Graduate Studies in Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

OPEN DAY: Wednesday, 13th November 2019, please click *here* for more information

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.  We recommend that you read the Application Guide 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:
NEW: *DPhil in Chemistry in Cells: New Technologies to Probe Complex Biology and Medicine

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. A Research Proposal is not compulsory.

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

Application Deadlines

Admissions are currently open for the 2020-2021 academic year.


12 noon UK time (midday) on:

  • Friday 15 November 2019
  • Friday 10 January - for *DPhil in Chemistry in Cells only
  • Friday 24 January 2020
  • Tuesday 3 March 2020

Later applications may be considered if places are still available.  Please note that for our MSc by Research programmes, only the January and March 2020 deadlines apply.

See further information.


Applicants for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology should note that all interviews will be held on ten fixed days across the year.  Please note that applicants from outside the UK will normally be interviewed by Skype.

Interviews dates (Wednesdays):

  • 13th November 2019
  • 27th November 2019
  • 11th December 2019
  • 15th January 2020
  • 29th January 2020
  • 12th February 2020
  • 26th February 2020
  • 11th March 2020
  • 25th March 2020
  • 8th April 2020

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

Information for EU students

The UK government has confirmed that EU students commencing their studies in 2020/21 will continue to have ‘Home’ fee status and pay fees at the home rate for the duration of their course.