How to Apply

Here you can find more information on how to apply for our PhD programme, including deadlines and application requirements.

Applications to our PhD programme for funded entry in October 2024 via our student competition have now closed. We are still open for applications, but there is no funding available.


The Application Process

Step 1: Approach potential supervisors

You don’t have to contact a potential supervisor before applying, but we strongly encourage you to do so.  Available projects and supervisors will be advertised on this page once applications open. In the meantime, you can still explore the various research groups in the Dunn School, and approach a potential supervisor if you are interested in their research. You can select up to two supervisors/projects when you submit your application. Please note that each supervisor can only take one student per year through our PhD funded programme.


Step 2: Submit your application online

Applications to our PhD programme have to be made online via this link.

Documents and information you will be asked to submit with your application include:

  • Course name: DPhil in Molecular Cell Biology in Health and Disease
  • Course Code: RD_PA2
  • Mode of Study: Full Time
  • Department: Pathology
  • A personal statement (statement of purpose) of up to 500 words, which should include an explanation of your choice of project(s)/supervisor(s)
  • Contact details of three referees overall, academic preferred.  A professional reference relevant to the course (from research employment) is also acceptable. We will contact your referees directly, and they will be asked to provide a written reference. Please note that these also need to be submitted before the application deadline, so you should submit your application well in advance of the deadline and notify your referees that they we will contacted by us.
  • Transcripts detailing your university-level qualifications and marks to date.
  • You can choose up to 2 supervisors/projects, and we encourage you to two name two in your application form. If space is an issue please put the first few words of the project/supervisor’s last name.
  • We encourage students to make a college choice.  We have a strong association with Lincoln and Reuben Colleges, although you may choose any college you wish that accepts our students.  If you are applying after the March deadline please contact us first so that we can help you find a college that still has places available.

A research proposal is not required and you do not need to provide a Studentship reference code.

The deadline for applications for funded entry in October via the studentship competition has now passed.


Step 3: Interview

All applicants are initially screened and ranked by a panel of assessors. The most highly ranked applicants will be invited for interview and we will contact you with more details about this if you are selected. Interviews normally take place in January.


If you do not require funding from us, the application process is similar but please read the ‘Self-funded students’ section on our page about other ways to do a PhD in the Dunn School.


Application requirements

Applications will be assessed according to defined entry requirements by at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise. Applications must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee.


scientist pipettes samples in a tissue culture hood

Academic requirements

The minimum academic requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject with upper second class honours (2.1/GPA 3.5) or equivalent.

Applicants are highly unlikely to be successful unless they have relevant research experience and a reference from the person that supervised them.


English Proficiency

English is the language for all courses at the University and it is mandatory that all theses or examination papers are written in English, except in a small minority of cases where University regulations permit. If English is not your first language, or you are not from a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (these include UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), you will be required to supply test certificates stating that your proficiency in English exceeds a minimum score. Full details of the test certificates accepted and the score level required can be found in the University’s Application Guide. The Dunn School requires a minimum score on the IELTS test of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each component) or a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL. While you do not need to have met this requirement in order to submit an application, you will be required to meet it prior to admission.

Exemption may be given if the candidate has been educated at an English-medium University for at least three years and who show clear evidence of fluency at interview and in written work.

About our Course

Doing a DPhil in Molecular Cell Biology in Health and Disease at the Dunn School is the best way to start your career.

Available PhD Projects

Over 30 groups work at the Dunn School to uncover the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying disease. Discover which research groups are accepting students for our next round of applications.


On this page you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions about doing a PhD at the Dunn School.