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This is a full time 3 to 4 year research degree course. Students are required to submit a thesis of up to 100,000 words in their 3rd or 4th year. Successful applicants will be registered as students with the Department of Experimental Psychology.

Course Description

The DPhil in Experimental Psychology course is based upon independent research carried out under the supervision and guidance of principal investigators and researchers within the students' chosen research group or lab within this department.  Supervision and guidance may also include co-supervision from other collaborating groups or labs, both within the department or from other departments/faculties within the University or from another institution.


We require all applicants for the DPhil (PhD) in Experimental Psychology courses to contact a potential supervisor in the first instance.

This provides applicants with an opportunity to discuss the area of research they wish to conduct as a part of their DPhil (PhD) studies and whether the potential supervisor is able to supervise their proposed project. Details of staff who may be eligible to supervise DPhil students are listed on our Faculty and Research Fellows page.

Applicants who do not approach a potential supervisor in the first instance and/or whose proposed Research Project falls outside the area of expertise of our Research Themes are unlikely to be successful with their application.


The department is not able to provide funding for all candidates who are successful in obtaining a place on the DPhil course.  However, candidates whose applications are ranked most highly may be eligible to be put forward to funding competitions run within the University, that allocate Research Councils funds (e.g. MRC, ESRC) on a competitive basis. Successful applicants are also welcome to seek their own funding from other sources, e.g. charitable bodies or international scholarships.

Please see the funding page for more detailed information.

Course Structure

First Year of Study

Successful applicants are initially registered as Probationary Research Students (PRS Status). During the first year, students are expected to attend various courses, lectures and seminars which will enable them to gain the most out of their time here at Oxford and assist them with the design and analysis of their own area of research. These will typically include:

  • Graduate Statistical Workshops
  • Skills Training Courses e.g. MatLab and fMRI methods
  • Analysis of Research Methods

The Medical Science Division also offers a large number of courses on transferable skills such as teaching and communicating scientific findings which all our students are encouraged to attend as a part of their DPhil studies.

Students are expected to be fully integrated within their own chosen group or lab and attend group or lab meetings as well as attending related seminars and conferences.

Second Year of Study

As a part of the department's Induction Programme, students will produce a poster and give a brief presentation based on their own research in the first term of their 2nd year on the course.

Third and Final Years of Study

Students submit a thesis of up to 100,000 words and attend an oral examination (the final viva).

Assessment of the Course

Assessment of students' progress on the course is monitored in three stages as well as via termly progression reports:

  • Transfer of Status

By their 4th term, students submit a Transfer Report based on their research to date and attend a transfer viva.

  • Confirmation of Status

By their 9th term, students are required to give a presentation and attend an interview to assess the progress of their research.

  • Thesis Submission

By their 12th term, students will submit a thesis of up to 100,000 words and attend an oral examination, known as a viva.

Students will need to have successfully completed all stages to be awarded a DPhil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.

Course code