MSc course overview

The MSc is a eleven-month course running from October to August. The compulsory components of the course are designed to provide students with the core skills, methods, theories and concepts required to undertake the remainder of the degree.

Course timetable

Please note that this information is provisional, and may be subject to change.

Michaelmas Term (MT) (Autumn)Hilary Term (HT) (Spring)Trinity Term (TT) (Summer)
Social Research Methods and the Internet I:
Students must take both Methods Core and Statistics Core
Social Research Methods and the Internet II:
Students must take Methods Core and choose either Advanced Qualitative Analysis or Advanced Quantitative Analysis
Core Paper 1 (required):
Social Dynamics of the Internet
Core Paper 2 (required):
Internet Technologies and Regulation
Option Papers:
Students can choose any two from the list of option papers.


Note: Oxford University terms are referred to as Michaelmas Term (MT), Hilary Term (HT) and Trinity Term (TT). Each term lasts eight weeks. Find out Oxford University term dates.

Social Research Methods and the Internet

This course component provides students with the basic quantitative and qualitative methods required in order to undertake, analyse or apply Internet research, including a fundamental understanding of the required statistical measurement techniques. This course consists of five elements. All students must take Research Methods I and Statistics in Michaelmas term. In Hilary term all students must take Research Methods II and choose either Advanced Quantitative Analysis or Advanced Qualitative Analysis.

Students with a law and policy focus can take some classes in Legal Research Methods provided by the Faculty of Law in place of some Internet Research Methods classes.

Core papers

Students are required to take the following core papers in their first and second terms:

  • Social Dynamics of the Internet (MT). An overview of the major findings to date regarding the social implications of the Internet, drawing material from several social science disciplines, including communication studies, sociology, and political science.
  • Internet Technologies and Regulation (MT). Providing students from across a range of disciplines with a basic understanding of the interplay between the social and technological shaping of the Internet, and the associated policy implications. It outlines the Internet's origins and technical architecture and its embeddedness in a long history of communication technologies.

Option papers

Students will be required to take two option papers which will enable them to pursue issues of particular interest in greater depth, whilst developing their specialist skills and applying them to the Internet and its evolving technologies. A provisional list of option papers includes (as of September 2013):

Students can also take any option from a relevant paper from another University of Oxford Social Sciences Division Masters programme (with the permission of the course convenors).


In addition to the taught courses, students will be required to complete a 10,000-15,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choosing after discussion with their course tutor. The dissertation provides students with the opportunity to apply the methods and approaches they have covered in the other parts of the course and carry out a substantive piece of academic research on a specialist topic of their choosing.

The deadline for submission of the thesis will normally be 1 August, or the next working day if this falls on the weekend.