Social Policy & Intervention

Training pathways

Structure(s) of provision

Method of study

Links to other training pathways

Comparative Social Policy, Evidence Based Social Intervention

1+3 (MSc + DPhil)

2+2 (MPhil + DPhil)

Full time


Social Policy, Social Intervention

+3 (DPhil)

Area Studies (+3 Social Policy)


The Department of Social Policy and Intervention (SPI) is an inter-disciplinary centre for research and graduate teaching in comparative social policy (CSP) and evidence-based social intervention (EBSI). It includes staff from a range of academic disciplines, including social policy, sociology, politics, geography, social work, psychology and demography. In the 2008 RAE 70% of its research activity was rated as world leading or internationally excellent; over the last eight years SPI acquired an average of 20 fresh research grants each year. Research groupings include the Centres for Evidence-based Social Intervention (CEBI), for the Analysis of South African Social Policy, for AIDS Inter-disciplinary Research, and the Oxford Institute of Social Policy (OISP). These maintain international inter-disciplinary collaborations: e.g., CEBI is part of a consortium funded by the NIH to evaluate family intervention trials; OISP members are coordinating international research on poverty and shame, and co-leading a European network investigating ‘dualisation’ in advanced economies. DSPSW also has extensive links with research users. Much of its research is applied or sponsored by government departments and organisations that commission research of direct use to policy-makers. Members of staff regularly provide advice to UK and overseas governments, other public bodies and voluntary organisations.

This academic environment (intrinsically multidisciplinary, international, and outcome-focused) provides a rich and relevant research environment for graduate students. SPI hosts one year (MSc) and two-year (MPhil) degrees in both CSP and in EBSI (ESRC recognised for the 1+3), and research degrees (DPhil) in Social Policy and in Social Intervention. The MPhil caters to students who wish additional substantive training, and the opportunity to produce a more extended thesis. The MSc and MPhil degrees provide research methods training (instruction and practical classes), and students produce a research-based dissertation under detailed supervision. DSPSW is the academic base to some 55 MSc/MPhil students and 75 DPhils. Doctoral admission is to 1+3, or direct to the DPhil +3 (if candidates have completed an ESRC-recognised Masters or equivalent).

For information on the training available for students in Social Policy & Intervention please click here. An overview of the Research Environment can be found here.


News & Events

On 1st November 2013, the University of Surrey and South East DTC hosted students from Oxford University's DTC, at an event entitled 'Using and Abusing the Impact Agenda'. This event engaged future research leaders on how and why their research in the social sciences can impact on wider society. Read more here.


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