How is the Blavatnik School of Government DPhil programme different from other research degree programmes in Public Policy?

The DPhil in Public Policy is a 36-month research degree that is also rooted in and relevant to current policy challenges. You will have the chance to meet and interact with leading public policy practitioners, and will work in an interdisciplinary environment where issues rather than the nuances of debates within specific academic disciplines take priority in the formation and execution of research questions and strategies. If you are accepted for the DPhil in Public Policy you will be expected to focus your research on practical challenges facing a range of different governments and publicly oriented agencies. As well as developing your academic expertise, you will also learn how to communicate your findings and analysis effectively so as to have real impact on government and public policy development throughout the world.

What level of supervision will I have on the DPhil?

You will have a named supervisor, normally as indicated in the offer letter, who will have overall responsibility for the direction of your work on behalf of the School. You may also have a second supervisor, who may be identified in the offer letter, or over the course of the DPhil, once the direction of the research becomes clear. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of much public policy research, supervisors are likely to each come with different disciplinary expertise so as to meet the needs and focus of the research.

Should I contact possible supervisors directly?

The Blavatnik School of Government receives a very large number of applications and enquiries each year. Individual supervisors are very time-pressed and may well be unable to offer specific guidance to candidates on their research topics and fit for the programme. We therefore strongly advise you to direct any correspondence or questions to the Blavatnik School of Government Admissions Team who will be able to liaise appropriately with faculty members on your behalf. We also suggest to check the list of faculty members who are also DPhil supervisors so as to determine if there is likely to be a suitable supervisor for your area of interest. The School will appoint a supervisor in the event that your application is successful and you do not need a confirmed supervisor in order to apply.

How do I learn more about the milestones attached to an Oxford DPhil (Transfer of Status, Confirmation of Status, Viva Voce)?

You can find out more about the stages of an Oxford DPhil here on the main University website.

Do I have to live in Oxford during term time?

Full-time students will need to be resident in Oxford for at least 6 terms. Time spent abroad as part of a research timetable may count towards the residence requirements however all cases are subject to approval. As a part time student, you must spend at least 30 days per year in Oxford.

Where do I find out about funding?

Please review the DPhil funding information which will be updated with funding opportunities. In addition, we strongly recommend you use the University’s Fees and Funding pages to investigate possible funding opportunities. Many colleges also have information on funding and what opportunities are open to their members.

What funds are available for attending conferences and presenting papers?

We have a limited research fund for doctoral students, to which you can apply for help with attendance at conferences and fieldwork expenses. Students are also encouraged to investigate all sources of funding available; these would include your college and external organisations in addition to the Blavatnik School of Government.

Can I support my studies or continue with paid employment?

If you hold a student visa you would normally be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week. However, due to the intensive nature of the DPhil programme, you are strongly encouraged to discuss any additional work commitments with your supervisor before undertaking the work and to make a potential or current employer aware of the restrictions you face as a full-time student. The part-time course is intended for those who wish to pursue a DPhil alongside part or full-time work commitments, however, do bear in mind there are likely to be visa restrictions preventing part-time students from undertaking work whilst in the UK.

Do I need to submit an English language test?

You do not need to provide evidence of English language proficiency if you meet one of the following criteria:

A. Your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI); or

B. You are a current Oxford student applying for readmission.

C. You have completed a minimum of three years full time higher education in English in a UKVI country, completing your course within approximately two years of the start date of the DPhil. We will consider any degrees which finished in May 2020 or later for our 2022 intake.

If you do not meet one of the criteria above, you will have to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for the DPhil.

Please see the central University application guide for full details of this requirement – please note that the School requires the higher level scores outlined. Where possible you should submit an English language proficiency test by the application deadline; if you have not yet taken a test or received your results your application will still be considered as long as all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will require you to submit English language test results at the required level by 31 May 2022. Please note that the Blavatnik School has a higher waiver standard than the central university and waivers are granted at the discretion of the department. If you wish to apply for a waiver you can submit this request either with your application or after you receive an offer.

Are there teaching opportunities whilst I am a research student?

As a Blavatnik School of Government research student, you may have opportunities to teach, most commonly as a Teaching Assistant (TA) on a module for the Master of Public Policy (MPP). However, other opportunities may be available across the University.

Can I come and visit the Blavatnik School of Government to find out more?

All the information you require about the DPhil in Public Policy is available on our website however it is possible to visit us and speak to the Admissions team about an application to the DPhil programme. If you are going to be in Oxford please email the Admissions team (admissions@bsg.ox.ac.uk) to book an appointment. Please note that it is not possible to meet with faculty to discuss your application.

Can I submit professional references?

Yes. If you have been out of University for an extended period one professional reference may be submitted, but please note that any such reference should still comment on your academic suitability for the DPhil in Public Policy programme and that academic references are preferred.

I am bringing my partner/family to Oxford, what facilities are available?

There are facilities available across the University for students with partners and families. Limited accommodation is available from colleges and the University Accommodation Office, and we would encourage you to investigate this once a college place has been confirmed. The University Student Union offers advice to students with families which provides information on childcare and schooling.

Which college can I apply to?

For information on colleges that are accepting DPhil students please visit the Graduate Admissions and Funding pages or our College membership page in the DPhil section.

What is the purpose of a college for a graduate student?

Colleges act as a base for the duration of your time as a graduate student. They provide meals, chapels, social events, sporting clubs, and each has its own library (of varying degrees of size and specialism). Several colleges also provide accommodation for graduate students, either for one year, two years and exceptionally, three years. Some colleges also offer scholarships for applicant students. For further information please check the individual college websites for further details.

If you do not find your answer here visit the main Graduate Admissions comprehensive FAQ pages.