The Bodleian, Sheldonian and Clarendon buildings at sunset
The Sheldonian and Bodleian at sunset
(Image credit: Sheng Peng (DPhil in Molecular and Cellular Medicine) / Graduate Photography Competition)

Doctor of Medicine (DM)

About the course

The Doctor of Medicine is a flexible, variable intensity, clinical research-based doctorate. You will pursue research that is in synergy with your medical practice. The degree will provide you with research skills, in-depth knowledge, understanding and expertise in your chosen field of research.

To apply to this course you must be medically-qualified (registered with the UK General Medical Council) and employed at the time of application at ST1 grade or above (including those who have completed their training) within the University of Oxford, in Primary Care within Oxfordshire or in an approved NHS Trust (see Entry requirements).

The Doctor of Medicine is a highly distinctive degree. It is flexible enough to allow you to study part-time for some parts of your degree and full-time for others, to balance time for Doctor of Medicine degree work with your professional duties (milestones will be set accordingly).

Your Doctor of Medicine project will be in synergy with your clinical work, but may be undertaken across the whole spectrum of medical science from basic biology to clinical therapies. Prior work, judged to be of adequate academic rigour and coherence with the Doctor of Medicine project by the Doctor of Medicine committee, may be included in your thesis.

At the start of the course, you will be placed in a host department within the University's Medical Sciences Division depending on the match between your research and the departmental expertise. Your admission to the Doctor of Medicine degree will be overseen by the Doctor of Medicine committee. At the commencement of the degree you will be expected to establish a clear work plan and timeline for your research.

You will be encouraged to attend lectures and seminars related to your programme of research and make the most of the doctoral training and research methods provision available across the Medical Sciences Division. The aim is to tailor this training to individual needs and bring all students up to a satisfactory level in background knowledge. Your later training is focused on the skills required for a successful career in independent clinical research.

You will need to ensure that your available time for study not only allows your research to progress but also permits you to attend any training that may be necessary for your research (or desirable for the development of transferable skills).

As an alternative route to undertaking research work, the Doctor of Medicine committee may, exceptionally, permit applicants to present an integrated thesis with an introduction and conclusion, drawing together a series of publications that represent a substantial body of original research, and submit this to be considered for the award of the degree.

In exceptional cases, if progress towards the Doctor of Medicine degree is inadequate, students may be admitted to study for the MSc by Research degree following initial assessment for Transfer of Status from probationary to DM status (see the Assessment section below for further details).

Doctor of Medicine students will be exempt from residency requirements. These are replaced by the employment requirements which are deemed to allow access to appropriate supervisory arrangements.


The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Medical Sciences Board's Doctor of Medicine committee and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.

You will be expected to propose supervisors at the point of application. The Doctor of Medicine committee will adjudicate on their suitability and where necessary appoint co-supervisors in liaison with departmental Directors of Graduate Studies.

It is anticipated that you will meet monthly or termly with your supervisor, depending on the intensity of study you are undertaking and the relationship between the research project and your clinical environment.


Students will be admitted to the course as a Probationer Research Student (PRS) and will transfer to the status of Doctor of Medicine student after successfully completing their Transfer of Status milestone. Students will subsequently be assessed for their Confirmation of Status milestone. The timing of relevant milestones will be established when a workplan is agreed at the commencement of this course of study. Assessment as having made inadequate progress at Transfer of Status may result in registration instead for the degree of MSc by Research.

Doctor of Medicine students must submit a thesis not exceeding 50,000 words that details the original research they have undertaken in the context of their overall field of study.   

At the end of the programme, Doctor of Medicine students will produce a written thesis, followed by an oral examination based on both this and a broader knowledge of their chosen area of research.

Graduate destinations

All Doctor of Medicine students will be medical graduates currently employed in clinical positions, and as such will already be highly employable. However, obtaining a Doctor of Medicine degree is likely to further enhance their professional standing and open up a range of opportunities as clinical academics. The return to clinical practice after completing a research degree is an important time in determining the future career path for clinical trainees. For all, research experience will enhance and refresh their professional practice. For many, there will also be a question of how best to retain their research activity and status. Oxford has a proven track record of developing clinical academics through the Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School.

Changes to this course and your supervision

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. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

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 illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.


Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:

  • an undergraduate degree with honours in Medicine; and
  • ongoing registration with the UK General Medical Council.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

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

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • To apply to this course you must be medically-qualified (registered with the UK General Medical Council) and employed at the time of application at ST1 grade or above (including those who have completed their training) within the University of Oxford, in Primary Care within Oxfordshire or in an approved NHS Trust from the following list:
    • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
    • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
    • Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
    • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
    • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
    • Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
    • Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
    • Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Evidence of excellence in the area of clinical practice that is in synergy with the research project will be an advantage. 
  • Relevant experience  in the area of clinical practice that is in synergy with the research project will be a pre-requisite.
  • Relevant publications will be an advantage to all applicants.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor and have an understanding of the background to the proposed area of study.
  • Candidates for the Doctor of Medicine degree who are post-graduate doctors in training will need to arrange their research workplan in conjunction with the relevant authorities overseeing their clinical training (Health Education England/NHS England) and where appropriate arrange to have a period of time 'Out of Programme'.
  • Candidates for the Doctor of Medicine degree, whether in training or in substantive posts, will need to make appropriate arrangements with their employers to ensure they have enough flexibility in their clinical duties to undertake this programme of research successfully.     

English language proficiency

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's standard level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's standard level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's standard level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.06.5

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'

(Institution code: 0490)

100Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*185176
C2 Proficiency185176

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.

Declaring extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.


You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

The timetable for the majority of interviews will be aligned as closely as possible with recruitment for postgraduate research courses in the Medical Sciences Division. Interviews may be held on termly basis if the course remains open to applications after the March deadline.

By preference, interviews will be conducted in person, but when this is not possible interviews will be conducted online. Normally the interview will consist of a seven-minute presentation of the proposed project, supervisory arrangements and workplan by the applicant, followed by 15-25 minutes of questioning from the panel. There will usually be a minimum of two to three academics on the interview panel.

Supporting documents will be considered as part of the interview shortlisting process and the assessment criteria for these can be found in the How to apply section of this page. Questions arising from the Doctor of Medicine committee's deliberations on your application may be directed to you for a response (eg requesting clarification about the methods, sample size, the extent of the applicant’s role, etc) either in writing or as part of the interview process.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements described under that heading.

References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Initiatives to improve access to graduate study

This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly.

For this course, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about processing special category data for the purposes of positive action and using your data to assess your eligibility for funding, can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

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

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

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

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.


As a Doctor of Medicine student, you will be based in one of the constituent departments of the University's Medical Sciences Division. The Medical Sciences Division is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for biomedical and clinical research and teaching, and the largest academic division in the University of Oxford. World-leading programmes, housed in state-of-the-art facilities, cover the full range of scientific endeavour from molecular to population levels. With our NHS partners we also foster the highest possible standards in patient care.

Departments offering this course

As a Doctor of Medicine student, you will be based in one of the constituent departments of the University's Medical Sciences Division. All of the Division’s departments are in receipt of Athena SWAN awards that recognise advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.

This course is offered by the following departments:

Department of Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry comprises over 45 research groups and around 400 researchers and support staff, including more than 100 graduate students.

Oxford's Department of Biochemistry is a vibrant research and teaching department and benefits from state-of-the-art research facilities in its stunning purpose-built building occupied since 2008.

Research in the department is very broad and encompasses all aspects of modern molecular and cellular biochemistry, from atomic resolution biophysics to cell biology and imaging. The quality of research is outstanding, as demonstrated by an impressive publications output and the international standing of many of the department's researchers.

Research students reading for their DPhil or MSc by Research in the Department of Biochemistry are admitted to one of several programmes, either by the department or one of Oxford’s Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs).

Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine (NDM) is a large multi-disciplinary department that links high quality clinical and basic research. The underpinning motivation behind all research carried out by NDM is the pursuit of academic excellence and the positive impact of research on the health and wellbeing of the global community.

Much of the £130 million per annum grant income is spent on understanding the most basic principles of biology and disease pathogenesis. As well as its research and clinical commitments in Oxford, the department has Africa and Asia programmes in Thailand, Vietnam and Kenya.

The NDM has a community of around 60 graduate research students each year, the majority of whom are studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree, which is the University of Oxford's equivalent of a PhD. The department also offers an MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine, an MSc in Modelling for Global Health and an MSc in Genomic Medicine, each with an intake of around 20 students every year, plus a PGDip in Global Health Research. The Careers Service at Oxford University reports that six months after leaving Oxford, postgraduate research students at NDM are on average earning £31,000 with 83.8% in employment and a further 11% in further study (eg Graduate Entry Medicine).

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) comprises more than 500 staff including over 150 graduate students. The DPhil and the MSc (Res) in Clinical Neurosciences cover all areas of the research carried out in the department.

NDCN was formed in November 2010 and incorporates the Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, the Division of Clinical Neurology, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit, the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology (which also houses sleep medicine research) and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging.

The department usually admits over 30 postgraduate research students per year, from both scientific and clinical backgrounds. Each research student will work on a specified research project with close supervision from one or more of the department’s principal investigators and their teams, and become part of a vibrant research community both within the department and the wider University. The department's sleep medicine course admits c. 15-20 postgraduate taught students per year across the MSc, PGDip and standalone modular routes.

Department of Experimental Psychology

The Department of Experimental Psychology has a thriving graduate community. As a graduate student in the department, you will receive advanced training in psychological methods and theory, and gain hands-on research experience under the supervision of world-class academic staff.

Research in the department is organised around five core themes — behavioural neuroscience, developmental psychology, perception and cognition, psychological and brain health, and social psychology—and extends into several cognate areas. Research facilities in the department include labs for behavioural testing, EEG and brain stimulation, infant research including eye-tracking and EEG, and neuropsychological patient testing.

Through its links with departments and centres across the University, the department also enjoys excellent access to fMRI, MEG, genetic testing, and animal testing facilities.

The department recognises the vital contribution of graduate students to its research and teaching and strives to create a competitive and supportive programme to develop and challenge students. You would be encouraged to participate in training within the department and wider university, and to attend invited lectures and seminars by leading scientists from across the world, to complement the close supervision on your chosen topic received within your home lab.

Radcliffe Department of Medicine

The Radcliffe Department of Medicine (RDM) is a large multi-disciplinary department with research interests that span the translational spectrum, from basic biological research through to clinical application. 

The department offers one DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy) degree, which is the University of Oxford equivalent to a PhD. The DPhil in Medical Sciences covers all areas of RDM research. In keeping with the department’s focus on translational research, applications are welcomed from both basic scientists and clinicians for this programme.

The department has a community of around 150 students, the vast majority of whom are studying for a DPhil. A DPhil typically lasts three to four years, depending on the project and the student. The department has considerable experience supervising clinicians who hold three-year fellowships and tailors research projects for such students accordingly. 

You will be admitted directly onto a research project with one of RDM’s world-leading scientists, who will act as your supervisor. 

Department of Oncology

The Department of Oncology has an established graduate training programme for science graduates and clinical research fellows under the leadership of Professor Mark Middleton.

It is one of the largest departments in the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division. It houses over 400 staff and graduate students, both clinical and non-clinical, and brings together research and clinical groups from across Oxford who are based at the Old Road Campus Research Building (ORCRB), the Radiobiology Research Institute (RRI), the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine (WIMM) and the NHS Cancer and Haematology Centre.

The Department of Oncology offers promising graduates a broad range of multidisciplinary and translational cancer research projects. As a result, its graduates come from a wide range of scientific backgrounds, including biology, medicine, engineering, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The department prides itself on supporting and training the next generation of world leaders in cancer research to ensure its research continues over the long term.

The department ethos is to improve treatment of cancer patients by harnessing Oxford University’s scientific research prowess and translating this into an impactful benefit to cancer patients through our own clinical trials. Working together to achieve this aim, we have renowned experts alongside cutting-edge scientists that collaborate across the university to understand the biology of cancer and how to best adopt new therapeutic strategies in medical and clinical oncology.

Research in the Department of Oncology is focused on the biology of cancer and how to translate discoveries into better treatments for patients. The department research strategy centres around the three core themes of DNA (including DNA damage, repair, and replication), cell and tissue biology (tumour microenvironment), and immuno-oncology (including cancer vaccines and virotherapy). Details of individual research groups which work within each of these themes can be found on the department website.

Department of Paediatrics

The Department of Paediatrics has major research interests in developmental immunology and haematology, infectious diseases of infancy and childhood, mucosal immunology, HIV infection and immune control, design, development and testing of vaccines, neuromuscular biology, the origins of childhood leukaemia, paediatric neuroimaging, and in paediatric molecular genetics.

As a graduate student, you will conduct research within an expanding department that has over 30 DPhil students and 270 members of staff including clinical practitioners, research scientists, support staff and academic visitors.

You will join one of our 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.

You will develop 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 as well as in presentation skills. At the heart of the skills provision are regular group meetings and the Annual Departmental Research Day where you will have the opportunity to present and develop your research ideas and proposals and gain feedback and support from your peers.

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology

Research at the Dunn School addresses the fundamental causes of human disease and the development of new approaches to therapy. 

The Dunn School is a world-class biomedical research department with an outstanding track record. Over 300 scientists from more than 30 countries aim to discover the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie human health and disease. Famous for the development of penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics, this is a dynamic, innovative, and growing department located in beautiful surroundings near the historic centre of Oxford.

The department offers students opportunities to do research in a wide range of areas, including cell biology, stem cells, development, infection, immunity, cancer and genome stability.

The department has around 70 graduate students at any one time, of whom at least half are from outside the UK. The department is large and well-funded, and able to offer graduate students plenty of space and outstanding facilities. Students benefit from the department's close proximity to colleges, libraries and other facilities in the University Science Area.

The department is very friendly and sociable with a popular central cafeteria and recreational area. The very enthusiastic graduate students’ association arranges many social activities, as well as science and networking events.

Department of Pharmacology

The Department of Pharmacology is one of the top preclinical departments in the country with excellent research and teaching facilities with a large and vibrant community of graduate students. Since 2019, the Department has been top of the QS World University Rankings for Pharmacy and Pharmacology.  

In the 2021 the Research Excellence Framework (REF), research from the Department of Pharmacology was submitted to Unit of Assessment UOA5 along with Biochemistry, Biology (Zoology/Plant Sciences), The Dunn School of Pathology and DPAG. Within UOA5, Oxford's submission had the largest volume of world-leading research (overall 4*x submitted FTE) and scored 100% 4* for Environment.

The department has over 50 DPhil students and around 25 MSc taught course students at any one time who enjoy outstanding facilities. Students also benefit from having close proximity to colleges, libraries and other facilities in the University Science Area.

The department has a very active graduate student association and a Pharmacology Society, which arranges talks and social activities.

Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics

The Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) is a major basic-science department within the Division of Medical Sciences.

The department offers top-quality advanced degrees, covering an extraordinarily wide range of specialised and interdisciplinary topics. These include molecular, cellular and integrative neuroscience, cardiovascular physiology, cellular and whole-body metabolism, functional genomics, neurobiology of sleep and circadian rhythms. 

DPAG is home to a large number of internationally-renowned teams of scientists addressing major questions in biomedicine, the answers to which will have a profound effect on modern biology. Crucially, DPAG thinks learning is just as important as research, and at the department's core lies a belief that a synthesis of the two is key to advancing our understanding. As such, DPAG works to provide outstanding opportunities for graduate students to enjoy cutting-edge training across a diverse range of state-of-the-art methodologies in leading laboratories in the field, to develop practical skills to excel in academia, industry, consulting, high-tech start-ups and have made outstanding achievements in a variety of career fields; from making ground-breaking discoveries into fundamental biological processes to translational contributions with real-life impacts.

Since the department's work is multidisciplinary and cross-cutting, researchers often work across more than one theme, as well as collaborating with colleagues in the physical sciences, life sciences and clinical departments across Oxford and elsewhere. It is hoped, the postgraduate students’ experiences in DPAG will help them to become the leaders in science of tomorrow, to communicate and employ their research in the wider world.

In parallel to research, DPAG staff undertake the majority of the pre-clinical teaching for the University's top-ranked medical degrees while the department's graduate courses also attract a wealth of international talent. Ultimately, the department is built on a desire to understand – its scientific research areas with a belief its students are the future of research.

Nuffield Department of Population Health

The Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) brings together over 500 staff from a number of world-leading research groups with the aim of reducing premature death and disability from human disease.

A number of world-renowned research groups and disciplines are part of the NDPH, including the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), Cancer Epidemiology Unit (CEU), National Perinatal Epidemiology Group (NPEU), Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) and Ethox. These groups are responsible for some of the world’s largest population cohorts and randomised trials, and produce highly-cited practice-changing research, which continues to have a major impact on international clinical management guidelines (eg on statins, aspirin, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, heart failure, serious childhood illness and infections).

The department offers three taught courses: the one-year taught MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology, the PG Certificate in Statistics and Epidemiology and the two-year distance learning MSc in Clinical Trials. The department also offers the DPhil in Population Health, offered full-time over three to four years and part-time over six to eight years.

Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

The University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has been one of the world's most important primary care centres for over 20 years.

Leading world-class research and training to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in general practice and other primary care settings, both across the UK and globally. Integrating evidence and innovation, its main research focus is on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of common illness, health services research and digital health.

Research is led by internationally renowned scientists; many of whom are practising GPs, but NDPCHS also has academics from a range of non-medical disciplines including the social sciences and humanities. The department covers the broad range of issues that you might expect to consult your GP about including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, infectious diseases and childhood illness, diet, smoking and cancer. It also focuses on understanding and improving the experiences of patients, utilising big data, developing digital health interventions and working internationally. 

The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has methodological expertise in clinical decision making and diagnostics, clinical epidemiology, medical statistics, modelling, qualitative research and the wider application of social science theory and methods to address practical and theoretical challenges in health and care settings. The department also has a dedicated in-house Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit.

The department is home to 14 of the National Institute for Health Research's 200 most prestigious and prominent researchers. These NIHR Senior Investigators contribute significantly to the health sciences as senior leaders, demonstrate research excellence and lead in training of the NIHR's people.

We teach elements of the undergraduate programme in medicine including arranging placements for medical students in GP practices. We also provide a highly supportive environment for postgraduates whether they are registered for a DPhil, enrolled on one of our short courses or the Evidence Based Health Care programme (administered by the Department for Continuing Education). We welcome domestic and international students to join our experienced and enthusiastic teachers, mentors and supervisors in aspirational study and research.

Department of Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry offers supervision in a wide range of research areas including laboratory-based neuroscience, brain imaging, literature synthesis and psychological and pharmacological treatment research.

The DPhil and MSc by Research degrees, both of which can be studied on a full- or part-time basis, provide students with the opportunity to gain expertise in their chosen field and to develop the skills and experience required to manage a project and conduct independent research. Supervision is provided by senior researchers from within the department and, where appropriate, students can be linked with a co- supervisor in another department (for example, the Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). Students are also encouraged to attend seminars and research meetings which are held frequently within the department.

In addition to academic supervision, the graduate studies team within the department provide support and advice to student at all stages of their study. This includes holding regular meetings to provide a forum for students to discuss their research and identify those working in related areas with whom they can share ideas.

Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences

The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) is the academic department of surgery at the University of Oxford. It hosts a multidisciplinary team of senior clinical academic surgeons, senior scientists, junior clinicians and scientists in training.

The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences offers research training opportunities for both clinical and non-clinical graduate students. It has a growing number of full-time funded research student opportunities. Research undertaken within the NDS covers many areas including fields such as cancer, immunology, and neurosciences, and specialities such as patient safety, transplantation, urology and vascular surgery.

The graduate research programme within NDS provides a fully integrated training environment. You will be working closely with an academic supervisor who oversees your studies.

NDS also offers two graduate taught courses: the MSc in Integrated Immunology and the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice is offered jointly with the Department for Continuing Education.

Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health

The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health is one of the largest academic and clinical  departments in the world in its field, encompassing multi-disciplinary research across the full spectrum of women’s health.

There are around 180 people working in the department, including senior academic staff, research support staff, professional staff, and graduate students (including clinicians) carrying out research towards a higher degree.  The department's work has four overarching themes: cancer, global health, maternal and foetal health and reproductive medicine and genetics.

Our clinical and laboratory programmes are based in the Women’s Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital; the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine; the Institute of Reproductive Sciences (IRS) and the Big Data Institute, and there are collaborations with the School’s Institutes, the University’s Science Departments and with researchers outside Oxford, in both the UK and abroad, especially in low middle income countries.

The department has a variety of students studying towards research degrees, including students from both scientific and clinical backgrounds. The basis of the department’s research programmes are laboratory or clinical projects in which you carry out independent research in your chosen area, as agreed with your supervisor.

The department also offers a taught MSc course which prepares students for active employment within the clinical embryology/artificial reproductive technology (ART) sector and/or a research career in reproductive science. The MSc provides students with theoretical and practical understanding of human reproductive biology, embryology, infertility and ART. Significant emphasis is placed on providing ‘hands-on’ practical training in a range of laboratory techniques associated with scientific research, clinical diagnosis, or ART, including vitrification, comparative array hybridisation, gamete micromanipulation and infra-red laser biopsy.


The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. 

For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.

Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:

Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the Medical Sciences Graduate School website.


Variable intensity fees

The fees for this course are charged in the same way for all students, regardless of their intensity of study in any given year. Course fees are charged in two parts. You will pay a registration fee (approximately 75% of total fees) at the start of your first year and a submission fee (approximately 25% of total fees) when you submit your thesis. The registration fee will be payable at the rate shown below. The submission fee will be payable at the published rate applicable in the year in which you submit your thesis, which may be higher than the rate shown below.

Fees for the 2024-25 academic year

Fee status

Registration fee

Submission fee

Home £9,480 £3,160
Overseas £9,480 £3,160

Information about course fees

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

Continuation charges

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.

Where can I find further information about fees?

The Fees and Funding section of this website provides further information about course fees, including information about fee status and eligibility and your length of fee liability.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) 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 course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.

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.

College preference

Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs). 

If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief introduction to the college system at Oxford and our advice about expressing a college preference. For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.

The following colleges accept students on the Doctor of Medicine:

Can I return to my former Oxford college?

If you'd like to return to your former Oxford college, but it is not included on the list above, you should contact your college office to ask whether they would be willing to make an exception. If your college indicates that it is willing to consider your application please contact Graduate Admissions before applying.

Before you apply

We strongly recommend you consult the Medical Sciences Graduate School's research themes to identify the most suitable course and supervisor.

Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application.  You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.

If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines and when to apply in our Application Guide.

To apply to this course you must be medically-qualified (registered with the UK General Medical Council) and employed at the time of application at ST1 grade or above (including those who have completed their training) within the University of Oxford, in Primary Care within Oxfordshire or in an approved NHS Trust (see Entry requirements).

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.

Readmission for current Oxford graduate taught students

If you're currently studying for an Oxford graduate taught course and apply to this course with no break in your studies, you may be eligible to apply to this course as a readmission applicant. The application fee will be waived for an eligible application of this type. Check whether you're eligible to apply for readmission.

Application fee waivers for eligible associated courses

If you apply to this course and up to two eligible associated courses from our predefined list during the same cycle, you can request an application fee waiver so that you only need to pay one application fee.

The list of eligible associated courses may be updated as new courses are opened. Please check the list regularly, especially if you are applying to a course that has recently opened to accept applications.

Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?

You should identify two relevant supervisors in advance of applying and contact them to discuss their proposed area of Doctor of Medicine research. Where ‘prior work’ is requested to be considered, at least one of the supervisors will be expected to have been involved in its conduct and attest to its quality.

It expected that project ideas will arise in the context of your clinical practice and that in general you will be well placed to identify suitable supervisors. We anticipate that you will have extensive discussions with these prospective supervisors to refine the detailed project proposal prior to formal application.

Prior to application you will also need to gain permission from those you work for clinically and those overseeing any clinical training you are required to undertake to ensure sufficient flexibility to undertake the degree requirements.

Completing your application

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.

For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.

If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Proposed field and title of research project

You must enter the project you are applying to under 'Field and title of research project' on the 'Course' tab of the application form.

You should not use this field to type out a full research proposal. You will be able to upload your research supporting materials separately if they are required (as described below).

Proposed supervisor

You should identify two members of staff willing to supervise you with the resources to support your proposed research project, listing them in order or indicating equal preference. Applicants who have not identified a potential supervisor will not be considered.

At least one proposed supervisor should write a reference relating to your application, to attest to the synergy between your proposal and your clinical work and your suitability to undertake this project.

Three overall, academic preferred - at least one must be independent of your proposed supervisor(s) 

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.

References should usually be academic, though professional references are acceptable where they relate to work within a research setting.

At least one reference should be provided by a supervisor you have proposed, to attest to the synergy between your proposal and your clinical work and your suitability to undertake this project.

At least one referee must be independent of your proposed supervisor(s). 

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group and the synergy between your proposal and your clinical work and your suitability to undertake this project.

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.

Statement of purpose/personal statement and research proposal:
Statement of a maximum of 500 words and a proposal of a maximum of 1,500 words

Statement of purpose/personal statement (maximum 500 words)

You should provide a statement of your research interests, in English, describing how your background and research interests relate to the programme. If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

The statement should focus on academic or research-related achievements and interests rather than personal achievements and interests.

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;
  • capacity for sustained and focused work; and
  • understanding of problems in the area and ability to construct and defend an argument.

It will be normal for students’ ideas and goals to change in some ways as they undertake their studies, but your personal statement will enable you to demonstrate your current interests and aspirations.

Research proposal (maximum 1,500 words)

You should submit a detailed outline of your proposed research, written in English, covering areas such as the background to the research, methodology, expected results and the contribution to the field of learning.

The word count does not include bibliography, brief footnotes, captions, titles or legends that are applied to images, tables or charts.  

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

Your research proposal will be assessed for:

  • comprehensive understanding of the subject area;
  • understanding of problems in the area;
  • synergy with the applicant’s clinical work;
  • accessibility, motivation and academic suitability; 
  • ability to construct and defend an argument;
  • powers of analysis;
  • powers of expression;
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course;
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course;
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques;
  • capacity for sustained and intense work;
  • reasoning ability; and
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

Written work
A workplan of a maximum of 2,500 words

You will need to provide a timeline of your proposed work in the form of a Doctor of Medicine ‘workplan’. This should set out the periods of time across the period of study when you plan to work at full-time or part-time (and if the latter at what percentage full-time equivalent intensity) on your Doctor of Medicine research project. The workplan should not exceed 2,500 words.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

The workplan must set out in sufficient detail how you propose to balance time for Doctor of Medicine research and academic training as a student of the University, alongside your professional employment with the NHS, postgraduate medical training and other clinical responsibilities.

If you are seeking for previous work to be counted towards your Doctor of Medicine (DM) studies, you will need to provide detailed information about the work you wish to include, when it was performed and under what supervisory arrangements (at least one of the proposed DM supervisors must have been involved). The justification for inclusion of this work will need to be particularly strong if it was undertaken more than 12 months prior to commencement of the degree.

The workplan is a key part of the application process and it must be agreed by both you and your employer before your application is submitted (or your application will be delayed until employer agreement has been secured). In many cases this will involve the local Deanery (or successor organisation), since it is the postgraduate Dean who is responsible for approving requests for time ‘out of programme’ (OOP) for doctors in training.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please refer to the requirements above and consult our Application Guide for advice. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide Apply