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Studying at Nuffield College

Students are given by the Faculty Board a University Supervisor who has principal responsibility for the student's studies. The University Supervisor is often a Fellow of Nuffield, but is not necessarily so. The main objective in the selection of the University Supervisor is to provide the student with guidance from the person with the greatest expertise in the particular area of the student's interests. In addition, the College appoints a College Supervisor, who has special responsibility for the welfare of the student and who provides continuing academic assistance during the student's period in Nuffield.

Students thus benefit from a dual supervisory system that ensures a high level of support throughout their postgraduate studies.


Nuffield College has the largest number of sociologists of any college in Oxford, including the two University Chairs in Sociology.  The Sociology Group at Nuffield thus lies at the heart of Sociology in Oxford.  In addition to sociologists, the Sociology Group in Nuffield includes social statisticians, demographers, and social historians. The principal specialities of the Nuffield sociologists are medical sociology, political sociology, social networks, social stratification, the sociology of labour markets, family sociology, pro-social behaviour, and sociology of religion. The group is particularly strong in the development and empirical testing of middle-range social-science theories.
The main taught courses are the one-year MScs in Sociology, Comparative Social Policy, and Economic and Social History. There are also two-year MPhil courses in these subjects. Many students go on from these taught courses to doctoral research.
Other students enter directly into the DPhil (PhD) program and undertake appropriate coursework before moving on to their research.
Applications are also welcome from students in related areas such as social geography, demography, epidemiology and social psychology.
The small size of the College enables students to work closely with each other and with the Fellows of the College in a stimulating and research-orientated environment. All students receive an office in College, and many also reside in College.
Visiting Students
One or two visiting students in Sociology, working for PhDs in other universities, may also be admitted for a maximum of one year. Applications should be submitted at least two terms in advance of the proposed visit.
If you have any questions about visiting student status, please contact

 Research interests

The research interests in sociology of permanent Fellows of the College include:
Bob Allen  History of economic growth and inequality; environmental history; technological change; public policy
Francesco Billari  Demography; life course; family and fertility; comparative social research; social statistics; agent-based modelling.
Erzsebet Bukodi  Social mobility, educational inequalities, life-course research, transition to adulthood, cross-national comparative research.
Nan Dirk de Graaf  Political sociology; Class, educational attainment & health; Cultural sociology; Religion and secularization; Pro-social behaviour.
Geoff Evans  Political sociology: class, inequality, & politics; measuring social attitudes & perceptions; ethno-political divisions; transitions to democracy.

Ray Fitzpatrick  Medical sociology. Interests include the evaluation of health care, the measurement of patient satisfaction, health status and quality of life.


Duncan Gallie  Research on the quality of work; attitudes to social inequality; the social implications of unemployment.

Diego Gambetta (currently on leave at EUI, Florence) Analytical Sociology, Mafias, Signalling Theory and Applications, Trust and Mimicry, Violent Extremists.
Jan O. Jonsson  Social stratification in general; educational inequality; social mobility; ethnic inequality and integration; poverty; child wellbeing.
Colin Mills  Social inequality, social mobility, social demography, historical social mobility, social measurement.

Christiaan Monden  Family sociology; social demography; social inequalities; social variations in health and mortality.


Tom Snijders  Statistical inference for network dynamics; Exponential random graph models; joint modelling of social influence and social selection.


 Research topics


Research topics chosen by Sociology students at Nuffield vary from one cohort to the next. Recent thesis titles in Sociology include:

D Phil

Social Inequalities and participation in Higher Education in Britain
The Impact of Social Stratification and Economic Inequality on Individuals' Health: An Analysis of Great Britain and Spain
Enclosures in Scotland: An Economic Analysis of Institutional change
Rational Choice Models of Female Employment and Fertility under Different Welfare Regimes
The Changing Nature of Family Formation in Ireland 1920-2000
The Determinants of Socio-Economic Differences Among Ethnic Groups in an Immigrant Absorbing Society: Israel 1972-2000
Early Childhood Intervention and Parent Involvement
Skill creation systems in a comparative perspective: Germany, Denmark and the UK
The Effect of Social Policy Transformation on Resource-Based Gender Inequalities: the Hungarian Experience in Comparative Perspective
Theories of Low Fertility and Childnessness: Towards a New Synthesis
Labour Market Flexibilisation: Qualities of Employment, Equalities of Outcome
Unpacking the Class Effect: A Study into the Mechanisms Sustaining Social Class Stability
The Changing Experience of the Self-Employment in Britain, 1986-2001
Beliefs about Gender Inequality: A Comparison of Great Britain and Russia
Towards Segmented Assimilation or Second-Generation Decline? Bangladeshi Youth in East London 
Last modified at 27/02/2015 13:09 by NUFFIELDCOLLEGE\Rachel.Dishington
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