Graduate Studies in Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Applicants should contact the Graduate Studies Team ( ) with any queries regarding the application process. 

How to apply

The normal route to graduate study in Chemistry at Oxford is to apply for admission as a Probationer Research Student (PRS) with the intention of completing research over (usually) a 3-4 year period leading to the degree of DPhil; occasionally a shorter period of study may be appropriate and students may then submit for the degree of MSc by research.

Applicants should apply online, it is recommended that you read the notes of guidance before applying, as found here

Applicants are strongly recommended first to make contact with potential research supervisor(s) before submitting a formal application. As well as describing possible research projects, the potential supervisor will be able to offer advice on completing the application form and may help with identifying possible sources of grants or scholarships. 

More information about courses can be found at:

DPhil in Organic Chemistry: 
MSc (by Research) in Organic Chemistry:
DPhil in Chemical Biology:
MSc (by Research) in Chemical Biology:
Synthesis for Biology and Medicine CDT:

Candidates should submit a Personal Statement (1000 words / one page document) as part of their application - indicating why you would like study at Oxford Chemistry and what your research interests are. Research Proposal is not compulsory.


For external candidates interested in Organic ChemistryChemical Biology and Synthesis for Biology and Medicine will be held on Friday, 14th October 2016more info.

Application Deadlines

Applications may be received at any time during the year. Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before submitting an application.

Important note for overseas students: you will need to secure funding for your study as most research grants are for UK or other EU* nationals only. For University scholarships for overseas students the absolute deadline is Friday, 20th January 2017 (12.00noon UK time).

Please also see:

Self-funded students or those who have awards from institutions outside Oxford University may apply at any time. 

* Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden

Please note however, that if you apply after 10th March 2017 (3rd University Deadline, cut-off at 12.00noon UK time), we will need to secure a College place for you before we make a formal offer.


Applicants for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology should note that all interviews will be held on ten days across the year. If you can not make the interview day, please contact Aga Borkowska. Please note that applicants from outside the UK will normally be interviewed by telephone / Skype.

Interviews will be held on: 2nd November 2016, 16th November 2016, 30th November 2016, 11th January 2017, 25th January 2017, 8th February 2017, 22nd February 2017, 8th March 2017, 22nd March 2017 and 24th April 2017.

The interview days will generally begin with a meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies, followed by interviews with prospective supervisors. Applicants will also have lunch with current DPhil students.

Applicants should note that due to the way the applications are circulated, they may be interviewed by a supervisor that they did not name on their application..

Areas of current research

Organic Chemistry

  • New synthetic methodology
  • Total synthesis of natural products 
  • Asymmetric synthesis methodologies, both catalytic and stoichiometric 
  • Carbohydrate-based organic synthesis 
  • Free radical chemistry 
  • Oxidation and reduction in organic synthesis 
  • Computational Organic Chemistry 
  • Organic synthesis of new materials, including materials with new optical and conducting properties 
  • Medicinal chemistry 
  • Combinatorial chemistry 
  • Mechanistic and structural studies on enzyme mechanisms 
  • Biocatalysis 
  • Bio-organic chemistry and biosynthesis of natural products 
  • Protein engineering and functionalisation 

Chemical Biology

  • Fundamental studies of protein function
  • Protein structure and dynamics
  • Protein engineering
  • Chemistry of genetics and epigenetics
  • Nucleic acid chemistry
  • Single molecule approaches
  • Biotechnology
  • Applications in medicine
  • Use of small molecules as functional probes
  • New biophysical methods for analysing molecules in cells
  • Biocatalylsis
  • Bioenergy
  • Carbohydrate chemistry
  • Membrane proteins
  • Synthetic biology

Individual projects may also be separately advertised with their own cut-off dates; again, applications will be accepted in the normal manner.

Financial information

Fees (shows the costs of graduate study at Oxford) 

Fees, funding & scholarship Search (contains information about scholarships and awards)