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 Academia.edu, 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.

  •  Sarah Lefkowith Sarah Lefkowith

    MSc student (2013)

    After a few years of working in advertising, I had a question I was dying to answer: why do people believe the things they find online, anyway? I wanted to explore the impacts of persuasion at the postgraduate level, but wanted to ensure I'd be challenged and exposed to additional viewpoints in the process. I couldn't have picked a better course than the one offered at the Oxford Internet Institute. Here, scholars with varying backgrounds, training, and perspectives come together to partake in interdisciplinary collaboration and the study of all things digital. I find myself in conversation with people from countless disciplines -- media studies, physics, economics, computer science, philosophy, sociology, and more -- debating the nature of the Internet's impact both today and in the future. I find myself thinking more critically about my research focus (credibility assessment and persuasion) and about the nature of online interactions, as well. I can't recommend the programme highly enough.

  •  Wei-Feng Ni Wei-Feng Ni

    MSc student (2010)

    After working in journalism for a couple of years, I found that I needed more academic training to sharpen my thoughts about this dynamic society, so I was wondering what I should do, and where I should go. My generation in a changing China was lucky enough to witness numerous things going on at the same time - one of them is the Internet. The Internet is subtly changing this country, from politics to people's day-to-day lives. Therefore, I decided to come to the OII, the only institution in the world running the fantastic MSc program in Social Science of the Internet. So far, apart from English food and the weather, I have been enjoying my time at the OII. I have learned a lot from the multi-disciplinary faculty as well as my brilliant peers, who come from different cultural and educational backgrounds. This is a place with a real remix culture, which usually fosters great ideas and cutting-edge research.