Postgraduate study

Applicants should contact the Graduate Studies Team ( ) with any queries regarding the application process. The following courses are available for postgraduate study:

The Department of Chemistry is one the largest in the western world. Each year some 170 chemists graduate after a four-year course which includes a year of research and about 80 graduates receive doctorates.

Oxford is one of the leading chemistry research departments in the world with around 80 academic staff carrying out international-level research, and an annual research income of around £28 million. In the most recent national assessment of research (REF 2021) 66% or our research output was judged world-leading and 32% was judged internationally excellent. Published rankings regularly place Oxford in the top 10 Chemistry departments worldwide. In the REF assessment period (2014 to 2020) Oxford Chemistry had 3800 publications. It was ranked Sixth Worldwide by the QS World University Rankings 2022.

The Department is currently engaged in a number of innovative areas of work including chemistry for measurement, drug discovery, energy, catalysis, nanochemistry, synthesis, atmospheric chemistry, synthetic biology and femtochemistry. 

The Department of Chemistry has been spectacularly successful in its spin-out activities. Most notably, Oxford Nanopore Technologies floated on the stock exchange in 2021 valued at £5 billion.

Admissions cycle for entry in 2023 is now open.

The normal route to graduate study in Chemistry at Oxford is to apply for admission as a Probationer Research Student (PRS) with the intention of completing research over (usually) a 3-4 year period leading to the degree of DPhil; occasionally a shorter period of study may be appropriate and students may then submit for the degree of MSc by research. 

Applicants are very strongly encouraged to make contact with potential research supervisor(s) before submitting a formal application in order to work out whether the course is the right choice and the likely availability of funding, as well as discussing potential research projects. As well as describing possible research projects, the potential supervisor will be able to offer advice on completing the application form and may help with identifying possible sources of grants or scholarships.

More information about courses can be found at:

For some courses candidates should submit a Personal Statement (1000 words / one page document) as part of their application - indicating why you would like study at Oxford Chemistry and what your research interests are. A Research Proposal is not compulsory.

Applicants should contact the Graduate Studies Team ( ) with any queries regarding the application process. 

Application Guide:

Information about application fee waivers can be found at:

Admissions are currently open for the 2023-2024 academic year.


12 noon UK time (midday) on:

  • Friday 11 November 2022
  • Friday 20 January 2023
  • Wednesday 1 March 2023

Later applications may be considered if places are still available.  Please note that for our MSc by Research programmes, only the January and March 2023 deadlines apply.

See further information.

Inorganic Chemistry

  • Synthetic solid-state chemistry
  • Electronic properties of solids
  • Computational materials chemistry
  • Order and disorder in functional materials
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis
  • Synthetic main-group chemistry
  • Synthetic organometallic chemistry
  • Coordination chemistry of the f elements
  • Supramolecular chemistry
  • Energy materials chemistry
  • Functional molecular interfaces
  • Computational inorganic chemistry
  • Chemical biology
  • Design of anti-cancer drugs
  • Genetic modification of iron haem enzymes
  • Protein dynamics
  • Electron spin resonance spectroscopy
  • Magnetic field effects.

Organic Chemistry

  • New synthetic methodology
  • Total synthesis of natural products 
  • Asymmetric synthesis methodologies, both catalytic and stoichiometric 
  • Carbohydrate-based organic synthesis 
  • Free radical chemistry 
  • Oxidation and reduction in organic synthesis 
  • Computational Organic Chemistry 
  • Organic synthesis of new materials, including materials with new optical and conducting properties 
  • Medicinal chemistry 
  • Combinatorial chemistry 
  • Mechanistic and structural studies on enzyme mechanisms 
  • Biocatalysis 
  • Bio-organic chemistry and biosynthesis of natural products 
  • Protein engineering and functionalisation 

Chemical Biology

  • Fundamental studies of protein function
  • Protein structure and dynamics
  • Protein engineering
  • Chemistry of genetics and epigenetics
  • Nucleic acid chemistry
  • Single molecule approaches
  • Biotechnology
  • Applications in medicine
  • Use of small molecules as functional probes
  • New biophysical methods for analysing molecules in cells
  • Biocatalylsis
  • Bioenergy
  • Carbohydrate chemistry
  • Membrane proteins
  • Synthetic biology

Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

  • Theory and modelling of complex systems
  • Kinetics, dynamics and mechanism
  • Chemistry at the interface with biology and medicine
  • Advanced functional materials and interfaces
  • Innovative measurement and photon science
  • Please see here for further details.

Fees, funding & scholarship Search (contains information about scholarships and awards)

Fully funded 3-year PhD studentship from October 2023: "Next-genera􀆟on sulphide perovskite photocatalysts for sustainable produc􀆟on of energy-dense fuels and chemicals"

Full details here.

Induction for new graduate students is usually held on 1st October, or during the week after 1st October.

The Department of Chemistry is committed to addressing inequalities. This includes gender inequalities, tackling the unequal representation of women in science and improving career progression for female academics. More information about the Athena Swan Charter, and Chemistry Department's equality and diversity initiatives, is available here.