About the course
The DPhil in Women's and Reproductive Health offers a wide range of opportunities to carry out multidisciplinary research on important issues in human reproduction and applied basic science.
Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them identify the most suitable course and supervisors.
Research carried out in the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health encompasses a broad range of topics, with groups working on oocytes and sperm, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, genetic studies, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying normal and aberrant reproductive function, immunology of pregnancy, gynaecological cancer, clinical studies in women's health and pregnancy, and epidemiological and health services research.
You will be a member of your supervisor’s research group in which you will develop your research skills with one to one supervision. Your supervision team will consist of your principal supervisor, a secondary supervisor (often a senior member of the research staff), the Director of Graduate Studies and a college advisor. You will meet regularly with your primary supervisor to plan your research and review your progress. As well as carrying out research projects, you will also have the opportunity to attend a variety of skills training sessions and career planning events offered by the Medical Sciences Division. Formal assessments of your progress will be carried out by external assessors through the Transfer of Status (term 4) and Confirmation of Status (term 6-9) procedures, both of which have to be passed before you are allowed to defend your thesis.
Further research in reproductive, biological and biomedical science, assisted reproduction, clinical academic work and industry.
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 2019-20
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 related to biomedical science, chemistry, chemical engineering or a medical degree.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
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).
You do not need a previous master's degree to apply to the course.
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.
Only candidates who have identified a member of academic staff who is willing to supervise their project and provide the necessary resources will be short-listed for interview.
Interviews will be held as soon as possible after the January application deadline, usually two to three weeks afterwards, and are normally held in person or via a Skype video call.
The panel comprises a minimum of two members of the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee, together with the prospective supervisor. They will explore the academic ability of the candidate and their understanding of the proposed project.
Evidence of publications or presentations would be an advantage, but they are not essential.
2. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the standard 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 Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health 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 Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health 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 Women's and Reproductive Health.
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.
In the case of students who require specific help to adjust to an academic programme or to a new range of skills, the supervisor will work with them to ensure that they have additional support.
The laboratories of the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health are fully equipped for a wide range of molecular and cell biology work with dedicated image analysis and flow cytometry facilities. They are located in the Women’s Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital, giving excellent access to patients and clinical samples for research from clinics, theatres and delivery suites. The department maintains many special clinical services which help generate programmes of research.
You will have access to the department’s IT support and University library services both online and through the Radcliffe Science Library and Cairns Library. Students undertaking experimental work are provided with bench space in a laboratory and those undertaking theoretical research have shared office space. All students are provided with personal desk space and a computer.
The department has a lecture theatre and seminar room where weekly research and clinical seminars and a journal club are held during term time. You will be strongly encouraged to participate in these activities which bring research students together with academic and other research staff in the department to hear about on-going research, and provide an opportunity for networking and socialising. There is also a coffee area where you will be able to meet with other students to discuss your studies.
The department holds an annual Graduate Student Seminar Day where you will have an opportunity to develop your presentation skills, and the Medical Sciences Division hosts a DPhil Open Day where you will be able to meet and present your work to a wider audience of students and staff from other departments.
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course 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 applicants to this course, whatever your nationality. The Medical Sciences Graduate School website provides further details, as well as information about external funding opportunities.
Annual fees for entry in 2019-20
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£7,665|
The fees shown above are the annual course fees for this course, for entry in the stated academic year.
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. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.
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.
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.
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.
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 2019-20 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,058 and £1,643 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 2019-20, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
The following colleges accept students on the DPhil in Women's and Reproductive Health:
- Balliol College
- Campion Hall
- Christ Church
- Green Templeton College
- Harris Manchester College
- Jesus College
- Kellogg College
- Lady Margaret Hall
- Linacre College
- Lincoln College
- Oriel 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
- Wolfson College
- Worcester College
How to apply
You must identify an academic member of staff who is willing to supervise you and has the resources to support your proposed research project before you apply.
This should be done by approaching academic staff directly. Details of the academic staff and their research interests can be found on the departmental website. Applicants who have not identified a potential supervisor will not be considered.
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 two pages
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 overall page count should include any bibliography.
This will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- your future career plans
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence that you have identified a member of the academic staff who is willing to supervise your project and provide the necessary resources
- 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 three years)
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability.
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.
Your proposal should focus on research rather than 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 usually be academic, though one professional reference is acceptable provided that it is relevant to the course and the other two references are academic.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and 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.