Information for prospective applicants

Applying for a D.Phil. studentship

Oxford's Department of Plant Sciences undertakes research across the breadth of Plant Science. The DPhil in Plant Sciences allows graduates to undertake both fundamental and applied research in topics across the breadth of plant science. You will gain a wide range of research skills as well as in depth knowledge and expertise in your chosen field of research.

You are strongly encouraged to communicate with potential supervisors prior to submitting an application to explain why you want to work in your chosen field of study, to answer any questions on research projects and to refine your application, especially if applying for competitive scholarships.

Course available

* Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil.

Current Research Projects available

The projects available for prospective D.Phil students beginning October 2018 are advertised here. If you are interested in pursuing any of these possibilities, you are strongly encouraged to contact the named supervisor directly to get further information. Please ensure that you submit a CV and cover message with your enquiry highlighting (i) the aspects of your education and training that make you suitable for the advertised project, (ii) the reasons for your interest in the specific project, and (iii) more generally, why you consider it important to undertake a PhD (DPhil) in the proposed area.  

Application deadlines

There are three application deadlines:

  • Friday 17th November 2017
  • Friday 19th January 2018
  • Friday 9th March 2018

Applications must be submitted by 12 noon (midday) on these days.

Please ensure that you contact potential supervisors well in advance of these deadlines. Later applications may be considered if places are available.

There are two main routes into the Department of Plant Sciences Graduate Programme dictated by different funding mechanisms: If, after discussion with a potential supervisor, you decide that one of these programmes is right for you, you will need to apply directly to the relevant programme.


Fully funded studentships/scholarships are available via linked Doctoral Training Centres (see above), directly via departmental project opportunities (see above) or via competitive scholarships. Please use the University's Fees, Funding and Scholarship search tool to identify the funding options available to you.

1. Entry via one of Oxford’s Doctoral Training Centres. These are fully-funded, four-year graduate training programmes in which students undertake a training period of taught courses of 3-6 months prior to embarking upon their D.Phil. research. In some programmes students undertake two short ‘rotation’ projects before deciding upon their D.Phil. project. Some programmes also include professional internships. The programmes from which students can go on to do a D.Phil. in plant sciences are:

2. Direct entry. Students are admitted directly to the Department of Plant Sciences Graduate Training Programme for projects of 3-4 years of duration, depending on funding arrangements. The programme includes training in research skills (including courses on: analysis of the scientific literature; presentation skills; statistics; bioinformatics; plant biodiversity; science communication; scientific writing) but these courses are spread throughout the first year and run alongside the research project which starts immediately. Fully-funded studentships may be available, and these opportunities are highlighted in the details to specific projects. More usually, however, successful applicants will apply for competitive scholarships either from within the University of Oxford or from elsewhere.

Further information for EU students intending to apply for entry in 2017-18 or holding an offer for deferred entry in 2017-18 has been added to a dedicated page  on the EU referendum. EU students who begin their studies at the University in 2017-18 will be charged the home rate for tuition fees for all years of their course. Student loan support and Research Council funding arrangements for EU students commencing their studies in 2017-18 have not yet been confirmed. Information will be updated on the university EU referendum page as soon as it is announced. 

How to apply

Click here for full details of the D.Phil. programme in Plant Sciences, including selection criteria, eligibility and the application process.


If you have any queries then please contact Mrs Gem Toes-Crichton: