About the course
The DPhil in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics provides students with a wide range of research topics within a large multi-disciplinary and world-renowned department, spanning a diverse spectrum of research areas from neuroscience, cardiac science, ion channels transporters and signalling, metabolism and endocrinology, development and reproduction to functional genomics.
Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them identify the most suitable course and supervisors.
Your research will be conducted at Oxford under the supervision of academic staff who are at the forefront of developments in your chosen research project area. You will explore your research subject area to new depths and have the opportunity to present your findings to members of the international scientific community with whom, one day, you may collaborate with.
At the end of your study you will produce a doctoral thesis that represents a significant advance in the field. You will have become a world expert in your research area, and you will have demonstrated that you are an original and creative thinker capable of independent scientific work at a very high level.
You will have access to regular departmental seminars, skills and training courses, peer presentation groups for fine tuning presentation deliverance and graduate student social events that incorporate informal talks aimed at students.
You will be encouraged to submit termly reports on your progress and report courses undertaken. The supervisor will also contribute to the termly reports. When achieved, the key milestones of a DPhil will eventually result in the awarding of the Doctor of Philosophy title.
An alumni survey in 2013 showed nearly two-thirds were employed in academic research or had returned to medicine in conjunction with academic research. Other careers included industrial research, teaching, scientific publishing, patent law and banking with a few entering charitable fund raising, charitable scientific employment and pharmaceutical consulting positions.
In applying for this programme, you may submit further applications for up to two of the following associated programmes without paying an additional application fee:
- Interdisciplinary Bioscience (BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership)
- Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science (EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training)
For instructions, see Applying for more than one course in the Application Guide.
Changes to the course
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. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a subject that ideally will support the chosen research path.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
A previous master's is not a condition of entry.
If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other appropriate indicators will include:
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(s)
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Interviews are held during the last week of January. All shortlisted candidates will have been assessed on completed applications only. Funded places are awarded purely on the basis of an assessment of candidates' excellence appropriate to their intended research path.
Publications should be included within the CV/résumé if applicable.
2. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.
3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- The ability of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
- Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.
The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:
- The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics 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 Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.
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, maternity leave or change in employment.
4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties
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.
Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.
Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
6. Other information
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.
It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.
The department has excellent facilities for the large number of full-time research students who are well integrated into the research of the department.
Research in the department is organised around six major themes:
- cardiac science
- development and reproduction
- functional genomics
- ion channels, transporters and signalling
- metabolism and endocrinology
Within each of these themes there are several research groups and centres. All staff and doctoral students belong to one or more of these research groups, each of which has its own seminar programme to which graduate students often contribute. In addition, the department as a whole sponsors regular seminars and public lectures which attract distinguished national and international speakers.
DPAG IT Services provides various services to the department. These include e-mail, network file storage and computer and printer management services, and maintenance of the network both wired and wireless across the departmental estate.
The Radcliffe Science Library provides a print collection of books, journals and statistics. In addition, it provides access to a wide range of electronic resources.
You will be allocated study space upon your arrival with your group. The lecture theatre and seminar rooms provide perfect settings to attend talks given by local and internationally acclaimed speakers.
You will also be encouraged to support and attend social events specifically for them ranging from coffee morning talks to social DPAG graduate student college dinners.
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.
Full funding opportunities are available for all Medical Sciences Graduate School programmes, whatever your nationality. The Medical Sciences Graduate School website provides further details of these, as well as information about external funding opportunities.
Annual fees for entry in 2017-18
Total annual fees
The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; 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.
Tuition and college 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 tuition and college fees).
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 tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.
There are no compulsory elements of this programme that entail additional costs beyond fees 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.
In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between £1,002 and £1,471 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 following colleges accept students on the DPhil in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics:
- Balliol College
- Brasenose College
- Campion Hall
- Christ Church
- Corpus Christi College
- Exeter College
- Green Templeton College
- Harris Manchester College
- Hertford College
- Jesus College
- Keble College
- Kellogg College
- Lady Margaret Hall
- Linacre College
- Lincoln College
- Magdalen College
- Merton College
- New College
- Oriel College
- Pembroke College
- The Queen's College
- St Anne's College
- St Catherine's College
- St Cross College
- St Edmund Hall
- St Hilda's College
- St Hugh's College
- St John's College
- St Peter's College
- Somerville College
- Trinity College
- University College
- Wadham College
- Wolfson College
- Worcester College
How to apply
You are advised to make enquiries as soon as possible prior to your intended entry, ideally a year in advance.
Before applying you are strongly encouraged to identify areas of interest to you from the DPAG research pages and then directly contact the Principal Investigator ('Group Leader') to discuss the possibility of joining their group.
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 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.
Up to 2,000 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 need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
This will be assessed for:
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course (a maximum of four years)
- commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- reasoning ability.
It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change 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.
Your proposal should focus primarily on the research rather than purely on personal achievements, interests and aspirations.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, generally 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.
References should generally be academic but one or more professional references should be submitted if you have been in research employment.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.