About the course
You will spend up to four years in one of the department's many research groups, working on a project supervised by the group's principal investigator. During this period you will have the opportunity to take part in the comprehensive training programme organised for graduate students.
After a very short induction period of one or two weeks, during which some basic training is provided, you will start a research project in your supervisor’s laboratory.
There are a number of key stages in the research programme.
- Within a month of starting, you will meet with your supervisor and graduate advisor to finalise your project and agree on an initial programme of research.
- Within the first three months, you will complete an analysis of your training needs with your supervisor.
- Within the first six months you are expected to complete a literature review on a topic relating to your area of research.
- After one year you will apply to transfer to DPhil status. (See Assessment)
- You will apply to confirm your DPhil status by the end of your third year. (See Assessment)
- The final stage is submission of your DPhil thesis, which needs to be done within four years.
Most laboratories have weekly meetings where members present and discuss their research results with other members of the laboratory. You will also regularly present your work in progress seminars, which are attended by other research groups working in related areas. Further support is available from your college advisor.
Whilst working on your research project you will participate in a comprehensive, flexible skills training programme which includes a range of workshops and seminars in transferable skills, generic research skills and specific research techniques. There are also numerous seminars and lectures by local and visiting scientists and you are provided with many opportunities to meet leading scientists.
There are a wide range of events organised for DPhil students. All students participate in an annual graduate students' symposium, which is attended by the entire department. Student contributions are carefully evaluated and prizes are awarded to the best posters or presentations in each year.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology.
You will be supervised by a team that includes your main supervisor, a graduate advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Your graduate adviser will usually be another experienced principal investigator in the department. Your supervisor may appoint a senior member of the laboratory as your day-to-day supervisor. Most laboratories have weekly meetings where members present and discuss their research results with other members of the laboratory. You will also regularly present your work in progress seminars, which are attended by other research groups working in related areas. Further support is available from your college advisor.
There are two formal assessments that need to be passed before you are able to submit your DPhil Thesis.
In Oxford all research students start out holding probationary research student (PRS) status.
You need to transfer to DPhil status within 4 terms (about 15 months). To do this you write a report describing your research to date and plans for the future. This will be assessed by two independent experts, who interview you as part of the process.
You need to confirm your DPhil status within 3 years. This involves writing a short progress report and thesis outline and giving a presentation. The application is assessed by two experts.
The final stage is submission of your DPhil thesis, which needs to be done within four years. This is assessed by two experts in the field, one of whom is external to Oxford. The assessment includes an interview or viva.
The majority of graduates from the DPhil in Molecular Cell Biology in Health and Disease (previously the DPhil in Pathology) pursue research careers in academic institutions or industry. Graduates also pursue careers in management (in pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies), consulting, law, teaching, with science funding organisations, charities and in scientific publishing.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
Oxford has a distinctive collegiate structure. Students and academics benefit from belonging both to the University, a large, internationally-renowned institution, and to a college or hall, a small, interdisciplinary academic community.
The colleges and halls
There are 38 Oxford colleges, which are financially independent and self-governing, but relate to the central University in a kind of federal system. There are also six permanent private halls, which are similar to colleges except that they tend to be smaller, and were founded by particular Christian denominations. The colleges and halls are close academic communities, which bring together students and researchers from different disciplines, cultures and countries. This helps to foster the outstanding research achievement that has made Oxford a leader in so many fields.
The colleges and the University work together to organise teaching and research, and many staff at Oxford will hold both a college and a University post.
If you are interested in undergraduate study at Oxford, please consult our information on colleges for prospective undergraduates.
Did you know?
- Oxford was ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2017 and 2018.
- There are nearly 24,000 students at Oxford, including 11,747 undergraduates and 11,687 postgraduates.
- Oxford is very competitive: nearly 20,000 people applied for around 3,200 undergraduate places for entry in 2017. That means that Oxford receives, on average, more than 6 applications for each available place.
- The majority of Oxford’s UK undergraduates come from state schools. The latest figures show that, of places offered to UK applicants, over 58% of undergraduate places went to students from the state sector.
- Oxford offers more than 350 different graduate degree programmes.
- International students make up almost 43% of our total student body - over 10,000 students. Students come to Oxford from more than 150 countries and territories.
- According to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the official UK-wide assessment of all university research, Oxford has the largest volume of world-leading research in the country.
- The University, including the colleges and Oxford University Press, is the largest employer in Oxfordshire, supporting around more than 30,000 jobs in the county and injecting more than £2.3bn annually into the regional economy.
Opportunity is About:
Candidates should be from:
Description of Ideal Candidate:
All eligible applicants will be considered for this scholarship, regardless of which college (if any) you state as your preference on the graduate application form. However, successful applicants will be transferred to Lincoln College in order to take up the scholarship.
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any subject relevant to the proposed research project.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
A previous master's qualification is not required.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Research experience, such as an undergraduate research project and/or industry placement is very important. Most successful applicants will have relevant research experience.
- It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor(s).
- Publications are not required, but they do provide an advantage.
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's standard level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.
Deadline: January 22, 2021
Cost/funding for participants:
The scholarship for students covers course fees and an annual grant for living costs of at least £17,285. Awards are made for four years.