DPhil in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine | University of Oxford
Experiment
Analysing the results of an experiment
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DPhil in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine

About the course

The IITM DPhil programme provides integrated training in infection and immunology, and how fundamental research can be translated into benefits for human health. The course provides outstanding opportunities for research in basic mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, immune and inflammatory responses to infection, and the development of drugs and vaccines. 

The first year comprises three laboratory rotations in different disciplines, and access to extensive training courses and support. There is then a three-year period to undertake research towards your DPhil.

Students benefit by performing research with world-leading scientists in excellent facilities, and training in state-of-the-art techniques for studying infectious disease and immunology.

Applicants are advised to visit the course webpage for further information about supervisors associated with this course.

The course is integrated around three themes:

  • immunology
  • infection
  • translational medicine

In the first year you will undergo three 12-week laboratory rotations and a series of training courses relevant to your work. You will be advised on your choice of courses and laboratory rotation to help tailor an individual student package.

In the second year you will initiate your DPhil project from the large number of projects available; a list of participating supervisors is available on the course webpage. This choice will be aided by your exposure to potential DPhil supervisors and scientific areas during the first year. Programme directors will also guide you through this process.

You will present your work from your three rotations to the management committee. Each rotation will be assessed in a different format.  The first rotation will involve an oral presentation, the second a poster presentation and the third rotation a written report. There is no formal progression mark towards the final three years; however you have to write a small grant proposal at the end of the rotation year. 

In your second year you will write a literature review on a selected topic. Many of these reviews have been published in scientific literature. You will be required to meet standard University milestones for progress and will be monitored formally via supervisor feedback forms submitted three times per year.

Graduate destinations

Most graduates from this programme continue in academic research in prestigious laboratories worldwide.

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 biological science subject.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

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.

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

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.  

Applications are reviewed by a panel of academics associated with the course. A shortlist of applicants is confirmed, based on assessment of achieved or predicted undergraduate degree grade, academic references, personal statement and CV. It is expected that the ratio of interviewed applicants to places will be approx. 5:1.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend interviews in Oxford. The interview panel will include at least three academics. The interview will last approximately 30 minutes and will include a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation of work you have performed for a project or dissertation, followed by 20 minutes of scientific and general questions.

Applicants from outside Europe are normally interviewed by phone, unless they are in Europe at the time of interview.

Applicants attending interviews will usually have the opportunity to meet current students.

Publications

Whilst not required, publications demonstrating previous research success in a relevant field are likely to advantage a candidate’s application. 

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Research or working experience in a relevant field may be an advantage.

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 Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre 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 Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre 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 Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre.

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

You will have access to:

  • experimental facilities, as appropriate to your research
  • IT support from both the Dunn School of Pathology (or research project host department) and University IT Services
  • library services such as the Radcliffe Science Library and the Cairns Library.

The provision of project-specific resources will be agreed with the relevant supervisor during the planning stages for the research project.

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.

Full funding opportunities are available for all Medical Sciences Graduate School programmes, whatever your nationality. The Medical Sciences Graduate School website provides further details of these, as well as information about external funding opportunities.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
c. £4,250£3,021c. £7,271
Overseas£19,335£3,021£22,356

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

There are no compulsory elements of this programme that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs.  However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur 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 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.

How to apply

You are welcome to contact potential supervisors associated with the course before you apply but this is not required.

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.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
Up to three pages

The personal statement should be written in English and should focus on your interest in, and experience of this research field (rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations). A research proposal is not required.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques
  • capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, generally academic

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 should generally be academic, though professional references are acceptable if they are relevant to the course.

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

When you complete your application, please give the following answers where requested.

About your course: Proposed field and title of research project

As you do not need to select a project before you apply, please enter 'DPhil in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine'.

About your course: Proposed supervisor name

Please leave this field blank.

Funding: Departmental studentship applications

Answer 'no' to the question of whether you are applying to a specific studentship.