Recent graduates from our Masters programme have secured places in doctoral programmes at:
- La Trobe University
- University of Melbourne
- University of Illinois
- Lancaster University
- Michigan State University
The success of our postgraduate programme is demonstrated by the success of our graduates. Sociology graduates from the School are employed in lecturing positions in Sociology at the:
- University of Auckland
- Victoria (1), Waikato
Other scholars who have completed postgraduate degrees in sociology teach in the:
- Politics programme at University of Otago
- Gender Studies, Social Work and Education at University of Canterbury
- Midwifery programme at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT)
- Criminology programme at Victoria University
- Criminal Justice programme at University of Alabama
- Health Studies Programme at Massey University
Recent Masters and PhD students include those currently teaching in:
- Public Health at University of Melbourne
- Sociology at the University of Surrey
and occupying research fellowships at:
- University of Leeds
Former sociology students are also making major contributions as policy analysts and as researchers within government agencies in New Zealand and Australia. They are also involved in private social research agencies such as Taylor Baines Associates and Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA).
Read below about our graduates who are successfully using Sociology degrees in their careers.
M.A. (Distinction) Sociology
Advisor, Information Unit, Office of Film and Literature Classification, Wellington
Not really knowing what sociology was when I began university, I took Soci 111 in my first year at Canterbury because I thought it looked interesting. From that point sociology papers made up the bulk of my degree – I enjoyed the space to discuss ideas and theories with other people from a range of backgrounds and interests.
After completing a BA majoring in both Sociology and American studies, I entered into the Sociology Honours programme, earning First Class Honours. During this time I was able to more directly overlap my interests with my study. I worked at a cinema for the duration of my time at university, and had a strong passion for popular culture. After completing Honours, I moved on to my Masters Thesis. I knew I wanted to investigate an element of popular culture or the media, and after years of having to police cinemas and ask people for ID for age restricted films, writing a thesis on censorship in New Zealand seemed to be a perfect way to utilise my practical knowledge from my work experiences and research an interesting and dynamic topic.
Over the course of researching and writing my thesis, I contacted a number of key actors involved in enforcing censorship classifications, including cinema operators, Inspectors of Publications at the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs and the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). Through my correspondence with the OFLC, I was able to attend one of their events for school students in Christchurch and met staff from the Office, including the Chief Censor (an account of which became an appendix in my thesis).
I was awarded an MA with distinction for my thesis Policing Publications: Sites of Censorship Classification Enforcement in New Zealand . I did some tutoring and research assistant work at Canterbury, and heard through my correspondence with the OFLC that a vacancy was coming up. Once the job was advertised, I applied and was given the position of Advisor in the Information Unit of the Office of Film and Literature Classification. At my interview, my thesis was brought up and the interviewers said they'd had a look at it. My depth of knowledge in the area definitely made me stand out from the rest of the candidates and has been a great advantage in my day to day work.
My job in Wellington involves liaising with members of the public, students, police, film industry and retailers, organising events around the country such as Censor for a Day and attending conferences (as well as sitting in on the occasional classification of a film). It also involves research – we are about to embark on a joint research project with the Broadcasting Standards Authority investigating audience perceptions of violent content in entertainment genres. The analytical and research skills I obtained through studying Sociology are proving to be invaluable in this interesting and exciting job.
PhD Graduate Student
To be honest, I had no idea what sociology was when I chose to take an introductory paper in my first year at university. However, by the end of that year I was completely captured. I immediately changed my major to pursue this seemingly limitless discipline that let me meaningfully understand the world in areas like politics, the environment, war, crime, inequality and poverty. I also developed the skills to undertake all types of interesting and valuable research. While pursuing my PhD on gangs – to better understand a part of society that is clouded in secrecy – I have been commissioned to do research for the city council as well by the Government. I have also been approached by a UK production company and employed to work on an overseas documentary. Sociology has allowed me the ability to understand problems in society and the skills with which to explore them.
Human Rights and Race Relations Advisor/Kaitakawaenga - Human Rights Commission
"When I started my studies, at the University of Canterbury, I had no particular focus in mind. Just some notion that I may like to work with and care for people. The first sociology paper I completed gave me inspiration to choose sociology as my Major, as I enjoyed all aspects of the paper and the Lecturers were not too bad either. My passion and enjoyment of sociology continued and I graduated with a BA in Sociology in 2005.
The information and content I learnt from my sociology papers has been fundamental to my everyday work life. In my current role with the Human Rights Commission the analytical skills I developed whilst studying sociology have been invaluable. I use my sociological imagination in all aspects of my work as I work with a diverse number of individuals, community organisations, local and central government etc. Studying sociology gave me the foundation and focus to build a successful career that I am truly passionate about".
Name of Company: Dentsu Inc.
Sports Business Division
International Sports Department
Title: Assistant Project Manager
Taking Sociology at the University of Canterbury has given me a wonderful opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills and apply them in my working career.
At Canterbury, I studied undergraduate sociology papers in sport, ethnicity, life stories and social surveys, finding that these extended my knowledge and experience of sociology. At honours and masters level, I chose the sociology of sports as a major theme, with a particular focus on the transformation of Japanese rugby over the last three decades.
My interest in this area came about in part because of my father’s past participation in rugby and indeed my father is currently in New Zealand, having been appointed as the current Citing Commissioner for Japan in the Pacific Six Nations by the International Rugby Board.
In my Sociology MA thesis I was able to examine the concept of the Rugby World Cup as a truly global game. This proved valuable when, as a result of my thesis research, I secured my dream job at the Japan Rugby Football Union when I returned to Japan after completing my Masters. I became involved in the Rugby World Cup 2011 Japan bid, preparing tender documents, organising technical visits and making the final presentation to the IRB Council meeting. Unfortunately, Japan was not awarded the 2011 Rugby World Cup but I was able to apply sociological analyses and research methods throughout the tender process and in the final round of the voting.
Currently, I am working for one of the biggest sport business firms in Japan which handles major international sporting events such as the World Baseball Classic, the FIFA World Cup and the World Swimming Championship. I have been working on the baseball project in the International Sports Department, with a particular involvement in Major League Baseball and its affiliated clubs.
From the middle of May 2007 I am moving to another part of the Dentsu business. I will be leaving the baseball team to work for the Tokyo 2016 Olympic Games Bid Committee. My mission is of course to bring the 2016 Olympic games to Tokyo, Japan, which will put huge respnsibility and pressure on me. It should be very tough work, but I am excited to be part of this project.
Researcher at the University of Auckland for the Centre for Mental Health, Research, Policy and Service Development
I graduated in 2004 with a Masters in Sociology. My thesis titled ‘Doing Ecstasy in Christchurch’ explored ecstasy users’ experiences in relation to drug regulation strategies in New Zealand. Prior to this, I took various undergraduate courses in social theory, deviance studies, cultural studies, and philosophy. Various aspects of these courses led me to take up Honours in sociology, where I specialised in conducting various research projects around my interest in the consumption and production of electronic dance music. My Masters research that followed extended these initial projects and allowed me to explore the social worlds of ecstasy users and their relationship to government policy and legislation in an exciting new way. Today I work as a researcher at the University of Auckland for the Centre for Mental Health, Research, Policy and Service Development and have begun work towards a PhD on the role of legal and medical professionals in the construction of the insanity defence. The skills I obtained while studying sociology are essential in my everyday tasks of reviewing literature, developing research methods, conducting research, and drafting reports. Sociology has encouraged me to theorise about ordinary occurrences in social life rather than accepting the status quo and this is essential for the research I currently conduct.
To all our past graduates:
If you would like to share your career successes here, please contact the school. We'd love to hear from you.