Degrees and Honours

B.SC Econ Lond, M.A. Cantab, PhD Birm

Membership of Professional Bodies 

Associate Member of the Institute of Hospital Almoners


Doris Thoday trained as a Medical Social Worker and also spent time in the Scientific Civil Service before a chance meeting with a Professor from Birmingham University encouraged her to take up a Research Scholarship there. She gained her PhD in 1951. A ‘Career Break’ from 1953 to 1965 enabled her to have two children and to accompany her Geneticist husband to Cambridge.

She was able to resume her academic career by supervising in Sociology for several Cambridge Colleges. This brought her to the notice of Mrs Marian Clegg, a Founding Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, charged with recruiting women teachers in the University who were not affiliated to any College. Doris was elected a Senior Member in 1968 and became their Chairman in 1971.

From her election as a Governing Body Fellow in 1974, until retirement in 1993 at the age of 70, she was active in furthering the development of the Dining Group in its aims of establishing a new College for women in Cambridge University. She participated in both teaching and administration. Her activities ranged from College Lecturer and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences to becoming Admissions Tutor in 1976 and additionally Graduate Tutor in 1986. She was involved in devising and setting up a College Entrance Examination for mature students. During this time she was also active on numerous internal College Committees an represented the College on University inter-Collegiate Committees where relevant.

In 1981 she was elected Vice President of Lucy Cavendish College, and in 1985, in the temporary absence of the then President she was elected Acting President.

Research Interests

  • Use of Leisure
  • Social Networks


  • "Spare Time in the Black Country", Living in Towns by L.Kurper et al. 1953
  • Several papers published 1955-1960 on Student Academic Life and Work