About Sociology at Oxford

Sociology at Oxford has a strong analytical, empirical and comparative orientation. Focus is on developing and testing theories that engage with real world problems. Particular strengths include the statistical analysis of social surveys, social demography, collection, management and analysis of complex datasets, the development of rational choice theory, microsocial experiments and simulation studies. The Department of Sociology was established in 1999 to provide a renewed focus for sociological research and teaching in the University.

The international reputation of Oxford Sociology remains widely recognised. Sociology is currently ranked third in the world (and first in UK & Europe) according to QS Rankings by Subject 2016. It has five Fellows of the British Academy and has been highly successful, given its size, in generating external research income. Oxford has a long and distinguished history of sociological research. Some of the most well-known and influential sociological studies in the UK, e.g. the Oxford Social Mobility Survey, the Social Change and Economic Life Initiative, the British Election Survey series, were led by Oxford sociologists.

As well as undertaking cutting-edge research, the Department carries out the full range of postgraduate teaching and research, provides teaching and support for undergraduate courses administered by other departments, and has about 50 staff and around 100 graduate students and academic visitors.

The Department offers two taught courses: a one-year MSc in Sociology and a two-year MPhil in Sociology and Demography, which together have an intake of about 30 students per year. In addition, about 15 doctoral students are admitted each year. The Department of Sociology also offers teaching for the undergraduate degree programmes in Human Sciences, and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).

Research Centres

The present Department builds on this tradition of empirical social research. There are six research centres.

Working with us

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There is a close relationship with Nuffield College's Sociology group. The Department currently has 23 faculty members, and maintains significant international sociological networks:

  • OXPO: With the department of Politics and International Relations, we also have a formal link with Sciences Po, Paris, which facilitates the research exchanges of staff and students. There are two visiting professorships, which pay a month's salary and provided office space and library access. Student exchanges are offered office space, library access, and the opportunity to meet other students and attend seminars.
  • Harvard - Oxford - Stockholm Conference: The Aage Sorensen Memorial Conference for Graduate Students in Sociology is an annual series of graduate student conferences organised between the depts of sociology at the universities of Harvard, Oxford and Stockholm. Organised by graduate students for graduate students, this is an opportunity for intellectual exchange among peers and a venue to foster transatlantic cooperation.