Derek McGhee – BSc (Hons) Sociology graduate

Current employer: University of Southampton

Current job title: Professor of Sociology & Head of Social Sciences

Current location: Southampton

“Plymouth is a wonderful city in which to study. I remember taking nice head-clearing walks on Plymouth Hoe, and I enjoyed trips to Mount Edgcumbe house and park and into Cornwall and Dartmouth. The staff were very dedicated and the facilities were good.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Since graduating, I have pursued an academic career. I completed a masters in Cultural Studies at Lancaster University in 1994, and then a PhD in Sociology in 1999. After receiving my doctorate, I became a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Southampton in 2000 before becoming a reader in Sociology in 2005. Then, in 2009, I became a professor of Sociology, still at the University of Southampton; and, since 2014, I have been the Head of Social Sciences.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The time poverty suffered in an academic career.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I would say that the best part of my career to date has been leading international delegations on behalf of the University to China and India. 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Work hard and take up opportunities when they present themselves.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth University expanded my horizons.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is also something practical which has stayed with me ever since: establishing a life long work life balance. That is, I would work extremely hard all week, but the weekends were for friends and fun.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Yes. Plymouth is a wonderful city in which to study. I remember taking nice head-clearing walks on Plymouth Hoe, and I enjoyed trips to Mount Edgcumbe house and park and into Cornwall and Dartmouth. The staff were very dedicated and the facilities were good. They must be even better now since I graduated so long ago in 1993.