Social Policy & Intervention

Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention is a multi-disciplinary centre of excellence for research and teaching in social policy, and the development and systematic evaluation of social interventions and population studies. Research is international in outlook, and experts in the Department contribute both to academic knowledge and to policy and practice.

Research is organised into two clusters:

  • The Oxford Institute of Social Policy (OISP) is an umbrella of social policy research in areas, such as family policy, demography, education policy, labour market policy and politics of social policy as well as social inequality and social disadvantage.
  • The Centre of Evidence-Based Intervention (CEBI) specialises in the development and evaluation of interventions for social, public health and psychosocial problems, in particular through conducting randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and other evaluation designs.

The Social Policy and Intervention pathway at Oxford provides research training in two main areas, Comparative Social Policy (CSP) and Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation (EBSIPE).

1+3.5 and 2+2.5 routes are available in either area, with training starting either with a one-year MSc or two MPhil. Admission directly to the DPhil for +3.5 (3 and a half years full-time) candidates is possible if they have completed a Masters course that meets the ESRC 2022 Training Guidelines.  Further information about the various courses can be found on the Department’s website:

Recent activities include establishing links with policymakers, governments and non-governmental organisations in South Africa to encourage the adoption of our research findings into practice. One ESRC-funded student took part in a number of collaborations during her study (2011-14) to help provincial and local governments develop action plans for children affected by HIV. Under the ESRC Initiative on the UK in a Changing Europe funding scheme a student’s project aims to strengthen the evidence base that can inform political debate and policy in the UK. This concerns the practical opportunities and barriers that EU Citizens face in exercising social rights, housing, health care and education while living and working in the UK. ESRC doctoral students have also carried out internships in the Japanese Ministry of Health, the Rand Corporation and the World Health Organisation and a doctoral student has organised events for the ‘Open Forum: Working with EU Migrant Citizens in Oxfordshire’.

There is a wide range of arrangements in place to support research students’ career development, such as embedding them in the intellectual life of the department through the Research Groups which have regular meetings to foster intellectual exchange and debate or giving research students an opportunity to ‘pre-publish’ their work in the departmental working paper series.

A large number of former DPhil students have gone directly into academia, obtaining lectureships, assistant professorships, or postdoctoral positions at various research universities, including Bath, Bocconi, Brown, King’s College London, Kyoto, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Michigan and Oxford. Others enter senior policy roles in Governments, multilateral organisations and NGOs.

Pathway leader: Professor Erzsébet Bukodi


University of Oxford

Department of Social Policy and Intervention
Structure of provision: 1+3.5, 2+2.5, +3.5