Research Degrees

Students Reading and Talking

The Faculty offers two research degrees.  For the DPhil, candidates produce a thesis of up to 100,000 words. A shorter research degree, the MLitt, resulting in a thesis of up to 50,000 words is another option. Applicants must have completed an appropriate Masters degree, and apply as a Probationary Research Student (PRS) and, before the end of the first PRS year, then apply for a ‘Transfer of Status’ to gain full DPhil or MLitt status.

The minimum residence requirement for these two degrees is six terms (two years) from the date of admission to Oxford as a graduate student; but in practice three to four years' work is normally needed to complete the DPhil.

A typical term will involve a great deal of independent research, punctuated by meetings with your supervisor who will be able to suggest direction and address concerns throughout the writing process. Successful applicants will be allocated a supervisor before they arrive in Oxford. This supervisor is your primary academic contact, but you will also be allocated a college adviser, and will want to consult other faculty members as your research progresses. It is expected that you will have at least two substantial supervisions in each term.

Graduates at Oxford are encouraged to gain teaching experience, so long as it does not interfere with their own progress. Teaching is considered a valuable aspect of preparation for an academic career. The Faculty runs preparatory teaching workshops and a register of those offering tuition is kept in the Faculty Office. Graduates do not teach until after they have completed their first year of study.

As these are research degrees, there is no specific coursework requirement. You are, however, welcome to take advantage of the many lectures and seminars which are offered throughout term. In addition, you may be encouraged (or, if appropriate, required) to attend the B research skills courses which form part of the MSt, depending on how much of this training has been covered in your master's course.

DPhil theses of outstanding merit are published each year by Oxford University Press in the Oxford English Monographs series.