DPhil Study

Reading for a research degree is a life-changing experience! It is challenging and rewarding in equal measure, frequently exciting, but also requiring considerable reserves of resilience, determination, intelligence and creativity.

As a doctoral student, you will be spending more time in independent study than you did as an undergraduate or at Master’s level. You will spend three or four years devising and executing a substantial project, which – notwithstanding the help you can expect from your supervisor(s) – will be very much your own work. You will identify the sources – primary, secondary and tertiary – that you need to study, and you will design and implement a programme for studying them.

You will also do a lot of writing throughout the period of your degree – while the final version of your doctoral thesis will typically be written in your third or (if necessary) fourth year, you will have written chapters, reports, plans and position papers at regular intervals from your first year onwards.   

The Faculty Offers Three DPhil Degrees:

Quote from a DPhil Student about how much fun they are having.

Current DPhil Topics:

Research Seminars

There is a wide sub-culture of regular research seminars which are an important source of support as well as of intellectual stimulation. It is one of the places where you can find an intellectual ‘family’ and home.

You are very much encouraged to explore the vast range of research meetings and networks in the Faculty, Colleges, and TORCH (the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), and in other departments and faculties of the University, beyond the seminars most immediately relevant to your field. While you certainly need to be immersed in the latest work and the longer patterns of your own area of specialism, it’s often the case that the most original and insightful ideas can come from unexpected places. 


When you were admitted to Oxford, you were allotted a supervisor, or supervisors: people with general expertise in the area of your research project, who can help you develop and carry it out. Your project is your own, but your supervisor has a series of responsibilities to help you do the best work you can. 

DPhil Handbook

The DPhil Handbook can be found on the Oxford Historians Hub (OHH) site by clicking here


Another quote about just how wonderful and interesting studying for a DPhil is.

How the DPhil is structured

The table below is designed to be a snapshot of the progression for full-time DPhil student.

Year Term Full-time Dphil Students
1 1   Minimum enrolment period
2 Week 8: submit Transfer of Status (TOS) Application
2 4 TOS must be completed by the end of the 4th Term
3 7  
8 Week 5: submit Confirmation of Status (COS) application
9 COS must be completed by the end of the 8th Term
4 10 Aim to submit thesis  
12 Final deadline to submit thesis by end of term (i.e. Friday 0th Week of MT) or apply for an extension