The Richard Doll building against a blue sky
The Richard Doll building, housing many of the University's research laboratories, offices and support spaces for the Medical Sciences Division
(Image credit: Rob Judges / Oxford University Images)

Pilot selection procedure: Medical Sciences taught courses


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.


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.

The information provided on this page applies to all courses taking part in the selection pilot that are listed below (unless indicated otherwise).

Courses taking part in the selection pilot

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

What actions are we taking?

We will be:

  1. using standardised selection criteria for shortlisting interviews and for shortlisting awards from the Medical Sciences Graduate School Studentship Competition 2022; and
  2. taking into consideration socio-economic data as part of the shortlisting and decision-making process.

The academic selection criteria used for shortlisting and selection at interview are listed on the individual course pages that can be accessed through the course links above.

What do these things mean and why are we taking these actions?

Standardised selection criteria

Standardised selection criteria will 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.

Use of collected socio-economic data

For the courses taking part in the selection pilot, we will take into consideration the socio-economic data collected in the graduate application form, where it has been provided, for the assessment of applications. Further details can be found in the Socio-economic data 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.