How To Apply

How To Apply

The programme is now open for applications for 2020 entry.  Please read through all the information on this page before beginning your application! 

Overseas candidates should apply direct to departments, please see the note at the bottom of this page for details.

NERC has provided funding for 16 full studentships in 2020.  With co-funding we are able to offer up to 20 fully funded places per year.  By applying to the DTP you are automatically considered for a funded place.   EU students will continue to be entitled to fees-only scholarships in 2020/21 and In many cases we are able to secure additional funding for living costs for EU students.

Projects. We have many DTP supervisors who have  project ideas that they will be happy to discuss with applicants. We have clustered supervisors into three research streams for convenience. You can search the supervisor list by key word to find out more about the breadth of the topics on offer. Some supervisors may have specific projects that are advertised on departmental websites; others may be keen to help students define their own projects, once they have been admitted, We also advertise some pre-defined CASE projects which involve close collaboration with an external partner and give an opportunity to spend time working in a setting outside Oxford

Please indicate your chosen project, topic area, or preferred research stream on the application form and in your personal statement and include the names of at least two academics who would be appropriate to review your application.  Candidates should note that if their application is successful, the DTP will aim to match them to a preferred supervisor; however, apart from CASE projects, this cannot be guaranteed.  We recommend that applicants make contact with  potential supervisors throughout the application process. These contacts may lead to a research partnership, but they do not constitute a commitment on either side. All  students will develop a formal project proposal during the first 2 terms of the programme and, successful candidates (for projects other than CASE projects) are free to alter their research interests during this time if they so wish.

We encourage online applications; the deadline for all applications will be 12 noon (GMT) on Friday 24th January 2020. Please note there is an application fee levied by Graduate Admissions and Funding, the DTP does not receive any part of this fee. Applications will be accepted from the start of the new admissions cycle, on 3rd September 2019.  Interviews will be held in the week commencing 24th February 2020.  Candidates who are invited for interview will be contacted a week before. We will contact all candidates as soon as we can with the outcome of their application.

Important points to note:

  • Please use the Statement-of-Purpose-form-2020 with your application
  • If applying for a CASE project please enter the project title in the “proposed field and title of research project” field on the Embark application form
  • If you are not applying for a CASE project, you do not have to specify a research project at this stage so indicate your preferred Research Stream where it asks for the “Proposed field and title of research project”; and if there are pre-defined projects or topic areas of interest to you, you can indicate this in your personal statement or on the statement of purpose form.
  • We cannot fund overseas applicants without additional departmental support and therefore ask that they apply direct to the department where they wish to carry out their research, they can be re-routed to us later if appropriate.  Overseas candidates who are able to self-fund should also apply direct to departments and request a re-route if successful.

Click to start your application

For further information and instructions as to how to make a full application, please see the links below:

Application Procedure for all candidates

All applicants are required to follow the University guidelines on the admissions process.

The fastest, most efficient and preferred method of application is via the secure online application form. If however, you wish to apply using a paper application form, you are able to download this, together with the accompanying Notes of Guidance from the main University website here. You will need to upload a personal statement in which you should indicate which of the three streams is of interest to you.

Programme Code (or course code)

The course code for the DTP in Environmental Research is R8_1.

Supporting materials

You will be required to upload the following documents to your application:

  1. 3 references, one of whom should be a recent academic supervisor
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A personal statement, one side of approximately 500 words. We provide a Statement-of-Purpose-form-2020 which also requests that you identify possible reviewers for your application.
  4. A piece of written work, one side of A4 or approximately 500 words
    “Outline a research problem within the remit of the DTP in Environmental Research, briefly indicate the information required to solve it and suggest a line of research that – if conducted – could fill this knowledge gap.”  This does not have to be in essay format, you can use bulleted lists, flowcharts or diagrams if this helps you to express your ideas better.
  5. Any existing university transcripts, if available.


The following colleges have entered into active partnership with the DTP, which means they actively support the programme with offers of joint funding and/or use of space and facilities for teaching and events, or graduate accommodation for our students.  We value these relationships highly. Please include one of these colleges on your application unless you already have an established relationship with another college and would prefer to remain there. In this case you should gain the agreement of the college office and then contact GAF to update your application form with the correct college choice.  There are other colleges who accept for the DTP but have not entered into a full partnership with us, and you can view these on the GAF course page here

St Cross College and the DTP offer a joint Graduate Scholarship to cover college fees, tuition fees (home/EU students) and stipend (for home students).  To be considered for this scholarship please add St Cross as your first choice college on the application form.

  • Jesus College (Physical Climate & Biodiversity (no plants))
  • Linacre (All Streams)
  • Pembroke (All Streams)
  • St Anne’s (Biodiversity & Dynamic Earth)
  • St Cross (All Streams)
  • St Catherine’s (All Streams)
  • St Edmund’s Hall (All streams)
  • University College (Dynamic Earth)
  • Hertford (All Streams)
  • Queen’s (Biodiversity)
  • St John’s (Biodiversity, Dynamic Earth)
  • Merton (Biodiversity)
  • Wolfson (All Streams)
  • Brasenose (All Streams)

Applying for other programmes of study

The DTP is not the only route by which you can apply to study for a D.Phil programme in Oxford. departments. Related programmes of study are updated on the graduate admissions website course page for our programme, here:

If you wish to apply for a D.Phil to study Climate Physics in Atmospheric, Oceanic & Planetary Physics, then you should apply to the DTP only. This department has requested that all applicants for their D.Phil programmes should be routed via the DTP.

For all other related programmes of study, such as Earth Sciences or Zoology you should complete a separate application form for each programme. You should then contact Graduate Admissions and Funding  to request a waiver for the additional application fees.

Overseas Applicants

The DTP has very limited funding for overseas students; however, we are keen to attract overseas students to our programme who are able to secure funding through other Oxford scholarships (e.g. Clarendon or Rhodes) or who have funding for fees and stipend secured through other means. Interested candidates should make an application directly to one of our six departments stating that you are interested in being considered for the DTP. If the department requires a research proposal on its application, you can upload our Statement of Purpose form in place of that.  The department will handle the application assessment and interview process, and can also assess suitability for a Department/DTP Clarendon award.  Successful candidates can then be re-routed to the DTP.  In the interests of fairness and consistency we apply this policy to all overseas students regardless of ability to pay. Further details and specific deadlines.