Admissions & Orientation

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It is generally expected that at the time of interviews, you will have already identified several potential mentors at the NIH and Oxford or Cambridge. You should begin serious consideration of mentors at this time due to the relatively short window for mentor selection following acceptance.

It is important to complete and submit your paperwork for your NIH appointment as soon as you identify your NIH mentor.

March - April

  • If you have not already done so, you should immediately submit your application to either Oxford or Cambridge. 
  • Students may apply to both universities.  Once you have identified a U.K. mentor and university, you must decline the offer of acceptance from the other university.
  • Scholarship recipients should speak to the administrator of their scholarship regarding university matriculation.
  • The NIH OxCam Office will coordinate all Orientation Week travel.  
  • MD/PhD students should apply to the university the December before they plan to begin their PhD training.


  • If you have not already identified an NIH and U.K. mentor, you should be actively searching. 
  • You should also communicate with your selected NIH and U.K. laboratories to schedule administrative tasks during the June Orientation Weeks.


  • Students are required to provide the paperwork necessary to establish a U.S. government appointment under a pre-doctoral Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA).
  • You will work with your NIH mentor’s administrative officer to complete your paperwork for your IRTA appointment.
  • Track 1 MD/PhD students will not receive IRTA appointments for orientation the year they are accepted, but may receive a Special Volunteer or IRTA appointment the summer before they begin their PhD research or during their summer rotation at the NIH respectively.
  • The Global Doctoral Partnerships Annual Workshop will take place in June.  Attendance at the Workshop is expected each year for all mentors and scholars.
  • Following the NIH and U.K. Orientation Weeks your project and co-mentor selection must be finalized.
  • The Visa application process should be initiated no later than July 1st.  This deadline is critical, especially if you plan to begin work in the U.K.
  • Students should consult the administrators at their chosen university for all Visa related questions.


  • Your NIH IRTA appointment paperwork and processing should be complete.
  • If you will begin your research in the U.K. you must complete the paperwork required by your NIH laboratory for foreign travel.

August - September

  • Your pre-IRTA appointment begins at the NIH in early-mid August.
  • During your first week on campus, you are required to attend program orientation.
  • Your primary objective is to write an in-depth, 5 page (single spaced) research proposal.
  • Your research proposal must be submitted by the third week of September.   
  • The specific division of your time between the NIH and the U.K., as well as where you will start your research, is determined by the science and a joint decision between you and your mentors.
  • During your orientation time you should acquaint yourself with your NIH mentor’s Administrative Officer (AO), travel planner, and, if possible, his/her Laboratory or Branch Chief.



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