Skip to main content

Research degrees

As one of the world's leading research institutions, Oxford University is committed to recruiting highly qualified and talented research students to its research degree programmes, and to providing a stimulating and supportive research environment for them to flourish in. It is also eager to foster research collaboration and to build partnerships across departments within the university and with other research institutions and with industrial and commercial partners.

At Continuing Education we have established a lively and expanding research community for part-time doctoral students working both in Oxford and at a distance. In some cases, our DPhil programmes have been developed in partnership with other university departments and with external institutions. All offer the opportunity to acquire a rigorous training in research methods, to work alongside other exceptional researchers in related fields and to access the exceptional physical and intellectual resources of Oxford.

Research degrees

A DPhil (known as a PhD in some institutions) is an advanced research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and an oral examination called the viva voce. The thesis must be a significant and substantial piece of research, make an original contribution to its field, and be presented in a lucid and scholarly manner. In the viva, the candidate is required to defend their thesis and to demonstrate a good general knowledge of their field of study.

Part-time students normally take six to eight years to research, write and submit their theses for examination. The minimum period for submission is four years. (The Department does not currently award MPhil degrees.)

We welcome applications from high-calibre candidates able to demonstrate commitment, intellectual rigour and tenacity. We take into consideration both academic qualifications and relevant professional experience.

Individual research projects

Beyond the named programmes in particular subject areas, we are able to admit exceptionally well qualified research students in other subject areas where we are able to offer appropriate supervision and where we can identify suitable training, facilities and resources for candidates. Further information and details on how to apply can be found on the Continuing Education page.