Graduate Admissions Criteria for the Department of Materials (for entry in 2013/14)
We aim to admit the most suitably qualified candidates, as defined by the criteria below, for whom the Department can provide appropriate research opportunities and supervision.
Appropriate indicators of an applicant’s ability to meet the criteria may include two or more references, academic transcripts or their equivalent, evidence of performance at first class or upper second class standard (or equivalent), the award of national prizes, the award of scholarships, publication of research in peer reviewed international journals, the short statement indicating an applicant’s research interests and providing a rationale for their choice of project(s), CV, preliminary knowledge of relevant research techniques, and performance at interview(s). Any other information that you provide may or may not be considered, entirely at the discretion of the assessors.
Normally applications will be assessed by more than one member of staff with relevant experience and expertise, one of whom will normally be the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies.
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process and may be conducted face-to-face or by telephone or video-link, including Skype. Short-listing for interview is carried out according to the criteria included in the present document as judged from a candidate’s written application.
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of a candidate’s ability to meet the following criteria:
(a) Academic and research ability
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved at least an upper second class UK Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent international qualification1) in a suitable science subject. This subject would normally be one of Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics, but could include other subject areas dependent on the area of research chosen. Normally this qualification must be achieved by the date of commencement of the chosen research programme.
1If you hold non-British qualifications, you are advised to check with the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UKNARIC) www.naric.org.uk how your qualifications match these requirements.
The applicant has provided appropriate indications of proven and potential academic and research excellence, originality, ability to absorb new ideas, reasoning ability, creativity of thought, and capacity for sustained and intense work.
The applicant has provided sufficient evidence, in the view of the assessors, to suggest that they have the academic ability, motivation and commitment to (i) pursue the chosen research programme to a successful conclusion within the required time limits, and (ii) to pursue research in the subject of materials at a high level.
The programme of study, including research topic, that the applicant wishes to pursue is well suited to the academic interests and abilities to which they have drawn attention in their application.
The applicant has provided sufficient evidence of ability to (i) engage in a scientific or technical discussion in English at a satisfactory level, both verbally and in writing, (ii) understand a reasoned case presented in English and (iii) present a reasoned case in English.
(b) Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
In addition to the criteria listed above, the following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
The ability of the Department of Materials to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
There are minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted onto Oxford’s research programmes or onto a specific project.
Some places may be earmarked for specific funded studentships.
The provision of supervision is subject to the following points:
The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Materials and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Materials.
(c) English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally required to provide formal evidence of proficiency in English at the standard level required by the University English Language Requirements.
3. Deadlines and required full set of application materials
Applications may be received at any time of the year. Further information can be found under ‘Other Information’ below and on the application guide web page. Please take careful note of the various deadlines and the required set of supporting materials. In particular please note the need to apply by the January deadline if you wish to be considered for various scholarships.
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the Department of Materials’ decision to make an initial offer a place, but please note that such an offer of a place will be conditional on your satisfying the Collegiate University that you have sufficient funding to cover your fees and living costs for the standard period of fee liability for your course. Further information on fees, funding, living costs and scholarshps can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/feesandfunding/.
5. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties
Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study. Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available here.
6. Other information
It should be noted that acceptance on a particular programme gives no guarantee of final success, and all research programmes require the student to develop their learning and skills to new levels in order successfully to undertake all the assessment hurdles of a research programme.
When completing the application form, under the section 'statement of purpose/research proposal', you must list in order of preference up to six preferred research topics/supervisors. In addition you should also include a short statement (up to 400 words) to outline your research interests and indicate the rationale behind your choice of projects. We do not require a research proposal. Information on projects and supervisors can be found on the Department's website (http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate/newprojects.html). On this website we describe available projects in two categories, 'funded projects (subject to contract)' and 'other projects'. New projects are added from time-to-time, so please review the list regularly. Generally the projects do not have specific deadlines, as we intend to consider applicants within the University of Oxford's Graduate Admissions standard application fields. Some of the descriptions on this website are of projects that carry earmarked funding and in these cases the eligibility of home, EU and overseas applicants is indicated. For guidance on your status as a home, EU or overseas/international student please see Appendix 2 of the Graduate Finance Guide document.
If you are a current Master’s student or have completed a Master’s degree, one of your referees should be your supervisor or course director on the Master’s programme. If you do not provide a reference from your Master’s supervisor or course director, the Department will usually ask you to do so before completing the assessment of your application.
English Language Tests
It is very important that at the earliest possible opportunity you take steps to meet the University’s standard minimum English language requirement (http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/internat_students.html). If you have yet to attain this minimum level any offer of a place we may make to you will be conditional on your achieving the standard minimum requirement. Students who require a visa will not be able to apply for this visa until they have met the conditions of their offer. If you do not meet the conditions of your offer by the deadline we set, normally our offer will lapse.
Please note that it can take up to three months to obtain an examination date for IELTS or TOEFL, so we strongly recommend all applicants who need an English test to apply for one at the earliest opportunity and preferably sufficiently in advance that you would have time to obtain a date for a retake examination should this be necessary. In this respect please note also that we require not only a minimum over overall score in the English test but also minimum scores in the individual components of the tests.
Until the middle of March applications will be considered in three fields, as advertised in the Oxford University Graduate Studies Prospectus. Deadlines for the receipt of fully completed applications and references are: 16 November 2012, 18 January 2013 and 8 March 2012. Applications received after 8 March will be considered on an individual basis and may be submitted at any time. Overseas applicants and scholarship applicants of all nationalities are strongly advised to apply in November and other home/EU applicants in January.
In addition, project studentships with specific closing dates may be advertised on our website.
Funding & Places
Please note that funding and places may be exhausted after the first two application fields: applications received after 18 January will be considered only if places and/or funded projects remain unfilled at the end of Field 2. We expect to make a small number of offers, to outstanding candidates following evaluation of the November applications. The remaining good candidates from November will be considered automatically in January, along with the new applicants for that deadline, and we normally expect to offer the majority of available places in following evaluation of the January applications.
Set down below are links to our guidance for applicants.
Before submitting an application you are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of Materials’ Graduate Studies Secretary for advice and assistance at email@example.com.
Further information about the Department of Materials can be found at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk.
7. Graduate Studies Prospectus - Guide to Courses
Your course guide on the graduate admissions webpages can be found here.