DPhil in Paediatrics | University of Oxford
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DPhil in Paediatrics

About the course

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

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

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

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

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Paediatrics and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Paediatrics.

MSc by Research in Paediatrics

In exceptional cases, the department may also take students who wish to study for a MSc by Research in Paediatrics, which typically takes two years (but the minimum time to submit the final thesis for an MSc by Research is one year). There must be a strong academic case, as most graduate students in the department are admitted to the DPhil programme.

The maximum fee liability for the MSc by Research is two years (the minimum is one year), but the course length is up to three years.

The first step in applying is to contact a potential supervisor or supervisors to discuss potential projects. For further details and to apply to the MSc by Research, please contact the Paediatrics Graduate Studies Officer

Graduate destinations

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

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. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

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.

All graduate courses offered by the Department of Paediatrics

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

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 subject relevant to the research project you are applying to.

Entrance is very competitive.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country mentioned 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

  • Preference may be given to those who have previously studied in an appropriate scientific research discipline.
  • Applicants who have evidence of scientific publication on their application are at an advantage.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.

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. 

Detailed requirements - standard level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's standard level are:

IELTS Academic 7.0Minimum 6.5 per component
TOEFL iBT100

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced185Minimum 176 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency185Minimum 176 per component

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

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.

Candidates who are shortlisted are normally interviewed as part of the admissions process. Interviews usually take place in mid- to late January and there will be a minimum of three academics on the interview panel. Candidates will be either interviewed in person or via Skype in the case of overseas applicants.

The format of the interview include a short presentation from candidates on their research proposal followed by questions from the interview panel.

Supervision

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: 

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.

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.

Facilities

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine

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

Peter Medawar Building

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

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

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

Paediatric Nutrition Research Group Laboratories

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

Library services

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

IT resources

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

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£7,970
Overseas£26,405

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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

How to apply

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

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Research proposal:
Up to two pages

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

The overall page count should include any bibliography. 

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the originality of the project
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course (a maximum of 4 years)
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques
  • capacity for sustained and intense work; reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

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

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

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

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.

Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.

Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.

Application GuideApply

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