Have a question about studying at DSPI? 

If you don't find the answer you are looking for here, browse the rest of our site or contact us

Expand All

DPhil is the Oxford abbreviation for a doctoral programme of study - a Doctor of Philosophy. In other institutions this is abbreviated to PhD. The term Philosophy is used regardless of the subject studied. 

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 – January and March 
  • DPhil in Social Intervention - 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 January deadline applicants, so if you apply later competition is increased for the few remaining places. 

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. There is no need 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 for our department. 

The same applies for most 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. 

An MSc is a one-year courses, while the MPhil is a two-year course. An MPhil is effectively an extended version of an 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 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. 

The numbers on each course vary slightly each year, but we aim to accept around 30 students onto the Master’s courses in Comparative Social Policy, around 25 students onto the Master’s 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. 

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 of experience and will not read work that is clearly too long. The word limit does not include bibliographies. 

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. 

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. 

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 relate directly 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 your ability to use evidence to build an argument. 

No, you do not need to submit a GRE test score.

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

To be considered for our DPhils you would have to apply again, while you are on your Master’s 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 master’s course you would have a strong idea as to whether the DPhil is suitable for you. You would be expected to complete your master’s in CSP or EBSIPE to a high standard. 

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.