, Secondary Data Analysis.

Master's Teaching - Research Methods and Techniques in Context in the MSc in Skills and Workforce Development.

Sin Yi's current research examines issues around migration and refugee integration, how asylum waiting time creates a violence of uncertainty which severely undermines refugee's mental health (in Social Science and Medicine); and outcomes of social work intervention among vulnerable families. Her recent book the Death of Human Capital directly challenges the assumption that education pays. Her other recent research projects include a cross-national comparative study of health services usage in superdiverse neighbourhoods (funded by NORFACE, with Professor Jenny Phillimore, University of Birmingham); horizontal stratification in higher education; two Nuffield Foundation funded research projects: Social Work Contact using British cohort studies (with Professor J Scourfield) investigating the effect of social work intervention on families and children; and Social Networks, Social Capital and Refugee integration; and an innovative equal pay project using secondary data analysis to study women's pay penalty in Wales (WAVE: Women Adding Value to the Economy) funded by the European Social Fund. 


I welcome PhD applicants in any of the broad research areas of migration, asylum seekers and refugee integration, ethnic, racial and religious inequalities, sociology of education, social stratification, and intersectional labour market inequalities. 

Recent completions:

  • Jessica Abrahams (2016) Lecturer in Education, University of Bristol
  • Martin Elliot (2017), Research Associate, Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) ESRC post-doctoral fellows (2018), Cardiff University
  • Charlotte Brookfield (2017) Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • Sian Evans (2020) Data Analyst, Office for National Statistics.

ESRC funded PhD students:

  • Henna Nisa "Doing Daughterhood in Pakistani families: changes and continuities across three generation of women"
  • Hong-Chau Dihn "Towards a racially diverse education workforce in Wales" (co-funded by the Wales Doctoral Training Partnership and the Welsh Government and in collaboration with Race Council Cymru and Educators Wales) 
  • Anaer Yeerjiang "BAME+ and the professional workforce: the relationship between intersectionally diverse workforces and appreciation of diversity in Welsh Schools (co-funded by the Wales DTP and the Welsh Govt, with Michael Handford in the School of English Communication and Philosophy).

Past projects