What is the difference between the application deadlines? Is there a preferable one to use?

The University has three deadlines for applications each year: November, January and March.

The courses accept applications as follows:

  • MSc and MPhil in Comparative Social Policy – January and March
  • DPhil in Social Policy – January and March
  • MSc and MPhil in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation –November, January and March
  • DPhil in Social Intervention  - November, January and March.

We recommend that applications are submitted in time for the January deadline - applications received later than this will not be considered for departmental or university funding. In addition, we fill the majority of our places with November/January deadline applicants, so if you apply later competition is increased for the few remaining places.

How do I apply for a departmental scholarship?

You do not have to apply separately for the departmental scholarships. All accepted applicants from the November and January deadlines are automatically considered for departmental scholarships. It is not necessary therefore to select the box on the application form about departmental scholarships, which then goes on to request a ‘reference code’.  There are no specific codes.

The same applies for the majority of the University scholarships. There are however, some scholarships that may require an additional application and we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the University’s graduate funding pages and work out which schemes you may be eligible for and whether you need to do anything specific.

Please note that as all accepted applicants are considered for funding only those selected are contacted individually.  If you do not receive an email about a scholarship then you have been unsuccessful.

What are the key differences between the MSc and the MPhil?

The MScs are one year courses, while the MPhils are two-year courses. The MPhils are effectively an extended version of the MSc, with an additional option paper and a longer thesis written in the second year.

MSc students can use their thesis to prepare for DPhil work whereas MPhil students can actually incorporate it into their DPhil.  Due to time constraints the MSc thesis often has to make use of secondary analysis of existing data or literature, but MPhil students have more time to conduct primary research.

How many people are on the course and where are they from?

The numbers on each course vary slightly each year, but we aim to accept around 30 students onto the Masters courses in Comparative Social Policy, around 25 students onto the Masters courses in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation and around 12 DPhil students each year.

We have a very international intake, with students from all over the world.

The career paths are varied, we have some students go on to further academia, others move into governmental work, charity and/or the educational sector.

How strict are the word limits for the personal statement/written work/research proposal and do they include bibliographies?

Please adhere to the word limit specified on the University’s admission pages. Whilst we do not count the words our assessors have many years’ experience and will not read work that is clearly too long.  The word limit does not include bibliographies.

I do not have a social science background – will you still consider me?

Yes, we consider applicants from a wide range of backgrounds.  Your application must make it clear why you have chosen to apply for our course and what has taken you in this direction.

Do my references have to be from academics?

Ideally, we require references from academics, in particular your supervisor from your most recent course.  In addition to references from your academic background we can also accept references from your employer. They must comment on your aptitude and interest for academic work.

We require three references in total.

What should I use for my written work samples?

Your written work can be something that you have submitted for previous study, an article or a newly written piece.  It does not have to directly relate to the course you are applying for. Owing to the word limit, you can submit an extract from a longer piece, for one of the written works.  However, in total you must submit two separate pieces.  The purpose of the written work is to demonstrate your academic ability; your skills at critical analysis, fluency of syntax and grammar; and to show the ability to marshal evidence to build an argument.

Do I need to submit a GRE test score?


Can I apply for more than one course in the department?

You can apply for as many courses as you desire, although you do have to pay an application fee for each one. 

If I complete the MSc/MPhil am I guaranteed a place on the DPhil?

To be considered for our DPhils you would have to submit an application again, whilst you are on your masters course.  You would use a slightly different form that will allow you to re-use some elements of your master’s application.  Prior to this however, you would have been able to discuss your options with your supervisor and as you progress through your Masters course you would have a strong idea as to whether the DPhil is suitable for you. You would be expected to complete your Masters in CSP or EBSIPE to a high standard.

Do I have to have completed your MSc/MPhil in order to apply for the DPhil?

Whilst many of our DPhil students do complete our masters’ programmes first this is not mandatory.  For external DPhil applicants we look for a strong Master’s degree and evidence of good training in research methodology.