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We welcome approximately 20 graduate students each year, 5 of whom to the Kennedy Trust Prize Studentships. Our students are supported by a range of different funding streams and programmes.

1. Medical Sciences Division Doctoral Competition

To be considered for full funding, candidates applying to start a programme from October 2021 must submit their University application(s) online for the programme(s) they wish to be considered for by 12 noon (UK time) on Friday 08 January 2021. 

Every year the Department offers a number1 of fully funded 3-year PhD (DPhil) studentships to outstanding applicants of any nationality. These studentships are funded by a number of organisations including the Wellcome Trust, MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, CR-UK, British Heart Foundation, the Clarendon Fund, Oxford Colleges and a number of other charities.

If successful, the fully-funded studentships will cover University and College fees and provide a stipend at the standard Research Council rate. For more information on fees, please see the Graduate Admissions course page.

Please do note that the selection of highly-ranked applicants for these studentships is a competitive process across the Division and the applicants are encouraged to consider alternative sources of funding, as detailed below.

Find out more here.

2. Other funded programmes

It is also possible to become a DPhil student in NDORMS through admittance via other funded programmes. It is recommended that you also apply for these as this will increase your chances of securing funding.

Some of the major external scholarships relevant to Medical Sciences applicants are:

  • The National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program funds US students to do a PhD at the NIH and Oxford.
  • The NIH-Wellcome Trust Programme funds UK students to do a PhD at both the NIH and Oxford.
  • The Joint Skaggs Oxford Programme funds students to do a PhD at the Scripps Research Institute and Department of Biochemistry in Oxford.
  • Rhodes Scholarships support student from a range of countries to study at Oxford.
  • Commonwealth Scholarships fund students from Commonwealth countries.
  • China Scholarship Council funds students from China.
  • Croucher Scholarships fund students from Hong Kong.
  • A*Star funds Singaporean students.
  • CNPq Scholarships support Brazilian students.

The main University Funding site lists many of these external scholarships.

There are also several schemes specifically for clinically-qualified applicants.

Henni Mester Studentship in Orthopaedics or Rheumatology (Nuffield Dept of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences)

A biennial fully-funded Henni Mester studentship is available to an outstanding candidate who applies for DPhil study in the area of arthritis or rheumatism within the Nuffield Dept of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS). The next intake will be in October 2022.

3.5 years of full funding is available in partnership with the NDORMS annual studentship funding competition.

The studentship is open to Home students and does not require an additional explicit application (although when making their online Oxford application candidates must either list University College as their preferred college, or be willing to migrate colleges to take up the award).


3. Direct Applications

Exceptionally, students can also approach individual supervisors directly at other times during the year. If you are not applying for a funded programme, you will need to have funds for the University fees and your living costs. The selection criteria remain the same as for funded programmes. 

More funding information


1  For the 2020 intake, out of 136 applications overall, 51 were invited for interview. Overall, 25 applicants were permitted to undertake the DPhil/MSc (by Research) at NDORMS; 6 of whom were awarded funds through the Kennedy Trust Prize Studentship, 1 of whom was awarded through the Doctoral Training Fellowship Scheme for Clinicians and 5 of whom were awarded scholarships from the Divisional & Departmental funding. Other successful applicants secured their own funding from various alternative sources (including 2 awarded funds from the Henni Mester Studentship).