How to get into Social Science of the Internet at Oxford

MSc Social Science of the Internet is an academically rigorous course at the University of Oxford. It’s a small programme; in 2021, 20 applicants out of 352 were successful in receiving an offer. Hence it’s important to ensure that your application stands out to Oxford’s admissions officers.

If you’re thinking of applying for the MSc in Social Science of the Internet or you’re just curious about what it takes to get into an intensive postgraduate programme at Oxford, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert Computer Science and Sociology tutors.

The Profs’ admissions consultants have first-hand experience of Oxford’s university application process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Oxford University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Social Science of the Internet?

Oxford’s MSc in Social Science of the Internet at Oxford provides students with a multidisciplinary understanding of how digital technologies influence societies, businesses and governments. Students study topics like social science theories, research methods, technology fundamentals and how to produce high-quality studies. 

The course is taught by experts at the world-leading Oxford Internet Institute. The course aims to develop comprehensive knowledge and skills to critically examine technology’s complex social impacts. These abilities apply to a range of technology and society-focused careers.

Keep in mind that this course is embedded in our technological age and current developments. Hence it interacts with the significant ethical, social and societal challenges that the internet poses. 

Who studies it?

This course is designed for:

  • Students who wish to focus on internet-related research for further academic purposes. 
  • Students seeking to develop the necessary knowledge and skills for professional careers require an understanding of technology and/or how people use it.
  • Students hoping to pursue a career in internet communications policy or regulation.
  • Professionals in internet-related fields who wish to develop their comprehension of the societal aspects of its design and/or use.

As Social Science of the Internet is a Master of Science course, applicants are required to have already completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline. 

It is designed for students as well as professionals, hence students have the option to take the course full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). 

What is the course structure?

The full-time Social Science of the Internet MSc programme spans one year (10 months) whilst the part-time course spans two years (22 months).

The programme can be completed full-time in one year or part-time over two years. Both options cover the same material but part-time students spread the workload to accommodate work or other commitments. Whether full or part-time, students join a close-knit cohort taking classes together. Full-time students can expect to dedicate around 40 hours per week to classes, including 6-15 hours per course dedicated to preparatory readings, assignments and seminars/workshops during term times. 

Part-time students can expect a proportional workload across two years, attending lectures and participatory sessions 1-2 days weekly to fully immerse in this esteemed faculty’s energetic academic culture. Both modes cover identical material to equip students with premier proficiencies whatever their educational or career pathway.

In their final term, students focus on developing their thesis through seminars, peer feedback and guidance from faculty.

Your course will be structured into types of papers, including a thesis of up to 15,000 words:

TermType of paperAbout
Michaelmas termCore Four compulsory core papers on:

  • Internet and Society
  • Internet Technologies and Regulation
  • Digital Social Research: Statistics Core
  • Digital Social Research: Methods Core
Hilary termOptionThree option papers from a list of option courses offered by the Oxford Internet Institute: one substantive option paper, one methods paper, and one further option paper from either category. 

Each student will also select at least one substantive option from the nine provided options.

Hilary termMethod optionAt least one methods option from four options:

  • Advanced Statistics for Internet Research
  • Digital Ethnography
  • Computational Methods for the Social Sciences
  • Digital Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis
Trinity termThe thesisThesis (15,000 words) on a topic chosen by the student after discussion with their supervisor.

Part-time students will have the same topic structure per term time as above, however, the content will be divided into two so that it can run across two academic years instead of one.

You can view the exact module options for each section of the course here.

Also, please note that your choice of college at Oxford will depend on whether you are embarking on the course full-time or part-time. You can view the courses available to you here.

What are the entry requirements for Social Science of the Internet?

Like all courses at Oxford, Social Science of the Internet has top entry requirements, including accomplished scores in higher education. 

The table below shows the entry requirements for Social Science of the Internet:

DegreeLanguage test
  • 1st or above (or equivalent e.g. 3.7 GPA)
  • All disciplines accepted
  • No GRE or GMAT sought
Either:

  • IELTS: 7.5 minimum
  • TOEFL iBT: 110 minimum
  • C1 Oxford Advanced: 191 minimum
  • C2 Oxford Proficiency: 191 minimum

Are you an international student? See international grade requirements here.

Note that Oxford writes some applicants with lower grades could receive an offer if they have a distinguished record of work experience or other achievements. So, suitable work experience could really maximise your chances of getting an offer and might be worthwhile to obtain, even if you meet the grade criteria.

Also note, that though no GRE or GMAT scores are sought, having a high grade in one of these tests could boost your application! This is especially the case if you don’t have a First Class Honours degree, or only just meet this requirement.

If you’re not yet finished with your undergraduate degree you could still receive an offer for this course on the basis that you meet the standard academic criteria before the course start date.

Keep in mind that you should try to match or exceed the undergraduate grade requirements. 

Oxford states that candidates’ degrees can be in “any subject”. However, it’s of course encouraged to have a somewhat relevant background. If you can’t link your degree in any way, perhaps you can reference some work experience, research, wider reading or project that is related to the course.

You should also articulate any links that you can find between your degree and/or profession with this course in your written application, especially if there is no clear relevance.

We’ve compiled Oxford’s courses, acceptance rates, and entry requirements in our undergraduate and postgraduate tables for clear comparison. Check them out!

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Social Science of the Internet at Oxford? The Profs’ expert university-level tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

How hard is it to get into Social Science of the Internet at Oxford?

Getting into Oxford is highly competitive, as Oxford is one of the most prestigious and sought-after universities in the world. Not only are the grade requirements high (and the average grades of successful students even higher), but students are also expected to submit an outstanding personal statement with excellent references, as well as a compelling piece of written work (2000 words), and perform exceptionally in their interview. 

The Social Science of the Internet course is a small programme. This means that spaces are limited! The admissions process is rigorous, and applicants are expected to demonstrate exceptional grades. Oxford’s postgraduate admittance rate comes to about 15% (2021-2022).

Thankfully, The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Oxford to study Social Science of the Internet. Many of our experienced tutors are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, with the very latest and best knowledge on what Oxford is looking for in applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for Social Science of the Internet at Oxford?

The table below shows the fees for Oxford’s Social Science of the Internet course for both home (UK) and overseas students for 2023-2025:

Student statusPart-time course fees per year for a 22-month courseFull-time course fees per year for a 10-month course
Home£13,630£27,260
Overseas/EU£16,985£33,970

You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford’s scholarships when you submit your application, so ensure that you provide all necessary information for Oxford to determine your eligibility. Oxford also offers more information on funding here.

6 tips on how to get into Social Science of the Internet at Oxford

When applying to study Social Science of the Internet at Oxford, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly. Check out the following tips to succeed!

We also have some videos on getting into postgraduate courses at Oxford by one of our expert admissions consultants.

1. Mastering academia for the Social Science of the Internet course

Demonstrate your academic aptitude.

As previously mentioned, a First Class Honours degree is required. To boost your chances, ensure that you have a high distinction in your dissertation. If you don’t, consider retaking this part of your undergraduate course. Our top-tier dissertation tours can help make it simple.

Highlight your strong academic background, emphasising any high A-level or IB grades (or equivalent). If you won any academic awards or competitions, mention them!

If you have completed any quantitative tests like the GMAT or GRE, this is certainly worth mentioning. Consider taking one of these qualifications and obtaining a high grade, especially if you do not have a First in your undergraduate degree.

Any academic experience you have in Computer Science, Data Science, Sociology or Psychology could be great to highlight if you can reference how this has given you insight into discussions regarding how the internet interacts with people and society.

Tailor your application by showcasing relevant subjects, experiences and achievements to align seamlessly with the course requirements. Worried your academic background isn’t related to the course? Take a MOOC or an online course with a prestigious university in a related area and talk about what this taught you. You can also attend free public lectures or online webinars and mention this.

We have tutors for every subject and every level; they have a proven track record of helping students in their first takes or retakes to achieve the highest scores. So, if you’re in need of a boost, reach out to the Profs for support.

2. Claim your professional edge

Emphasise your professional achievements, particularly those relevant to working online, communicating over the internet, online data, Computer Science and Social Science. 

Demonstrate how your existing career aligns with the course or how it could be useful, emphasising your unique contributions and any relevant transferable skills. 

If you fear your profession isn’t related to your course or you don’t have one to speak of altogether, that’s okay. However, to boost your chances, it could be helpful to collect as much experience as you can. What opportunities can you help out with or get involved in? 

Reach out to people on LinkedIn who are in the kind of jobs that this degree could assist you with and ask to shadow them. Apply for internships and consider unpaid roles, like volunteering. This step is an investment in your future!

Worried about this part of the application process? Our admissions experts can help you put your best foot forward.

3. Crafting a compelling personal statement: Your gateway to Oxford

To apply, you will need to craft a compelling 500-600 word personal statement, expressing your motivation for the course and most relevant experiences. 

A top piece of advice is to emphasise any reading, research and/or projects related to Social Science and/or the internet. Showcase your proactive engagement with the subject matter beyond academic requirements, underlining your genuine passion for the topic. 

Demonstrate your wealth of knowledge in sociological and internet-related fields, underlining your preparedness for the rigours of the course. You might discuss internet laws, regulations and governance, or the discussion of social media as an addiction. Remember, don’t reference classic undergraduate literature or cliche texts that your peers are likely to mention, go deep and go niche! The more specific you get, the better.

As already mentioned, you should highlight your academic and professional background and achievements in relation to the course. For the rest, try to apply the following advice:

  • Time management: It’s important that you demonstrate your ability to balance study with your existing commitments, especially if you intend to take on the part-time structure.
  • Showcase sociological, psychological and ethical perspectives: Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the internet through multiple academic lenses. Discuss relevant frameworks, showcasing your awareness of societal impacts and your ability to critically analyse the societal and psychological dimensions of the internet. If you remain informed of current achievements, controversies and challenges regarding the internet, this will be easy to do!
  • Integrate your personal experience: If applicable, talk about moments in your life where you had to make conscious considerations regarding the internet. Showcase how your practical insights will contribute to meaningful discussions in the programme.
  • Connect to future goals: Clearly articulate your end goals and how the MSc in Social Science of the Internet is instrumental in achieving them. What is the necessity of pursuing this degree? Discuss how the programme aligns with your career aspirations, emphasising the unique contributions you plan to make in the field. It’s great if you can include a clear and specific career plan (whether that’s starting a new career or elevating your current one). Just remember that your ambition should be balanced with remaining realistic. If your aspirations are academic, such as pursuing a PhD, this is great as long as you clearly outline why this degree will assist you on this journey.
  • Reference course structure: Illustrate your awareness of the MSc programme’s structure. Discuss the specific modules and learning material that you’re interested in!
  • Address the ‘why Oxford’ question: Clearly articulate why Oxford and its Social Science of the Internet programme specifically. Discuss unique resources, faculty expertise, or institutional aspects that attract you to Oxford in particular, and this course instead of similar options out there.
  • Show cultural awareness: Acknowledge and discuss the global relevance of understanding the social and societal impact of the internet. Demonstrate an understanding of diverse cultural perspectives on technology and the internet, showcasing your ability to engage with an international cohort.

Don’t forget, The Profs have excellent personal statement tutors with a track record of success. We can help you nail this step!

4. Illuminate your expertise through written work

Submit a writing sample within the 2,000-word limit. 

Showcase your exceptional intellectual calibre through a recent academic sample written in English. Oxford states that you can write on any topic, and that the purpose of this excerpt is to demonstrate your analytical prowess and lucid style. Hence, you should choose a text that is highly evaluative and well-written. If you can select a piece of writing that is related to Social Science of the Internet, that would be ideal. 

Above all, illuminate your passion and capacity to thrive within Oxford’s rigorous curriculum awaiting the suitable few.

Bibliographies and footnotes are exempted and Oxford asks candidates to prominently display the word count for straightforward assessment.

If you don’t have any suitable written work, it might be worth your time to write something, especially for this requirement. Just remember to have it reviewed by your colleagues and/or professors.

Before submitting, consider Oxford’s Internet Institute and the admissions team for this course. What might they be looking for in your piece of work? Beyond demonstrating strong writing skills, are you conveying the ability to think analytically, critically, uniquely and deeply? Are you proving that you would enrich and contribute to the course? 

Worried about handing in written work that puts Oxford off? Don’t be, we’ve got your back. We have incredible writing tutors who can coach you through the process.

5. Master your interview 

Typically, applicants for this programme are not interviewed, except in unusual circumstances where the admissions team need further context from the applicant.

If you are invited to an interview, it will be held online three to six weeks after the application deadline and will be no longer than 30 minutes. 

The interview shares more similarities to a conversation than a test. You will most likely be encouraged to talk about research interests, reasons for applying, future career plans, and why you think this programme is the best way to progress your studies. 

It’s important to prepare diligently for the interview. Revise your CV, personal statement and written work as you might be asked questions about these. 

Ensure that you’re up-to-date with the industries, affairs, and developments surrounding the internet so that you can talk about current issues and challenges or answer any questions about this. At this very moment, what are the social and societal challenges regarding the internet and what could the future ones be? It’s also a good idea to have readings and experiences in mind that you can talk about or reference when answering questions.

Check out our previous article on how to smash a postgraduate interview!

Remember: if you get an interview, it’s your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. So, it’s important to seek professional help from our expert interview coaches to prepare effectively. 

6. Dedicate yourself to the Social Science of the Internet

Prove your genuine commitment to the study of the internet and its societal dimensions. Express your sincere passion for the subject, demonstrating how it aligns with your broader interest in ethical, social and technological considerations. Showcase your unique perspective and contributions to the evolving landscape of the internet and its global implications.

It’s also recommended that you check the course page on Oxford for live updates regarding the course and entry requirements.

You should genuinely dedicate yourself to the field by investing in your success within it! For personalised support and expert guidance tailored to your Social Science of the Internet application, consider benefitting from The Profs’ expert tutoring services. Elevate your application with comprehensive insights and refined strategies to secure your place in this esteemed programme!

Get 1-to-1 help from an expert

Social Science of the Internet is an academically rigorous postgraduate course at the prestigious University of Oxford. It requires you to perform well in multiple factors of the application process to be in with a chance of securing an offer. 

Oxbridge runs a competitive and unique application process compared to the majority of UK universities. As a result, we advise seeking one of our expert Oxbridge admissions tutors to help you through the process. They have a track record of success! In fact, if you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are over three times more likely to get into Oxford. 

The Profs’ Computer Science and Sociology tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles and excel. With their guidance, you’ll gain a deeper and broader understanding of a wide range of fundamental concepts within the Social Science of the Internet and more specialised areas. 

Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.