Research and teaching | University of Oxford
Microscope work
Microscope study in the laboratory
(Image Credit: Zachary Domach / Graduate Photography Competition)

Research and teaching

The University of Oxford is the world’s number one university according to the Times Higher Education Rankings 2016-17.  The Research Excellence Framework 2014 also places Oxford at number one in the UK for research quality.

Oxford is one of the world's leading universities, renowned for the quality and diversity of its research and teaching excellence. As a graduate student at Oxford you will belong to an academic department or faculty which will provide your teaching and supervision, and provide exceptional resources to support your studies. Each has its own academic community, dedicated to advancing knowledge in particular subject areas. Departments often work together on teaching joint courses and interdisciplinary research projects.

Research at Oxford

Graduate students at Oxford are central to the University's research efforts, which span all areas of the globe and tackle issues of international significance. Research at Oxford has made an enormous impact on our fundamental understanding of the world, and our graduate students join our academic staff in tackling some of the major challenges facing the world today. In the UK’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment exercise, Oxford was awarded the top ranking.  48% of research and impact was given the top rating (4*), which means we have the largest volume of world-leading (4*) research in the UK.

The University provides a supportive environment in which researchers at every stage of their career will flourish. Oxford is dedicated to fostering research collaborations across the world with research institutions, research agencies, funding bodies, industrial and commercial partners, sponsors and benefactors. In addition, Oxford offers four-year doctoral courses providing structured training and research experience in the first year, and a research project leading to a DPhil in subsequent years.  These Doctoral Training Programmes are supported through links with industrial and other partners, as well as in some cases other institutions.

Students on research degrees work closely with an academic supervisor focusing on a specific research project to produce a thesis that represents a significant and substantial piece of work. Students are assessed on the basis of this thesis and a viva voce (an oral examination).

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Teaching at Oxford

Oxford's graduate courses are high quality and shorter than in many countries, facilitating students' swift career progression. We are proud of our close working relationships between supervisors and students, and the small group teaching on our master's courses.

Students on master's courses study a range of core and optional courses, supported by lectures and seminars. Work is usually assessed through a combination of coursework, written examinations and a dissertation.

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Additional training and support

Languages

The University has a large and well-equipped Language Centre that offers foreign language courses in twelve languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. The first-class language library has text, audio, video and computer-based material in more than 180 languages, satellite reception in 13, and a directory of online language-learning sites. They also run popular English language courses that are aimed at improving student's communication skills and academic writing.

Divisional support

Oxford's academic divisions coordinate skills training for graduate students and help foster an interdisciplinary approach between departments. Tailored graduate support is available through: