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Research Degrees in the Oxford Internet Institute

  • 1. Governance

    The DPhil in Information, Communication and Social Sciences and the DPhil in Social Data Science shall be under the supervision of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Oxford Internet Institute.

    2. Attendance requirements

    The DPhil programmes shall be offered on a full-time and part-time basis. Full-time students are required to meet the residence requirements set out in §6 of the General Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Part-time students are required to meet the following attendance requirements for their period of part-time study: attendance for a minimum of 30 days of university-based work each year, normally coinciding with the full terms of the academic year, to be arranged with the agreement of their supervisor, for the period that their names remain on the Register of Graduate Students unless individually dispensed by the Graduate Studies Committee. During a student's probationary period the attendance arrangements must take account of relevant induction and training events scheduled by the department.

    3. Probationer Research Students

    All students are normally admitted as Probationer Research Students.

    Unless granted a dispensation by the Graduate Studies Committee, all Probationer Research Students shall during their first year (and second year in the case of part-time students) attend such lectures, seminars, and classes as their supervisor and/or the Graduate Studies Committee shall determine.

    Students studying Information, Communication and Social Sciences shall attend and satisfactorily complete with a mark of 50 or higher:

    • (a) such courses or classes from the Institute's Research Methods Training Programme as directed by the Graduate Studies Committee;

    • (b) the Institute’s Advanced Social Theory course.

    Students studying Social Data Science shall attend and satisfactorily complete with a passing mark of 50 or higher such courses or classes as directed by the Social Data Science Graduate Studies Committee.

  • 4. Transfer to DPhil, MLitt or MSc by Research status

    Candidates will normally be expected to achieve Transfer of Status in their third or fourth term after admission (or sixth to eighth term after admission for part-time students). Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Coordinator and will comprise the following:

    (a) a completed Transfer of Status application form and Assessors Approval form;

    (b) confirmation from the candidate's supervisor that such courses as the candidate has been required to undertake have been satisfactorily completed;

    (c) an outline of their research (one side of A4 paper);

    (d) a detailed research proposal of no more than 15,000 words. This should:

    • (i) draw upon relevant literature to discuss the background to the research, theoretical perspectives, and possible outcomes to the research;

    • (ii) state key research questions;

    • (iii) discuss the overall methodological approach, and specific strategies, to be employed in answering these research questions, paying particular attention to practical and ethical issues relevant to the research.

    (e) a preliminary timetable for the research;

    (f) a list of references;

    (g) an OII Training Needs Assessment Form.

    To successfully achieve Transfer of Status, students must also have satisfactorily passed the relevant courses set out in 3 above. In cases where a student is required to re-sit a paper, a deferral of Transfer of Status for one or two terms as appropriate will be granted automatically.

    The Graduate Studies Committee will appoint two assessors who will read the work, interview the student and submit a recommendation to the Committee in a written report. The Committee will decide whether to approve Transfer of Status.

    A student whose first application for Transfer of Status is not approved (including where the outcome is a recommendation to transfer to the MLitt or MSc by Research) is permitted to make one further application and will be granted an extension of one term (or two terms for part-time students) to Probationer Research Student status if necessary. If after a second attempt, the Graduate Studies Committee can neither approve transfer to the DPhil or to the MLitt or to the MSc by Research, the student will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students.

    5. Confirmation of DPhil status

    Students who were initially admitted to the status of a Probationer Research Student must achieve Confirmation of Status not later than their ninth term or normally earlier than their sixth term (or not later than the eighteenth term or normally earlier than the twelfth term for part-time students).

    Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Coordinator and will comprise the following:

    • (a) a completed Confirmation of Status application form and Assessors Approval form;

    • (b) an abstract of the thesis (one side of A4 paper);

    • (c) an outline structure of the thesis, consisting of chapter headings, and a brief statement of the intended content;

    • (d) an outline timetable detailing what work has already been carried out and what activities are planned for the remaining stages;

    • (e) two completed draft chapters intended to form part of the final thesis;

    • (f) an OII Training Needs Assessment Form.

    The Graduate Studies Committee will appoint two assessors who will read the work, interview the student and submit a recommendation to the Committee in a written report. The Committee will decide whether to approve Confirmation of Status.

    A student whose first application for Confirmation of Status is not approved is permitted to make one further application, normally within one term (two terms for part-time students) of the original application, and will granted an extension of one term (two terms for part-time students) if necessary. If after the second attempt the Committee can neither approve the application nor approve transfer to the MLitt or the MSc by Research, the student will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students.

    6. Theses

    The thesis must not exceed 100,000 words for the DPhil, 50,000 words for the MLitt, or 25,000 words for the MSc by Research, the limit to include abstract, all notes and appendices, but not the bibliography. Any thesis exceeding this limit is liable to be rejected unless prior dispensation has been granted by the Graduate Studies Committee on the advice of the candidate's supervisor.

    Integrated thesis format

    Permission to submit an integrated thesis consisting of an introduction, literature survey, and conclusion and a combination of chapters including one or more published or publishable articles should be made with the support of the student’s supervisor(s) to the relevant Doctoral Director prior to applying for either Transfer of Status or Confirmation of Status. Such a body of work must address an overarching research question and represent a coherent and focused body of research. If the Doctoral Director approves the request, the final decision will be made by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Oxford Internet Institute based on the recommendation of the assessors for these milestones.

    A thesis submitted under this rubric may include co-authored articles. In the case of co-authored articles, students must submit to the Graduate Studies Committee a description of their contribution to the article and demonstrate that their work represents the majority contribution.

    Students who wish to change back to a conventional thesis format are required to make this request in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee prior to applying for their next assessment milestone. Applications to change between an integrated thesis format and a conventional thesis format will normally not be considered for students who have already passed Confirmation of Status.

    The standard word limit regulations apply for integrated theses.

    Further guidance can be found in the relevant DPhil handbook.

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