About the Graduate School
Below you'll find a step-by-step guide to the process of applying for a research degree:
Preparing and submitting your application
Full details of the application process and the supporting materials required are provided in Oxford University's online Course Guide and Application Guide. It is important to allow sufficient time to prepare your application and supporting materials and to secure transcripts of your qualifications and the support of three referees. If you require any assistance with your application, please contact the appropriate Programme Assistant. The University has a number of application deadlines throughout the year. Most Continuing Education courses will use the 20 January or 9 March deadlines in 2012 but arrangements vary slightly between programmes. It may be possible to accept applications later in the year if places remain.
Choosing a college
Choosing a college is a personal decision. It is also an important decision because it will have a direct impact upon your experience of undertaking research at Oxford. All of Oxford's colleges and halls take graduate students. Some take only graduate students. Some restrict their recruitment to particular courses or subjects.
Many students base their choice of college upon factors such as the age and location of the college, the provision of library and other facilities, and the availability of short-term accommodation, but you may also find it helpful to consider:
- Does the college recruit a significant number of graduate students?
- Does it regularly recruit graduate students in your subject area and from your programme?
- Are there college fellows with research interests in your subject area?
- Does the college make any special provision (for example, facilities or events) for part-time research students?
It is not mandatory to select a college and the University cannot guarantee that you will be offered a place at your college of preference. You can, if you wish, make an open college application and allow the University to allocate you to a college.
Writing your research proposal
All DPhil applicants are required to submit a preliminary research proposal with their application. The purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate that the research topic you propose to undertake is significant, necessary and feasible, that you will be able to make an original contribution to the field, and that the project can be within the expected time period. Detailed requirements may vary between course programmes but we provide some general guidelines and advice on structuring your proposal below.
- Title Sheet
This should include your name, the degree programme to which you are applying and your thesis proposal title.
- Topic Statement
This should establish the general subject area you will be working in and how your topic relates to it. Explain briefly why your topic is significant and what contribution your research will make to the field.
- Aims of the thesis
These should set out the specific aims of your research.
- Review of the literature
Provide a brief survey of the significant literature and recent (and current) research in your field to place your own proposed research in context and to establish its potential contribution to the field.
- Theoretical Orientation
Outline the theoretical approaches taken in your topic and indicate which approach or approaches you propose to use in your research and why you plan to do so.
- Research Methodology
Briefly describe your proposed research methods, including the type of information and sources to be used, the main research methodology or methodologies to be employed, any resources needed and any ethical or safety issues identified.
- Tentative chapter outline
You may wish to include a tentative chapter outline if available at this stage.
List all publications cited in your proposal using a suitable academic referencing system.