The University of Oxford was ranked the world’s number one university for the third successive year in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 also places Oxford top in the UK for research quality.
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.
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).
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.
Oxford’s external research income is consistently higher than any other UK university, with a total of more than £564.9m in 2016-17 and the academic work of our staff is regularly recognised by the award of prestigious international prizes.
The University provides a supportive environment in which researchers at every stage of their career will flourish. The University is dedicated to fostering research collaborations across the world with research institutions, research agencies, funding bodies, industrial and commercial partners, sponsors and benefactors. Oxford also 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, and even other institutions.
Skills training for research students
Oxford's academic divisions coordinate skills training for graduate students and help foster an interdisciplinary approach between departments. Tailored graduate support is available through:
- Medical Sciences Division Graduate School
- Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Graduate School
- Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre
- The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
- Department for Continuing Education Graduate School.