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Frequently Asked Questions

 

FAQ

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Question for the OxCam Website

General

How is the NIH OxCam program different from other U.S. PhD programs?
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply?
Where will I live?
How much does the program cost?
How long does it take to complete the program?
Are standardized test scores required for the application?
Are there cut-offs on GPA and standardized test scores?
What classes do I have to take?
How does the interview process work?
Where will I be staying during my interview?
How do I select my mentors?
How do I choose my project?
How related is my work at the NIH and my work at my university in the UK?
Are there Master's degree options for the NIH OxCam Program?

NIH

Am I getting my PhD from the NIH?
          What’s a DPhil?
What if I already have a mentor at the NIH?
When should I start looking for a mentor at the NIH?
What is the deadline for identifying my mentor?
Can I live on campus?

UK

Am I going to both Oxford and Cambridge?
          How do I pick one?
Do I have to apply even if I get accepted in to the NIH OxCam program?
Can I enroll in a university other than Oxford or Cambridge?
When should I be applying to Oxford or Cambridge?
          Do I have to apply to both universities?
What if I already have a mentor at the University of Oxford/Cambridge?
When should I start looking for a mentor at my university?
How much time do I spend in the U.K.?
          Can I spend my entire time in the UK?
What kind of visa do I need?
How do I get a visa?
What if I’m already enrolled at Oxford or Cambridge?

MD/PhD

What if I’m already in medical school?
Can I pick the track that I’m on?
What if my school doesn’t have MSTP funding?
What if I’m in an MD program, not MD/PhD?

 


 

General

How is the NIH OxCam program any different than any other PhD program?
The NIH OxCam program is an accelerated PhD program, which allows scholars to complete an individualized, research-based PhD in approximately 4 years, which is significantly less than the average PhD program. The program also has a more student-driven structure with no designated course-work outside of that agreed on by student and mentor. For more information, visit the About section of our page.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply?
Yes. For students who are not United States citizens or permanent residents, please visit the Wellcome Trust Program website, this page offers some options for individuals who are U.K. or EU citizens.

Where will I live?
There are several housing options while you are in the U.S., including On-Campus Housing at the NIH in Bethesda, and you can learn more about other options here. When you are at your university you will live in the college you join or you can explore other off-campus options.

How much does the program cost?
Your tuition and fees will be paid for by the program, while your stipend, medical benefits, and travel allowance for all four years of the program are funded by your NIH mentor. There are also external scholarships available and students are encouraged to apply. For more details, visit our page on external scholarships here.

How long does it take to complete the program?
On average, our students complete their PhD in a little over 4 years.

Are standardized test scores required for the application?
The general GRE test and/or MCAT scores are required.

Are there cut-offs on GPA and standardized test scores?
No, the NIH OxCam program does not have GPA and test score cut-offs, however, you must be eligible for acceptance at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge based on their admissions and departmental requirements.

What classes do I have to take?
The NIH OxCam program doesn’t have a defined curriculum. Outside of administrative and safety trainings for your NIH lab, the only classes you will take will be by your choice (or your mentor’s suggestion) for the development of your research and scientific skills.

How does the interview process work?
Applicants selected for interviews will be notified in mid-January and will attend a three-day event in February at the NIH in Bethesda, MD. The interview is a 30-minute panel with NIH investigators and faculty representatives from Oxford and Cambridge. Candidates should use any free time to schedule meetings with potential mentors at the NIH.

Where will I be staying during my interview?
The OxCam Program will arrange your travel and accommodations to attend interviews.

  • International travel (i.e. students studying or working abroad at the time of interviews) will be considered on a case-by-case basis when funding is available.

How do I select my mentors?
Please visit the Training Plan, where we have information about Mentor and Project Selection.

How do I choose my project?
Please visit the Training Plan, where we have information about Mentor and Project Selection.

How related is my work at the NIH and my work at my university in the UK?
They aren't just related, they should be two parts of a whole. In the NIH OxCam Program, you are working with two mentors at two institutes on a SINGLE project. The work that you do in each lab should contribute to your final thesis.

Are there Master's degree options for the NIH OxCam Program?
No. The NIH OxCam Program is a doctoral training program.

NIH

Am I getting my PhD from the NIH?
No. Your degree will be issued from the U.K. university that you select; your degree will be a PhD from the University of Cambridge, or a DPhil from the University of Oxford.

What’s a DPhil?
A DPhil is a Doctor of Philosophy and is the term used for the doctoral degree earned at the University of Oxford.

What if I already have a mentor at the NIH?
That's great! This information should be included in your application; however, it DOES NOT guarantee you a slot in the program. Our Application Review Committee looks at each applicant as a whole and, while already having a mentor willing to support your training speaks volumes, it is not the only thing we are looking for.

When should I start looking for a mentor at the NIH?
You should be considering potential mentors as early as possible, as this is a critical aspect to your doctoral training. If you are invited to interview, you should take advantage of the opportunity before and during the interview event to speak to and meet with potential NIH mentors.

What is the deadline for identifying my mentor?
While you should take your time to identify and interview with potential mentors, the steps to successful matriculation all start with the identification of your NIH mentor and appointment to his/her lab. Due to the accelerated nature of the program, the timeline following program acceptance is similarly fast-paced.

Can I live on campus?
There is limited on-campus housing available for NIH OxCam students, however, it is on a first-come-first-served basis and other housing resources are available here.

UK

Am I going to both Oxford and Cambridge?
No. You will select one school based on your project/mentor and acceptance to that institute.

How do I pick one?
Your NIH mentor and project will be instrumental in selecting your U.K. institute. See the Mentor and Project Selection page for more information.

Do I have to apply even if I get accepted into the NIH OxCam program?
Yes. You will be required to apply for both the NIH OxCam program and the individual university that you wish to attend. You do have the option of applying to both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and then making a final decision based on mentor and project selection.

Can I enroll in a university other than Oxford or Cambridge?
No. The NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program is designed specifically as a partnership with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. If you are interested in a partnership with the NIH and a different university, visit the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program Website for more information.

When should I be applying to Oxford or Cambridge?
You are free to apply to either or both universities at any point during the time that they are accepting applications. Some NIH OxCam applicants apply after receiving an invitation to interview at the NIH, while others wait until they receive a letter of acceptance from the NIH OxCam Program. If you are accepted and have not applied to the university, you must do so immediately. Please Note: There are some scholarship opportunities available through the universities and deadlines to qualify for these may be prior to interview notification. Please visit our "External Scholarships" page for more information about some of these scholarships and how to apply.

Do I have to apply to both universities?
You do not have to apply to both universities, however, if you are undecided at the time of acceptance in the NIH OxCam Program, it would be in your best interst to apply to both, as you will otherwise miss the university application deadline. Once you have solidified an NIH and U.K. mentor, you will need to formally withdraw your application from the university you will not attend.

What if I already have a mentor at the University of Oxford/Cambridge?
That's great! This information should be included in your application; however, it DOES NOT guarantee you a slot in the program. Our Application Review Commitee looks at each applicant as a whole and, while already having a mentor will to support your training speaks volumes, it is not the only thing we are looking for.

When should I start looking for a mentor at my university?
You should be considering potential mentors as early as possible as this is a critical aspect to your doctoral training. First identifying an NIH mentor can be helpful because they can help to point you in the right direction for collaborators in the U.K. Some may also have pre-established collaborations. If you are invited to interview at the NIH, there will be opportunities to speak with representatives from Oxford and Cambridge for more information.

How much time do I spend in the U.K.?
The NIH OxCam program is designed for you to spend approximately half your time at each lab. You should, ideally, spend two years at the NIH intramural campus in Bethesda and two years at either Oxford or Cambridge. This time is divided based on the development of your project.

Can I spend my entire time in the UK?
No. Per the requirements of the NIH OxCam program, you will be spending at least half of your time in the lab of your NIH mentor.

What kind of visa do I need?
A general student visa is all that is required, but you can read more about the details on our page about Student Visas.

How do I get a visa?
Please visit our page about Student Visas.

What if I’m already enrolled at Oxford or Cambridge?
If you are in a Master’s program, at either Oxford or Cambridge, speak to the Graduate Studies Office to enquire about your application for the university doctoral program.You may not be actively working on your PhD at either university and be accepted to the NIH OxCam program. For more specific situations, please contact the NIH OxCam Office.

MD/PhD

For more information and questions regarding the NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training Program, please visit https://mdphd.gpp.nih.gov

What if I’m already in medical school?
It is for this reason, that we have different MD/PhD tracks. If you are enrolled in an MD/PhD program at your medical school, you will want to apply to the NIH OxCam program at the beginning of your second year of medical school. You can see our MD/PhD website for a more descriptive explanation.

Can I pick the track that I’m on?
Your track is determined by your current status. If you are applying to medical school and the NIH program simultaneously, you are considered a Track 1 applicant. If you are currently in medical school and are applying to the NIH OxCam program, you are considered a Track 2. If you are a current NIH OxCam PhD student interested in pursuing a medical degree, there are limited slots to apply for Track 3.

What if my school doesn’t have MSTP funding?
 You may apply for individual fellowships for both the MD and PhD phases of your training. See our MD/PhD page and the primary NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training website for more information.

What if I’m in an MD program, not MD/PhD?
Speak to your medical school about options for dual degree training and you can find more information at our primary NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training website.

This Page Last Reviewed on January 24, 2017