DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care | University of Oxford
DPhil EBHC
DPhil students in discussion
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DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care

About the course

The part-time DPhil programme considers applications from those who have already been awarded the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care. Applications may also be considered from students with a master's in a related subject. The part-time DPhil regulations require a minimum of four years' study, though taking six years is more common.

The DPhil follows on from the taught MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC) and is overseen by the University's Continuing Education Board. Admission is through the Department for Continuing Education.

Supervision is arranged to suit your DPhil topic and may involve staff from within the Medical Sciences Division as well as co-supervision with members of the Evidence-Based network.

The part-time DPhil is part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme, which is jointly run with the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences. The programme also works closely with the Centres of Evidence-Based Nursing, Evidence-Based Mental Health, and Evidence-Based Dentistry. You have access to the full range of Oxford's library and computing facilities.

The part-time DPhil regulations normally require a minimum of four years' part-time study, equivalent to two years' full-time, up to a maximum of eight years part-time study. If you are a research student you may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the department. In addition, you will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of your time will be to individual study and research.

If you are a research student you are also a member of the University with one of two statuses, depending on the stage of your research - Probationer Research Students (PRS) status, or DPhil student status.

Between each status, you must pass through a milestone assessment. To pass from PRS to DPhil, the milestone is the 'transfer of status'. Before submitting the thesis, you must pass the 'confirmation of status' milestone.

Graduate destinations

Most students commencing this programme are already in employment and continue their professional work alongside their doctoral research.

Completing a DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care enhances professional life and enables graduates to further their careers. Those who complete the doctoral programme will:

  • gain an evidence-based approach to their professional practice
  • have undertaken research training which will enable them to become independent researchers.

Related courses

Changes to the course

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. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a relevant subject.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

You will also have completed the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care, or equivalent qualification, and are expected to achieve an average of at least 70% across all components of the MSc.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Candidates who are shortlisted are normally interviewed as part of the admissions process. There will be a minimum of three academics on the interview panel; usually, only one of the interview panel can be a potential supervisor. The interviews will normally be conducted in person but can be conducted by Skype if necessary.

Candidates are usually asked to make a brief presentation followed by questions from the panel.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage a candidate’s application. 

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education 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 Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education.

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 sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals. 

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment. 

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students. 

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A range of scholarships are available to students on the programmes offered by the department, along with bursary funds to assist students on low incomes. Full information on these opportunities can be found on the departmental funding pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£7,880£1,511£9,391
Overseas£7,880£1,511£9,391

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Tuition and college fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees).

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

You must apply also for membership of a college. Most choose to become members of Kellogg College, which caters particularly for part-time mature students.

The following colleges accept students on the DPhil in Evidence Based Health Care:

How to apply

It is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor before you apply. 

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Research proposal:
Around two pages

You should provide a research proposal covering areas such as the background to your research and your aims, methodology, and expected results and contribution to the field of learning. This should be written in English and the overall page count should include any bibliography.

This will be assessed for:

  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the originality of the project
  • evidence of understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

Written work:
Two essays of 2,000 words each

Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible. 

It is not important that the written work relates closely to the proposed area of study. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.

This will be assessed for understanding of the subject area; ability to construct or defend an argument; powers of analysis; powers of expression.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and your ability to work in a group.

It is acceptable to submit professional references but personal references cannot be accepted.