DPhil in Paediatrics | University of Oxford
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DPhil in Paediatrics

About the course

The DPhil in Paediatrics provides opportunities for study in a broad range of basic, translational and clinical science related to child health including major strengths in developmental immunology and haematology, infectious disease, vaccines, neuroscience and gastroenterology.

Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them identify the most suitable course and supervisors.

You will develop generic research skills by making use of a range of research training and skills development offered by the medical sciences division, alongside direction by your supervisor in specific research methods in relation to your project. You are encouraged to develop a literature review in your first year and to attend courses in manuscript and thesis writing and in presentation skills. At the heart of the skills provision are regular group meetings and the annual departmental Research Day where you will present and develop your research ideas and proposals with the benefit of feedback and support from your peers.

You will join one of the department's research groups with primary supervision provided by faculty members in one of the department's laboratory or clinical research facilities, and you will become part of a vibrant research community both within the department and in the wider University.

Formal assessment of progress will be made at three points during the course: transfer of status, confirmation of status which traditionally takes place at the Departmental Annual Research Day held each summer and then final thesis examination.

Graduate destinations

Alumni from the DPhil in Paediatrics include clinicians and scientists who have pursued diverse careers, now populating senior academic and clinical posts in universities around the world.

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

Entrance is very competitive. 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 subject relevant to the research project you are applying to.

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.

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. Interviews usually take place in January and there will be a minimum of three academics on the interview panel. Candidates will be either interviewed in person or via Skype in the case of overseas applicants

Publications

Applicants who have evidence of scientific publication on their application are at an advantage

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Preference may be given to those who have previously studied in an appropriate scientific research discipline.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the standard 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 Department of Paediatrics 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 Department of Paediatrics 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 Department of Paediatrics.

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.

It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.

Facilities

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine

The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) fosters research in molecular and cell biology with direct application to the study of human disease. The WIMM is the location for the developmental immunology and haematology research groups in the Department.

Peter Medawar Building

The Peter Medawar Building houses an inter-disciplinary research consortium which investigates pathogen diversity through a combination of experimental and theoretical approaches, with links to two University divisions: Medical Sciences, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences. This is the location for the HIV research group.

Oxford Vaccine Group, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM)

The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) is located in CCVTM which is a purpose built space for research in vaccinology and tropical medicine. The facility includes fully-equipped modern Containment Level 2 and 3 laboratories for the design, development and clinical testing of vaccines. Facilities are designed to accommodate multi-disciplinary working across microbiology, immunology, and molecular techniques in proximity to clinical expertise and trial patients/volunteers.

Paediatric Nutrition Research Group Laboratories

The two Paediatric Nutrition Research Group Laboratories are located in the neonatal unit. One is a visual function laboratory to study the development of visual pathways in brain-damaged infants following neurotropic supplementation of their diets. The second is a body composition laboratory which house an air displacement plethysmography used to validate new techniques derived from 3-D ultrasound measures of body composition in new-born infants.

Library services

Bodleian Health Care Libraries provides services to the staff and students of the University of Oxford, mainly in clinical medicine, and to the staff of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. There are over 20,000 books and over 550 journal titles in the Bodleian Health Care Libraries.

IT resources

The Medical Sciences Division IT services provide Information Technology services, support and advice to the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division. It operates and manages data networks and networked services for the division's departments located on the Oxford Hospital Sites (John Radcliffe, Churchill, Warneford and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre), the Old Road Campus in Headington, and parts of the Science Area in the centre of Oxford.

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 strongly encouraged to contact a potential supervisor(s) before applying. You should also communicate with the department in order to refine your application before submitting, especially where scholarships are involved.

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:
Up to two pages

The research proposal should cover areas such as the background to your research, methodology, expected results and the contribution to the field of learning.

The overall page count should include any bibliography. 

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the originality of the project
  • evidence of motivation for and 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 for the course (a maximum of 4 years)
  • 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.

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.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all of which must be 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.

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