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The DPhil in International Development programme provides an opportunity to study at Oxford for a doctorate in international development on topics requiring an interdisciplinary approach. There are close links with other Oxford departments that make it possible to study development in the framework of a single discipline.

Two Congolese refugees, both members of a women’s group, look at the newest section of Kigeme camp, Rwanda © UNHCR / F Noy
Two Congolese refugees, both members of a women’s group, look at the newest section of Kigeme camp, Rwanda


Successful applicants are admitted initially as Probationer Research Students (PRS) and then transfer to full DPhil student status, usually near the end of their first year. This transfer is conditional on completing any required coursework (usually one course in research methods or from an Oxford master’s degree relevant to their research) and on departmental approval of a fully developed research plan.

This course is the only formal class teaching received by doctoral students. Once the transfer is complete, DPhil students continue their course by conducting their own research under the guidance of their supervisor(s) whom they meet regularly to discuss progress. Students are expected to be resident in Oxford for the whole PRS period.

Assessment of progress is made during supervision sessions and also, more formally, in the viva meetings which form the Transfer of Status and the Confirmation of Status processes which take place usually in the third term (for transfer) and ninth term (for confirmation). More information on these two meetings can be found in the Course Handbook which can be downloaded from this website.

Students are expected to complete their degrees in a period of three years plus up to one year of fieldwork (if needed), as are students who transfer to the DPhil after a one-year Oxford master’s course. For students who transfer to the DPhil after the MPhil in Development Studies or other two-year Oxford master’s courses, the expected period is two years plus time needed for fieldwork. Students are expected to be resident in Oxford for part of this time. Further information on the structure can be obtained from the Course Handbook available on the Department's website.

Academic Supervisors


Many DPhil students go on to develop academic careers in universities and research institutions across the world. Others have taken up positions in the major international institutions, including the World Bank and the United Nations, or in non-governmental organisations.


Please see the Department's website for full information on the DPhil.