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MSc Sociology

Course Description

About the course

The MSc in Sociology for 2016-17 is now closed to new applications. Applications for the 2017-18 cohort will open in September 2016. If you are interested in pursuing a Masters course in Sociology starting in October 2016, please see the listing for the MPhil in Sociology and Demography which is still open to applications. (https://www.findamasters.com/search/masters-degree/i339d7353c41912/mphil-in-sociology-and-demography)

Students are given high quality research training in sociology, which includes knowledge of relevant theoretical approaches, an understanding of their application to substantive problems and skills in the use of major research techniques. The course prepares students for doctoral work in sociology and research-intense jobs in the public and private sector.

The MSc Sociology is a one-year taught course which is assessed in five elements.

Sociological analysis:

A compulsory core paper on sociological analysis, for which you sit a three hour unseen examination at the end of Trinity Term. The paper examines the nature of different sociological explanations, their potentials and methodological implications and their relationship with concepts from other disciplines. The interrelationships between description and explanation, theory and empirical data.

The course, in Michaelmas Term, consists of eight lectures (one hour each) followed by two seminars (also one hour each) where the class is split in two groups.

Research methods:

A compulsory research methods course, for which you are examined through a mixture of a formal examination and take-home assignments. This course comprises three sections: statistics, qualitative methods and research design.


The statistics course consists of eight statistics lectures and eight STATA sessions in the IT Laboratory (Michaelmas Term). Qualitative Methods (Michaelmas Term) consists of eight lectures and Research Design (Hilary Term) consists of eight lectures and classes.

Option papers:

You will take two option papers in Hilary term, for which you sit either an unseen examination or complete appropriate coursework. You should note that the options available may vary from year to year. There are normally eight weekly classes for each paper. For information on the Option Papers available in the 2015-16 academic year, please see http://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/course-list?search=course_list&task=search.


You will produce a dissertation of not more than 10,000 words.

Graduate destinations

Graduates pursue a variety of careers. Many go on to doctoral research either in Oxford or at leading departments in the US and continental Europe. Others pursue careers, often with a substantial research responsibility, in international, national and local government departments, NGOs, think tanks, consultancy and a variety of jobs in the private sector.

Entry requirements for entry in 2016-17

Academic ability -

Proven and potential academic excellence:

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a social science subject.

The department will only consider applicants who have an undergraduate degree in arts, humanities or science subjects if they can demonstrate a strong interest in sociology, as taught at Oxford.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

- References/letters of recommendation

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, a demonstrable interest in sociology as it is taught at Oxford.

Academic references are preferred, though professional references are acceptable if you have spent a significant amount of time in work.

- Written work produced by the student

Two pieces of written work of no more than 2,000 words are required. The written work must be in English and preferably about a sociological subject. Extracts from longer pieces should be prefaced by a short note which puts them in context.

This will be assessed for comprehensive understanding of the subject area; understanding of problems in the area; ability to construct and defend an argument; powers of analysis; powers of expression.

The work need not be closely related but it should have some sociological content.

- Statement of purpose/personal statement

The personal statement must be in English and should be approximately 750 words in length.

This will be assessed for:

• your reasons for applying
• evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
• the ability to present a reasoned case in English
• commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
• preliminary knowledge of research techniques; capacity for sustained and intense work
• reasoning ability
• ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

Your statement should focus on your academic record and interests rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations.

- English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University. - https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide?wssl=1#content-tab--3


There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available for courses starting in 2016-17. Full scholarships will cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. Information about the full range of funding available can be found in the Fees and funding section. - http://www.ox.ac.uk/node/17098/

For over 70% of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria and apply by the relevant January deadline, you will be automatically considered. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out whether you are eligible for scholarships which require an additional application. If you are, the tool will include links to full details of how to apply.- http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/fees-funding-and-scholarship-search

Divisional funding opportunities -

Oxford hosts one of 21 Doctoral Training Centres accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). In 2016 approximately 65 ESRC studentships are available across the Social Sciences. See the Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre website for details. - http://researchtraining.socsci.ox.ac.uk/home-dtc


Annual fees for entry in 2016-17 - https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/tuition-and-college-fees/fee-status?wssl=1

Home/EU (including Islands) - Tuition Fee: £11,940; College Fee: £2,933; Total Annual Fees: £14,873
Overseas - Tuition Fee: £18,770; College Fee: £2,933; Total Annual Fees: £21,703

Visit the MSc Sociology page on the University of Oxford website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See Course Description

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