University of Oxford
Synthesis for Biology and Medicine DPhil
University of Oxford

Key Course Facts

Course Description

he SBM CDT programme offers joint academic-industrial training in all aspects of chemical synthesis coupled with an in-depth appreciation of its application to biology and medicine.

The programme aims to train next-generation doctoral scientists capable of addressing major challenges across the entire remit of organic chemistry, with a focus on skills relevant to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

Designed in collaboration with international pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies who have offered specific expertise to enhance the CDT's training and research, the CDT has adopted an open-access model to ensure free exchange of information, knowledge and expertise between all students, academics and industrial partners.

Students are admitted to the programme without being assigned to a specific research group and are trained initially through a series of taught courses in a single cohort in all aspects of organic synthesis. Details on the modules are provided on the course’s website. Students subsequently undertake two 16-week research rotations in laboratories of their choosing before joining a specific group for a substantive three-year DPhil research project. To enable significant and long term research goals to be tackled, research projects are clustered into four broad areas (‘project fields’):

  • new reaction discovery

  • exploring new molecular space

  • natural product chemistry

  • tools for chemical biology.

During all four years of the programme, students also receive a tailored programme designed to broaden their research and professional skills.

All modules during the taught course involve some aspect of formal assessment, including written reports, problem solving, and group and individual presentations. Similarly, each project rotation will be assessed based on a short report submitted thereafter. A termly report on the student’s progress is submitted by their supervisor throughout the course. All students will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of six terms as a PRS student (and normally by the end of the fifth term for CDT students) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. A successful transfer of status from PRS to DPhil status will require the submission of a report and oral examination. Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status within nine terms of admission, to show that your work continues to be on track. Both milestones normally involve an interview with two assessors (other than your supervisor) and therefore provide important experience for the final oral examination. You will be expected to submit a thesis after four years from the date of admission. To be successfully awarded a DPhil in Synthesis for Biology and Medicine you will need to defend your thesis orally (viva voce) in front of two appointed examiners, one of whom is normally from Oxford and one from elsewhere.

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

    • 6.5
    • Graduate Degrees
    • 7.0
    • Undergraduate Degrees
    • (no subscore less than 6.0)
Do you not fulfill the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language requirements?
Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still be able to join Synthesis for Biology and Medicine, DPhil.

Degree-level qualifications As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications: a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a relevant chemical sciences subject. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent. A previous master's degree (either an integrated master's degree or standalone) is preferred but is not required. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0. If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements. Substantial professional experience or a graduate qualification may be a substitute for a lower grade at undergraduate level. GRE General Test scores No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought. Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed is likely to advantage an application. Publications demonstrating previous research success in a relevant field is likely to advantage an application. Extenuating circumstances If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.

Visa Requirements for International Students

Visa requirement

All international students (including citizens from EU countries) intending to study this or any other academic programme for more than 6 months in the UK require a Student Visa.

International students younger than 18 years require a special Child Student Visa. Exceptions from this general rule may apply to holders of other UK work visas, British National Overseas visa, family member visa and recognised refugees or asylum seekers.

Permission to work while studying

University of Oxford is listed by the UK government as an institution licensed to sponsor migrant students.

Student visa holders from licensed institutions are entitled to work during their full-time bachelor's, master's or Phd studies for
- 20h/week during the term
- Full-time outside term time (e.g. vacations, work placements, once course ended)

After completion of a bachelor's or master's programme of at least 12 months Student Visa holders of licensed institutions can convert their visa into a Graduate Visa which entitles graduates to work for 2 years in the UK.

Costs

Average student cost of living in the UK

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
  
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of University of Oxford in top UK and global rankings.

See all university rankings of University of Oxford

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About University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a prestigious research university located in Oxford, England, and is the oldest English language university in the world. It is made up of 39 partly autonomous constituent colleges, six private halls, and a variety of academic departments which are split into four divisions: Humanities, Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

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Where is this programme taught

University of Oxford
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