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.
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 core supervision team will consist of your principal supervisor, and one or more additional supervisors, which can also include scientists external to Oxford University. You will meet regularly with your supervisors to plan your research and review your progress. In addition, where needed you will have support from the Director of Graduate Studies and a college advisor. 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.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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.
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.
Graduates from the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health go on to further research in reproductive, biological and biomedical science, assisted reproduction, as well as clinical academic work and industry.
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.
Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21
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 subject related to biomedical science, a medical degree or a degree otherwise relevant to the topic of study.
You do not need a previous master's degree to apply to the course.
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 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 publications or presentations would be an advantage, but they are not essential.
- 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||7.0||Minimum 6.5 per component|
Minimum component scores:
|Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced||185||Minimum 176 per component|
|Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency||185||Minimum 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.
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.
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.
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 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 ongoing 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 1,100 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.
Annual fees for entry in 2020-21
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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.
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 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.
The following colleges accept students on the DPhil in Women's and Reproductive Health:
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: 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 plan your time to submit your application well in advance.
Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.
Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).