Professor MacFarlane, a specialist on Russian foreign policy and the regional dynamics of the former Soviet Union, will take up the appointment on 1st October 2017.
Professor MacFarlaneis also interested in the impact of international organisations in the management and resolution of civil conflicts and also in the political and economic transitions of former communist states.
After a career in the United States and in Canada, he moved to Oxford in 1996 as the first Lester B Pearson Professor of International Relations. From 2005 to 2010 he was Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations. From 2008 to 2010 he was Deputy Head of the Social Sciences Division. He currently serves on numerous University committees.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, said: "I am deeply grateful to Neil for stepping into this role at a critical time for the Social Sciences. Having served with him on Council, I know that he will bring his considerable experience, insight and commitment to bear in leading the Division during this transition."