In most parts of the world today, the Internet is deeply embedded in all aspects of society. The MSc in Social Science of the Internet is designed to contribute to the education of current and future researchers, policy makers, analysts and practitioners from both public and private sectors, providing them with an in-depth understanding of the social science concepts, theories, methods and principles to carry out innovative, high quality research, analysis and policy formulation.
As a Master’s student at the Oxford Internet Institute, you will address research questions from across the spectrum of disciplines, drawing on our multi-disciplinary faculty who work at the cutting-edge of their fields. Their innovative research is fully reflected in their teaching, allowing you to focus on developing the skills, tools, techniques, and knowledge to embark upon a career that makes a difference.
You will take a combination of core papers, option papers and method option papers and produce a thesis of up to 15,000 words on a topic of your choosing based on discussions with a thesis supervisor.
- Core papers are designed to provide students with a foundation of core skills, methods, theories and concepts required for sophisticated study in the field.
- Option papers enable students to pursue specialist research skills and disciplinary expertise in greater depth. This includes Methods option papers that allow further methodological training, with papers focusing on the development and use of cutting edge research tools and techniques.
- The thesis provides you the opportunity to apply the methods and approaches you have covered in the other parts of the course and carry out a substantive piece of academic research including designing a study, carrying out data collection and analysis, and developing a theoretical framework.
During Trinity Term, you will attend weekly seminars where you will present and develop your thesis research and receive feedback from fellow students and academic staff. The MSc seminars also include talks from academics within the Oxford Internet Institute, the University of Oxford and the greater academic community across the UK, as well as presentations about careers from alumni and employers.
The MSc in Social Science of the Internet 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.
The course aims to equip you with essential theoretical tools and methodological skills. You are introduced to the empirical evidence necessary for an in-depth understanding of the role of the Internet in society, including the changing nature of governance and the theoretical, practical and ethical questions surrounding Internet use.
On completion of the course, students will have:
- Acquired skills in both quantitative and qualitative research methods including leading edge methods of particular relevance to online activity;
- Learned how to apply approaches from one or more of the social sciences to consideration of the Internet and related technologies and their societal implications;
- Gained empirical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of the major topics and concepts in Internet research as well as a general understanding of the technological and social shaping of the Internet.
- Gained wide-ranging critical knowledge and understanding of the scholarly literature, key topics and concepts in areas relating to the student’s particular research interests.
- Learned to think strategically about the Internet and its evolving technologies and their implications for policy and practice.
- Participated in, and learned from, the range of intellectual activities ongoing in the OII and the wider University.
- Achieved a high standard of written work through the preparation and presentation of essays and assessed coursework.
How to Apply
All applications must be made through the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions site.
- The full-time MSc programme has two deadlines in November and January.
- The part-time MSc programme has three deadlines in November, January and March.
Applications submitted for all deadlines are given equal consideration. Please ensure that you start the online application process as early as you can, to ensure plenty of time to complete your application. Only applications that are complete by the deadline (including letters of reference) can be considered by the admissions team.
This MSc can form part of the Oxford 1+1 Programme, which enables students to combine their MSc with the Oxford MBA (Said Business School) in order 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.
Applicants to the MSc in Social Science of the Internet programme who plan to continue on to the DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences at the completion of the MSc are encouraged to apply for both programmes by selecting the combined MSc + DPhil (1+3) programme when they apply. Continuation to the DPhil portion of the combined MSc + DPhil programme will require that students meet the normal DPhil admissions requirements and any conditions set to progress to the DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences.
MSc students take four compulsory core papers designed to provide students with core skills, methods, theories and concepts required to undertake the remainder of the degree. This includes laboratory and practical exercises, to ensure that students are competent with particular techniques and able to use statistical and other software packages.
Please note that this course offering is provisional, and may be subject to change.
- Social Dynamics of the Internet. An overview of the major findings to date regarding the social implications of the Internet, drawing on material from several social science disciplines, including communication studies, sociology, and political science.
- Internet Technologies and Regulation. Exploring the interplay between social and technological shaping of the Internet, and associated policy implications. It outlines the Internet’s origins and technical architecture and its embeddedness in a long history of communication technologies.
- Digital Social Research: Statistics Core. This course introduces students to statistics for the social sciences, with an emphasis on application to research on the Internet and society.
- Digital Social Research: Methods Core. This course provides students with the opportunity to engage with the methodological, ethical and philosophical underpinnings of quantitative and qualitative social science research practices.
Option papers enable students to pursue issues of particular interest in greater depth, whilst developing their specialist skills and applying them to the Internet and its evolving technologies. Students are required to take two option papers and four methods option papers from a list of option courses offered by the Oxford Internet Institute. Please note that this course offering is provisional, and may be subject to change.
You can find a list of the option papers and method option papers below.
Each student will select two option papers from the list below.
- Digital Era Government and Politics. This course will approach the study of government and politics through the lens of data science. Each week will have a 2-hour session tackling a key sub-field of research within the broader discipline of political science (for example, voting behaviour, or political communication). The aim is to introduce students both to classic theories in the sub-field and also the latest applications of data science techniques to testing these theories. (This class will be taught as part of the MSc in Social Data Science and will also be open to MSc Social Science of the Internet students).
- Cultural Analytics. This course will give an overview of how computational tools have recently been used to study patterns of cultural change. It begins by tracing how computational techniques entered the study of culture and the humanities and how these led up to contemporary big data approaches. The course will examine how this happens in several areas of digital research, including the large-scale analysis of text in literature, the visualisation of intellectual and creative networks, and the use of the Web to document historical patterns. The course will also chart transformations in scholarly practices, including the creation of data infrastructures, digital archives and crowdsourced approaches. Finally, it will put digital research into the context of debates about the study of culture and about the relations between disciplines.
- Digital Technology and Economic Organization. This course offers a tour of selected cutting-edge phenomena where Internet technologies seem to be at the root of radical social discontinuities.
- Economic Development in Digital Capitalism. This course will introduce students to the debates and practices surrounding economic development and digital capitalism: with a particular focus on the world’s economic margins. It will draw on resources from Anthropology, Development Studies, Sociology, Economics, and Geography in order to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin economic development – as a practice, as a subject of research, and as a discourse. The course then examines key examples and practices in the digital economy that impact on the economic positionalities of people and practices at economic peripheries.
- Internet Economics. A general introduction to the economics of the Internet, and to economics as a tool for social research more generally, emphasising issues such as competition, asymmetric information, trust and privacy, auctions, and network economics.
- Law and the Internet. Introducing the challenges and limitations of conventional legal institutions on the Internet (especially those administered by the State) and reinterpreting these institutions in the context of the Internet.
- Learning, the Internet and Society. ICTs have the potential to transform how, what and where people learn, and challenges existing ideas of what the purpose and nature of formal education is and what the future of education should be.
- Online Social Networks. An introduction to the analysis of online social networks, providing students with the tools necessary to undertake research on online networks, and to give an overview of the type of questions that these data can answer.
- Subversive Technologies. This course aims to provide students with an understanding of technologies that provide control over information flows and action on the internet, and those that resist or subvert that control.
- The Philosophy and Ethics of Information. This course introduces some key concepts and phenomena related to information, and seeks to answer some crucial theoretical questions of great philosophical significance prompted by the development of the information society.
Each student will select four methods options papers, normally two from group A and two from group B.
- Advanced Statistics for Internet Research I. Multiple regression is probably the most commonly used statistical technique in the social sciences. This course emphasises its application to research on the Internet and society.
- Digital Ethnography. Ethnographic approaches to research are often employed in the study of ICTs. This course provides an overview of the ethnographic tradition and explores the new opportunities and challenges the Internet has presented for those interested in carrying out ethnography.
- Digital Interviewing. This course encourages students to develop a critical stance to their own research practice and the work of others. Alongside conceptual and theoretical discussions, students will obtain hands-on practice gathering qualitative data, particularly using digitally-mediated methods.
- Experimental Approaches. This course will prepare students to interpret and practice the experimental method, an increasingly important area of social science research in general, as well as design of policy.
- Wrangling Data. This course will familiarise the student with a variety of techniques for cleaning and shaping data.
- Accessing Research Data from the Social Web. This course teaches the essentials of programming in Python, the language of choice in the growing field of computational social science.
- Advanced Statistics for Internet Research II. This course covers the interpretation of coefficients and odds ratios, measures of fit, supporting graphics, and diagnostics and corrective techniques for common problems. It aims to give students a wider range of statistical techniques that they can apply in their own research.
- Big Data Analytics. This course focuses on the statistical analysis, manipulating, and making sense of (already prepared) data.
- Foundations of Visualisation. This course will be a discussion of the two-way interaction between visualisation and the social sciences: (i) using visualisation technology in social sciences, and (ii) using social science methodologies to facilitate discourses about visualisation. (This class will be taught in the first 4 weeks of Trinity Term as part of the MSc in Social Data Science and will also be open to MSc Social Science of the Internet students.)
- Qualitative Data Analysis This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to carry out qualitative data analysis of a variety of kinds of data (e.g. text, photos, videos) collected from both online and offline settings.
- Simulating Society. This course is about agent-based modelling, a fascinating technique for answering social science questions, based on computer simulation of real-world societies and real-world human events.
The MSc consists of four core papers, two option papers, four methods option papers, and the thesis.
The MSc course runs from October to August. Oxford University terms are referred to as Michaelmas Term, Hilary Term, and Trinity Term and normally last eight weeks. Please note that this information is provisional, and may be subject to change.
Full-time programme (1 year)*
|Michaelmas Term: Core Papers||Hilary Term: Option Papers||Trinity Term: Thesis|
|Social Dynamics of the Internet||
Option Paper 1
|Internet Technologies & Regulation||
Option Paper 2
|MSc Research Seminars|
|Digital Social Research: Methods Core||
Methods Option Paper 1
|Digital Social Research: Statistics Core||
Methods Option Paper 2
|Methods Option Paper 3|
|Methods Option Paper 4|
Part-time programme (2 years)*
The course content for the part-time degree is identical to that taken by full-time students but will be completed in two years rather than one year. Students will be expected to attend lectures, classes and tutorials in the department for one to two days a week during term-time, and to participate fully in the life of this friendly and dynamic department, both remotely and in person.
|Michaelmas Term: Core Papers||Hilary Term: Option Papers||Trinity Term: Thesis|
|Social Dynamics of the Internet||
Option Paper 1
|MSc Research Seminar (choose 4-8 sessions)|
|Digital Social Research: Methods Core||Methods Option Paper 1||Thesis Proposal|
|Methods Option Paper 2|
|Michaelmas Term: Core Papers||Hilary Term: Option Papers||Trinity Term|
|Internet Technologies & Regulation||
Option Paper 2
|MSc Research Seminar (choose 4-8 sessions)|
|Methods Option Paper 3||Thesis|
|Methods Option Paper 4|
*See the MSc SSI Graduate Studies Handbook for more detailed information regarding scheduling
Our induction programme is usually held in the first week of October, the week preceding the start of Michaelmas Term (also referred to as 0th week). During Induction Week students will be formally introduced to the OII’s Director, Director of Graduate Studies, Programme Directors, Graduate Studies Support team, as well as our faculty and administrative team. In addition students will be offered a full tour of the OII’s facilities and introduced to IT and library resources, followed by several informative MSc induction sessions. There is also ample opportunity to get to know fellow students and staff through student-led social activities and an afternoon drinks reception.
Students will be assigned a supervisor in their first term based on their research interests. The supervisor will remain the main point of contact for keeping an eye on academic progress, and will liaise with the student and with other faculty members with whom the student is working with on their thesis. A supervisor may be found outside the OII, and co-supervision is also possible.
Our MSc students are provided with working space in the department in our dedicated MSc room, where computing facilities with specialist software are available. We are equipped with advanced video conferencing facilities and high-speed network access. The OII’s library specialises in the social sciences, technology and computing, and our students also have access to the Bodleian Libraries, the University’s main research library.
Pastoral and Welfare Support
In addition to the pastoral support provided your college, as a department the OII seeks to support students by various means. Each degree programme has dedicated administrative support and the administrators in question will be able to help and advise students on a range of matters relating to their studies, or point them towards dedicated sources of support elsewhere in the University. Supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies can also serve as a source of support, in addition to our dedicated Disability Contact and several Harassment Officers who can assist with connecting students with the appropriate support.
Students will be required to complete a thesis of up to 15,000 words on a topic of their choosing after discussion with their supervisor. This 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.
Selected Alumni Theses
The MSc in Social Science of the Internet degree has a highly multi-disciplinary focus, which is reflected in the wide range of topics addressed in final theses.
- Daniel Chase (2017) – Bytes of Bushels: Data and Ethics in Agriculture
- Lily McElwee (2017) – Social Media and Campaign Finance in the 2016 Congressional Cycle
- Susanne Forbath (2017) – I-Why: The Values of Type 1 Diabetes Management through the Nightscout Online Community
- Olivia Gonzalez (2017) – The Key to Privacy and Security: Legal Approaches to Encryption
- Claire Leibowicz (2017) – Art of Looking in the 21st Century
- Leonie Riviere (2017) – Silent or silenced minorities? The importance of gender-based identification with exemplars on perceived hostility and willingness to engage in online discussions
- Aisle Zalepuga (2017) – Digital Government Ecosystems in Baltic States: Public-Private Partnerships, Contract Regimes and the IT Industry
- Rachel Pollack (2016) – Opening the Black Box: In search of Algorithmic Transparency
- Ilinca Barsan (2016) – To what extent can network position predict the performance of online video creators?
- Andrew Bulovsky (2016) – Co-opting Authoritarians: Information and Communication Technologies and Democratic Transitions
- Judith Dada (2016) – Engaging to explore? An online experiment to investigate the impact of interactivity in data visualizations
- Bryce Goodman (2016) – Big Data’s Crooked Timbers: Algorithmic Discrimination and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation
- Nicole Ng (2016) – Semantics of Disruption: Mapping the Media’s Love-Hate Discourse on the Sharing Economy
- Carl Ohman (2016) – The Political Economy of Death in the Age of Information: A Critical Approach to the Digital Afterlife Industry
- Odysseas Nicolaos Sclavounis (2016) – How do Darknet Markets Function in the Absence of Third Party Enforcement?
- Amrita Sengupta (2016) – Collective Identity in Digital Spheres: Feminist movements online and the united struggles for public spaces in South Asia
- Kate Sim (2016) – Missed opportunities and the promise of Big Data: Child protection workers’ perspectives on information sharing, risk assessment, and prediction
- Eve Binder (2015) Can Gaming Inspire Giving? A Controlled Experiment on the Effectiveness of Gamification as a Fundraising Tool.
- Atilla-Filipe Cevik (2015) The Effects of Politics on Information-Selection Modes Online: A Typology of Exposure and Avoidance in High-Choice Media Environments.
- Rebecca Fallon (2015) Guns and Roses: Online Imagery as Jihadi Participation for Female ISIS Supporters.
- Charles Howell (2015) The Burden of Interconnectedness: A Network Approach to Cross Pressures and Political Particpation.
- Amba Kak (2015) The Internet Un-Bundled: Locating the user’s voice in the debate on zero-rating.
- Francesco Lanzoni (2015) Context Collapse or Networked Audience? The interaction between self-presentation and social network structures among Facebook users.
- Ellie Marshall (2015) From Variable to Linkable: How digital traces identify in the disability community in Britain.
- Anuj Srivas (2015) Rural Information Seeking Patterns: A Study of Farming and Fishing Communities in South.
- Pu Yan (2015) Two Roads Diverged: A Semantic Network Analysis of Guanxi on Twitter.
- Frank Hangler (2014) Citizen Participation in Constructing the Smart City.
- Justin Kempley (2014) Patient trust and interaction with online self-diagnosis tools: a comparative study.
- Sarah Lefkowith (2014) Credibility and Crisis in Semi-Anonymous Communities
- Allison Mishkin (2014) Teenagers Online.
- Tim Muntinga (2014) Home Sapiens Inquisitio: Trust in the Search Engine or the Result.
- Caitlyn Myles (2014) The amplification of inequality and the case of crowd mapping sexual violence.
- John Ternovski (2014) Measuring Social Influence in an Activist Network through a large-scale field experiment.
- Gili Vidan (2014) Strength in Numbers, Trust in Protocols: The Bitcoin Ethos and the Delegation of Governance to New Technocrats.
- Jeremy Bowles (2013) The Political Economy of Conflict, Cooperation and Consensus in IP Address Governance.
- Stefanie Duguay (2013) Facebook as a decontextualized environment: Young People’s experience of navigating LGBTQ identities on a social networking site.
- Ayman El Idrissi (2013) Purchasing phone plans: the behavioural effects of using price comparison sites.
- Vyacheslav Polonski (2013) A Game of Networks: Assessing the Impact of Relational structure on Conversational Agency in Facebook Groups.
- Thain Simon (2013) MOOCs For a fee: using signature track to examine student engagement, persistence, and performance on Coursera.
- Sara Watson (2013) Living with Data: Personal Data Interests of the Quantified Self.
- Joao Zacarias Fiadeiro (2013) Wikipedia as a co-authorship community: exploring the dynamics of collaboration and article quality.
- Elizabeth Dubois (2012) Online Citizen Political Engagement and the Traditional Media.
- Alexander Furnas (2012) You Are Who You Follow? Semantic Similarity of Political Partisan’s Ego-Networks on Twitter.
- Marina Laube (2012) Changing mobility through health information on the mobile Internet.
- Momin Malik (2012) Networks of collaboration and field emergence in ‘Internet Studies’.
- Yonatan Moskowitz (2012) A Theoretical Model of Externalities in Anonymity Decisions.
- Andreas Birkbak (2011) Crystallizations in the Blizzard: When improvised collaboration freezes into Facebook groups.
- Ulrike Deetjen (2011) Patient Trust in Internet-based Health Records: An Analysis across Operator Types and Levels of Patient Involvement in Germany.
- Alec Dent (2011) Does the quality of an item description on ebay influence price?
- Darja Groselj (2011) The Landscape of Health-Related Information on the Web: Analysis of Search Results and Link Structures for Most Popular Medical Queries.
- Thomas Nicholls (2011) ICANN as a regulator: Measuring the impact of new gTLDs.
- Scott Hale (2010) Cross-lingual Interaction Online: Blogging the 2011 Haitian Earthquake.
- Amaru Villanueva Rance (2010) Gaze-Translucency in computer-mediated interactions: Ways of seeing, being seen and being seen to be seeing online.
Fees and Funding
Details of fees, living expenses, and definitions of home and overseas students, together with information about potential sources of funding are available from the University’s Fees and Funding website.
There are a number of sources of funding for postgraduate students at Oxford. Details of all scholarships for which candidates may be eligible can be found on the University Fees and Funding Website. To be considered for any of these scholarships both full- and part-time applicants MUST apply by the January deadline. The scholarships are all highly competitive and are awarded on academic merit.
Clarendon is one of the biggest of the University’s scholarship schemes, offering around 140 new scholarships each year to academically outstanding graduates. Clarendon scholarships are competitive, prestigious and highly sought-after. As well as providing for fees and living costs Clarendon aims to enhance the Oxford experience by offering students the chance to form lasting social, academic and professional networks. Students can apply by completing the funding sections of the graduate admissions form. As part of the admissions process, the Oxford Internet Institute Scholarship Committee will decide which applicants to nominate to the University for consideration. Further details of this scholarship can be found on the University’s Clarendon Scholarships page.
ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership
The Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship is for applicants to the combined MSc + DPhil programme (1+3) or the DPhil programme only.
The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. The University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership – one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships accredited by the ESRC as part of a Doctoral Training Network.
The Oxford Internet Institute’s graduate degree programmes are a recognised doctoral training pathway in the partnership and our Digital Social Science pathway is provided through two routes, Masters-to-DPhil (known as 1+3) and DPhil-only (known as +3), and is available to students studying part-time as well as those studying full-time.
In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must select ‘ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences’ in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University’s graduate application form. You must also complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by 12 noon on 10th January 2020 in order to be considered for nomination for the studentship.
Applicants who wish to be considered for 1+3 funding must indicate in their application an interest in pursuing doctoral work and an interest in ESRC funding; applicants considered for the university competition for DTP funding will be asked to submit a short research proposal.
Information about ESRC studentships at Oxford can be found on the Grand Union DTP website. Please ensure you have read all of the guidance available on the website before completing the Grand Union DTP Application Form. Questions can be directed to the Grand Union DTP Office.
All applicants must satisfy the ESRC’s citizenship and residence requirements’.
Rhodes and Marshall Scholars
OII Departmental Scholarship
The OII awards a limited number of MSc Scholarships each academic year. These scholarships are open to both full- and part-time students (from any country) and all applicants who are offered a place on our programme are automatically considered for an award. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit.
The DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences is designed as a natural continuation of the MSc in Social Science of the Internet and offers the opportunity for students to go deeper into a research topic of their choice.
Applicants to the MSc programme who plan to continue on to the DPhil programme at the completion of the MSc are encouraged to apply for both programmes as part of their application by selecting the combined MSc+DPhil (1+3) programme when they apply. Continuation to the DPhil portion of the combined MSc+DPhil programme will require that students meet the normal DPhil admissions requirements and any conditions set to progress to the DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences.
Students admitted only for the MSc in their first year may later apply to continue on to the DPhil, as may students from other universities who can demonstrate similar preparation at the master’s level elsewhere. Students admitted to the 1+3 programme will be considered for funding for the duration of both degrees.
About the MSc Programme
How does the MSc in Social Science of the Internet differ from the MSc in the Social Data Science?
The MSc in Social Science of the Internet is designed for students interested in research about the Internet and related technologies and their societal implications. Theses in this programme might include quantitative, qualitative, computational or mixed methods applied to a broad range of questions about digital phenomena and could address questions about technology policy or practice. The MSc in Social Data Science is designed for students with core quantitative skills who wish to develop their skills for analysing structured and unstructured data using advanced computational techniques such as machine learning. Theses in Social Data Science might develop new computational approaches for analysing human behavioural data and/or apply such approaches to answer a social science question.
Should I apply for the part-time or full-time programme?
The part-time and full-time versions of a degree have the same entry requirements, coursework, and expectations for students. The main difference is in timing. Part-time students generally take half the courses of full-time students in any given year and have double the amount of time to complete the programme.
Students pursuing full-time study should treat it as they would a full-time job, planning to spend at least forty hours each week on study. Additional employment—particularly for those on MSc courses—is discouraged. Within these limits, some of the OII’s existing students have been employed on a short-term basis as Research Assistants on grant-funded projects, but only with the agreement of their supervisors, the Course Convenor and the Director of Graduate Studies. For full information on employment whilst on course, please see the University’s Paid work guidelines.
Part-time students should expect to spend the time equivalent of half a full-time job on their studies. This includes spending at least one day per week in Oxford during term time. Part-time students are otherwise not subject to any limits and the part-time programmes are expressly designed to allow completion of the degree alongside employment, caring, or other external responsibilities.
Please note that only students registered on a full-time course are eligible for visa sponsorship. Therefore, students without the right to remain in the UK will not be able to take the course on a part-time basis at present.
Which application deadline should I apply for?
There are two application deadlines for the full-time MSc programme and three application deadlines for the part-time MSc programme. Applications submitted for all deadlines are given equal consideration, but both full-time and part-time applicants who wish to be considered for any scholarships should apply by the January deadline at the latest. Please ensure that you start the online application process as early as you can, to allow for plenty of time to complete your application. Only applications that are complete by the deadline can be considered by the admissions team. All applications must be made through the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions site.
How do I choose a supervisor?
Our students are supervised by OII faculty members and Research Associates.
Students will be assigned a supervisor in their first term based on their research interests. The supervisor will remain the main point of contact for keeping an eye on academic progress, and will liaise with the student and with other faculty members with whom the student is working with on their thesis.
Is the 2,000 word limit on the written work a minimum or maximum?
2,000 words is a maximum. Many students who find that their best work exceeds this length choose to submit a 2,000-word extract from that longer piece of work. We recommend that your chosen piece: demonstrates your capacity for independent or original thought; is systematically analytical rather than purely descriptive; addresses a clear question or problem; where relevant, draws on data or literature sources to support its main arguments; and expresses its arguments with clarity and precision.
If I need to submit English Language Test results, when are they due?
Applicants who need to fulfil an English Language requirement will be informed of the deadline upon receiving their offer. Please note that if you have taken a test previously, it must be within 2 years of making your application for the results to remain valid, otherwise you will need to retake the test. Applicants are required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required at the University. Further details on English language requirements.
Where can I find out about scholarships?
Please see the University’s Fees and Funding website for details of all scholarships for which you may be eligible.
How many of my references have to be academic? Can I submit references that are not academic?
Of the three required references, at least one should be academic. You are welcome to submit professional references as well, as long as they are able to comment on your academic potential.
What do I do about references if I have been out of academia for a few years?
The OII actively encourages applications from those with valuable experience in the private and public sectors and those who have interrupted their studies for other reasons. We judge every application in a holistic manner on its individual merits and the main role of the admissions process is to assess candidates’ academic potential and intellectual suitability for graduate study. With this in mind, mid-career applicants are encouraged to select or produce written work that demonstrates their ability for independent analytical thought. Non-academic referees are encouraged to comment, in particular, on candidates’ intellectual capacity and analytical skills.
Do you offer any intensive, online or distance-learning courses?
We do not currently offer any of our MSc or DPhil programmes in an intensive, online, or distance-learning modality. Although we do make use of virtual learning environments and various other online components of study, both full and part-time students are required to attend in person during term time due to the collaborative and multi-disciplinary nature of our programmes, and the principles that underpin Oxford education as a collegiate university. We strongly believe that the face-to-face element of the programme is vital in providing a multi-disciplinary peer network for students to engage in ideas, discussion and debate.
We do, however, offer this programme on a part-time basis. The part-time MSc is substantively identical to the full-time degree, but distributes the workload over two years for those who must fit study around work, family, or other outside commitments.
What fees do I have to pay?
Course fees cover your teaching, and other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. They do not cover your accommodation or other living costs. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.
See the University’s guidance on fee status and fee liability for information on Home/EU/Overseas student classification. As well as covering University and College fees, students will also have to support their maintenance costs. As Oxford is a relatively expensive place to live, it is recommended that students consult the University’s guidance on living costs when planning their budget, to cover accommodation, meals and other living expenses.
Why do I need to choose a college?
Oxford is a collegiate university: students and teaching staff belong both to a department and to a college. Colleges typically provide library and IT facilities, accommodation, welfare support, and sports and social events. Graduate students also benefit from the Middle Common Room (MCR) in their college – both a physical space and an organisation, it provides social events, advice, and a link to the graduate community. Your college will have a Tutor for Graduates or Senior Tutor whose role includes general oversight of all graduate members of the college, although your academic studies will be directed by your department or faculty. Each graduate student has a college adviser, a senior member of the college’s staff who will be able to offer support and advice. Further information is available on choosing a college on the University website, and from college prospectuses.
How do I decide on which college to choose?
We can’t advise applicants on their choice of college, however, all teaching is organised within the department so college choice will not make any significant difference to the way that students are taught or supervised. When making your choice, first check which colleges accept applications from OII students, then check the individual college websites. Factors you should consider when making your choice include location, accommodation quality (and your eligibility for this), library facilities, any financial support the college may be able to offer (e.g. awards, bursaries or scholarships) and the collegiate atmosphere. Note that some colleges accept only graduate students or mature students. If you select a particular college as a preference it does not mean that you will be automatically offered a place there.
If I am accepted on a programme, am I guaranteed a place at a college?
Yes: Once you have received an offer from the department, your application will go forward for consideration by your preferred college, or the Graduate Admissions and Funding team will assign you a college for consideration if you have not selected a college preference. In the event of heavy over-subscription of a particular college, you may be allocated a place at another college. Colleges will contact candidates separately with their offer, subject to satisfaction of any funding conditions. A college decision can take 8-10 weeks following the departmental decision. The University does not guarantee accommodation at a college for its graduate students. However, many colleges do attempt to provide accommodation for graduate students during their first year of study, particularly in the case of international students. If your college is unable to provide any accommodation or the type of accommodation you need, you can contact the University Accommodation Office for further information and assistance.
I’m an international student!
The University of Oxford has a long tradition of welcoming international students, who currently constitute around 64% of all graduate students. We recommend that you consult the University’s International Office, which provides information to support international applications, such as on immigration and Visas, scholarships and funding, US Graduate Student Loans, English Language requirements, Orientation Programmes, etc. EU students may also wish to consult the University’s page on the implications of the EU referendum.
What provisions are there for students with disabilities?
The University of Oxford is committed to providing equality of opportunity and improving access for all people with disabilities who work and study at the University. The University Disability Office has information about the support offered to help those with a disability maintain their track record of academic success as they pursue their studies. The ground floor of the OII is wheelchair-accessible, providing access to the library, seminar room, student common room and disabled toilet. The OII also has a disability contact and several Harassment Officers who can assist with connecting students with the appropriate support.
What facilities does the OII offer its students?
Our MSc students are provided with working space in the department. We are equipped with advanced video conferencing facilities and high-speed network access. Our library specialises in the social sciences, technology and computing, and our students also have access to the Bodleian Library, the University’s main research library. Students are encouraged to engage fully in the intellectual life of the department, e.g. through participation in workshops, departmental seminars, and research projects.
Do I have to live in Oxford during my studies?
You are required by the University’s regulations to be in residence in Oxford for each of the 8 weeks of Michaelmas and Trinity terms and the 10 weeks of Hilary term. You will be free to leave Oxford after the end of each term but are advised to return during the week prior to the start of the next term (referred to as 0th week). In addition students are required to sit written examinations in week 9 of their first term and 0th week and (for certain courses) 10th week in their second term and thus must be resident in Oxford at these times. You will need to submit your thesis in person to the Examination Schools by August 1st (or the nearest working day if this falls at the weekend) and you will also need to be available to return to Oxford in late August or September in the event of being called back for viva voce.
Additional FAQs About the Part-Time MSc Programme
How many days a week should I expect to commit to the part time programme?
We have structured the course so that during Michaelmas Term (the first term in the academic year) and Trinity Term (the last term in the academic year), you will only need to spend one day a week in Oxford. During Hilary Term (the second term in the academic year), there are several options courses, so the days and times you are in Oxford will depend on which courses you take. You will also need to set aside one further day a week (or the equivalent hours) in all three terms for independent study.
During all three terms part-time students will need to be able to commit to spending to at least one day a week in Oxford for the eight consecutive weeks of each term, as a minimum. In addition, in their first year part-time students will need to be present in Oxford for the full Induction Week (normally held the first week of October).
How is the part-time programme different from the full-time programme?
The only difference between the part-time and full-time programmes is that for the part-time students, the courses will be spread out over two years. All of the courses will be the same. During Trinity Term of your first year (the final term of the academic year), you will work on your thesis proposal which will be due the first day of Michaelmas Term (the first term of the academic year) of your second year. Full-time students will be working on their thesis during Trinity Term.
Do I have to live in Oxford during my studies?
Part-time students are not expected to live in Oxford. We have structured the course to ensure that part-time students, who may also have work commitments throughout their studies, will only need to attend the Oxford Internet Institute on one or two days per week.
Can I study on the part-time programme if I need a visa to study in the UK?
The University cannot offer visas to students on this part-time programme, all applicants must be legally resident in the UK or allowed to study here. Students entering the UK on a Dependant Visa, Ancestry Visa, or a Working Visa should also be eligible to study on the course. For further information, please refer to the Home Office’s information on student visas.
Full-time: 10 months
Part-time: 22 months
Start date: October 2020
12 noon UK time (midday) on:
Friday 15 November 2019;
Friday 10 January 2020;
Tuesday 3 March 2020 (part-time applicants only)
Programme Director: Professor Ralph Schroeder
MSc Coordinator: Laura Gamble