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University of Oxford: Sociology and Demography

Institution University of Oxford
Department Sociology
Telephone 01865 270059
Study type Taught


The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (October 2020). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via

The MPhil introduces students to contemporary theories and research methods on the intersection of sociology and demography. This advanced 21-month programme takes a life-course and multilevel approach, aiming to integrate micro and macro issues in analysing social problems and the causes and consequences of population change.

The MPhil will provide you with a solid foundation for a wide range of careers, including those in academia, preparing you for doctoral work in sociology and demography and research-intense jobs.

The curriculum emphasises: - population-level analysis and demographic measures

  • a life course approach

  • sociological analysis as the key approach to explanation

  • advanced quantitative methods.

This emphasis is reflected in the compulsory papers. Optional papers and the thesis will reflect either a more specialised topic (eg gender, family and fertility, migration and integration of migrants, health and mortality, intergenerational relationships) or methodological work.

The MPhil programme has the following components: - Sociological Analysis paper taught in the first year through lectures and seminars

  • Demographic Analysis paper taught in the first year through lectures, seminars and computer labs

  • Life Course Research paper taught in the first year through lectures, seminars and computer labs

  • Statistical Methods paper taught in the first year through lectures and computer labs

  • Research Design paper taught in the first year through lectures

  • two optional papers over both years of the MPhil, normally taught through eight weekly classes/seminars for each paper

  • Replication project in the second year, comprising a combination of individual and group work

  • MPhil thesis, a new and substantial analysis of up to 30,000 words on a sociological and/or demographic topic, to be submitted by the end of the second year

Please note that the optional papers available may vary from year to year. More information on course modules and structure is available in the course handbook.

There is also a significant element of self-directed study, including further reading and research, that will complement the hours of teaching. The time spent on further research will be determined partly by your academic background so far, and partly by your own interest in and curiosity for the subject.

Master of Philosophy - MPhil

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