How to apply to the DPhil

College membership

As part of the University of Oxford, every Blavatnik School of Government student becomes a member of a college. This means that not only will you be part of the Blavatnik School’s global network and the University of Oxford’s centuries-long history, but you’ll also have access to the sense of community and family unique to Oxford colleges. The University of Oxford is in fact a ‘collegiate university’: it is made up of 43 different colleges and halls. Each of them has its own particular character, but they are all independent, self-governing bodies that give students and scholars the benefit of belonging to a smaller academic community and provide facilities for study, accommodation, welfare, sport and leisure activities. 

Thanks to your college or hall you will meet additional academics and students across subjects and year groups who, like the faculty at the Blavatnik School, also come from a variety of backgrounds, and from different cultures and countries. Alongside your supervisor at the Blavatnik School you will also have a college adviser who will be a member of the college’s academic staff and will offer support and advice.

As a Blavatnik School student, you may choose to apply to a particular college in your application or make an open application. If you apply to a specific college you will automatically be considered by that college. If you are successful they will notify you that you have been awarded a place. If you are unsuccessful you will automatically be considered by other colleges until you are offered a place. The decision to state a preference of college, or to make an open application, will not affect the likelihood of your success for admission. If you make an open application, the central Graduate Admissions office (or in some cases the Blavatnik School) will allocate a college place for you to be considered at. Read more about what choosing a college entails. Please note that by receiving an offer to study on the DPhil you are guaranteed a college place.

For more information on Oxford's collegiate system please see the College Guide. For a list of accepting colleges at the time you make your application please view the college tab on the graduate admissions prospectus.

Colleges have very popular accommodation facilities and staying in a college is often known as ‘living in’. However it’s important to remember that the offer of a college place does not necessarily mean that you will be guaranteed accommodation, so we encourage you to look at all options available, including private rental. The Graduate Accommodation Office lets and manages rooms, flats and houses in and around Oxford city centre, on sites owned by the University, to full-time graduate students. For help with accommodation information for visiting students, academics and staff members, visit the Studentpad website, hosted by the Graduate Accommodation Office, where a number of private landlords advertise for tenants associated with the University.

Further information

You must submit all supporting materials by the chosen deadline. If the accompanying documentation is incomplete, consideration of the application will be postponed to the following deadline. If you have any questions about the course that are not answered by the DPhil FAQs and the comprehensive Graduate Admissions and Funding FAQs or the Blavatnik School of Government Blog, our Admissions team will be happy to help if you email However, please note that we are unable to provide individual guidance on suitability for the course, and we cannot offer feedback to applicants. This is because we receive a high number of applications and enquiries each year and we are committed to making the admissions process as impartial and fair as possible.

One last thing to remember - each year is a separate admissions cycle and being unsuccessful in one year does not mean that you will also be unsuccessful in the next!