Applications for the 2024-25 academic year are now closed. Applications for the 2025-26 academic year will reopen in September 2024.

The DPhil in Public Policy is intended for academically outstanding students who are motivated to address research questions with real world policy interest and significance. We are looking for applicants who present an interesting, innovative, and achievable research proposal and can show they are motivated and able to make positive change in the context of policy.

In addition, we also seek evidence of proficiency in the English language (for non-native speakers). Read the full requirements. If you already have English language test scores at the required level, please include them in your application. However, you are not required to provide test scores when you submit your application.

If you receive an offer of a place, the department may require you to submit language test scores by a specific deadline as a condition of your offer. It can take several months to secure a place for a language test, so we recommend arranging to sit a test as soon as you decide to apply.

Alternatively, if you would like to be considered for a waiver, you can either submit it as part of your application, or after the application process – please note that the Blavatnik School has a higher waiver standard than the central university.

Candidates may also be invited to an interview, normally via video call.

You will find detailed information on the selection criteria and how to apply on the Graduate Admissions pages.

Applications website

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 44 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!