Graduate Admissions

Oxford Earth Sciences in general accepts applications for DPhil study via two mechanisms: direct application, and the NERC Environmental Doctoral Training Programme (DTP).  Further information on each is given below.

General information on graduate admissions for the University of Oxford can be found on the main university website.

Direct Application

Students with alternative funding, including scholarships, industry or government backing, or those who are self-funded, can apply directly to the department to study for a DPhil in Earth Sciences.  Those considering this route are advised to look at the projects available for the coming year, and to contact their prospective supervisor before submitting an application.

To keep up with news and updates from the department, please follow us on Twitter: @OxUniEarthSci.

NERC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP)

The University of Oxford offers a number of NERC-funded doctoral studentships as part of the Doctoral Training Programme.  These studentships support research students across the full remit of NERC’s research portfolio, which includes the full breadth of research activities in Earth Sciences.  DTP studentships are open to all applicants, however they do not cover the full cost for overseas students.

Further details can be found on the DTP website.  Updates on the DTP can be followed on Twitter: @OxfordEnvRes.

Multiple Applications

You may submit applications for both the DPhil in Earth Sciences and the DTP in Environmental Sciences, but only pay one application fee.  If you are unsure which programme to apply for, it may be appropriate to apply to more than one.  Please contact the Academic Office with any queries about multiple applications.

DPhil Projects

A list of all projects available can be found here.  Applicants can also devise projects of their own in consultation with potential supervisors.

Please ensure you contact the project supervisor or a potential supervisor to discuss your project.  This is essential if you are not applying to a listed project.  A list of Faculty and their contact details can be found here.

Deadlines and Interviews

Generally, applications are made in January, with interviews in February, for study commencing in October.  Some funded opportunities can be available as late as April, and students with their own funding (private, industry or other) may be able to apply still later in the cycle.

Most interviews are held in mid to late February, and typically last about 30 minutes.  Your application will be discussed in detail, and you may expect a challenging conversation with panel members.  We hope you find this a stimulating opportunity to discuss your work.

Applicants are given the option to have their interview in Oxford or online.  Applicants who are able to attend in person can be reimbursed by the department for travel expenses up to the value of the current application fee.  During your visit to the department, we try to arrange for you to meet with your potential supervisor and discuss project-related matters with them, as well as meeting current graduate students.

For candidates unable to come to Oxford, an online interview can be arranged.  You may also like to take a virtual tour of our department.


We welcome applications from those with, or working for first degrees, or Masters-level degrees, in

  • Earth Sciences
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • other related subjects.


UK/Home students may be eligible for full support through the research councils.  A range of support is available for EU and international students. Further information on funding, scholarships and bursaries, living costs and other financial considerations can be found on the University website.

Please see our Funding page for further details.

Research Council funding for the DTP in Environmental Research is available for 4 years.  Therefore we advise potential candidates to budget for at least 3.5 years when considering a direct application.


Please contact the Academic Office with any queries.