Social Sciences

Social Sciences tutorials are amongst the most popular for Stanford students studying in Oxford. This might be because of the offer of a wide range of courses where often the scope is interdisciplinarity. Like the humanities, social science tutorials are traditionally composed of research papers, although some could use problem sets and short answer essays in place of tutorial essays. Please note that the overall work load remains the same.

Don't just assume that this means you should plan to study Political Science or Archaeology. Applicants often overlook the depth and breadth of courses within the humanities at Oxford. Pay attention to specifics within each department, you may find that your proposed tutorial is too broad. Luckily, you may also find ways in which you can make your tutorial more specific, or discover a new focus altogether.

The Social Sciences departments are:

Anthropology and Archaeology

AXESS Code 195A (Anthropology) and 197A (Archaeology)

Archaeology and Anthropology are great tutorial choices for students wishing to critically engage with their cultural experience in the United Kingdom, either by developing theoretical frameworks for thinking about cultures, getting into wonderful local collections, or visiting regional archaeological sites of interest. Local archaeological sites exist within the city of Oxford, where research is conducted on Anglo-Saxon and Roman remains. Students will also have access to the collections in the British Library and the British Museum, and additional funding is available to support visits to sites as deemed necessary by your tutor.

Code 195A:

Anthropology courses that engage with the UK



Other Regions/further afield


All Archaeology courses engage with local collections

  • Mediterranean Maritime Archaeology
  • Introduction to world archaeology
  • The Archaeology of Minoan Crete, 3200-1000 BC
  • Archaeology of Modern Human Origins
  • The Archaeology of Southern African Hunter-gatherers
  • Biological Techniques in Environmental Archaeology
  • From the First Ceramics to the Terracotta Soldiers: The Archaeology of Early China Greek Archaeology & Art, c. 500-323 BC
  • Hellenistic Art & Archaeology, 330-30 BC
  • Roman Archaeology: Cities & Settlements under the Empire
  • Science-Based Methods in Archaeology


AXESS Code 196M, 198M

Students interested in governance often think immediately of tutorials in political science, but for those interested in practical applications of theory, studying public policy in conjunction with the Blavatnik School of Governance is a wonderful option. Unfortunately, the Blavatnik school typically offers only advanced, graduate level tutorials, so this option is only rarely available to students majoring in public policy with serious proposals. Tutorial proposals should be region or concern specific, and involve details of previous study that can be built upon.

The possible tutorials are:


AXESS Code 195F, 197F

Economics is always a popular tutorial choice for Stanford undergraduates. The availability of space in tutorials within this department is always limited, as are the tutorial options open to Stanford students. Tutorials in economics help provide a good opportunity to develop theoretical background for senior research projects in economics. Economics tutorials typically have a high mathematical component, and students without a strong maths background should make enquiries before proposing a tutorial in economics. Although students can choose to study any tutorial in any term, some terms have additional lectures and seminars because that is when Oxford undergraduates typically take them.

Autumn Quarter:

  • Microeconomics

Winter Quarter:

Spring Quarter:

Any Quarter:


No AXESS code at present

The Department of Education as a whole sponsors regular seminars and public lectures which attract distinguished national and international speakers. Within each of the three themes there are several research groups and centres. Although the Education department is only open to graduate study for local students, Stanford Undergraduates are invited to consider this department.


AXESS Code 196R

The geography department focuses on British geography and offers tutorials that relate to human and physical geography. The School is internationally recognised for the quality of its teaching, research and wider engagement. In addition to world leading education and research in the School, the department hosts three internationally recognised research centres and leads cross-university initiatives and collaborative networks. Students should note that physical geography cannot be taught with laboratory work.

Tutorials for non-majors

  • Earth systems processes
  • Human geography
  • Geographical controversies
  • Geographical techniques

Tutorials for majors (Geology, Earth Systems)

Interdisciplinary Area Studies

AXESS Code 196J

At Oxford, Area Studies complement the studies in Medieval and Modern Languages and the Oriental Institute (where students focus on language and culture of a region) by offering courses in regional politics, economics, geography, and international relations. When proposing an area studies tutorial, students need to specify the regional studies centre and the methodology: economics, politics or international relations. Tutorials in this area do not need to be comparative, indeed a more focused proposal for example within a single country is preferable.

International Development

No AXESS Code at present

The department of international development only ever offers graduate degree level study, but this department is an important source of research that is of interest to Stanford students. Students who wish to take tutorials from this department should be at an advanced place in their degree, such as a junior or senior, and have a strong research purpose for this study. Students should be advised that requesting an International Development tutorial does not guarantee placement in an international development tutorial, and so a second choice should also be prepared.

1) Focus on Economic Development and International Institutions:

A tutorial in this area could look at rural poverty and enterprise technology, macroeconomic policy and aid strategy or international trade and foreign investment. In many cases these same topics could be addressed in a more traditional department such as economics or governance, so students should emphasise the need for a development perspective.

2) Focus on Migration and Refugees in a Global Context:

This tutorial addresses migration in its economic, political, legal, social and cultural dimensions including analysis, modelling and understanding of international migration flows both between developing and developed countries, and within developing regions themselves.

3) Focus on Human Development, Poverty and Children:

This tutorial looks at human development through health and education as well as effects of per-capita income.

4) Focus on Political Change, Conflict and the Environment:

This tutorial addresses urban transformation and environmental sustainability. It is intended to address developmental influences of climate change and urbanization. Students interested in this tutorial should be able to connect it to past or future experience in a developing country.

Internet Institute

AXESS Code 197S

Tutorials in the Internet Institute offer an interdisciplinary option for Stanford Students. As opposed to tutorial in computer science, tutorials offered by the Internet Institute look at the relationship between emerging technology and society. Students should be aware that in Oxford these tutorials are for graduate students and a robust transcript and motivation for taking these tutorials is necessary even though the topics might seem of general interest.

Social Dynamics of the Internet:

This tutorial is overview of the major findings to date regarding the social implications of the Internet, drawing on material from several social science disciplines, including communication studies, sociology, and political science.

Internet Technologies and Regulation:

This tutorial looks at the policy implications of the internet and the Internet's origins and technical architecture and its embeddedness in a long history of communication technologies.

Big Data in Society:

This tutorial critically examines the unprecedented opportunities and serious challenges inherent in big data approaches to advancing knowledge.

Digital Era Government and Politics:

This tutorial focuses on providing an in-depth understanding of the changing nature of digital-era governance and politics and the theoretical, practical and ethical questions surrounding the role of the Internet and related technologies in political life.

Digital Technology and Economic Organization:

This course offers a survey of selected cutting-edge phenomena where Internet technologies seem to be at the root of radical social discontinuities.

Economic Development in the Digital Age:

This tutorial focuses on introducing the debates and practices surrounding ICT uses in the Global South and Global North, and examines the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development.

Internet Economics:

This tutorial is general introduction to the economics of the Internet emphasising issues such as competition, asymmetric information, trust and privacy, auctions, and network economics. Law and the Internet. This tutorial introduces the challenges and limitations of conventional legal institutions on the Internet (especially those administered by the State) and reinterpreting these institutions in the context of the Internet.

Learning, the Internet and Society:

This tutorial is focused on education. ICTs have the potential to transform how, what and where people learn, and challenges existing ideas of what the purpose and nature of formal education is and what the future of education should be.

Online Social Networks:

This tutorial is an introduction to the analysis of online social networks and gives an overview of the type of questions that these data can answer. This tutorial is only possible for students who intend to use it as a foundation for a senior research project, students should clearly state how they intend to use the material from this tutorial in subsequent research in their proposal.

Subversive Technologies:

This tutorial aims to provide students with an understanding of technologies that provide control over information flows and action on the internet, and those that resist or subvert that control.

The Philosophy and Ethics of Information:

This tutorial introduces some key concepts and phenomena related to information, and seeks to answer some crucial theoretical questions of great philosophical significance prompted by the development of the information society.

Data Science of Government and Politics:

This tutorial is aimed at understanding the study of government and politics through the lens of data science. Students will leave with both a wide ranging grounding in political science and (a) insight into how data science can be used to shed new light on key debates in the field and (b) understanding of where data science is (or could be) changing the political landscape through its use by political actors, such as in large-scale data-led election campaigns; for policy-making; and through the use of algorithms in computational propaganda. Prerequisite: political science.

Human and Data Intelligence:

This tutorial looks more closely at examining the roles of humans and machines in data intelligence, and the collaboration, cooperation, contention, and competition between them. The course encourages students to use social science research methodologies in their comparative analysis of human- and machine-centric processes for data intelligence.

Introduction to Speech and Language Processing:

This tutorial is not a natural language processing computer science tutorial, instead it is introduces a range of computational techniques for the analysis of speech and language as would be used in scientific research. Covering elements of signal processing, automata theory and parsing. Students need to explicitly reference how this tutorial would support their specific research projects.

Introduction to Natural Language Processing for the Social Sciences:

This tutorial supports students in their research into methodologies for future research by developing conceptual and technical tools for large-scale analysis of linguistic data such as document collections, transcripts, and blogs. The tutorial can address the statistical structure of the lexicon and models for text creation, including the baseline Naïve Bag of Words model as well as more realistic models that include effects of social and pragmatic context. It can also investigate algorithms for clustering, classifying, and discriminating different types of documents on the basis of the words and word sequences that they contain. These are applied to characterize the topics of different documents as well as the socio-indexical traits of speakers/authors. Lastly, we bring these ideas together in tools for analysing the spread of memes and opinions through repeated interactions in linguistic communities.

Statistical Analysis of Networks:

Introduction to network summaries and network models. Then different methods for analysing network data will be presented; these include likelihood-based methods as well as nonparametric methods.

Sociological Analysis:

Developing intellectual skills in explaining social phenomena: identifying puzzles, developing theoretical explanations, and testing them empirically. Each week a lecture introduces one type of explanation, and this is followed by a seminar that discusses empirical research on a related topic. The topic illustrates this type of explanation in practice, revealing its strengths and weaknesses.


Imparting unique insight into the emerging topic of sociogenomics and the most cutting-edge methodological techniques in this area of research. The focus will be on understanding the key substantive research questions in this area, an overview of UK data that is increasingly available, hands-on computer lesson of how to work with genetic data, and an introduction into the current methodological techniques used in the field.

Survival Analysis:

Event times and event counts appear in many social and medical data contexts, and require a specialised suite of techniques to handle properly, broadly known as survival analysis. This course covers the basic techniques of estimating event-time distributions, comparing and testing distributions of different populations, and evaluating the goodness of fit of various models. A focus is on understanding when and why particular models ought to be chosen, and on using the standard software tools in R to carry out data analysis.

Time Series Econometrics:

Analysis of macroeconomic data using time series methods. A key feature of time series data is the temporal dependence of the observations, which can often be captured by linear univariate and multivariate autoregressive models. Such autoregressive models will be analysed in terms of econometric properties, interpretation, asymptotic distribution theory as well as empirical illustrations. The first part of the lectures will cover analysis of stable, or stationary, autoregressions. Since most macroeconomic time series appear non-stationary, the second part will cover the analysis of non-stationary autoregressions and cointegration.


AXESS Code 195J, 197J

In the United Kingdom, and therefore at Oxford as well, it is possible to undertake the study of law at and undergraduate level. For students who are pre-law, the idea of a tutorial in Law might be appealing, but there are a few things to consider. The UK has a different legal system than the US. Often, the rigorous nature of law tutorials doesn't match the usefulness of the material for American students. More universally useful are tutorials in legal theory, such as jurisprudence or Roman Law, and tutorials about international law, such as International Human Rights Law.

Politics and International Relations

AXESS Code 195Z, 197Z and 195R, 197R

The department of Politics and International Relations provides courses for undergraduates and graduates. Undergraduates only study politics as part of a degree program called PPE, one of the few interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees in Oxford, which stands for Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Students studying PPE are interested in having a career in public service, and this course is designed to train students for civil service. Many students from Stanford who major in International Relations or Political Science prefer to take tutorials from this department.

Politics tutorials suitable for non-majors 195Z

International Relations tutorials suitable for non-majors 195R

Politics Tutorials suitable for majors 197Z

International Relations Tutorials suitable for majors 197R

Said Business School

No AXESS Code at present

The Said Business School offers instruction on the undergraduate degree in 'economics in management' which should be contrasted with the undergraduate degree in economics. Traditionally is has been very difficult to place students in these tutorials, so students who wish to take these tutorials should be prepared with alternative options in case there is no availability. Prior experience with the topics at hand is always recommended to help with the placement. Notes on comparing prerequisites: Sample A-Level Syllabuses to reference your experiences against can be found by searching online for A-Levels Exam Boards such as CIEE, Edexcel or OCR.

Tutorials with no pre-requisite:

  • Introduction to Economics (this is for business studies students with no economics background)
  • General Management
  • Financial Management

Tutorials which require the student to have prior familiarity with content:

  • Accounting: prior familiarity with the material in an accounting A-Level
  • Development Economics: prior familiarity with economics
  • Econometrics: Students need to have a strong foundation in mathematics
  • Finance: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • International Economics: prior familiarity with economics
  • Marketing: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • Money and Banking: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • Organizational Behaviour: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • Public Economics: prior familiarity with economics
  • Strategic Management: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • Technology and Operations Management: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation: prior familiarity with the material in a business studies A-Level

Social Policy and Intervention

AXESS Code 195L, 197L

The Department of Social Policy and Intervention is a leading interdisciplinary centre for research and teaching in social policy and the systematic evaluation of social intervention. Although this department addresses topics in family and social welfare, it has traditionally offered tutorials in 'healthcare' or what students might better think of as public health.


AXESS Code 196C, 198C

Stanford students wishing to focus in sociology at Oxford join a community of students who enjoy first-class facilities for studying as well as the opportunity to advance the leading edge of the discipline. The Department of Sociology maintains as a long-term strategy the combination of rigorous research methods and analytical theory. Permeability with other disciplines is also an advantage of the environment which the Department wants to emphasize. The research strengths of the Oxford department differ from Stanford's. Unlike Stanford, Oxford does not have a race and ethnicity research group.

  • Introduction to Sociology (196C): This tutorial addresses current and classic discussions of explanatory strategies and social mechanisms, models of individual action and the consequences of aggregation. Empirical research involving these approaches in areas of substantive sociological interest such as social class, religion, the family, and politics.
  • Political Sociology (198C): This tutorial looks at the study of the social basis of political competition (including social cleavages and identities), social and political attitudes (including political culture), processes of political engagement and competition (including elections, proTest politics and the mass media), the social basis for the formation, change, and maintenance of political institutions (including democracy and welfare states). As a pre-requisite you should show knowledge of the political climate in two major industrial countries.
  • Sociology of Post-Industrial Societies (198C): The tutorial cultivates knowledge of the following aspects of the social structure of urban-industrial societies: occupation and economic structure; social stratification and mobility; education and the family; the social significance of gender and ethnicity; the social structure of religion; the social context of politics and the impact on society of the state. As a prerequisite Oxford undergraduates are expected to have knowledge of modern Britain and at least one other industrial society. However, Stanford students can use this tutorial to learn more about British society if they have knowledge of two other industrialized countries.
  • Sociological Theory (196C): This tutorial investigates a variety of theoretical perspectives on social life. Some perspectives examine how social structures are built up from individual action, whether driven by evolutionary psychology, decided by rational choice, or motivated by meaningful values. Others identify the emergent properties of social life, ranging from face-to-face interaction to social networks to structures of thought. You will use these perspectives to investigate substantive problems. What explains the persistence of gender inequality? Why do social norms change? How do some groups manage to solve problems of collective action? Throughout, you will learn how the insights of classical sociologists are being advanced in contemporary research.