Research excellence

The depth and breadth of our world-leading research

Grounded in Oxford’s long tradition of independent scholarship and academic freedom, Oxford social sciences deliver world leading research that continues to challenge current ideas and theories and explore new ways of thinking and benefitting society. A core characteristic of our research is its global nature and significant impact both in academic and non-academic contexts. This gives a unique perspective to our research and places us at the heart of most social science debates. 

Research in social science at Oxford is distinctive in both its depth and breadth. Oxford has over 1,000 social science researchers, the largest grouping of social scientists in the UK, spread across 14 discipline-focused and interdisciplinary departments and units, and the Colleges. Our research combines rigorous and innovative quantitative methodologies and theoretical approaches using individual and collective experiences and actions. The quality and diversity of our research and researchers creates a virtuous circle, attracting the most talented students and researchers, allowing us to create an intellectually fertile environment for the next generation of world leaders. 

Our size and shape mean that we are well placed to respond, and contribute, to many of the challenges and themes emerging from funding bodies and government. In addition to our disciplinary strengths, we have critical mass in a number of areas of specialism, which include:

  • COVID-19
  • Climate change and resource management
  • Aid, poverty, and sustainable development
  • Big data and AI
  • Future of work and labour markets
  • Peace, justice, and governance
  • Family, education, and inequalities
  • Migration, population, and global health
  • Future cities, communities, and heritage
  • Global economic management and business regulation

Research collaborations

The unique combination of the breadth and depth of our research, initiatives made possible by key donations, and the collegiate structure, provide significant opportunities for individual scholars in narrow areas of specialism to collaborate with other world leaders to form multi- and interdisciplinary research groups and centres with strong multi-institutional collaborations and partnerships that engage with the outside world. In this way, Oxford’s social science researchers are ideally placed to push new multi-and interdisciplinary boundaries and explore cutting-edge research.

Discover news and stories of research collaborations from across the Social Sciences Division below:

Global research excellence

Use the interactive map below to explore some highlights from our research projects around the world:

High-quality research support and advice 

Our approach to supporting research across the Social Sciences Division has been highly successful in the last ten years, with the volume of research awards continuing to rise and the development of a large number of research centres and groupings. Researchers at Oxford receive significant support and guidance in the development of their research, including career development, research and impact funding, research project design and management, and research outputs from academic and administrative colleagues across the University, division and departments. 

If you are a researcher at Oxford, please visit our Support for Researchers page to find out more.


Who can help me?

If you are interested to learn more about research from Oxford's Social Sciences Division, or about opportunities to collaborate with our researchers, please get in touch below: