A student walking through Magdalen College
Walking through Magdalen College at sunset
Credit: Ahmad El-Naggar / Graduate Photography Competition

Introducing our courses

Oxford offers a wide range of graduate courses from postgraduate certificates to doctorates. Our courses are challenging and intensive and our approach to graduate study emphasises your ability to work independently, while supported by a world-class academic community.

Taught courses

As a taught graduate, you'll study your chosen subject area at an advanced level usually leading to one of the master’s or master’s-level qualifications listed below. Your course will consist of a range of core and optional courses and you will be assigned an academic supervisor who will be on hand to offer advice and support, and to help guide your programme of study.

View taught courses

Expand each section below to find out more about the different types of taught courses on offer.     

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

This course is of a higher standing than the Master of Studies (MSt) and full-time study normally lasts for two years (six terms). In the first year, some of the course elements may be common with the MSt and at its end candidates may be required to pass a qualifying test before continuing. Some MPhils are organised so that the first year is taught and the second is predominantly research based. In the second year students are expected to complete a substantial dissertation (usually up to 30,000 words) and to sit written examinations.

Master of Studies (MSt)

Students studying full-time are normally required to undertake one year (three terms) of study followed by an examination. The exact composition will vary according to the course, but will usually involve a range of core and optional course elements often including research methods and the submission of a dissertation (usually of around 10,000–15,000 words). Study is supported by seminars and lectures. Assessment may be by coursework as well as by written examination papers and dissertation. Some course elements may be common with Master of Philosophy (MPhil) course and it is possible in some cases to form the foundation of an application to either the related MPhil or DPhil.

Master of Science (MSc) by coursework

These degrees are generally offered in Science or Social Science subjects and typically require students to undertake one year of full-time study. The exact composition of the degree will vary according to the course, but will often comprise a range of core and optional modules, supported by teaching in the form of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by a combination of course assignments (in many cases including a dissertation of around 10,000–15,000 words) and written examinations.

Other master’s-level degrees (BCL, BPhil, EMBA, MBA, MFA, MJur, MPP, and MTh)

The University offers a range of other master’s-level degrees:

Please see the relevant course page for further details about each course.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert and PGCE)

A number of one-year (three-term) diplomas and certificates are available to graduate students. These include the Postgraduate Certificate in Education, which is a teacher training course for graduates that is more commonly referred to as the PGCE.

Research courses

Our research degrees offer the opportunity for sustained research in the area of your choice.

Alongside expert supervision and a supportive academic community in which to work, you'll receive specialist training in research skills and have access to a fantastic range of resources and opportunities to help you make the most of your time at Oxford and boost your employability.

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Expand each section below to find out more about the different types of research courses on offer.     

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

Oxford’s main doctoral research degree is called a DPhil (our name for the PhD), and usually takes between three and four years to complete, but you should check the relevant course page for the expected length. Working closely with an academic supervisor who will oversee your studies, you will focus on a specific research project to produce a thesis that represents a significant and substantial piece of work. You will be assessed on the basis of this thesis and an oral examination called a viva voce. After completing their DPhil, research students frequently pursue academic careers or careers requiring advanced research skills.

During the course of the DPhil degree at Oxford you will need successfully to meet two different milestones:

Transfer of Status: Most DPhil students are initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of six terms as a PRS student (and normally by the fourth term) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. In some subjects, you might be required to successfully complete one or more master’s papers during your first year before you can apply to transfer to DPhil status.

Confirmation of Status: Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status, normally within nine terms of admission, to show that your work continues to be on track. Both milestones normally involve an interview with two assessors (other than your supervisor) and therefore provide important experience for the final oral examination.

If you're studying on a full-time basis, you will be expected to submit your thesis after three or, at most, four years from the date of admission.

Doctoral training programmes (CDTs and DTPs)

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. These programmes are referred to as Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). They are usually supported through links with industry and/or other partners, including other universities.

Master of Science (MSc) by Research

This degree is awarded on the basis of a submitted thesis  and is available in some subject areas that also offer a DPhil. Please see the individual course pages in this section for specific information. The examiners must be satisfied that the thesis shows competence in investigating the chosen topic and that the results have been presented in a lucid and scholarly manner. A satisfactory oral examination is also required.

Students will normally initially hold the status of Probationer Research Student and will be expected to apply to transfer to MSc status during the first year of their research.

Combined Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

Combined Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) programmes are four year courses that comprise a one-year taught MSc by coursework followed by a three-year research project leading to a DPhil. These course arrangements are often referred to as 1+3 programmes. By applying for a 1+3 programme, your application will automatically be considered for both the one-year taught MSc and the DPhil. Progression to the DPhil requires successful completion of the MSc. These programmes are special course arrangements and the constituent MSc and DPhil elements may not be offered separately as stand-alone courses.

Non-standard admissions processes

The following courses do not use the standard graduate application process:

Biochemistry (Skaggs-Oxford Programme), DPhil

The Skaggs-Oxford Programme is a joint five-year programme in biology or chemistry at Scripps Research based in either La Jolla, California or Jupiter, Florida, and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, leading to the award of a joint PhD/DPhil degree.

The first stage of admission to the Skaggs-Oxford Programme is administered by Scripps Research. The course page provides full details about the course, information about the application process, and contact details for all enquiries.

Open the Skaggs-Oxford course page

Biomedical Sciences (NIH OxCam), DPhil

The National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Programme (NIH OxCam) is a four-year doctoral programme. You undertake a collaborative project in biomedical research involving two supervisors - one at an NIH facility in the US and one at either Oxford or Cambridge. 

For this course, you must first apply to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The course page provides full details about the course, information about the application process, and contact details for all enquiries.

Open the NIH OxCam course page

Clinical Psychology, DClinPsych

This three-year, full-time course leads to the qualification of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych) from the University of Oxford. The course aims to provide a thorough and integrated academic, clinical and research training in clinical psychology.

On successful completion, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and for Chartered status with the British Psychological Society. The course is unique in being fully funded and run from within the NHS. All trainees are currently employed by the Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trust and are members of one of the following colleges: Harris Manchester CollegeGreen Templeton CollegeSt Cross College, or Worcester College

For further information, visit the Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training website or contact the admissions team directly by email.

Medicine (Graduate entry)

All enquiries about this programme should be directed to the Medical School using the contact details shown below.

For information about admission to the pre-clinical stage of medical training, please see the accelerated course details and prospectus on the Medical Sciences Division website. If you have a query about the pre-clinical stage of medical training, please contact the Medical School directly by email (via geadmin@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

For information about admission to the clinical stage of medical training please contact the Medical School by email for further information (via enquiries@medsci.ox.ac.uk).


The Oxford Internship scheme, as the PGCE programme is known at the University, is a one-year, full-time course of teacher education for graduates, involving a close partnership between the University department and local comprehensive schools.

Applications for all PGCE courses are made via the UK Government's GOV.UK website. You do not need to contact an academic member of staff in the department prior to submitting your application. Full details about the course and application process can be found on the course page.

Open PGCE course page

Saïd Business School graduate courses

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of the new and the old. It is a vibrant and innovative business school, yet deeply embedded in an 800-year-old world-class university.

The Saïd Business School manages its own application process and uses a separate application system for all courses, except the MSc in Law and Finance. Please contact the school directly for all enquiries. Links to individual course pages, which contain the relevant contact details, can be accessed via the list of Saïd Business School courses:

List of Saïd Business School courses


Oxford is at the forefront of international research in the humanities, with five subject areas judged to have the highest volume of world-leading 4*-rated research in the UK in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

The Humanities Division comprises around a third of the University's community of staff and students, offering taught graduate and research degrees in a very wide range of subjects. Humanities departments and faculties attract outstanding students, academics and researchers from across the globe. As a result, graduate students have the opportunity to undertake their studies and research in a stimulating, challenging and highly rewarding intellectual environment.

Some of these subjects are relatively new, and cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Others are areas of academic research that have long been recognised as of central importance, and they include some that few other universities are still able to support. In each case, the objective is to sustain and to teach the highest standards of scholarship. The dynamism of intellectual activity is in evidence in the wide variety of open lectures and seminars, in addition to those for specific courses.

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You will have access to an immense range of research material, including digital resources. These resources are provided through Oxford’s impressive library system, based on the central Bodleian libraries, through the work produced by the University's research projects, and through the rich and diverse holdings of its museums.

In addition to materials and support focused on conveying subject-specific knowledge, there are a wide range of facilities aimed at the personal and professional development of students, strengthening their existing skills and developing new skills, and preparing them for careers after they have completed their studies.

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division is home to some of the most creative and innovative scientific thinkers and leaders working in academe. Senior researchers in MPLS at Oxford have been awarded some of the most significant scientific honours and the division has a strong tradition of attracting and nurturing the very best early career researchers who regularly secure prestigious fellowships.

The division’s nine departments span the full spectrum of the mathematical, computational, physical, engineering and life sciences, and undertake both fundamental research and cutting-edge applied work. Our four year interdisciplinary programmes are preparing a new generation of scientists to undertake quantitative and predictive research at the interface between the mathematical and physical, and the biological and medical sciences. They were established with funding from the following UK Research Councils:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); and
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)

The disciplines within the MPLS Division regularly appear at the highest levels in world rankings and have been evaluated as conducting world-leading and internationally excellent research in UK research assessments. We have extensive links with other leading universities, research institutes, public sector bodies, business and industry, in the UK and abroad.

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Teaching is a major part of the division’s activities and a number of highly rated taught master’s courses are offered. For research students, a range of courses are available and the division is developing further cross-disciplinary provision for key research skills. Research at the interface between disciplines is strongly encouraged, both within the mathematical, life and physical sciences, and within the medical and environmental sciences. MPLS graduates are much in demand from academia, business and industry, government and the professions.

Medical Sciences

The Medical Sciences Division houses some of the strongest biomedical research in the world; Oxford is repeatedly placed first in clinical, pre-clinical and health in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The Medical Sciences Division’s departments and institutes in Oxford and overseas are home to some of the strongest biomedical research in the world, regularly appearing at the highest levels in world rankings and rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

The Medical Sciences Division’s 2,000 researchers cover a wide range of research, from atomic-resolution molecular structural biology to epidemiology as applied to very large populations. This enables students to work on virtually any biomedical problem. The division provides a stimulating and challenging environment for more than 2,000 talented graduate students with excellent new facilities and close personal supervision by world-class researchers. To complement research supervision and course teaching there is a wide range of facilities aimed at the personal and professional development of students, strengthening their existing skills and developing new skills.

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The course titles and department names do not fully reflect the wide range of research projects available. You can also use the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to identify opportunities and courses based on your area of interest. You are also encouraged to look at webpages hosted by the different departments and institutes of the division for a further sense of the opportunities on offer.

All candidates who apply by the December or January deadline shown on the course page are automatically considered for full funding awards, irrespective of their nationality. The majority of students accepted by the Medical Sciences Division secure full funding, covering both fees and living expenses.

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences Division comprises the largest grouping of social sciences in the UK, home to fourteen outstanding departments, tackling some of the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Oxford's Social Sciences departments are committed to research that develops a greater understanding of all aspects of our complex society, including cybercrime, economic and political turmoil, environmental change, inequality, legal systems, movement of people and social development.

This research is disseminated through a wide range of innovative graduate courses, many of which are recognised by the UK Research Councils and provide preparation for doctoral work, as well as being discrete programmes of advanced study in their own right; others provide a professional qualification. 

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The purpose-built Centre for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, adjacent to the Faculty of Law houses the Department of Economics, the Department of Politics and International Relations and the Bodleian Social Science Library, providing exceptional facilities for master's and research students. All are rooted in research of international standing and students have access to a well-resourced, active research environment. The division also includes the Saïd Business School and the Blavatnik School of Government.

As one of the major providers of social science research in the UK, the University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of a Doctoral Training Network. ESRC DTP studentships are available in a wide variety of training pathways in the social sciences, for both DPhil and master's-to-DPhil programmes.

Department for Continuing Education

The need for new learning opportunities throughout life is now recognised throughout society. An intensive, initial period of higher education is not always enough in times of rapid social, economic and technological change. The Department for Continuing Education is known worldwide as a leading provider of extended learning for professional and personal development.

The department provides high-quality, flexible, part-time graduate education, tailored for adults. Students can undertake graduate-level certificates, diplomas and taught master’s degrees in a wide range of subjects. Increasing numbers of courses are delivered in mixed mode, combining intensive periods of residence in Oxford with tutored online study.

The department recruits adult students of all ages on a regional, national and international level. Many courses are offered jointly with other academic departments around the University. Courses are offered in the following areas:

All postgraduate students on the department's courses are members of its Graduate School. The Graduate School aims to provide a stimulating and enriching environment for learning and research. It also fosters intellectual and social interaction between students coming from different disciplines and professions. Interdisciplinary research seminars, training opportunities and other events are offered by the Graduate School in support of this goal.

All masters' and DPhil applicants are considered for Clarendon Scholarships. The department is committed to seeking scholarship support for other students wherever possible.

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