Studying at Oxford
Oxford was awarded first place in the Guardian's University Subject Tables 2010 and the Independent's Complete University Guide: University League Table 2010. Within Social Sciences, Oxford is listed first for (undergraduate) anthropology, economics, and politics, second for law and geography, and third for archaeology. The tables take into account factors such as teaching quality, student satisfaction and career prospects.
The Wall of 100 faces is made up of videos talking about their experiences at Oxford. The videos are not designed to give information about how to apply or give detailed information on what it is like to study particular subjects, but are current students talking about their experiences at the University.
Eleven undergraduate degree programmes are on offer, some as single subjects, and others as joint degree programmes combining one or more subjects drawn from the social sciences, humanities and sciences leading to a BA.
Programmes are three years in duration (with the exception of Engineering, Economics and Management, and Materials, Economics and Management, which are four years in length leading to a MEng). Students take public examinations at the end of their first year, and at the end of their final year.
Teaching is in the form of college-based tutorials (most commonly with subject specialists in groups of two or three students), combined with lectures and class-based teaching organised by departments.
Taught CoursesA wide range of taught Masters programmes are on offer across the division's departments. Some provide professional training, such as the MBA and PGCE. Many others are appropriate both for those seeking research training to prepare for a doctorate, and those wanting to further a specialist interest for career development purposes.
Postgraduate taught courses offered include Master of Science (MSc), Master of Studies (MSt), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip).
MScs and MSts typically require students to undertake one year of study. The exact composition of the course will vary according to the programme of study, but will often comprise a range of core and optional modules, supported by teaching in the form of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by a combination of course assignments (in many cases including a dissertation of around 10,000-15,000 words) and written examinations.
An MPhil is generally two years (6 terms) in duration. In the first year, some of the course elements may be common with the MSt or MSc and at its end candidates may be required to pass a Qualifying Test before continuing. In the second year students are expected to complete a substantial dissertation of up to 30,000 words and to sit examination papers. Some MPhils are organised such that the first year is taught and the second is predominantly research based.
The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) is an advanced research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination (assessment of other work is not taken into consideration). Examiners must be satisfied that the thesis represents a significant and substantial piece of research, is conveyed in a lucid and scholarly manner and that the candidate has a good general knowledge of the field of their thesis.
Students intending to read for the DPhil are normally admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS) initially. In some subjects, students are required to undertake successfully a Master's course during their first year before they may apply to transfer to DPhil status. Later, students will be required after further examination to have their DPhil status confirmed. It is expected that the thesis will be submitted after three or, at most, four years from the date of admission.
A list of doctoral programmes offered in the Division can be found here.
Doctoral Training in the Social Sciences
Complimenting the training available to students in their home department, the division offers doctoral students a range of opportunities to benefit from membership of a wider social sciences research community through access to an extensive programme of advanced and specialist research training, together with academic and professional skills training, lectures and other events.
The division is home to an ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), offering 3- or 4-year ESRC studentships each year across a range of research training pathways. Additional information about doctoral training and the DTC can be found here. Students can access information about training courses here.