A student in a lab coat cutting DNA
Cutting DNA bands from an agarose gel in the laboratory
(Image Credit: Laurynas Pliuskys / Graduate Photography Competition)

Pilot selection procedure: Medical Sciences research courses

About

This page provides information about the continuing pilot to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure all candidates are evaluated fairly, for entry in the 2022-23 academic year.

Courses

The information provided on this page applies to the following courses:

This list will continue to be updated as courses are opened to accept applications. Please check back regularly for updates. 

Motivation

We believe that science is best done by a diverse and inclusive team, in which all members are valued, and in a supportive and positive research culture. Our philosophy is that embracing and supporting diversity in all forms will lead to a collaborative research culture in which science and scientists can flourish.

Inspired by discussions with our students and our scientific communities, and by initial measures piloted in the 2020-21 academic year, we are continuing to explore actions aimed at better contextualising our admissions procedures for graduate students while minimising conscious and unconscious bias. These actions are informed by the Wellcome Trust report on research culture and ongoing efforts by UKRI in equality, diversity, and inclusion. These actions have evolved from previous initiatives, and will continue to evolve as we learn and develop more effective ways to oppose actively discrimination of all forms.

What actions are we taking?

Standardised selection criteria

Standardised selection criteria will be be used for shortlisting for interviews, and for shortlisting for awards from the Medical Sciences Graduate School Studentship Competition 2022. The courses listed above will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated ability to contribute scientifically taking career stage into account. For example, evidence of research experience and ability (eg participation in research projects, references from project supervisor(s), presentations given, contributions to publications) and either:
    • Statement of purpose with a clearly articulated and persuasive rationale for the choice of project(s)/programme;  or
    • Research proposal which clearly and persuasively demonstrates the importance of the work they are planning to do and their vision for completing it successfully.
    If a candidate has experience of public engagement or outreach work this may also be relevant.
  2. Academic achievement given their stage of study and taking into account various indicators of academic excellence. Contextual and other data which help to guide the selection of applications include:
    • Level of opportunity
    • References
    • Any awards/prizes/scholarships received
    • Relevant working experience
    • Notable extracurricular achievements.

Consideration of socio-economic data

For the courses listed above, we will take into consideration socio-economic data in the selection of applications. Further details can be found in the Socio-economic data section of this page.

Use of a standard CV format

For the courses listed above, we will ask you to fill out an online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. Further details, including instructions for accessing the form and submitting your standard CV, can be found in the Standardised CV form section of this page.

Selection of offer holders for college places

The changes apply to the departmental selection procedure only. The college selection procedure has not been amended, and will be undertaken in the same way as for any other courses within the University.

Collection of socio-economic data

The University currently collects a range of socio-economic data from candidates who apply for graduate study. This information is used to understand the demographics of those applying and of candidates who are offered places, but it is not available to assessors.

We would like to use these data to contextualise our shortlisting and decision-making processes. Academic assessors will be enabled to do this by the use of a flagging system similar to that used for United Kingdom applicants for undergraduate admissions.

By better understanding your socio-economic background, we can better understand the challenges that you have had in your education to date.

Standardised CV form

We will ask you to fill out an online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. This form will request the same information from all applicants, and will provide this information to the assessors in an identical format. This allows us to ensure that we are comparing all applicants fairly, as we will ensure that we have the information that we require from everyone, rather than leaving it to chance that this is included on your CV.

Our assessors will see this information in the same format, meaning that they will be able to compare this information more easily, and not be influenced by differences in CV formatting. The aim of this process is to allow us to focus on the key objective pieces of information that will help us to assess your academic merit, potential, and suitability in the shortlisting procedure.

Instructions for submitting your CV

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. You will need to upload a standardised CV to the graduate application form as part of your application. This standardised CV should be generated using the online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. Once you have completed the form, you will have 15 minutes to download your CV as a PDF document. 

This PDF document will be in the same format for all applicants and you should not modify the document before you upload it, or submit your CV in a different format. 

Full instructions and a link to the standard CV creation form are provided on the Medical Sciences Division website. The instructions page contains links to example clinical and non-clinical CVs, with details of what to include and suggested answer formats.

If you require help or advice while generating your CV using the online form, please contact the Medical Sciences Graduate School for assistance (graduate.school@medsci.ox.ac.uk).