MSc in Social Science of the Internet

The MSc in Social Science of the Internet is an eleven-month residential Masters programme. In terms of both intake and focus it is highly multi-disciplinary, providing students from a wide variety of backgrounds with in-depth understanding of the social science concepts, theories and methods required to undertake rigorous empirical quantitative and qualitative research or policy analysis about the Internet.

The degree is designed for:

  • Students intending to focus on Internet-related research in the further pursuit of a doctoral degree in information, communication, or any of the social sciences;
  • Students wishing to gain the skills and knowledge needed for professional careers in leading technology companies, consulting firms, and the wide variety of businesses that increasingly need employees who understand technology and how people use it;
  • Students wishing to pursue a career in Internet and communications policy or regulation;
  • Professionals working in Internet-related fields, and who wish to gain a broader understanding of the societal aspects of its design or use.

Students take a combination of examined core and option papers (for example, in Internet law or economics, network analysis, digital era politics and regulation, or ICTs and development, among others), and produce a 10,000-15,000 word thesis on a research topic agreed with their academic supervisor. By the end of the degree, students will have gained an in-depth understanding of the main disciplinary, theoretical and methodological debates on key Internet issues.

Why study at the OII?

We're a dynamic and innovative centre for Internet-related research and teaching, located in a world-leading traditional research university. Our faculty work at the cutting-edge of their fields, and this innovative research is fully reflected in their course teaching. We pride ourselves on providing a stimulating and supportive environment in which all our students can flourish. As a fully multidisciplinary department, we offer our students the opportunity to study academic, practical and policy-related issues that can only be understood by drawing on contributions from across many different fields.

Our busy calendar of seminars and events brings the most important people in the Internet world to the OII, allowing our students to engage with the 'bleeding edge' of scholarship and debates around the Internet. Our students also take full advantage of the amazing resources available at the University of Oxford, including world-ranking research facilities and libraries, and a buzzing student scene. With over 200 student societies across the University, whatever your interests or level (whether sporting, music, politics, journalism, etc.) there will probably be a society that deals with it. If there isn't: just start your own...

Employers recognize the value of a degree from the University of Oxford, and our Masters graduates have secured excellent positions in industry, government, NGOs, or go on to pursue doctoral studies at top universities. For example, non-academic destinations of recent graduates have included large Internet companies such as Google or Facebook, smaller start-ups like, as well as regulatory positions and consultancy. MSc alumni have also progressed to further graduate study at institutions such as Harvard, Princeton and LSE as well as other social science departments at the University of Oxford.

In short: if you're interested in rigorous Internet-related study and research, and want to join a challenging but friendly intellectual community, then this is the place for you! If you are looking for a general introduction to what it's like to study at the OII, then a good place to start will be our Virtual Open Day. If you still have questions about the programme and how to apply, please contact:

The Oxford 1+1 Programme

This MSc can form part of the Oxford 1+1 Programme, which allows students to combine their OII MSc with the Oxford MBA (offered by the Said Business School) to provide a two-year Oxford postgraduate experience that combines the depth of study of an MSc, with the managerial and leadership breadth of an MBA. The OII MSc will provide you with deep analytical expertise in social science Internet research to which you will apply your enhanced management skills: there is growing evidence that this "depth + breadth" is what employers seek.

How to apply: The Oxford 1+1 Programme will be offered to students applying for 2014 matriculation, with the intention that they will spend the first year completing their OII MSc and then begin the MBA in September 2015. Candidates will need to meet the admissions requirements for both courses and will be admitted separately to both. If you are applying for the 1+1 Programme, please indicate this on your personal statement: you will be asked to state in detail your reasons for applying on your application to the Said Business School, and may wish to refer to this also in your application to the OII MSc.

The Indiana University-OII Joint Program

This joint programme allows graduate law students admitted to Indiana University's Maurer School of Law to spend the autumn term in Bloomington, Indiana, and then study at the OII in the winter and spring terms as visiting students. Aimed primarily at international students, the programme gives students with an American law degree or non-U.S. equivalency the opportunity to take 14-16 credit hours of existing regular law courses in the broad area of information and intellectual property law. At the conclusion of the programme, successful students receive an Indiana University Maurer School of Law LL.M. with a Certificate in Information Law and Policy from the Oxford Internet Institute. The programme is led by IU Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law Fred H. Cate, and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, the OII's Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation.

How to apply: The LL.M degree is awarded and administered by Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, and students wishing to participate in the programme should apply directly to that institution. Further details can be found at:

  •  Mor Rubinstein Mor Rubinstein

    MSc student (2013)

    The Internet has been a big part of my life for the last decade, from work to entertainment. However, only after the 2011 wave of social economical demonstrations in Israel did I see a different picture -- how the Internet can be used for different civic actions. As a Politics and Jewish History student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I started to look into the Internet's effect on the Israeli government. On a practical level, I joined an Open Data organization in Israel. I wanted to pursue this fascination with the Internet in my graduate studies and found the OII to be the only place focusing on social science while also cooperating with different disciplines like computer science. Over the last year the academic staff and my diverse cohort of friends have helped me learn about the tools and concepts shaping the Internet, and to understand how the Internet is slowly changing human society. The academic environment, diverse seminar programme and openness to new student ideas makes the OII one of the most exciting Oxford departments to be a part of.

  •  Amaru Villanueva Rance Amaru Villanueva Rance

    MSc student (2010)

    I am currently researching interpersonal visibility patterns in online social networks with an aim to understand what role 'looking', and 'being seen to be looking' plays as a social cue in interactions, both mediated and unmediated. Other academic interests include post-Kantian continental philosophy, aesthetics and actor-network theory. I applied to the OII after wandering into 1 St Giles out of sheer curiosity on a cold November afternoon. Once inside, I found the people were friendly and welcoming, and that the coffee machine was working. I have since discovered the value of the 'multidisciplinarity' of this place; you seldom have the same discussion twice, and are always stimulated to look at problems from new angles. This constant intellectual breeze never lets the air get stale. Prior to coming to the OII, I read Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University. A Bolivian native, I have done work on the regulation and ownership of energy firms for the Bolivian Ministry of Hydrocarbons, and in the UK I have worked as a Research Analyst in related fields. I am grateful for the St Anne's Centenary Scholarship which is helping to fund my time here. (Read about what Amaru is doing now...)