Last Updated on January 17, 2023
Social Policy Doctoral study
The Department of Social Policy and Intervention offers a DPhil in Social Policy and welcomes graduate students from across the world to apply for our unique Oxford PhD. Doctoral research students are an important part of our academic community, and they will be fully involved and immersed in the life of the Department. We are the top-ranked Social Policy department in the UK, and second globally.
The Department welcomes DPhil candidates who are interested in a wide range of areas of social policy research. These include family and family policies, theorisation and measurement of poverty, educational inequalities and the role of policy, economic and social inequalities, health and social care, gender inequality, social mobility and inequality of opportunity, labour market institutions and policies, retirement and pension reforms, politics of welfare state reform, the role of organised interest groups in social policy, social policy as a vehicle of development, and public attitudes towards social policy issues. Work using a range of methodogies and approaches is welcome. Comparative approaches are also welcome, including work comparing welfare systems in advanced economies in Europe and OECD countries as well as that studying social policy in other parts of the world.
The varied research portfolio of staff is organised within the Oxford Institute of Social Policy and its research groups. The DPhil programme in Social Policy is also available on a part-time basis. The part-time version of the degree has the same high standards and requirements as the full-time degree, but spread over 6-8 years. The degree is particularly well suited for students who are seeking flexibility and it provides an excellent opportunity for professionals to undertake rigorous long-term research that may be relevant to their working life. For more information, please contact [email protected].
The Department’s approach to graduate study emphasises the student’s ability to work independently to explore and devlop their of research under an academic supervisor (or two co-supervisors). Each member of academic staff has expertise in particular areas of social policy and students are accepted for a DPhil only if there is an appropriate supervisor available.
DPhil students are also members of a college which provides opportunities for exchange with other students and fellows across disciplines. Oxford colleges offer a unique academic community. Student college membership ranges across the University as the Department has an association with a large number of colleges.
The Department, Colleges and University provide several scholarships for DPhil students. Please consult the information provided here.
Many graduates of the DPhil programme in social policy go on to pursue academic careers in world-leading research universities, while other alumni hold influential positions in government, non-governmental and international organisations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and the UN.
For details on how to apply see here.
Different course options
Key informationDATA SOURCE : IDP Connect
PhD/DPhil – Doctor of Philosophy
Social Policy / Administration
About the course
The Department of Social Policy and Intervention offers a DPhil in Social Policy and welcomes students from across the world. Research students are an important part of the department’s community, and you will be fully involved and immersed in the life of the department.
The department welcomes DPhil candidates who are interested in a wide range of areas of social policy research, such as welfare systems in developed and developing countries, family and family policies, educational inequalities and educational policies, economic and social inequalities, social mobility and inequality of opportunity, labour market institutions and policies, retirement age policies, transition from work to retirement and public attitudes on welfare state issues. This varied research portfolio is organised within the Oxford Institute of Social Policy.
The department’s approach to graduate study emphasises your ability to work independently to explore a new line of research under an academic supervisor. Each member of academic staff has expertise in a particular area of social policy and you will only be accepted for a DPhil if there is an appropriate supervisor available.
As a doctoral student, you will be offered a unique graduate programme tailored to your individual needs. In addition to individual supervision, the department offers a large and diverse range of seminars, workshops and advanced training opportunities in order to further enhance graduate research experience.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Social Policy and Intervention.
Students should normally expect to meet with their supervisor around three to four times a term.
The sequence of milestones for a DPhil student are as follows.
- Admission as a Probationer Research Student (PRS)
- Transfer to DPhil status (‘Transfer of Status’)
- Confirmation of DPhil status for DPhil students (‘Confirmation of Status’)
- Submission of thesis
All students will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of four terms as a full-time PRS student or eight as a full-time PRS student, you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. This application is normally made by the third term for full-time students and by the sixth term for part-time students.
Many graduates of the DPhil go on to pursue academic careers in world-leading research universities, while others hold influential positions in government, non-governmental and international organisations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and the UN.
For this course (per year)
Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)
For this course (per year)
Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications. a master’s degree; and a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent. The qualification(s) above should be achieved in one of the following subject areas or disciplines.as a minimum, in demography, economics, political science, psychology, social policy and social work and sociology, or closely-related fields. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0. A previous master’s degree is a requirement.
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