The award of this degree is based on a thesis of not more than 100,000 words in length. It should constitute a significant and substantial piece of research, of a kind which might reasonably be expected of a diligent and competent student in three years of full-time study. The maximum time allowed for completion of the degree is four years.
DPhil students work closely with a supervisor (or sometimes with joint supervisors) who will be a specialist in the subject under investigation. Prospective students (especially PRS applicants) should check with the list of Department members' research interests to determine if there is likely to be a suitable supervisor for the area in which they wish to work.
Full-time students admitted to PRS status are first required to transfer to DPhil status. The Transfer of Status requires the completion of the Qualifying Examinations, necessary coursework, and an interview with two assessors appointed by the department, at which the candidate presents an outline of their proposed thesis and a piece of written work relevant to the thesis. The transfer is normally expected to be completed by the end of the fourth term, and no later than six terms from admission to Probationer Research Student status.
Upon a successful transfer to DPhil status, students must confirm their DPhil status no later than nine terms after admission to Probationer Research Student status. Candidates for Confirmation of Status must present a research paper at a workshop or seminar, present a detailed outline of the complete thesis and some complete draft chapters, and will be interviewed by an assessor.
The interests and strengths of our doctoral students are many and diverse, and this is reflected in the positions they take up after graduation: some take up tenure track positions in academia; others find employment in government, international organisations, or the private sector. The international reputation of Oxford’s doctoral programme also means that our DPhil graduates can be found making a contribution in many different parts of the world.
The Department recognises the importance of helping our doctoral students find suitable employment. Our placement efforts are directed by a senior member of the faculty. We provide advice and help on all aspects of the job application process, including limited financial assistance to cover expenses.