Information for New Students

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Hello incoming students,

Welcome to the University of Oxford and to the Department of Sociology! We are thrilled that you have selected us for your studies and research, and we sincerely hope you will have a rewarding and fulfilling experience here.

Sociology at Oxford has a strong analytical, empirical and comparative orientation. Our goal is to develop theories that address real-world challenges, a mission that has earned us global acclaim. The QS Rankings by Subject 2023 ranked us second in the world (and first in the UK & Europe). Additionally, in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), an impressive 63% of Oxford's submission was rated 4* - the highest possible score - signifying our research's world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance, and rigor. This achievement represents the highest overall percentage of world-leading research in the UK.

Oxford has a long and distinguished history of sociological research, and the Department was formed in 1999 to provide a renewed focus for research and teaching in the University. Today, we are a close-knit, international community of around 40 staff and 100 students – all driven by intellectual curiosity, ambition, and a genuine passion for Sociology. You can learn more about our community here.

In the week before term begins, known as 0th Week, there will be a number of Department events which will give you a chance to meet new people and be introduced to Department life. Your College will also contact you separately about College events and inductions. Be sure to check your Oxford email regularly so you don't miss any crucial information. Please note, in order to activate your email account, you will need to have returned your University Card Form confirming your intention to enrol at the University (you will have received this alongside your Completion of Conditions letter).

Oxford is a wonderful place to live and provides abundant opportunities to enjoy while engaging in study and research. Make sure to read about the Social Sciences Division, the Social Science Library, the wider University, your College, and other student organisations.

Please read the following information carefully before your arrival to Oxford. If you cannot find the answer to your question on our website, please contact Hannah Brawn, Graduate Studies Officer, by email. Please note, course handbooks will be issued at the beginning of term.

We look forward to meeting you all in person. 

Warm regards,

The Department of Sociology

Your Induction Week begins on Monday 2 October 2022. Throughout the week, you will attend a number of compulsory information and training sessions which you must attend in person. Don't worry, we provide plenty of tea and biscuits! An optional Drinks Reception to get to know the faculty as well as other students will take place on Tuesday 3 October.

A provisional timetable, which may be subject to change, can be found below. You will receive further information and a finalised timetable via email in the coming weeks.

Provisional Timetable

  Mon 2 Oct Tues 3 Oct Wed 4 Oct Thurs 5 Oct Fri 6 Oct

Intro to the
Department for
DPhil students

      Intro to R
(Session 2)         

Intro to the
Department for

Presentation of
Core & Option 
papers for MSc/
MPhil students
  Intro to R
(Session 1)          
Library Inductions
for all students
Drinks Reception
for all students & staff
  Divisional Induction
for DPhil students

Please arrive in Oxford by Sunday 1 October.

Oxford is approximately 60 miles northwest of London with excellent road and national rail links, including direct coach services from several international airports. You can find further information about getting to Oxford here.

The Department of Sociology is located at 42-43 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD. We are very centrally located - just a four minute walk from Gloucester Green Bus & Coach Station, and six minutes from Oxford Railway Station.

Please note, Oxford Railway Station is currently undergoing engineering works and may close for a number of days during 2023. No closures have been announced as of yet, but students should be aware that this may occur. These works are part of Network Rail's long-term plans to redevelop the station and surrounding area. Should the Station close, rail replacement buses will be in service.!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d9879.69602199713!2d-1.2733399308605986!3d51.7527131796762!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x4876c757ec7e4397%3A0x32ecdfb733280012!2sDepartment%20of%20Sociology!5e0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1607168396689!5m2!1sen!2suk

All students are welcome to use the Department building and will have access via their University Card.

Some hot-desking spaces and a printer/copier are available to use, and there is a smaller room which can be booked for group working or video calls. The Department also has a kitchen and outside seating area next to the river.

Your College will also provide plenty of spaces to work, or you can go to one of Oxford's 27 libraries, including the Bodleian Old Library - one of the oldest libraries in Europe - and the iconic Radcliffe Camera (Rad Cam).

You may also find the Social Science Library (SSL) particularly useful. Located on Manor Road, this is a lending and reference library supporting staff and students in the Social Sciences Division. The SSL is open 9am – 7pm on weekdays and offers 400 study spaces. 

During your Induction Week, you will attend a Library Induction session which will explain how the Oxford libraries work, and how to use SOLO, the search and discovery tool for the libraries' major collections.

Information about accessibility to the libraries and support for disabled visitors can be found here

We take the welfare of our students seriously.

If you have academic, administrative, or personal concerns, there are many people you can contact, including your supervisor; the Graduate Studies Officer, Hannah Brawn; or the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Christiaan Monden.

On a College level, students can contact their Senior Tutor or Tutor for Graduates. Every College has their own systems of support for students; please refer to your College handbook or website for more information on who to contact and what support is available.

On a more personal level, the University Counselling Service at 11 Wellington Square (which acts in a strictly confidential way) is experienced not only in general psychological problems but also in the special problems and blocks associated with academic work.

Nightline is a confidential listening and information service run for students by students and is open from 8pm until 8am from 0th to 9th week each term. Students can phone 01865 270 270, Skype call oxfordnightline, or chat via IM.

The Disability Advisory Service

The central University Disability Advisory Service (DAS) provides information and advice on disability issues and facilitates support for those with, for example, sensory or mobility impairments, long-term health conditions, specific learning difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions or mental health difficulties.

You are encouraged to tell the University as early as possible, ideally before starting your course, if you have a disability, specific learning difficulty (SpLD) or long term health condition. This is so that you can benefit more quickly from the full range of support available. However, you can contact us at any point during your studies. A disclosure will not affect academic review of your work. Learn more about disclosing a disability here.

If you would like to make an appointment with DAS to discuss your support or access requirements while studying at Oxford, you can:

The Disability Coordinator for the Department is Hannah Brawn, the Graduate Studies Officer.

The Graduate Studies Committee

The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) is responsible for the Department’s degree programmes. It is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Professor Christiaan Monden. The DGS focuses on the doctoral programme, while the Taught Course Director (TCD), Dr Michael Biggs, is primarily responsible for overseeing the MSc and MPhil programmes.

The Graduate Joint Consultative Committee

The Graduate Joint Consultative Committee (GJCC) provides a forum for graduate students to put forward suggestions, comments and grievances about the courses and facilities provided by the Department. It will usually meet every term.

Membership includes student representatives (two for MSc, and one each for MPhil, DPhil and Probationer Research Student), the Head of Department, teaching staff, and the Graduate Studies Officer. All students are welcome to attend and are encouraged to put forward items for discussion through their representatives.

Please let your course representative know if there is anything you wish to discuss. If there is some question or issue that you want to raise at a senior level in person, please email the DGS or the TCD

More information about the GJCC will be issued at the beginning of term.

Oxford's year is divided into three terms (Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity) and three vacations (Christmas, Easter and Long Vac). Within each term, a 'Full Term' of eight weeks is the main teaching period.

Please note, you are expected to arrive in Oxford one week before the official start of term, as many Department and College events are held in 0th Week.

The following term dates have been fixed:

Year Term From To
2023-24 Michaelmas 2023 Sun 8 Oct Sat 2 Dec
  Hilary 2024 Sun 14 Jan Sat 9 Mar
  Trinity 2024 Sun 21 Apr Sat 15 Jun
2024-25 Michaelmas 2024  Sun 13 Oct Sat 7 Dec
  Hilary 2025 Sun 19 Jan Sat 15 Mar
  Trinity 2025 Sun 27 Apr Sat 21 Jun

Provisional dates for 2024-28 can be found here.


Battels - The charges made to a member of a College for accommodation, meals, etc.

Bursar - The chief financial officer of a College

Chancellor - Elected by Convocation, the Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University; the current Chancellor is Lord Patten of Barnes

Class - (abbrev. Classification) the level of award of a degree (e.g. 2:1 or Upper Second)

Collections - College exams taken at the start of each term on the material covered in the previous term

CUREC and DREC – University and Department Research Ethics Committees respectively, these terms also used to refer to the Ethics assessment forms

DGS – Director of Graduate Studies

Division - There are four academic divisions – Humanities; Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences

DPhil – Doctor of Philosophy; the PhD is known as the DPhil in Oxford

DTP Doctoral Training Partnership. Oxford is part of the Grand Union DTP with Brunel and the Open University. It is funded by the ESRC and it is the means by which several of our doctoral students receive financial support. It is also facilities various training activities open to all Oxford students

EPC – Education Policy Committee

ESRC – Economic and Social Research Council

Fresher - A new student

Full Term - The main teaching period at Oxford. It lasts for eight weeks and runs from Sunday of 1st Week to Saturday of 8th Week

GAO - Graduate Admissions Office, part of the central University

GJCC – Graduate Joint Consultative Committee

GSC – Graduate Studies Committee

GSO - Graduate Studies Office, part of the central University

GSR – Graduate Supervision Reporting

Hilary Term - The second of the academic year’s three terms, running from January to mid-March

Long Vac - Long vacation - the name widely used for the period between the end of the Trinity Term and the beginning of the Michaelmas Term each year

Matriculation - Matriculation confers membership of the University on those students who are enrolled at the University of Oxford and following a degree-level course

Michaelmas Term - The first term of the academic year which begins in October and ends in December

NCRM National Centre for Research Methods. Maintains a UK research training courses database and offers bursaries

Oxford SU - Oxford University Student Union

PGR – Research graduate student

PGT – Taught graduate student

Proctors – The two Proctors (Senior and Junior) have responsibilities under the statutes and regulations for aspects of student discipline, for ensuring the proper conduct of examinations and for dealing with complaints

PRS – Probationer Research Student; students working towards a DPhil must apply in the first instance for admission as a Probationer Research Student

SOLO – Oxford’s online library catalogue

SSD – Social Sciences Division

Subfusc – Formal attire worn by students and academics on formal occasions, including matriculation, examinations and graduation

TCD – Taught Courses Director

TNA – Training Needs Analysis

Trinity Term – The third term of the academic year, usually running from late April to late June

Vice-Chancellor – The senior officer of the University

Viva – oral exam

A full glossary of all puzzling Oxford terms can be found here.