National deadline: December 1, 2015 (11:59 p.m. EST)

Eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Bachelor degree by matriculation date
  • Enrolled in a graduate program or medical school

Award summary and conditions: The National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program is an accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research careers. Successful applicants will spend half their time at the National Institutes of Health and the remainder at either Oxford or Cambridge in an intensive, research-driven, dual-mentored degree program. Students begin work to develop a dual-mentored thesis that meets their academic and research goals immediately upon acceptance. The scholar's doctorate, usually completed in four years, is conferred by either Oxford or Cambridge, depending on where their research is done; hence applicants must meet requirements for acceptance into the graduate program of the relevant University. Students conduct research at both locations and potentially other sites including field work in Africa and elsewhere around the world. All students participate in the enriched environment of the residential colleges of the U.K. Universities and enjoy special educational opportunities that develop their understanding of disease outcomes and policy issues related to their studies. The projects culminate in the award of D.Phil or Ph.D. in science from either Oxford or Cambridge. Students may also pursue M.D./Ph.D. training through partnerships the program maintains with a broad range of American medical schools.

Ph.D. Program:
Each NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar is given the opportunity to work with at least two different research supervisors - one at the NIH and one at either Oxford or Cambridge - on a project that involves a collaborative undertaking by the two laboratories (visit the Collaborations Page on the web site for further information). Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and hold or be on track to receive a bachelor degree by matriculation date. The program also attracts individuals already enrolled in a graduate program or medical school. Students carry out research with a goal of earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D. or D. Phil.), which requires spending roughly equal amounts of time at the NIH and at the chosen University.
During their time at the NIH, students become members of one of the NIH Institutes and also join a vibrant graduate student community of more than 400 students.
Most doctoral study programs in the UK do not require the completion of formal coursework, and the doctoral degree can be completed in three to five years. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a doctorate by either Cambridge or Oxford University.
An NIH class dean works with each admitted individual to ensure the student achieves satisfactory progress while pursuing his/her research goals. During the first six months after matriculation into the program, all new students develop a detailed research proposal and an individualized training plan that outlines goals and a personalized plan of study. This requirement launches students and their mentors on an accelerated plan of research linked to program timelines and benchmarks designed to track the student's progress closely. In this way, problems may be addressed quickly.

NIH M.D./Ph.D. Partnership Training Program:
The NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program can accommodate students seeking combined MD/PhD training as the pathway to a career as a physician-scientist. Students admitted to NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training Program conduct research in the NIH intramural research program as part of a coordinated plan of dual-degree training with a U.S. medical school in preparation for a career as a physician-investigator in basic or translational science.

Students can combine medical school training with the NIH OxCam Scholars Ph.D. program in one of three academic tracks outlined below.  For students in Track 1, the process of mentor selection and laboratory rotations is accelerated so that the student is ready to begin Ph.D. thesis work in the Fall of the third year of study after completion of the first two years of medical school, as much as one year ahead of other M.D./Ph.D. training programs.

Track 1: Simultaneous admission to both programs.  Undergraduate or post-baccalaureate students can apply for MSTP (Medical Student Training Program) programs at medical schools and the GPP (Graduate Partnership Program) during the same admission cycle.  If admitted to both programs, the student can enter the partnering MSTP medical school with the permission of the GPP and MSTP program directors.  In most cases, the sequence of training in this track would be similar to the usual MSTP training pathway (see timeline on website).  Student must apply to medical schools for combined-degree training to be considered for the partnership pathway.

Track 2: Admission to Ph.D. training from medical school.  Medical students can apply to an NIH GPP program and begin graduate training generally after completing the pre-clinical medical school curriculum.  Students in 'year-out' programs such as the NIH-HHMI Research Scholars Program or the Clinical Research Training Program can also apply for Ph.D. training in this track.  Upon acceptance to the GPP, students can then apply for MSTP status to the MSTP program of their medical school.

Track 3: Admission to medical school and an MSTP during Ph.D. training.  Students wishing to pursue this pathway should apply to medical schools for combined degree training (not medical school only) so their applications are considered by the MSTP admissions committee at the medical school.  Applying to this pathway during the first or second year of Ph.D. training is preferred so the training can be as integrated as possible.  Because the 'Ph.D.' pathway is non-traditional, admissions standards may be higher than in Tracks 1 and 2.

Application process:

Application requirements: 

Only the GPP application is required for admission consideration to the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. Matriculants will submit their University applications to Oxford and/or Cambridge in early spring when they are admitted to the program, although they are free to submit them sooner if they wish in order to reserve spaces at the colleges of their choice. Students may only establish a collaboration at a University to which they have submitted an application, but they may submit applications to both Universities if they are unclear at the time of admission which one they plan to attend.

Graduate Partnerships Program Application materials:

  • Application Part-A, Part-B
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation (3) 
  • University Application materials (apply for up to three)
  • Transcripts

Faculty representative: Keith Raether

National committee interview: