Alice Sullivan is Professor of Sociology at University College London (UCL) and Head of Research at the UCL Social Research Institute.

Alice Sullivan’s research focusses on social and educational inequalities in the life course. She has made extensive use of secondary data analysis of large-scale longitudinal data sets in her research, with a particular focus on the British birth cohort studies of 1958, 1970 and 2000. She has published on areas including: social class and sex differences in educational attainment, single-sex and co-educational schooling, private and grammar schools, cultural capital, reading for pleasure, social mobility, and health inequalities. She has also written about conflicts between scholarly and scientific values and gender identity politics.

Alice took her undergraduate degree in PPE at Balliol College, Oxford (1992-1995), and went on to take an MSc (1996) and DPhil (2000) in Sociology at Nuffield College Oxford. Alice was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford from 2000-2003. In 2003 she joined the UCL Institute of Education, initially as a Research Officer. Alice was Director of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) for ten years, from 2010-2020. In 2020, she took up the role of Head of Research at the UCL Social Research Institute (SRI).

Inaugural Professorial Lecture. Inequalities in Education: The home, the school and the power of reading.

Selected Publications

Suissa, J. and Sullivan, S. (2021) The Gender Wars, Academic Freedom and Education, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 55(1): 55-82.

Sullivan, A., Moulton, V., & Fitzsimons, E. (2021). The intergenerational transmission of language skillThe British Journal of Sociology.

Sullivan, A., Parsons, S., Ploubidis, G., Green, F., & Wiggins, R. D. (2020). Pathways from origins to destinations: Stability and change in the roles of cognition, private schools and educational attainment. The British Journal of Sociology71(5), 921-938.

Sullivan, A. (2020). Sex and the census: Why surveys should not conflate sex and gender identity. International Journal of Social Research Methodology23(5), 517-524. Open access version SSRN.

Sullivan, A., Parsons, S., Green, F., Wiggins, R. D., & Ploubidis, G. (2017) The path from social origins to top jobs: social reproduction via education. The British Journal of Sociology, 69(3) 776-798.

Sullivan, A. and Brown, M. (2015) Reading for pleasure and attainment in vocabulary and mathematics. British Educational Research Journal, 41 (6), 971-991.

Sullivan, A., Parsons, S., Wiggins, R., Heath, A. and Green, F. 2014 Social origins, school type and higher education destinations.Oxford Review of Education 40 (6): 739-763.

Sullivan, A., Ketende, S. and Joshi, H. (2013) Social Class and Inequalities in Early Cognitive Scores. Sociology. 47(6) 1187-1206.

Sullivan, A., Joshi, H. and Leonard, D. 2010 Single-sex schooling and academic attainment at school and through the lifecourse. American Educational Research Journal 47(1), 6-36.

Zimdars, A., Sullivan, A. and Heath, A. 2009. Elite higher education admissions in the arts and sciences: Is cultural capital the key? Sociology 43(4), 648-666.

Sullivan, A. 2009. Academic self-concept, gender and single-sex schooling. British Educational Research Journal 35(2) 259-288.

Sullivan, A. 2002. Bourdieu and Education: How Useful is Bourdieu’s Theory for Researchers? Netherlands Journal of Social Sciences 38(2), 144-166.

Sullivan, A. 2001.‘Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment’ Sociology 35(4), 893-912.[Reproduced in Gorard, S. (ed.) 2008.Quantitative Research in Education. Sage, London.]