About the course
The Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is a four-year DPhil/PhD course supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The course that provides innovative training for graduates from a life science, physical science or computational and mathematical science background who wish to conduct leading-edge bioscience research.
Research areas within the programme include integrative animal and plant biology, mechanistic molecular and cellular biology, and bioscience for food, industry and health (including crop science, animal health and welfare, synthetic biology, industrial biotechnology and the development of innovative approaches for drug discovery and pharmaceutical production).
The majority of research projects undertaken by Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) students involve 'transformative technologies', which include advanced imaging and data analysis techniques, the development and application of new and emerging methods and technologies, mathematical modelling, omic and systems biology approaches, and innovative approaches to address the three Rs. The DTP does not support research focused on human diseases and disease processes or abnormal conditions. The DTP supports research on livestock species and managed land (for example agriculture) and support studies on wild species only when they act as suitable model to provide wider understanding of biological processes.
The course is led by the University of Oxford in partnership with nine world-class research organisations - the Pirbright Institute, which provides the UK’s national capabilities for the study and control of viral diseases of livestock, Oxford Brookes University, and five research organisations at the Harwell Campus Oxford (Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC Central Laser Facility and the Research Complex at Harwell), which provide the UK’s national capabilities for synchrotron science, neutron science and laser science, and the new Rosalind Franklin Institute, which supports the development of new methods for life science research in areas such as imaging, spectroscopy and structural biology.
The DTP is also partnered with the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford, an innovative target discovery and translational research institute and the Ineos Oxford Institute, which focuses on tackling the global challenge of anti-microbial resistance. The DTP’s training programme draws on expertise in all nine partner organisations and students will have the opportunity to learn about the facilities and expertise available across these organisations during the initial training phase. All students have a primary supervisor within one of the ten partner organisations, and a secondary supervisor from within the partnership who provides additional support and expertise.
You will undertake a four-year doctoral training programme. In your first term you are based at the Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at the University of Oxford and undertake an individually-tailored training programme that includes training in research skills such as mathematics and statistics, programming, imaging and image analysis, bioinformatics, and modelling biological processes and systems. You can also access a wide variety of additional training provided across the partnership throughout your doctoral studies.
A distinctive feature of the DTP programme is that you are required to undertake a 12-week internship or placement to gain experience of work in a professional environment and in transferable skills that will be beneficial in your future career. Areas that may be explored during internships include industrial research and development, science policy, teaching, science communication, publishing, entrepreneurship and project management.
You will have the ongoing support of the DTP throughout your studies, including an ongoing training programme in professional skills such as scientific writing, project management, CV writing and interview skills, teaching skills, public engagement and enterprise and entrepreneurship. You can also access specific training in advanced research skills that are relevant to your research interests through specialist training courses, industry-led study groups and practice-led training groups.
There are a number of different entry routes to the DTP. In addition to the main field of DTP studentships, you can choose to apply to a UKRI-BBSRC supported Industrial (iCASE) studentship, as well as various Partner Studentships.
Course features for DTP students (not applicable to Industrial Studentships and Partner Studentships)
After the initial training phase, you will undertake two 12-week research projects in two different research groups within the partnership, which are tailored to meet the likely requirements of your main doctoral project. You are encouraged to use these rotation projects to further develop your interdisciplinary skills. Following on from the project rotations, you will undertake a three-year doctoral research project with an internationally leading research group and have access to world-class facilities and expertise.
Course features for UKRI-BBSRC Industrial (iCASE) and Partner Studentships
If you apply to the DTP’s Industrial Studentship programme you will have a primary academic supervisor in one of the nine DTP partner organisations and undertake research in collaboration with an industrial or non-academic partner organisation. You will undertake a placement (12 weeks minimum, 18 months maximum) with the industrial partner organisation instead of a 12-week internship to gain experience of work in a non-academic professional environment.
If you apply for a Partner Studentship, at least 50% of your research will be undertaken in close collaboration with a supervisor at one of the DTP's non-University partner organisations (eg Diamond Light Source, Rosalind Franklin Institute, The Pirbright Institute), and you will be co-supervised by a University supervisor. If you undertake a partner studentship with one of the DTP’s partner organisations that does not involve an industrial partner you will undertake a 12-week internship in a non-academic setting.
Partner Studentships may be advertised as specific projects with named supervisors (please see the DTP's website for details of currently available projects) or can be applied for by applying to the main DTP programme and stating your interest in being considered for a partner studentship with a named partner organisation.
Occasionally, the DTP will advertise additional fully-funded studentships with named supervisors within the partnership, depending on the availability of funding. Students recruited to these studentships will be fully integrated into the programme and will participate in DTP training courses and the 12-week internship. They will also normally undertake a 12-week project within a second research group to broaden their network and skills.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
In the first year of the course, DTP students and some Partner students will be supervised by the programme directors, who will also support students in choosing their rotation projects, doctoral research project and supervisory team. Supervision arrangements for years two to four will therefore be confirmed at the end of the first year when the doctoral project is chosen.
If you are recruited to an Industrial Studentship or to some Partner Studentships or other specific studentships associated with the programme, your supervisor will be known from the outset of your studies and you will work with your supervisor and the programme directors to design and develop your training programme.
Students on the Partner Studentship programme will have a supervisor at the university at which the student is registered and a supervisor in one of the DTP’s non-university partner organisations (eg Diamond Light Source, The Pirbright Institute).
Students on the Industrial Studentship programme will have a primary and secondary academic supervisor in one or more of the ten DTP partner organisations, including a supervisor at the university at which the student is registered, and an additional co-supervisor in the company or non-academic organisation that is sponsoring the studentship.
All DTP students have both a primary supervisor and a co-supervisor with relevant expertise when in the research phase of their DPhil.
Typically, a student should expect to have meetings with their supervisor or a member of the supervisory team with a frequency of at least once every two weeks averaged across the year when in the research phase of their DPhil. The regularity of these meetings may be subject to variations according to the time of the year, and the stage the student is at in their research programme. They will also normally undertake a 12-week project within a second research group to broaden their network and skills.
The programme has three milestones to assist you in your progress. You will be required to write a research proposal during the first year of your DPhil, in consultation with your supervisory team, which describes the background literature, aims and rationale for your project, along with a plan of work. This will be assessed by two researchers with relevant expertise to check the suitability and feasibility of the proposed project, along with your understanding of your project. This enables students to receive useful feedback on their proposed project at an early stage.
The University has two formal milestones to measure your progress, the first being transfer of status, and the second being confirmation of status, which are typically undertaken in the second and third year of your degree respectively. The exact assessment format used will vary according to discipline and department, but each typically involves an assessment of your progress by two researchers with relevant expertise.
The purpose of the transfer process is to review your project and your plans for future work, to check that you are making satisfactory progress in the development of your project, and to satisfy the assessors that your work is potentially of DPhil quality.
The purpose of confirmation of status is to provide an indication that if work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily, then consideration of submission of the thesis within the time remaining to complete your studies would appear to be reasonable. It therefore provides a second stage of formal progress review. Both you and your supervisors will also be required to reflect and report on your progress at regular intervals using the University’s graduate supervision reporting (GSR) system.
The final assessment of your work will be based on submission of a written thesis, the exact requirements for which may vary by discipline and department, and through an oral (‘viva voce’) examination, which will be assessed by an internal and external examiner.
The majority of bioscience graduates from the University of Oxford go into a bioscience-related position after graduation. Many stay in academic research, others work in government, teaching, for charities and within the commercial sector.
An increasing number of students are exploring and taking up opportunities for entrepreneurship, supported by the training programme in the DTP and the highly entrepreneurial environment within the University and across Oxfordshire as a whole. Others are pursuing careers in emerging fields such as data science, building on the computational and analytical skills they develop during their doctoral work.
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, 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.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a relevant academic subject (eg biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science).
It is not an application requirement to have completed or to be in the process of completing a master's degree.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent and/or a master's degree, or substantive relevant work experience.
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
- Research or working experience in a relevant area may be an advantage, although consideration will be given to the opportunities (or lack thereof) applicants may have had to gain experience based on their personal circumstances. Preference may be given to those who have previously studied in a relevant area.
- Evidence of training in a relevant area and/or the relevance of the course (including the training and professional development opportunities provided by the DTP) to future career development plans may also be an advantage.
- Although publications are not required, a publication record may advantage an application.
- It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of one or more potential supervisors within the partnership.
English language proficiency
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher 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 higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
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.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
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.
You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Applicants will be selected for interview based on the aforementioned criteria. Shortlisting will take place and we aim to reach a target ratio of interviewees to places such as 3:1. Interviews will normally be held within four to six weeks of the application deadline and will either be in person or by video (eg MS Teams or Zoom) and will take around 30 minutes. Admission decisions are made by the DTP admissions committee.
Applicants will be asked to discuss their academic history and any research projects(s) that they may have pursued. They will also be questioned on aspects of their research training to date, understanding of the proposed area of study and motivation for doing a DPhil, including their motivation to join the DTP training programme. If appropriate, they may be asked questions to assess their mathematical and quantitative skills or their knowledge of and ability to critically analyse scientific literature.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading.
References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed.
Shortlisting and selection
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Initiatives to improve access to graduate study
This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly.
For this course, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
If you wish, you may submit an additional contextual statement (using the instructions in the How to apply section of this page) to provide further information on your socio-economic background or personal circumstances in support of your application. Further information about how your contextual statement will be used can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Once submitted, applications will be anonymised to minimise conscious and unconscious bias. Please carefully read the instructions for completing your application in the How to apply section of this page. Further information about why we are anonymising applications can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Information on ethnicity will be used subsequent to academic shortlisting. Candidates who identify as Black British will be shortlisted for interview, provided that they meet the eligibility criteria shown in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
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.
Other factors governing whether places can be offered
The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
- the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
- minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.
Offer conditions for successful applications
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions.
In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also 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 Student visa (under the Student Route). For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.
Oxford has an extremely rich and diverse library service provided by over one hundred libraries. The Radcliffe Science Library is the main science reference library of the University of Oxford. The library subscribes to many journals published overseas, most of which are in English.
In addition to the University facilities, the DTP has a stock of reference books available. You will have access to e-journal and other electronic resources provided by the University of Oxford when working within University departments or in partner organisations such as The Pirbright Institute or research organisations at the Harwell Campus Oxford.
You will have access to a wide variety of world-class research facilities across all seven of the partner organisations within the DTP, depending on your research interests. These include:
- beamlines at Diamond Light Source and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source;
- a wide variety of advanced imaging and microscopy systems that enable biological imaging across all scales from single molecules to high-speed video imaging of animal flight;
- containment facilities for animal virology, transgenic plant and plant disease research;
- facilities and expertise for advanced methodologies such as mass spectrometry, proteomics, genome engineering, protein production and purification; and
- supercomputing facilities for data-intensive applications.
As a DTP student in your first year, you will undertake the majority of the taught components of your training programme in a modern purpose-designed Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) located in the heart of the University’s South Parks Road Science Campus, shared by the DTP and other doctoral training programmes.
The co-localisation of the DTP with other life science and environmental science graduate programmes in the DTC, each with its own distinctive remit and student cohorts, provides a unique opportunity for students in the DTP to establish friendships and scientific collaborations with graduate researchers from a wide range of academic backgrounds, with expertise and interests ranging from mathematical modelling of biological systems to environmental research, medical imaging and drug discovery.
MPLS Doctoral Training Centre
The MPLS Doctoral Training Centre hosts a number of interdisciplinary centres for doctoral training, established with funding from the following UK Research Councils: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Doctoral training programmes are four year courses providing structured training and research experience in the first year, and a research project leading to a DPhil in subsequent years. The programmes are supported through links with industrial and other partners, and personal and professional development is provided within a cohort. Funding covering fees and living costs is available for the following programmes below. Applications are welcome from prospective graduate students from all over the world.
All candidates are strongly advised to contact the department in which they wish to study before applying, and to check the department’s admissions webpages for studentship application deadlines.
The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. 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 December or 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 any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:
Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2024-25
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
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 changes 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.
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 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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 current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
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 Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP has close links with Linacre College, Reuben College, University College, and St Cross College, and recommends that applicants state a preference for one of those colleges. However, you are free to list any other college that accepts students in the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP on your application form.
The following colleges accept students on the Interdisciplinary Bioscience programme:
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
Application fee waivers
An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:
- applicants from low-income countries;
- refugees and displaced persons;
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and
- applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.
You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.
Readmission for current Oxford graduate taught students
If you're currently studying for an Oxford graduate taught course and apply to this course with no break in your studies, you may be eligible to apply to this course as a readmission applicant. The application fee will be waived for an eligible application of this type. Check whether you're eligible to apply for readmission.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You are strongly encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read further information about the DTP and the various available studentships.
You can apply for entry to the DTP and be considered for a specific research project offered through the Industrial Studentship or Partner Studentship Scheme, or other specific research projects associated with the course. The same course title and code is used for applications to both the DTP course and specific studentships offered through the programme.
If you intend on applying for UKRI-BBSRC Industrial Case (iCASE) studentships, partner studentships or other specific studentships offered in association with the DTP, you should contact the academic supervisor, or the main contact listed in the project details for the specific project you wish to be considered for, to determine whether you are encouraged to apply before submitting an application.
If you are applying to the main DTP course are not required to contact or identify a specific supervisor prior to admission.
Please contact the course administrator via the contact details on this page if you have any general questions about the course.
Applications for entry to the DTP via Oxford Brookes University
If one of your proposed supervisors is at Oxford Brookes University, you should also apply directly for entry to the DTP via Oxford Brookes University.
You should use the same statement(s) of purpose for your Oxford Brookes application (refer to the instructions below).
The University of Oxford application form includes standard questions to collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé (you will not be asked to upload a separate document). The CV/résumé that you submit to Oxford Brookes University should include only your answers to these questions (which you can read in our application form or view on the department's website).
Completing your application
You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.
For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You will not be asked to upload a separate document.
If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.
Proposed field and title of research project
If you are applying for a standard doctoral training partnership place, please enter 'Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP' under 'Field and title of research project'.
If you are applying for a UKRI-BBSRC iCASE studentship, partner studentship or other specific studentship offered in association with the DTP, please enter the name of the project.
If known, under 'Proposed supervisor name' enter the supervisor(s) you are applying to, listing them in order or indicating equal preference, to a maximum of four.
If you are applying for a UKRI-BBSRC iCASE studentship partner studentship or other specific studentship offered in association with the DTP, please enter the name of the lead supervisor on the project you are applying to.
You can list potential supervisors both at the University of Oxford and at any of the partner organisations that are associated with the DTP. Otherwise leave this field blank.
Three overall, academic preferred. Referees should anonymise their references.
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.
One professional reference can be accepted if you have relevant work experience, but academic references are preferred.
Your references will support proven and potential academic excellence in terms of intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, communication skills and ability to work in a group.
We are requesting that referees anonymise their references with respect to name, ethnicity and gender as 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. Please ensure any referees you approach are aware of this requirement.
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.
If you wish to provide a contextual statement with your application, you may also submit an additional statement to provide contextual information on your socio-economic background or personal circumstances in support of your application.
It is not necessary to anonymise this document, as we recognise that it may be necessary for you to disclose certain information in your statement. This statement will not be used as part of the initial academic assessment of applications at shortlisting, but may be used in combination with socio-economic data to provide contextual information during decision-making processes.
Please note, this statement is in addition to completing the 'Extenuating circumstances’ section of the standard application form.
You can find more information about the contextual statement on our page that provides details of the continuing pilot programme to improve the assessment procedure for graduate applications.
Statement of purpose:
A maximum of 1,000 words
Applications will be assessed separately for each entry route, using the appropriate statement of purpose:
Applications solely to the main DTP programme or for an industrial or partner studentship
Applicants who are applying solely to the main DTP programme or for a specific studentship, should upload an appropriate statement of purpose with their application. Please see content and assessment of your statement of purpose for further details about what to include.
Applications to both the main DTP programme and for an industrial or partner studentship
Applicants who wish to be considered for entry to the main programme and for a specific studentship, should prepare two different statements of purpose using the instructions below (each no more than 1,000 words). Please see content and assessment of your statement of purpose for further details about what to include in each.
After you have written both statements, please combine them into a single document before you upload them to your application. The second statement of purpose should start on a new page within the document and each statement should have a heading to indicate whether is for the main programme or a specific studentship.
Applications for entry to the DTP via Oxford Brookes University
If you are applying separately for entry to the DTP via Oxford Brookes University you should use the same statement(s) of purpose for your Oxford Brookes application.
Content and assessment of your statement of purpose
Please provide your statement of purpose, in English, describing how your background and research interests relate to the programme, following the exact template and headings outlined below using a font that is 11pt in size such as Arial, Calibri or Helvetica. The statement should focus primarily on academic, research or employment-related achievements and interests rather than personal achievements and interests.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Your statement should be include the following headings, with each section not exceeding the stated word limit:
- Motivation for doctoral study (200 words): Briefly explain your motivation for undertaking doctoral study, including at least one specific example of how you have prepared yourself for doctoral study that illustrates your commitment and motivation.
- Achievements and experience (300 words): Summarise your previous achievements and experience, including information on any research you have conducted, relevant employment or work experience (if any), and any activities or experience that illustrate your communication skills, team skills or personal strengths.
- Research interests (300 words):
- If you are applying to the main DTP programme, please describe your current research interests and identify at least two supervisors or groups you are particularly interested in working with, explaining which aspects of their work most interest you; OR
- If you are applying to undertake a specific advertised project with a named supervisory team, please explain your motivation for applying to undertake this project. Please also explain why you are a suitable candidate for this project.
- Motivation for applying to the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP (200 words): Explain your motivation for applying to this doctoral programme.
Your statement of purpose will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- understanding of problems in the area and ability to construct and defend an argument.
It will be normal for your ideas and goals to change in some ways as you participate in the programme and if you are applying for the main DTP programme rather than a specific advertised project, you are not committed to work in the specific subject area or with any supervisor(s) you highlight in your application. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate your current interests and aspirations.