The Department of Materials at Oxford offers an exciting environment in which to work for a DPhil degree. With, at the time of writing, 31 academic staff, 14 Senior Research Fellows, and around 220 research students and 80 postdoctoral research fellows, leading-edge research is carried out across a wide range of materials science, from atomic-scale characterization, through state-of-the-art materials modelling, to industrial-scale processing. Further information about our current research.
The Department's high rating for research is evidence of its international excellence in a wide range of materials research. In the UK Government’s most recent assessment of research excellence in UK universities, the 2014 REF, Oxford Materials was one of the top-rated materials departments in the country. 34.1 (FTE) academic staff, including several early career researchers (Royal Society URFs, RAEng Fellows and similar post-doctoral fellows), were submitted for assessment and 98% of our activity was judged to be in the highest categories of excellence [Grades 4* & 3*; respectively ‘world-leading’ (60%) and ‘internationally excellent’ (38%)]. 90% of our 'impact' was judged to be 'world-leading'.
Research Students of the Department of Materials are also members of the University's Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division Graduate School which provides a wide range of support and training.
"A brief video tour of some of our laboratories and an interview with one of our DPhil students, Sanmi Adekanye"
Research projects available
We offer a wide range of exciting research projects, details of which can be found at Projects Available in Materials Science.
Further information on our research degree programmes
The following research degree programmes are offered by the Department of Materials, further information being available through the weblinks provided:
DPhil in Materials. A three-year to four-year Doctoral programme, known as a PhD elsewhere, for which approximately 43 places may be available.
MSc(Research) in Materials. A two year research Masters programme, for which only one or two places may be available.
What about funding?
All UK (1) applicants with at least a strong upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (primarily materials, chemistry, physics or engineering) are considered for our fully-funded EPSRC studentships.
Equivalently qualified EU (2) students may receive a 'fees-only' grant from the EPSRC and in certain cases a fully funded studentship.
For non-EU overseas students (3) your attention is drawn to a number of special scholarships administered by the University's International Office. Full information about these schemes is available in the Graduate Studies Prospectus.
Some of the individual projects described on the materials website carry earmarked funding and in these cases the eligibility of Home, EU and Overseas students is indicated. Typically these projects are funded by one or more of the following: EPSRC, EC, Industry, Private Donation & UK Government. Details of the projects can be found in Projects Available in Materials Science.
[(1), (2), (3): These classifications as ‘Home/EU’ or ‘Overseas’ are set by the University.]
All research students are members of a college. On the graduate application form, you may choose either (i) to indicate that you have no college preference, in which case a college will be selected on your behalf, or (ii) to state a college preference. You will not be able to amend your choice after submitting your application. Whether or not you state a college preference will not affect the Department's assessment of your application. Further information on colleges. You can find out which colleges accept Materials research students at the 'colleges' tab of the relevant course page (www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/mpls/materials).
Why do a DPhil at Oxford?
See what some of our recent graduate students say about it and what they have gone on to do after their DPhil:
Greg Brittles (DPhil graduate in 2016, now a Superconducting Magnet Engineer at Tokamak Energy Ltd, Abingdon). ‘I studied Physics at Durham University and applied to Oxford Materials to pursue an exciting project supervised by very distinguished academics. I had a fantastic time! I was encouraged to pursue the research by following my own intuition, whilst being guided at every stage by dedicated supervisors. At my disposal was a well-integrated network of world experts to turn to for help, and the entire university’s array of measurement facilities, both of which allowed me to perform world class research. I had a different living arrangement to most, living outside of Oxford and commuting in by train. I treated the DPhil very much like a job in terms of my daily schedule, which was very manageable and gave me a good work/life balance. After graduating I joined one of Oxford’s many scientific start-up companies and have a stimulating engineering job out there in ‘the big wide world’. The analytic skills I learned at Oxford serve me well every day.’
Qu Chen (DPhil Graduate in 2017, now Research Associate in the Department of Materials in Imperial College ) ‘The 3-year DPhil study in Oxford has been a fantastic experience for me. The Department of Materials has provided me the chance to access state-of-the-art research facilities, with the professional guidance and support from both academic and technical staff in the department. I have had great opportunities to work alongside brilliant colleagues and collaborators on various exciting projects, publish work in high-impact journals, and with the support of the department and college, present those work in international scientific conferences. All of these experiences have laid a strong foundation for my future academic career. Positioned right beside the beautiful University Park, my departmental office and lab offer a pleasing and comfortable working environment. Other than exploring in the world of science, the department and college have also provided me with a wonderful extracurricular life.’
Dave Armstrong (DPhil graduate student in 2006, now Associate Professor in the Department) ‘The Department of Materials has world class research facilities and friendly approachable academic staff. I have found this made for a lively and stimulating environment to work in. Graduates are well provided for, with regular social events and opportunities to gain teaching experience. While a graduate I had the opportunity to present my work at several major international conferences. The college system provides an excellent environment for social, cultural and sporting facilities.’
What happens after a DPhil?
A large majority of our DPhil graduates find employment when they finish: an Oxford DPhil is valued by employers across the world. Some of our DPhil graduates enter industrial research, some the business, finance and government sectors, others go into university careers both in the UK and overseas, and still others pursue challenging jobs as, for example, patent agents, or consultants.
The Materials Graduate Student Handbook
Courses available to members of the MPLSD Graduate School
Summary of Provision for Materials Research Students
A Guide to the Supervision of Research Students
How do I apply?
The department is a diverse community that is fully committed to promoting equality in all activities, including in post-graduate recruitment. We encourage potential applicants to consider the supportive nature of the working environment that we offer. Find out more about Equality and Diversity within the Department.
Graduate Admissions Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria for the Department of Materials