About the course
As a DPhil in Clinical Medicine student, you will conduct research in basic science and/or in clinical medicine. The degree will provide you with research skills, in-depth knowledge, understanding and expertise in your chosen field of research.
This course is taking part in a pilot on the assessment procedure of graduate applications to address conscious and unconscious bias for entry in the 2021-22 academic year. Please carefully read the instructions concerning submission of your CV/résumé in the How to apply section page of this page, as well as the full details about this pilot.
Research subjects cover a broad spectrum of sciences related to medicine and include: behavioural science, bioinformatics & statistics (including modelling and computational biology), cell and molecular biology, clinical epidemiology, drug discovery, genetics and genomics, global health and tropical medicine, immunology, integrative physiology (systems biology), microbiology, protein science and structural biology, transcription biology.
Doctoral students within the Nuffield Department of Medicine carry out research in a single laboratory for three to four years if studying full-time, or six to eight years if studying part-time. There is no period of rotation between laboratories. All doctoral students develop their skills through a range of research training and skills development in their first year of full- time study or first two years of part-time study, by attending compulsory and optional courses and lectures in laboratory techniques and generic skills, including scientific writing and statistics, while also working at the bench.
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 satisfactory level in background knowledge. Later training is focused on the skills required for a successful career in independent research.
The department’s students are part of the Medical Sciences Division; lectures and seminars cut across departments and collaborations are widespread within the University.
The Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) comprises research groups in several institutes and laboratories, including:
- Big Data Institute - NDM (BDI)
- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Physiology (CCMP)
- Experimental Medicine Division (EXPMED)
- Translational Gastroenterology Unit
- The Peter Medawar Building
- The Jenner Institute (JENNER)
- Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility (CBF)
- Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Oxford Branch (LICR)
- NDM Research Building
- The Target Discovery Institute (TDI)
- Centre for Translational Immunology
- Centre for Medicine Discovery (CMD)
- Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)
- Division of Structural Biology (STRUBI)
- Oxford Particle Imaging Centre (OPIC)
- Oxford Protein Production Facility (OPPF)
- Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (TROPMED)
- Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) - Thailand
- Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) - Vietnam
- KEMRI–Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Programme – Kenya
- Wellcome Centre Human Genetics (WHG)
Students housed within the NDM-BDI can describe their DPhil subject as Biomedical Data Science. Those within TROPMED and associated within the AAPs (MORU, OUCRU and KEMRI) can describe their DPhil subject as Tropical Medicine and Global Health.
In exceptional cases, students may be admitted to study for the MSc by Research degree.
The NDM takes the creation of supervisory teams very seriously and this will form an important part of the admissions process. All students must have at least two supervisors and many will have more than two. Within the NDM, students should meet with their supervisors at least once a fortnight, on average, across a year.
Please note that the allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Medicine 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 Nuffield Department of Medicine.
Students will be admitted to the course as a Probationer Research Student (PRS) and will transfer to the status of DPhil Student after successfully completing their Transfer of Status milestone. By the end of the 9th term students will be assessed for their Confirmation of Status milestone with the doctoral work culminating in a thesis that will be defended in an oral examination (viva voce).
DPhil in Clinical Medicine students follow a wide variety of career paths, including all branches of biomedical research, clinical medicine, teaching, health administration and commerce.
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 (including Covid-19), 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.
Other courses you may wish to consider
Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them identify the most suitable course and supervisors.
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Courses suggested by the department
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a relevant discipline such as biology, biochemistry, or medicine.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
A previous master's degree is not required.
For applicants with a degree from the USA or from China, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
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
- Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage your application.
- Prior publications are not required, but research experience and a track record demonstrating an interest in research may be an advantage.
- It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.
Please note, in considering applicants’ achievements and their suitability for a place on the DPhil in Clinical Medicine, the Nuffield Department of Medicine takes a holistic approach and a range of contextual factors, looking at each applicant’s individual circumstances, will be taken into account.
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.
English language requirement
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.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.0||6.5|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*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.
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
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Candidates who are shortlisted are interviewed as part of the admissions process. Shortlisting will be based solely on the criteria given above. There will be a minimum of two to three academics on the interview panel. By preference, interviews will be conducted in person, but when this is not possible we will use telephone or video conferencing software and ensure that applicants are not disadvantaged by using these forms of communication. Normally the interview will consist of a five-minute presentation of previous project work by the applicant, followed by 15-25 minutes of questioning from the panel.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
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.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
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.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
Some postgraduate research students in science, engineering and technology subjects will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate prior to applying for a Tier 4 visa. Further information can be found on our Tier 4 (General) Student visa page. For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.
The Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) is one of the largest and most highly regarded departments of medicine in Europe and noted for the wide range and excellence of its basic and clinical research (rated 5* in research assessment exercises).
NDM is just as renowned for its work in basic sciences as more clinical or applied work. Much of the £130 million per annum grant income is spent on understanding the most basic principles of biology and disease pathogenesis.
You will be based in various units, buildings and campuses around Oxford, as well as in Tropical Medicine Units abroad. The department supports a wide range of clinical services located in Oxford’s John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals, and has major overseas programmes in Thailand, Vietnam and Kenya.
You will have access to the department’s IT support, University Library services such as the Radcliffe Science Library and the Cairns Library, and experimental facilities are available as appropriate to the research topic. The provision of other resources specific to your project should be agreed with your supervisor as a part of the planning stages of the agreed project. There are a number of workshops that are announced via email and posters throughout the year.
You will have access to the seminars that individual research groups or groups with common areas of interest organise for their own members and others – this is will depend on the specific unit/area within which you are housed. Medical Grand Rounds are also held in the graduate centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital. You will have access to the other departmental seminars and colloquia, announced via email.
Workspace will be allocated according to individual circumstances. If undertaking experimental work, you will be provided with bench space in a laboratory. If undertaking theoretical research, you will have shared office space.
The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. 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 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 college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2021-22
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£27,460|
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£13,731|
Course 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 course fees). 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.
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.
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.
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.
Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further 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.
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 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
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.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). 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. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students for full-time study on this course:
The following colleges accept students for part-time study on this course:
This course is taking part in a pilot on the assessment procedure of graduate applications to address conscious and unconscious bias for entry in the 2021-22 academic year. Please carefully read the instructions concerning submission of your CV/résumé.
How to apply
You must indicate a potential research supervisor in your application. In general, the department encourages contact with individual supervisors in advance of applying. Contact details for the academics can be found on their departmental profile pages.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
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.
A standard sentence is required at the end of your CV
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.
At the end of your CV, could you please add the following sentence: I give/don’t give [as relevant] permission to the academic assessors for the course to access the socio-economic data I have provided in the University’s application form.
Considering socio-economic data as part of the assessment procedure is one of the actions we are taking as part of a pilot aimed at minimising conscious and unconscious bias in the admissions procedure for graduate students.
Statement of Purpose/Research proposal:
A maximum of 500 words
If you are applying for advertised DPhil projects you need to include the project ID numbers of the three projects that you are interested in and a brief statement of purpose that includes the reasons for your choice of projects and any other relevant information. This statement should be a maximum of 500 words.
If you are submitting your own research proposal for your DPhil project then it should also be a maximum of 500 words.
In both cases you may also wish to outline briefly relevant personal achievements, interests and aspirations.
Your statement or proposal should be written in English and the overall word count should include any bibliography.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- comprehensive understanding of the subject area
- understanding of problems in the area
- 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 (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.
Find more information on the department's website.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, usually 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 will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to work in a group.
References should usually be academic, though professional references are acceptable where they relate to work within a research setting.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country listed as low-income by the World Bank (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant button below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.