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Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.

Louis Pasteur

Advice and Instructions for 2015 Applicants

Dear Prospective Applicant,

The NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program seeks students of the highest academic caliber who are seeking to obtain a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences. 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. Our expectations for the successful Scholar applicant include:

  • While academic expectations, as measured by grades and test scores, are high--research experience, outside activities and letters of recommendation contribute to a holistic evaluation of the candidate.
  • Successful applications have generally had one or more substantial research experiences, as we have observed that success and satisfaction in a research environment are the strongest predictive factors for success in the Scholars Program. Most successful applicants worked in a laboratory during college, and those with two-three plus years of research experience are not unusual. 
  • Many applicants have co-authored manuscripts in scientific journals, although this is not a prerequisite. In addition, some have presented their work in the form or talks or posters at national meetings.
  • Outstanding letters of recommendation, particularly from research mentors, typifies the successful applicant and is weighed heavily in the evaluation process. Because of the dual-mentored nature of the program, mentors should comment on the student’s focus, organizational skills, and time management abilities as well as intellect, drive, creativity, general research abilities, and potential for a career in the biomedical sciences.
  • Successful applicants have often been honored by their universities for academic or research achievements or by outside agencies such as the Beckman or Amgen Foundations, MARCS program or a Goldwater Scholarship.
  • Applicants are asked to write a personal statement that details their motivation, experience, and long-term goals. The statement, which reflects the applicant’s focus and biomedical interests, factors heavily into the evaluation process. It should include a description of why the applicant feels they will thrive under the dual-mentored, accelerated process that characterizes the program.

While we do not require students to commit to any particular course of study prior to acceptance, we encourage applicants who are invited to NIH for an interview to contact potential mentors and discuss possible projects prior to the interview, as this is viewed as a strength in the application. Informal interactions that applicants have when visiting the NIH campus are also considered in the evaluation process.

We look forward to reviewing your application and encourage you to contact us via email or phone with any questions. We wish you all the best in your current and future research endeavors,


Elaine A. Ostrander, Ph.D.

Admissions Director

NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program



How to Apply for 2015 Consideration


Application Due Date, Fee, and Interview Dates

  • Application portal will open August 1, 2014.
  • Applications must be submitted electronically by 12:00 AM EST by December 2, 2014.
  • To apply to the program see the link here:
  • There is no application fee for the GPP application. University partners may have an application fee, depending on how you apply.
  • 2015 interview dates for the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program are tentatively scheduled for February 18 and 19.
  • You must attend both days.
  • The program will cover your transportation costs and lodging.

Applications Required for Admissions Consideration and University Choice

Only the NIH GPP application is required for admission consideration to the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. University choices are collected at the time of interviews. Accepted students will submit their University applications to Oxford and/or Cambridge in early spring. 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. Students will generally be required to make a choice of Universities before the visit weeks to Oxford and Cambridge in June.


Note: For students interested in applying specifically to the University of Cambridge

Cambridge Commonwealth and European and International Trust (formerly known as Cambridge Overseas Trust) & NIH Scholarship

From October 2013 the NIH OxCam Programme in Cambridge is working with the Trust to offer the NIH Cambridge Trust Scholarship.

The Trust has agreed to provide Scholarships for two students per year for the next 3 years, which will fund two years of Cambridge residency to match-fund the NIH scholarship.

To be considered for any of the COT award/scholarship, applicants must complete Section B of the University GRADSAF.  Applicants for the COT award must not apply directly to the Trust – they do not accept direct applications.


Application Components


You will need to enter your contact information, education history, standardized examination scores, submits requests for letters of reference, and requests partnership selections. The GPP has many NIH-University Institutional Partnerships, and you may apply to as many programs as you want. The NIH Oxford-Cambridge program counts as one partnership selection. 

The M.D./Ph.D. partnership counts as one program choice in addition to the Ph.D. programs.

Please consult the prospective students section of the MD/PhD partnership web site for more information, including a list of participating schools.

You will also need to your scientific discipline/research interests, research experience, publications, presentations, awards/honors, extracurricular activities, personal statement, and any additional information you wish to provide. Students who are offered admittance to the program will be required to submit official transcripts and GRE/ MCAT scores.


Your personal statement should include the components below:

1) Academic interests and career goals;

2) Scientific research background (most important) and other relevant professional, educational, and volunteer experiences;

3) Reasons for applying to the NIH OxCam Scholars Program;

4) Reasons for MD/PhD training for those applying to the NIH MD/PhD partnership.

Your personal statement should be specific about your interest in joining the NIH OxCam Program. You should go into detail about the features of the program that make it right for you. Do not submit a generic personal statement developed for multiple schools or programs.


In the "Additional Information" section of the application, please list at least 6 but no more than 10 tenured or tenure-track faculty members at NIH with whom you might be interested in as serving as your mentor. Please list them in order of preference. You are not bound to select any of these investigators as your mentor if admitted. If you are selected for an interview, we strongly encourage you to contact these potential mentors you are interested in on your own to arrange a meeting. Also, it is a good idea for you to become familiar with Professors you may be interested in potentially collaborating with at both Oxford and Cambridge. You can search for NIH faculty members through the NIH institute web sites at the NIH Intramural Research Program.


Questions about application technical issues should be directed to Dr. Pat Wagner ( ).  Questions related to the OxCam Program should be directed to the program's Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Matt Vogt or the Managing Director Katie Soucy.