Department of Biochemistry University of Oxford Department of Biochemistry
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3QU

Tel: +44 (0)1865 613200
Fax: +44 (0)1865 613201
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Graduate Admissions Criteria for DPhil/MSc(Res) in Biochemistry for Entry in 2014-2015

GRADUATE ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR D.Phil. /M.Sc. (by Research)  in Biochemistry FOR ENTRY IN 2014-15

1.  Criteria

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of a candidate’s ability to meet the following criteria:

2.  Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence. Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved a first-class or an upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent international qualifications[1]) in one of the following: Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biophysics, Physics, Mathematics or Computation.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA we seek is 3.5 out of 4.0.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or international equivalent (e.g. a GPA of at least 3.7 out of 4.0).

Appropriate indicators will include:

Academic references/letters of recommendation, which support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.

Statement of purpose This should be in English and no more than 1000 words. This will be assessed for: your reasons for applying; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; the ability to present a reasoned case in English.

Performance at interview(s) Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  Applicants will be shortlisted for interview based on the aforementioned criteria as well as an enthusiasm for the proposed area of study, over and above what would be expected from an undergraduate course of instruction. The latter criteria might be demonstrated by, for example, having undertaken independent fieldwork or research, vacation employment in a relevant discipline, or having already made research publications or presentations. Interviews are in person or by Skype with video, take up to 30 minutes and are conducted by a panel of two or more interviewers. Applicants will be asked to talk about any research project(s) that they may have pursued and questioned on aspects of their research training to date, understanding of the proposed area of study and motivation for doing a DPhil/MSc by Research.

3. Other qualifications and experience

Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage a candidate’s application.

4. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Biochemistry to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
  • There are minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted onto Oxford’s research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision is subject to the following points.

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Biochemistry and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Biochemistry.

5. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the standard level required by the University.

6. Deadlines and required full set of application materials

Please refer to the Graduate Admissions website for information on the deadlines which must be met, and the full set of supporting materials required, in order for applications to be guaranteed to be considered.

7. Whether you have yet secured fundingis not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until the college which gives you an initial offer of a place is satisfied that you have sufficient funding to cover your fees and living costs for the standard period of fee liability for your course.

8. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties.

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study. Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available here.

9. Other information

  • We recommend that DPhil and MSc by Research candidates should contact a potential supervisor(s) in the first instance before submitting an application.
  • We encourage prospective applicants to communicate with us in order to refine their application, especially where scholarships are involved.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.

10. Assessors

All applications will be assessed by at least 3 members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise. 

11. Course webpage]



[1]If you hold non-British qualifications, you are advised to check with the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) how your qualifications match these requirements.








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