A photograph of students dressed for graduation, with the DPhil centenary logo
Students dressed for graduation
Image credit: Phil Brooks, Graduate Admissions


Oxford was the first university in the UK to introduce a doctoral degree. 100 years after the first DPhil thesis was submitted, we celebrate the achievements of the first scholars and of our DPhil students today. 

A Century of Change

The first ‘DPhil’ (Doctor of Philosophy) was awarded at the start of a period of huge progressive change at Oxford. During and after the First World War, in the midst of great industrial and scientific advancement worldwide, it became clear that universities would have a new and greater role to play in society.

The introduction of the DPhil was a vital moment in the University’s history. It changed the fundamental nature and make-up of the University, perhaps more significantly than at any time in the preceding 800 years.

Today, Oxford University is considered first in the world for its research and teaching. Oxford’s thriving and international research culture attests to the success of the DPhil and how, over the last 100 years, it has helped to transform this ancient university into the institution of today.