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NIH Oxford-Cambridge Biomedical Scholars Program


Application period: August 2, 2021 to December 1, 2021

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 careers in biomedical research. The scholar's doctorate, usually completed in four years, is conferred by either Oxford or Cambridge, depending on where 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. 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). 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.

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.

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.

Graduate Partnerships Program application materials:

  • GPP Application (long form)
  • Resume or CV
  • Letters of recommendation (3)* 
  • University Application materials (apply for up to three)
  • GRE or MCAT scores
  • Transcripts

*Students list 3 recommenders and their email addresses in their application. The system will then generate an email to each recommender giving them instructions.

Faculty representative: Keith Raether

National committee interview: 


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