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We welcome between 20-30 graduate research students each year. Our students are supported by a range of different funding streams and programmes, including the Kennedy Trust Prize Studentships. 

1. Medical Sciences Division Doctoral Competition

To be considered for full funding, candidates applying to start a programme from October 2024 must complete their University application(s) online by 12 noon (UK time) on Friday 1st December 2023.

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.

This programme is participating in the Academic Futures via the Medical Sciences Division's guarantee of at least 10 places per year across its doctoral programmes for the next four years' intakes (started 2022) of DPhil students (see section 4).

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 on the Medical Sciences Division funding webpage

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.

A-Z of Scholarships.

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 2024.

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

The studentship provides fees at the home rate 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).

The Lord Nuffield and Girdlestone Scholarships

Two Full DPhil (PhD) Scholarships in Orthopaedic-related Surgical Research offered by NDORMS at the Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, first awarded in October 2023.

The Lord Nuffield and Girdlestone scholarships in orthopaedic surgical research were established in 1937 after a generous endowment by Lord Nuffield.

These scholarships are awarded every 3 years and support Orthopaedic Surgeons in training (in the UK), who wish to undertake research at the Botnar Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, at the University of Oxford. These awards include a tax-free bursary, tuition fees at the home rate and support for consumables over a 3-year period.

If not applying for an advertised project, applicants must contact potential supervisor(s) to plan a project and to ensure that any planned proposal is within the remit of the scholarships. In case of any queries, please contact

Applicants should apply for the D.Phil in Musculoskeletal Sciences and use the course code RD_ML2.

The next available intake for the Lord Nuffield Scholarship is October 2024 (application deadline of noon on Friday 1st December 2023). 

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

4. Academic Futures

The University and colleges are doing more than ever to increase the number of promising postgraduate students from under-represented groups at Oxford.

As part of our programme to transform our graduate population by creating more funding opportunities for under-represented groups, the Academic Futures programme expanded from 2022-23, with more dedicated awards available than ever before.

Alongside this, a growing range of other scholarships are available for students from under-represented groups. 

Find out more about the University’s graduate access initiatives on the Graduate Access website.