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The DPhil in Cancer Science programme is unique and distinctive in offering integrated training across the following themes: Immunity, Infection & Inflammation; DNA Damage Response & Radiation Biology; Cancer Genetics & Epigenetics; and Cancer Big Data. It builds on Oxford’s outstanding research record in these areas, spanning both the University and Hospital Trust.

Multiplex IF image of skin biopsy © Alistair Easton

Students participating in the scheme will be offered:

  • a choice of interdisciplinary cutting-edge cancer research projects.
  • the ability to gain a working in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals of cancer biology and cancer patient care through advanced level seminars.
  • a world-renowned research environment that encourages the student’s originality and creativity in their research.
  • opportunities to develop skills in making and testing hypotheses, in developing new theories, and in planning and conducting experiments.
  • an environment in which to develop skills in written work, oral presentation and publishing the results of their research in high-profile scientific journals, through constructive feedback of written work and oral presentations.

At the end of their DPhil course, students should:

  • have a thorough knowledge of the basic principles of cancer research including the relevant literature and a comprehensive understanding of scientific methods and techniques applicable to their own research.
  • be able to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field.
  • have developed the ability to critically evaluate current research and research techniques and methodologies.
  • be able to act autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.
  • be prepared for career in cancer research.

There are 4 application tracks in the programme as described below meaning non-clinicians, undergraduate medical students and post-graduate medical trainees are all eligible to apply for the fully funded (at home rate) studentships.

  • Application Track 1 – Clinical Trainees. Qualified doctors at all stages of training (from foundation to higher specialist training).
  • Application Track 2 – Medical Undergraduates. Medical students who are currently undertaking a primary medical qualification (MBBS, MBChB or equivalent). At entry, we will be looking for evidence of completion of at least the first two years of a primary medical qualification and achievement at the level of an upper-second or first-class honours degrees (or iBSc).
  • Application Track 3 – Non-Clinical/Fundamental Scientist. Science graduates that hold (or be predicted to achieve) the equivalent of a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in biological, medical, or chemical science, as appropriate for the projects offered.
  • Application Track 4 – Non-Clinical/Fundamental Scientist.  Science graduates that hold (or be predicted to achieve) the equivalent of a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in engineering, mathematical/data, or physical science, as appropriate for the projects offered. 

All offered places are fully funded at the home rate. This includes salary/stipend, University/College fees, and a research consumables budget of £13k p.a.. Salary and stipend provisions are summarised below:

  • Track 1 – 3 years of salary at Grade E63 or E64 Clinical Researcher
  • Track 2 – 3 years of stipend at the rate of £19,000 per annum.
  • Track 3 – 4 years of stipend at the rate of £19,000 per annum.
  • Track 4 – 4 years of stipend at the rate of £19,000 per annum.

Applications from international applicants will be accepted however funding at the Home level is only available for this programme and therefore international applicants would need to either source further funding or support themselves financially for the remaining fees. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Application Deadline

Applications for entry in October 2023 will open on 1st September 2022.   

Supported by

Cancer Research UK

Programme Director: Professor Mark Middleton 

Further Information

Project booklet for 2022 entry