MSc in Social Science of the Internet

The MSc in Social Science of the Internet degree is an eleven-month residential Masters programme with a highly multi-disciplinary focus, providing students from a wide variety of backgrounds with an in-depth understanding of the social science concepts, theories and methods required to undertake 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 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 and produce a 10,000-15,000 word thesis on a research topic agreed with an academic supervisor. After completing the degree, students will have gained an in-depth understanding of the main disciplinary, theoretical and methodological debates on key Internet issues.

Why choose the MSc?

The OII is 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. As a fully multi-disciplinary 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.

The department's busy calendar of seminars and events brings the most important people in the Internet world to the OII, allowing students to engage with the 'bleeding edge' of scholarship and debates around the Internet. Students also take full advantage of the unparalleled resources available at the University including world-ranking research facilities and libraries, and a busy 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 group of students with similar interests. If there isn't, just start your own… Additionally, all incoming students are expected to attend the OII Student Induction Programme – a two-day introduction to the department, which includes an overview of both the MSc and DPhil degrees, an IT induction and a number of events where incoming students have an opportunity to meet members of faculty and current students.

Employers recognize the value of a degree from the University of Oxford, and our MSc graduates secure excellent positions in industry, government, NGOs, or go on to pursue doctoral studies at top universities. For example, non-academic destinations of graduates have included companies such as Google and 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 the OII is the place for you! If you are looking for a general introduction to what it's like to study here, then a good place to start will be the Virtual Open Day.

  •  Felix Rieseberg Felix Rieseberg

    MSc student (2011)

    Being described as communication scientist, web designer, developer, geek, tech consultant or simply avid Internet enthusiast, I took great interest in the OII's work way before I came to Oxford. I felt the true calling when I attended the Oxford Social Media Congress, which was organised by the OII and presented great insight into the work happening there. I was not aware of a single other institution that is able to maintain such an interdisciplinarity while maintaining a high academic and professional standard. From that perspective, the OII was no choice for me, but truly the only place I felt I could deepen all my interests and skills. More than half a year since my first day at the OII later, I can safely say that I was not disappointed and that the faculty is very open to students - extending the already broad scope of the institute. I can only recommend the OII to everyone who feels that their work or skills demand more than just one discipline.

  •  Cohen Simpson Cohen Simpson

    MSc student (2011)

    The OII is a vibrant and exciting place. The faculty and staff really strive to create a community conducive to both personal and scholarly growth. Joining the OII after finishing a degree in Communication Studies at Clemson University (U.S.), I was a little worried that It might be difficult to situate myself in an interdisciplinary program. I was quite mistaken. I've found both the OII and Oxford to be a place that welcomes collaboration and experimentation. Studying at the OII, an institution that makes the Internet its primary research focus and incorporates aspects of a range of methodologies to most appropriately tackle Internet research, has provided a solid educational experience. The students are encouraged to connect their current study with their past education and experiences, ultimately feeding back into the OII's creative and interdisciplinary atmosphere. The members of the OII all have rich and diverse backgrounds. I find every lecture and conversation with faculty and fellow classmates presents a new perspective which, for me, illuminates a new aspect of the Internet's role in society. It is true brotherhood in a sandbox of thought.