Life Course Research (MPhil)

Course Provider: Dr Man Yee Kan


The course will introduce students to theories, perspectives and methodological approaches of life course research in industrialised and post-industrialised societies.

The course will first introduce the field of life course research and basic concepts. It will then cover a range of established substantive research topics, with a focus on the theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.

On successfully completing the course, students should:
• understand important concepts and theoretical perspectives in life course research;
• be familiar with recent empirical research in the field;
• be able to critically assess the research design, theoretical approach and methodology of empirical research in the field;
• be prepared to undertake doctoral research in the area of life course research.

The course consists of eight lectures and discussion meetings. In the lectures the key topics are outlined, while in the seminars students participate in discussion based on readings for the week. Students are expected to complete readings before classes and seminars and write several short essays of 1000-2000 words.

One three‐hour unseen examination in Trinity Term.

  • Mayer, K. (2009). New directions in life course research. Annual Reviews in Sociology. 35: 413-433.
  • Crosnoe, R. & G.H. Elder Jr. (2015). Life Course: Sociological Aspects, J. Wright (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition. London: Elsevier.
  • Billari, F.C. (2001) The Analysis of Early Life Courses: Complex Descriptions of the Transition to Adulthood, Journal of Population Research, 18(2): 119-142.
  • Buchmann, M. C., Kriesi, I. (2011). Transition to adulthood in Europe. Annual Review of Sociology 37 (1), 481–503.
  • Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, and Sonja Drobnic. 2001. "Theoretical perspectives on couples’ careers." Pp. 16-50 in Careers of couples in contemporary societies: from male breadwinner to dual-earner families, edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Sonja Drobnic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.