Pursue a DPhil at DSPI

Our Department provides students with the opportunity to pursue doctoral study in Social Policy and Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation within Oxford's unique intellectual environment. As well as becoming a member of the Department, students also join a college, which is a central part of the 'Oxford experience'.

The DPhil is a degree examined solely by thesis, prepared under the guidance of a supervisor appointed by the Department's Graduate Studies Committee. 

We invite applications from outstanding graduates in Demography, Development, Economics, Epidemiology, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Social Policy, Social Work and Sociology, or closely related fields. We are interested in candidates with proposals in the areas of our research expertise and interest.

  • Social Policy is inviting DPhil proposals in the following areas: family and family policies; educational inequalities and educational policies; labour market policies; poverty, social inequalities and social mobility; social policy in developing countries; policies of social protection; pension reform; welfare state change in comparative perspective as well as politics of social policy in rich democracies.
  • Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation is inviting DPhil proposals in the following areas: social problems such as: poverty, violence, mental health, substance misuse, educational disadvantage, delinquency, health and economic inequality, support vulnerable groups for example refugees, elderly people, troubled children, as well as those affected by HIV and AIDS, specific programmes and policies such as parenting and family interventions; and violence prevention, as well as evaluation methodology: cross-cultural adaptation of interventions, research transparency and systematic reviewing.

We encourage prospective students to check there is appropriate supervisory expertise for their proposed topic by browsing our faculty profiles.

We offer doctoral students a unique graduate programme tailored to their individual needs. Our doctoral students are supervised and supported by internationally renowned academics. In addition, we offer a large and diverse range of seminars, workshops and advanced training opportunities in order to further enhance postgraduate research experience. Most of our doctoral students find jobs in leading research universities, international organisations or government departments.

Our DPhil programmes are also available on a part-time basis. The part-time version of the degree has the same high standards and requirements as the full-time degree, but spread over 6-8 years. The degree is particularly well-suited for students who are seeking the flexibility of part-time study. Part-time study also provides an excellent opportunity for professionals to undertake rigorous long-term research that may be relevant to their working life. For more information, please contact


We offer two doctoral programmes in Social Intervention and Social Policy. Click on the relevant link below to find out more about these programmes.