The 2020 CESS/Essex Summer School will take place from 3 – 14 August. The Summer School provides students with a thorough introduction to experimental methods. Instructors from CESS and beyond will cover different modules and two exceptional lecturers with varied research backgrounds will give talks on topics related to social science experiments. Students will have the opportunity to work with the popular experiment programming software oTree, and present their own work for discussion and feedback

Course modules

Random Control Trials and Social Policy Evaluation

Description TBC.

Lab experiment design and programming

In the lab experiments module, students will be given an overview of the promises and challenges of designing and running lab experiments.Specific topics covered will include a discussion of how the lab differs from other social science experimental settings, the lines between the lab and the field, and questions about external validity and generalising beyond the lab.

Causal inference and experimental design

This module provides an introduction to features of experimental design for causal inference. The module introduces the potential outcomes framework and covers randomisation methods and statistical inference under different experimental design.

Online experiments, Machine Learning and MRP

An introduction to online experiments, machine learning and MRP.

Student presentations

Students will be given opportunities to present their own work and receive feedback from instructors and lecturers.


Attendance Fees

£1,000 Fees include the tuition, only including the cost of all essential course support material.


The 2-week course will be held at Nuffield College Centre for Experimental Social Science (CESS). CESS has a fully-equipped experimental laboratory which will be an integral part of the Summer School instruction.

Accommodation is available from Oxford Colleges and also from Oxford area hotels and hostels. Participants are responsible for arranging this individually. A number of accommodation options including rooms in University of Oxford colleges are listed at the following links:

It is highly recommended that students book their accommodation as early as possible since College accommodation is in high demand during the summer period. Please also note that travel costs are not covered by the tuition fee. As with accommodation, participants have to make travel arrangements individually.

Accepted participants will receive a detailed programme and syllabus ahead of the Summer School.