Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What science qualifications or background do I need to be eligible for the course?
A: We expect that most of the successful applicants to our programme will have an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics or a related physical science. Normally we would expect applicants to have, or be on course for, a 1st or 2:1 degree class. However, we are also happy to consider applicants that have a 2:2 and some additional experience (e.g. summer research work, industrial experience). For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0. Other qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis – please contact if you have further questions.

Q: Who are the possible supervisors for the Chemistry in Cells Programme?
A: Supervisors from across the University of Oxford can be part of the programme. A key requirement is that the project involves at least two supervisors, one from the physical sciences and one from the biomedical sciences. If you are interested in working with a specific supervisor, we recommend that you contact them informally and ask which CDTs/DTCs are best to apply for.

Q: How do we choose our projects?
A: Projects have been proposed by a number of supervisors from different departments across the University. As described above, it is a requirement to have a biomedical supervisor and physical sciences supervisor - these collaborations have already been formed to produce the projects. During the first term of the first year, students have a chance to review the projects and make their choices after informal meetings and sessions with the supervisors during a ‘project week’. The Springboard phase is designed to orientate students in the labs of the physical and biomedical supervisors and to begin to receive the initial training in some techniques. Plans for the substantive DPhil can be made during this phase. There is flexibility during the initial stages of the programme to allow students to make informed decisions about their projects.

Q: I came to understand that this programme is offered jointly by Medical Sciences Division (MSD) DTC and the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) DTC. What does this mean for our projects?
A: The CiC programme is cross-divisional (MSD and MPLS). This aspect of the programme will have no bearing on the projects you choose and in fact will enable you to select from a fantastic breadth of projects and collaborations!

Q: What funding is available?
A: Funding for this programme will provide a stipend of at least £23,955 per year and will cover University and college fees. There is also support to cover relevant travel, conferences and placements.

Q: I read the application process will be anonymised. What does that mean?
A: There is evidence to suggest that unconscious bias can affect fair selection of CVs during shortlisting (Moss-Racusin, CA. et al., 2012). To avoid this, we will be anonymising applications, using a standard CV format and statement of purpose, and taking into consideration socio-economic data in the assessment of applications and taking positive action to address the under-representation of Black-British students in STEM subjects at doctoral level in the shortlisting of applications of interview. We hope that this process will help us to select students based only on their scientific ability, irrespective of their gender, race, socioeconomic or geographical background. To view the University's pilot assessment procedure to address conscious and unconscious bias please follow this link

Q: I’m not familiar with the Oxford graduate application process. How does it work?
A: You can get detailed information on how to apply for the Chemistry in Cells PhD on the Medical Sciences Division Graduate School Website. Unless there is an exceptional need to complete a paper form, all applications with supporting documents are submitted online.

Q: Do I have to pay an application fee?
A: Graduate applications to the University of Oxford incur a fee of £75. You can, however, apply for up to three related courses with one payment of the fee. There is funding available for applicants at interview who are eligible for financial support. Please contact us directly at further information and advice.

Q: I have more questions? Who should I contact?
A: If you have any further questions then please email us at