Research course

Families, Relationships and Communities

Open University · Department of Social Policy

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) and an MA or MSc.

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Social Policy and Criminology has extensive interests in this field and is engaged in a number of lived-experience, policy- and welfare-related research projects. We are active members of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), leading the Families, Relationships and Communities Programme, and contributing to the Psychosocial Programme.

Our substantive areas of interest include:

  • Meanings and practices of couple relationships
  • Family ‘troubles’
  • Bereavement and change
  • Parenting, kinship and intergenerational relationships
  • Fatherhood
  • Intimacy and sexualities in personal lives
  • Children’s rights, participation and agency
  • The emotional dynamics of welfare encounters
  • Parenting and risk
  • Parenting in urban communities
  • Histories of gendered and generational family meanings and family lives.

We have an international reputation for methodological innovation, with particular strengths in qualitative mixed-methods research, visual methods, biographical and life-story research, discourse analysis, historical methods and ethnography.

Research students connected to this area are encouraged to join CCIG and to participate in the supportive and collegial research culture in the department.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
      full time
      36 months
      • MPhil
        part time
        24 months
          full time
          15 months

          Course contact details

          +44 (0)1908 654534