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Students at a lab bench using a pipette

With its first intake confirmed for 2020, the DPhil in Cancer Science Programme at the University of Oxford provides research-based doctoral training for cancer researchers from clinical, biological, engineering, mathematics and statistics backgrounds. 

Successful applicants will receive a world-leading research training experience that integrates an education initiative spanning cancer patient care, tumour biology and research impact; on- course and post-programme mentorship; and a specialised, fundamental, subject-specific training programme that is tailored to individual research needs. 

Find out more about the course below, read about what our current students are up to, or find out what our alumni have gone on to achieve in their career as a cancer researcher.

The Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre awards around 12 full-time positions on the DPhil in Cancer Science Programme each year for researchers looking to start their academic career at one of the world’s leading research organisations.

The 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.

Students participating in the scheme will be offered:

  • a choice of interdisciplinary cutting-edge cancer research projects (see the Project Book tab for examples of the type of projects offered).
  • 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 the course, programme students will:

  • have gained 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 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 a career in cancer research.

The scheme caters to researchers from a wide range of backgrounds and there are three types of application welcomed as described below.

  • Application Type 1 – Clinical Trainees. Qualified doctors at all stages of training (from foundation to higher specialist training).
  • Application Type 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 3A – 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 3B – 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 and 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 3A – 4 years of stipend at the rate of £19,000 per annum.
  • Track 3B – 4 years of stipend at the rate of £19,000 per annum.

Applications from international candidates 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.

The process for allocating studentships and fellowships for the 2021 intake is now complete and we hope to open the DPhil in Cancer Science to 2022 applicants later in the year. The timeline for the 2021 application process is below.

  • 5th October 2020 – Project Booklet released and opening of scheme to applicants
  • 8th January 2021 – Deadline for applying to the 2021 intake (with up to 3 ranked projects from the 2021 project list).
  • Late January 2021  – Interviews
  • February-March 2021 – Award announcements

Click here for more information on how to apply to the DPhil in Cancer Science Programme and the online application portal

 

Interviews

Interviews are offered to the top-ranked applications, with the results being announced shortly afterwards. All applicants will be judged on the following;

  • Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage your application.
  • Prior publications are not required, but research experience and a track record demonstrating an interest in research may be an advantage.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.
  • Commitment to and passion for a career in cancer research.
  • Reasoning ability and academic curiosity.

If you are thinking of applying to the scheme, useful advice can be found here. If you have any further questions about the programme or the application, please email cancer@medsci.ox.ac.uk.

Thank you to all those who attended our 2020 Open Day on Friday, 16 October 2020. 

Stay tuned for information for our 2021/2022 intake Open Day, which will be held in late 2021.

If you have any questions about the DPhil in Cancer Science or applications, you can contact us on cancer@medsci.ox.ac.uk and we will direct your question to the most appropriate person.

Applications to the 2021 round of DPhil in Cancer Science are now closed. Projects available for the next round of applications will be made available later in the year, please check this page or sign up to our student mailing-list for updates.

Examples Project Books from previous admission rounds are available below

For the DPhil in Cancer Science, we look for project submissions from PIs from across medical, physical, engineering and mathematical sciences. We typically advertise 35-45 projects to prospective students, who can apply for their preferred projects (examples of previous projects can be found in the Project Booklet tab).

Cancer researchers from across the Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust who are interested in supervising a student/fellow are eligible to submit their project ideas.

The deadline for 2021-2022 project submissions by Oxford supervisors has now passed. If you are interested in hosting a DPhil in Cancer Science student please contact us for more information, the next round of project applications will be opening around May 2022.

Funded by

CRUK Oxford Centre Logo

DPhil students in the Cancer Science Programme at the University of Oxford are supported by a grant from Cancer Research UK, managed through the CRUK Oxford Centre.