Studying for a Doctorate

The Particle Theory Group usually has about 20 postgraduate research students working towards a doctorate (D.Phil), and we admit five or six new students each year.  It generally takes between 3 and 4 years to complete a doctorate.

Members of the group teach advanced courses in the MSc in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics which is an excellent preparation for doctoral studies in theoretical physics. We do not admit students to do a Masters by research. 

Our graduate students work on a wide variety of topics. You can see the current interests of potential supervisors using these links:

Prateek Agrawal
Fabrizio Caola
Joseph Conlon

Ed Hardy
Andre Lukas
John March Russell
Gavin Salam
Andrei Starinets
John Wheater

Sam Witte


and you can look at recent theses written by former students in the group.

Application and Admission

Usually new students join us in October at the beginning of the academic year. The application and admissions process leading to admission for October 2024 will take place in the first three months of 2024. If you wish to apply you must follow the procedure described in the University's  Graduate Prospectus for a D.Phil. in Theoretical Physics.  In order to be considered for funding you must apply to the 5 January 2024 deadline. 

It is not necessary to nominate a supervisor or make a detailed proposal for your research project on the application form. Please answer Theoretical Particle Physics in the 'Title of Research Project' field and if you are interested in a particular area please say so. It is important to realise that competition for places is very strong and to have a realistic chance you must have the equivalent of a good First Class degree in Physics with a strong theoretical content, or a Distinction in a Masters level course in Theoretical Physics. We consider applications strictly on merit and will automatically consider you for all the funding opportunities for which you are eligible. If you have been awarded, or are applying for, an external scholarship, eg Commonwealth Scholarship or from your national government, then please tell us. Interviews take place on-line in February and March and we aim to complete the admissions process by the end of March.

Our funding sources include the Science and Technology Facilities Council whose eligibility rules are given here, and Oxford University's Clarendon Scholarship scheme. We are also most grateful for the support of philanthropic donors who fund the Dalitz Scholarship and the Gould Watson Scholarship.