Undergraduate Study

The department does not offer an undergraduate degree in Sociology alone. At the undergraduate level, Sociology is studied as part of three interdisciplinary degrees: 


Papers offered by the Department of Sociology

Human Sciences Preliminary Examination paper 4b

Current and classic discussions of explanatory strategies and social mechanisms, models of individual action and the consequences of aggregation. Empirical research involving these approaches in areas of substantive sociological interest such as social class, ethnicity, religion, the family, politics.


  • 6 lectures in Hilary Term: Dr Christiaan Monden
  • 6 lectures in Michaelmas Term: Dr Alex Janus and Dr Paolo Campana


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics paper 220

The study of the social basis of political competition (including social cleavages and identities), social and political attitudes (including political culture), processes of political engagement and competition (including elections, proTest politics and the mass media), the social basis for the formation, change, and maintenance of political institutions (including democracy and welfare states). Candidates must show knowledge based on the study of more than two major industrial countries.

  • 8 lectures in Michaelmas Term: Dr Stephen Fisher
  • 8 lectures in Hilary Term: Dr James Tilley and Dr Michael Biggs
  • Website
  • EMBES - the Ethnic Minority British Election Study

Human Sciences paper 5b; Philosophy, Politics, and Economics paper 218

In this paper you will investigate a variety of theoretical perspectives on social life. Some perspectives examine how social structures are built up from individual action, whether driven by evolutionary psychology, decided by rational choice, or motivated by meaningful values. Others identify the emergent properties of social life, ranging from face-to-face interaction to social networks to structures of thought. You will use these perspectives to investigate substantive problems. What explains the persistence of gender inequality? Why do social norms change? How do some groups manage to solve problems of collective action? Throughout, you will learn how the insights of classical sociologists are being advanced in contemporary research.


  • Theoretical Perspectives (Dr Michael Biggs): 8 lectures, Michaelmas Term
  • Sociological Problems (Prof Federico Varese): 8 lectures, Hilary Term

The Oxford Q-Step Centre

The Oxford Q-Step Centre is hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations, in association with the Department of Sociology. It provides high quality quantitative methods courses for Oxford social science undergraduates. To find out more, please visit the Centre website