The Oxford Q-Step Centre
The University of Oxford was selected to be one of the first universities to have a Q-Step centre. It is hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations, in association with the Department of Sociology.
The main aim of the nationwide Q-Step initiative and therefore of the Oxford Q-Step Centre (OQC) is to allow students of social sciences to graduate with a good understanding of quantitative approaches and a solid set of data-analytical skills. Accordingly, and since 2014, OQC has provided undergraduates in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) and History & Politics (HP) and students in Human Sciences with enhanced training in Quantitative Methods, through lectures and data-labs. Furthermore, a compulsory quantitative methods component is now included in the BA degrees in PPE and HP.
Beyond developing the teaching of quantitative methods at Oxford, OQC works to encourage individual research projects. Third year politics students have the possibility to write a dissertation applying quantitative methods supervised by one of our academic staff members. In 2020, we launched the Undergraduate Research Support Grant Scheme, to help students in the undertaking of social science research, either for their dissertation, or as part of a self-designed internship. We are also collaborating with the University's Careers Service to provide Oxford students with internship opportunities involving applying and expanding their data analytical skills.
For more information about what we do for Oxford students
OQC also aims to share its resources in quantitative skills training widely. Over the years, we have participated in and held workshops for several outreach programmes for schools, teachers and prospective students such as UNIQ, Target Oxbridge or the ESRC Festival of Social Science. We have also run essay competitions for Year 12 students. In addition, we organised one-week Quantitative Methods Summer Schools for undergraduates from other UK universities in 2017 and 2018.
For more information about our outreach events
The management and coordination of OQC and its activities is provided through a two-tier governance structure that ensures broad buy-in across the Social Sciences Division and into the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford. The OQC governance structure consists of a cross-divisional Steering Group which meets once a term and sets the overarching strategy and the high-level objectives, and an Executive Management Committee which meets once a term and is responsible for monitoring progress and for making the major decisions needed to run the centre. The current director of Q-Step is Spyros Kosmidis.