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Director of the Medical Sciences Division Graduate School (Internal Only)

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated individual to the role of Director of the Graduate School with effect from 1 September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. The role is tenable for three years in the first instance.

The appointee will be an experienced supervisor of research students in the medical sciences, ideally with substantial experience as a Director of Graduate Studies or otherwise they will have played a significant role in the development of graduate policy and practice in their department. The appointee will have the ability to provide strategic direction and leadership on graduate studies matters across all departments within the Medical Sciences Division, and the skills, knowledge and experience to act as an effective advocate for the Graduate School at all levels, both within the collegiate University and externally with funding bodies and other agencies.

Overview of the role

The Director of the Graduate School provides academic leadership in the Medical Sciences Division in all matters relating to graduate studies. They are responsible to the Associate Head of Division (Education) for the strategic development of the Graduate School, and are a member of the Divisional Graduate School Committee. They also act as Director of the Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), which hosts several structured or externally-funded research degree programmes, and has overall responsibility for graduate recruitment, funding, and skills training, and for liaison and co-ordination of graduate matters across the Division and the wider collegiate University

The Director of the Graduate School is supported in their work by a small Executive Group comprising the Director of the Oxford-Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Division’s Graduate School Committee (GSC), and the Director of Skills Training and Researcher Development.

The Graduate School Office, under the direction of the Assistant Registrar (Graduate School), David Hyland, provides advice and support for the Director. This administrative team provides strategic and policy advice and operational resources for all aspects of the Graduate School, including the DTC and the MRC DTP. No secretarial support or office space is provided for the Director and as such they will be expected to manage their own secretarial needs and to carry out their duties from their existing place of work.

How to apply

The role is available to internal applicants only. The Director is accountable to the Associate Head of Division (Education) for the performance of their duties. A responsibility allowance is available in recognition of the additional duties attached to the Directorship. The terms of the appointment will be agreed between the Head of Division and the appointee, after discussion with the appointee’s Head of Department. Queries about the role may be addressed to or All enquiries will be treated in strict confidence and form no part of the selection decision.

To apply, an expression of interest – comprising a CV and a cover letter (no more than 2 pages, including the contact details of two referees) explaining what you will bring to the role, your previous experience and what you would hope to achieve in the role – should be emailed to by midday on Friday 16 June 2023.



Provide academic leadership in all matters relating to graduate studies in the Medical Sciences Division. This will entail close working with the Executive Group for the Graduate School, Directors of Graduate Studies and Heads of Departments.

Lead the strategic development of the Graduate School. In liaison with stakeholders, and working closely with the Associate Head of Division (Education), the Head of Education Policy and Planning, the Executive Group for the Graduate School and the Assistant Registrar (Graduate School), the Director will be expected to:

  • carry out a review of the Graduate School’s strategic priorities within the context of the Division’s overall priorities for education and research;
  • provide the vision for, and lead the development of, the Graduate School during the period 2023-2026 and set a course for the period beyond 2026;
  • promote the Graduate School, and graduate educational provision, within the Division and University, including as a funding and fundraising priority;
  • identify and pursue ways to raise the profile of the Graduate School and Oxford science both nationally and internationally;
  • in collaboration with initiatives in the wider university, to encourage widened participation in graduate education, aiming to increase the diversity and inclusivity of the student population;
  • play a key role in student number planning, and consideration of proposals for new graduate provision;
  • work closely with colleagues from the Division’s Education team;
  • provide solutions to any operational and strategic difficulties which may arise in the development of the Graduate School as a whole.

 Overall responsibility for graduate recruitment:

  • in ensuring the recruitment of the highest quality postgraduate research students into the Graduate School, the Director will lead the strategy for promoting the Division’s graduate programmes to prospective applicants and maintain oversight of the implementation of this strategy; this may include further development of the Graduate School website, identification and development of strategies promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in the graduate student body, and more broadly the promotion of graduate study in the Division to a wide range of prospective applicants, by various means;
  • develop admissions and studentship award processes in ways that support the Division’s recruitment aims, including academic oversight and development of funding allocations made through the Graduate School Studentship Competition;
  • chair the funding panel that assesses nominations for studentship funding.

Overall responsibility for graduate funding:

  • with support from the Associate Head of Division (Education) and the Head of Education Policy and Planning, work with the University’s Development Office to raise external donations for studentships, actively pursuing opportunities to collaborate with potential external funders;
  • oversee interactions between the University and relevant medical science funding agencies in the UK and internationally to maximise Oxford’s chances of successfully securing and maintaining substantial shares of studentship funding;
  • liaise closely with the Director of the Oxford-MRC DTP who has primary responsibility for oversight and management of that DTP, and the wider DTP leadership team when needed.

 Overall responsibility for graduate skills training:

  • oversee an academic skills training programme for all postgraduate students within the Division and liaise closely with the Divisional Director of Skills Training and Researcher Development, who plays the main co-ordinating role in this area and who is responsible for promoting, co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating researcher development and skills training activities;
  • provide leadership in intra and inter-divisional events for postgraduates;
  • provide expertise in the development of generic and transferable skills training and in improving the range and accessibility of scientific research skills training.

Leadership of the Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre.

The Doctoral Training Centre (MSDTC) provides a home for several cross-divisional DPhil programmes, which are currently core-funded by the BBSRC, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the EPSRC, the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research, the US National Institutes of Health, and either currently or formerly by the Wellcome Trust. The Director provides academic leadership, co-ordination and oversight of all aspects of these programmes, including their funding and management, the performance of their students, and the provision of generic training. A small administrative team has day-to-day responsibility for the programmes and provides support to the MSDTC Director. The Director shall:

  • chair thrice-yearly meetings of programme directors;
  • co-ordinate the delivery of training and ensuring its quality;
  • lead an induction event and an annual science day;
  • maintain an overview of progression and monitoring completion rates;
  • co-ordinate the bidding process for renewal of the programmes;
  • support applications for new programmes;
  • oversee DTC expenditure and work to secure alternative sources of funding to enhance the programmes.

 Liaison and co-ordination of graduate matters:

  • attend twice-termly Graduate School Committee meetings and work closely with the Chair and Vice-Chair on matters falling within GSC’s remit, including the organisation, development and delivery of curricula; the facilities and framework for supporting research students; and decisions on admission, progress and examination; the Chair and Vice-Chair of GSC take primary responsibility for these matters, but the Director may be required to engage with individual issues arising, for example in more complex cases or where the Chair or Vice-Chair has a conflict of interest;
  • maintain an oversight of graduate matters across the Division, initiating action where necessary to maintain and improve standards, for example in relation to the role of Directors of Graduate Studies, documentation for graduate programmes, transfer and confirmation procedures, supervision and reporting, graduate student welfare, and facilities and support for graduate students;
  • represent the Division at University level on various bodies dealing with graduate studies, including the Graduate Admissions Committee and the Graduate Access Working Group; the Director would also be a member of the UNIQ+ Management Group;
  • co-ordinate with the Clinical Academic Graduate School (OUCAGS) on matters of common interest to graduate research students and clinical academic trainees;
  • maintain active liaison with counterparts in other parts of the University, especially the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, with whom the Medical Sciences Division runs joint research degree programmes, and co-ordinate on matters of common interest to scientific education or in promotions to funders;
  • maintain good relationships with colleges, ensuring sufficient capacity for student numbers, and promoting the benefits of linked studentship awards;
  • represent the Graduate School to external agencies and funding bodies (in liaison with the Director of the MRC DTP in any exchanges with the MRC).

Medical Sciences Division Associate Head of Division for Education (Internal Only)


As the Associate Head of Division for Education you will be part of a small academic leadership team supporting the Head of Division, Professor Gavin Screaton and the current Deputy Head of Division, Professor Helen McShane. Collectively this team is responsible for the development and oversight of divisional activities.

You will be highly committed to continuing the development of educational activity across the Division, providing input to vision and strategy, and play an important role in establishing and representing the Division’s educational goals and interests within the University, and with external agencies, including UKRI (in relation to postgraduate training), HEE, MSC and GMC. You will work closely and collaboratively with the other Associate Heads of Division and education leads across the division. You will also work alongside the 16 departments of MSD and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, supporting efforts to share good practice, knowledge and expertise across the Division.

This appointment is open only to internal applicants holding an existing contract of employment with the University of Oxford. All applicants will need the support of their Head of Department to take on this role which is expected to be undertaken alongside existing duties. A schedule allowance is payable (Schedule II – currently £21,534 p.a.), and the expected duration of this role will be three years in the first instance, with periodic reviews.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • lead strategic developments in the educational arena as appropriate and agreed with the Head of Division;
  • represent the Division and provide strategic leadership in matters relating to access, admissions, course fees, student number planning, studentship funding, curricula, assessment, quality assurance, educational strategy, and internal and external review (e.g. by the GMC), and chair divisional working parties as appropriate; 
  • represent the Division on appropriate University committees (including Council’s Education Committee, Joint Student Number Planning Sub-Committee, and Joint Fees and Student Support Advisory Group) and working parties in the general area of educational strategy and policy, as agreed with the Head of Division, and report back to FRGPC, EPSC and the Divisional Board on the matters discussed by these bodies
  • work closely with the Directors of Graduate and of Undergraduate Studies and others including the Director of PGMDE and the Director of the Graduate School, and with colleagues across the collegiate University, on all relevant matters;
  • chair and guide the business of the Divisional Board’s Educational Policy and Standards Committee (EPSC);
  • chair and guide the business of the Division’s Student Number Planning Panel in respect of proposals from departments for Gathered Field and PGR Pool places
  • chair the Division’s Teaching Excellence Award Selection Panel
  • chair divisional panels considering medical student appeals and requests for exceptional third examination attempts
  • present reports of the EPSC to the Medical Sciences Board and represent EPSC’s interests at meetings of the Board’s Finance, Research and General Purposes Committee
  • play a leading role in influencing University, national and international education policies and activities

The Associate Head of Division (Education) will work closely with the Head of Division, the Chairs of EPSC’s sub-committees (ASC, GSC, and USC), the Directors of Preclinical Studies, Clinical Studies and Graduate entry Medical Studies, the Director of the Graduate School, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Heads of Department, external partners, HEE, GMC and MSC, and the Head of Educational Policy and Planning and other key individuals in the Divisional Education Office in delivering these responsibilities.

Candidate profile

  1. A senior academic, keen to be involved in the strategic development of the Division and the University as a whole.
  2. Experience of considering long-term goals and necessary strategy and tactics to achieve them
  3. Understanding of the factors that facilitate and hinder successful educational activity in MSD
  4. Able to consider benefits and risks across MSD as a whole and take decisions about which opportunities to pursue 
  5. Awareness of and interest in education outside own speciality, including undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and postgraduate research provision, and external drivers in the education landscape
  6. Readiness to work with divisional officers to implement policies and strategies
  7. Able to command respect of colleagues, build consensus and resolve conflicts diplomatically

Selection criteria


a. Extensive experience in the delivery of undergraduate and graduate education in one or more Medical Sciences subjects

b. Experience of effective committee participation (including chairing)

c. A collegiate approach to developing policies and resolving problems

d. Demonstrable effectiveness in work with senior professional services colleagues

e. An understanding of issues related to education strategy, planning, funding, teaching, learning and assessment

f. An understanding of student-facing issues, particularly the impact of educational policy decisions on student welfare, and the impact of student health (especially mental health) on the implementation of policy

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