DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences
Our DPhil programme in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences provides an opportunity for cutting edge research into the societal implications of the Internet and related technologies in the context of this dynamic and supportive multi-disciplinary department.
Over the course of the three to four year programme, students are expected to produce an important and original piece of scholarship which will make a significant contribution to this new and exciting field. Our DPhil students are required to take two core courses, which provide the conceptual, theoretical and methodological foundations for rigorous study of the Internet.
On completion, it is expected that our students will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary to excel in teaching, research, policymaking, or business in their studied fields, including abilities to design new technologies and to predict and analyse their impacts.
Why choose the OII?
The OII is a world-leading centre for research and study of the Internet and its social implications, and we pride ourselves on providing a stimulating and friendly environment in which students can flourish. In addition to a busy calendar of seminars, conferences and social events, regular brownbag seminars engage faculty and students in discussion of ongoing research, whilst DPhil students have weekly opportunities to present their work to their peers and are encouraged to use online social tools for academic debate.
Understanding the societal implications of the Internet and related ICTs requires the joining of different disciplinary perspectives. As a multi-disciplinary department, the OII offers DPhil students the opportunity either to undertake research within a single discipline (such as politics or sociology) or to address research questions which can only be answered by drawing on contributions from across different disciplines.
The intellectual life of the department is marked by a willingness to discuss and collaborate across disciplines, and students intending to study at the department are expected to embrace this ideal. We provide dedicated student working space in open plan offices with PCs available as needed. A common room is available for use by staff and students, as is our library collection of Internet-focused texts and journals.
About our students
Up to four students will normally be admitted per year. We are looking for candidates who display the talent, creativity, and enthusiasm necessary to perform outstanding research that will make a difference - to ask original, concrete questions and to adopt incisive methodologies for exploring them, in order to help positively shape the development of digital networked space and those whose lives are affected by it. Meet our students.
Many of our students return to academic study after time spent in employment, and we welcome the insight and experience that mature students bring to the department.
DPhil student (2006- )
Three years ago I came across the OII for the first time. I was studying Globalization and Communications in Leicester, having already gained a background in Media Studies and Computer Science from Germany. The OII seemed like the perfect place for someone with a firm interest in the social aspects of the Internet who felt a bit caught between all the disciplinary stools. From the very start of my DPhil the OII has indeed been that comfortable home for me: providing seminars and guidance from real experts, stimulating discussion with my DPhil colleagues and the freedom to pursue whatever topic you fancy. For Oxford as a whole: as long as you don't take its strange traditions too seriously it's actually a really good place to spend some time of your life.
DPhil student (2006-2010)
When looking for a place to bring my research backgrounds in Computer Sciences and Intellectual property law together, I found the OII to be the obvious choice. Only a few places offer the openness required for truly multidisciplinary research. The OII brings together the resources I need to explore the borderline between law, technology and society without forcing me into the boundaries of a particular academic discipline. At the OII I have found a vibrant community with a broad scope of backgrounds and experiences, making it a truly distinctive and exciting environment to be in. I particularly appreciate the OII's global network of close links with other leading research centers and projects, which provides me with access to amazing case studies and challenging academic discourse.
Last updated on: 8 June 2011