Current graduate students

General Information

Graduate Forms 

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) System - access via Student Self Service

MPLS Graduate School - information for current students

MPLS Code of Practice on the Supervision of Graduate Students

MPLS Graduate Handbook can be downloaded from:

Chemistry Graduate Handbook

MPLS Skills Training

Information for EU students

Induction procedures

Induction for new graduate students is normally held on 1st October.

Graduate society

Catalyst is a society for postgraduates in Chemistry at the University of Oxford that has been formed in order to promote interactions between postgraduate students, post-doctoral workers and members of staff, and to further their academic and social interests.

Conference funding

Students can apply to the Department for contribution towards conference funding via an application which can be downloaded here - the maximum amount is £500 (per student for the whole duration of the programme). The application should be submitted via email to Chemistry Finance Office:

Other links

Chemistry Departmental Colloquia

Complaints and Appeals Procedures

For COVID-19 updates and communications, please see:

There are certain milestones that all graduate students need to attain in the course of their postgraduate career before they may submit a thesis for consideration for the award of the DPhil/MSc(Res). The following paragraphs outline the procedure adopted by the Department of Chemistry, together with some related important information. 

  1. You will have been admitted as a Probationer Research Student (PRS). Towards the end of your first year your progress will be reviewed and a recommendation will be made to the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division as to whether you should be permitted to transfer to DPhil or MSc(Res) student status.

    Our procedure is as follows: 

    1. Both you and your supervisor(s) are obliged to submit quarterly progress reports through the Graduate Supervision Reporting System (GSR). If the reports do not indicate satisfactory progress, you may be called for a formal interview with your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). You can access the GSR via Student Self Service

    2. Assuming satisfactory progress with your research, towards the end of your first year, you will be required to submit a completed form GSO.2.MPLS (available here; this needs the signature of your supervisor and a college officer) and a written report on your research work (details of the required format vary). This report should outline your work to date and plans for future research. You should add to the report: a) a list of seminars and lectures you have attended (these need not have taken place exclusively in your own laboratory, and should not be restricted narrowly to your own area of research) b) a short (half a page) lay summary.  You should ensure that your supervisor has a copy of the report. They will be asked to make comments on your work, and for a recommendation as to whether you should be permitted to proceed to DPhil/MSc(Res) status. Chemistry students must complete the University's online research integrity training (for Natural and Physical Sciences) before applying for transfer of status. The training is available at:

    3. You will be orally examined (usually by staff members of your laboratory) at a time to be arranged, normally in September (for Michaelmas Term starters), although it may be held a different time. You will be expected to be able to demonstrate a sound background knowledge in your field of research, to explain the work you have undertaken so far, and outline your plans for future research. Some of the Chemistry Sections also require a short presentation as part of the PRS assessment.

    4. On the basis of your report, your supervisor’s recommendation, and that of the assessing panel, the Head of Section or DGS will decide whether you will be permitted to transfer to DPhil/MSc(Res) status. You will be informed of the outcome of your assessment in writing. If the recommendation is not favourable, you will be permitted one further application for transfer after a sufficient period of time, normally 1 term.  Your DGS will give you a clear indication of the areas in which the panel finds your work or background knowledge to be unsatisfactory. You must remedy these deficiencies within the allotted period. The panel that carried out the review will have the authority to recommend either that you should be allowed to transfer to DPhil or MSc(Res) status, or that you would be best advised to withdraw from the course.  If you do not accept the recommendation of the panel then the University’s procedure for the removal of graduate students from the Register, as set out in the Examination Regulations will be followed.

  2. All doctoral students are required to apply for Confirmation of DPhil Status within 9 terms (but no sooner than 6) of their admission as a graduate student (usually PRS) of the University. Students registered for CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) programmes normally have 10 terms to apply for Confirmation of Status.
    The process enables the student to have an assessment of his or her work by two assessors,  other than the supervisor(s), and this is clearly an important indication that, if the work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily, then consideration of submission within the deadline would appear to be reasonable.
    Detailed procedures vary between Sections, but the Confirmation of DPhil Status process will generally involve, in addition to completing a form GSO.14.MPLS (available here; this needs the signature of your supervisor and a college officer) producing a short report on the work carried out to date, along with plans for completing the thesis.
    The specific procedures for appeals against unfavourable outcomes at the Confirmation of Status application stage will be set out by the individual Directors of Graduate Studies.

  3. In addition, during their third (or fourth - for CDT students) year, DPhil students are expected to make a short (e.g. 20 minute) presentation on their research at a Section's Graduate Symposium, organised in Trinity Term.

  4. You should submit your DPhil thesis by the end of your 12th term at the latest.

  5. Further information on the University’s procedures for transfer and confirmation of status can be found in the MPLS Division’s Graduate Handbook (Notes for the Guidance of Graduate Students), and in the University’s Examination Regulations. If any of the above is unclear, please contact your DGS (see Directors of Graduate Study).

  6. Each Section has specific procedures for handling complaints and appeals. In the first instance you may informally approach (in strict confidence) either your DGS or your Head of Section. Formal complaints procedures are summarised in the Division’s Graduate Handbook and given in detail in the Examination Regulations. 

  7. The Graduate Chemists' Joint Consultative Committee and more generally the Chemists Joint Consultative Committee exist as forums through which graduate views and feedback can be provided to the Faculty.

  8. In terms of training each graduate student is expected to: a) attend at least 3 courses in Year 1 b) do 6 weeks of skills training over Ears 2 and 3 c) keep a record of what they have done.

Please contact Aga Borkowska, Graduate Studies Administrator, in the first instance if you have any questions.

More information about graduate procedures is available at the MPLS Graduate School website.  

DGS, Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology, and Synthesis for Biology & Medicine CDT

Professor Jeremy Robertson
+44 (0)1865 275660

DGS, Inorganic Chemistry

Professor Michael Hayward
+44 (0)1865 272623

DGS, Physical & Theoretical Chemistry
Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences CDT

Professor William Barford
+44 (0)1865 275162

Associate Head of Department (Teaching) and Director of Studies

Prof. Nick Green
+44 (0)1865 282 760

Deputy Director of Studies

Dr Martin Galpin
+44 (0) 1865 285 721

Graduate Studies Administrator

Aga Borkowska
+44 (0)1865 272 569

The Department, the MPLS Division, and the wider University offer skills training courses to support research students' development.  Gaining both research skills and transferable skills is important for one's future career (as well as for the research project itself). The UK Research Councils expect students to develop all the higher-level skills of the Vitae Researcher Development Statement.

This page is an up-to-date list of most of the skills training opportunities that may be of interest to Chemistry graduate students. Note that the MPLS researcher training courses are particularly extensive.

Most courses are available for students to take during any year of their course. Some are part of the Graduate induction in year 1, while others are only offered (or recommended) for students in a particular year of study as shown below.

All students are expected to take part in skills training and keep an accurate record of the training they have done. This record will be assessed as part of the Transfer of Status and Confirmation of Status processes.

To help students decide which training courses to undertake, the Department and the MPLS Division recommends that students and their supervisors perform a Training Needs Analysis when starting their research project.

Skills Training Opportunities

  Year 1 Year 2 Years 3+
Research skills
  • Safety training
  • Library induction
  • IT courses
  • Research data management
  • Research integrity
  • Graduate lecture courses
  • Research facilities training (NMR, Mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, ESR spectroscopy, Chemistry workshops)
  • Advanced data analysis
  • Research seminars
Transferable skills
  • Internships
  • Careers training
  • Internships
  • Careers training
  • Sustainabile energy
  • Postdoctoral fellowships
  • Research facilitiation
  • Internships
  • MPLS researcher training courses
  • Teaching opportunities and training
  • Demonstrating opportunities and training
  • Outreach opportunities and training
  • Language training courses


A to Z of training opportunities

Careers training

The University Careers Service offers both resources and training opportunities to help students find employment and develop employability skills.

Many of the MPLS researcher training courses also focus on careers and employability.

Data analysis and statistics

Dr. D. S. Sivia gives an eight-lecture course in Michaelmas Term on Data analysis, based on his book Data Analysis: a Bayesian tutorial. The lectures will be advertised by email.

The course synopsis is available here.

The MPLS Division runs an introductory applied statistics course for researchers. Details are available here.

Demonstrating opportunities and training

Many graduate students work as demonstrators in the undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. You can read about our new Chemistry Teaching Labs and see a video here.

Contact for more information.

Chemistry workshops

The PTCL workshops run an Open Day as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 11th October, 2pm-4pm). All students are welcome to attend, to see what facilities are available and the kinds of work that can be carried out.

ESR spectroscopy training

An ESR induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 4th October, 10.50 am, ICL Lecture theatre). It will explain how the instruments can be accessed and the training that is required to use them. There will be an opportunity to sign-up for introductory training sessions.

The ESR facility has a website explaining what is available.

Graduate lecture courses

Graduate students are very welcome attend undergraduate and graduate lecture courses offered by the Chemistry department. See for details.


The Research Facilitation team keeps an up-to-date list of internships and secondment opportunities that may be of interest to DPhil students.

IT courses

The University IT Services provide a large number of online and classroom-based training courses. These include the University's subscription to LinkedIn Learning: a large, high-quality resource of training material across many disciplines.

Videos of Nick Trefethen's course, Scientific Computing for DPhil Students, can be viewed here.

High-performance computing training is offered by the Advanced Research Computing service.

Language training

The University Language Centre provides assessed and non-assessed courses in 12 modern languages. These are very popular; registration for the year opens at the start of Michaelmas Term and places fill up quickly.

The Language Centre also offers English for Academic Studies courses, to help non-native speakers improve their academic writing and communication. Again, early registration is advised.

Library induction

Library inductions are held near the beginning of Michaelmas Term as part of the Graduate Induction. Students are advised to attend.

Mass spectrometry training

A compulsory mass spectrometry induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 4th October, 9.00am, ICL Lecture theatre). It is essential that anyone wishing to make use of the MS facilities attend this induction session. Sign-up sheets will be available for walk-up MS training (held on 6th and 7th October).

The MS facility has a website explaining what is available, including an eight-lecture Graduate MS course.

MPLS researcher training

The MPLS Division offers a very wide and comprehensive set of transferable skills courses. It is necessary to book these via the MPLS website.

NMR training

A compulsory NMR induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 4th October, 9.30am, ICL Lecture theatre). It is essential that anyone wishing to make use of the NMR facilities attend this induction session. Sign-up sheets will be available for walk-up NMR training (held on 6th and 7th October).

The NMR facility has a website explaining what is available, including an eight-lecture Graduate NMR course.

Outreach opportunities and training

Graduate students wishing to take part in, and be trained in, the Department's outreach and public engagement should contact

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Research Facilitation team keeps an up-to-date list of upcoming postdoctoral Fellowships that may be of interest to DPhil students.

Research Facilitation

The Department has a research facilitation team that, amongst other things, publicises Fellowships and opportunities for career development, advertises and advises on research funding sources, and helps researchers to produce successful grant applications.

See for more details.

Research data management

Funding bodies require researchers to preserve research data for future access, and to make research data easily accessible to others. The University has a Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records which applies to all researchers. The site explains what research data is, and how to comply with the University policy.

An online training course is available here.

Research integrity

Researchers have an duty to conduct their research honestly, carefully, and transparently.  Failure to adhere to these standards is known as scientific misconduct, which is a serious offence that may lead to disciplinary action.

The Graduate Induction day includes a session on Responsible Conduct of Research

The University has produced a research integrity checklist to help students and supervisors to comply with the University's policy on Academic Integrity.

All research students are advised to read the Research Integrity leaflet and must complete the online Research Integrity training course to ensure that they know what is expected of them as researchers.

Students may also wish to read On Being a Scientist, a short and freely-available book that introduces the ideas of responsible research.

Plagiarism is a particular example of scientific misconduct, which anyone writing scientific papers needs to be aware of. An online course explaining what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it, is available here.

Research seminars

Research seminars form an important part of your training, to ensure that you have a wide and general understanding of chemical research. Each Section has a regular seminar series, and you must attend at least your own Section's series.

The list of upcoming seminars can be found here.

Safety training

All students must take part in safety training before starting work in the Department. In addition to this general training, some students will be required to undertake compulsory lectures run by the University Safety Office due to the nature of their research. Please check with your Supervisor if you need this training. Details of induction sessions are listed in the full Graduate Induction timetable.

Detailed safety information is available on the intranet at

Teaching opportunities and training

The Department runs Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford courses annually. These are advertised by email at the beginning of each academic year.

There are a number of teaching opportunities available to graduate students, particularly in teaching classes for Mathematics for Chemistry, Physics for Chemists, and the Quantum Chemistry Supplementary Subject. These opportunities are advertised around the end of Trinity Term for the following academic year, and students who are selected to teach receive frequent training.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning offers a range of further training opportunities in teaching.

X-ray crystallography training

A short introduction to the Department's single-crystal X-ray service is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 4th October, 10.30am, ICL Lecture theatre).

The Chemical crystallography service has a website explaining what is available.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Dr Martin R. Galpin

Michaelmas Term


For graduate students: the lecture will take place as part of the Graduate Induction, on Tuesday 4th October, at 2.30pm in the ICL Lecture Theatre.

For Part II students: the lecture will take place on Friday 30th September, at 2pm in the ICL Lecture Theatre.

Attendance is compulsory for all new postgraduate students and all Part II students.


The course will introduce the following aspects of research integrity and responsible conduct of research:

  • The need for responsible research
  • Scientific misconduct
  • Harassment and Bullying
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Record keeping and research data management

The topics will be illustrated by recent examples and case studies in chemical research.


Books on research integrity and responsible conduct of research:

Singapore Statement on Research Integrity
A one-page summary of the key points

On being a scientist: A guide to Responsible Conduct in Research
This is a very informative and well-written book covering many aspects of research integrity. A pdf is free to download.

Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research, Francis L. Macrina, ASM Press
A thorough and up-to-date discussion of all the issues covered in the lecture.

Writing the Laboratory Notebook, Howard M. Kanare, ACS
An excellent guide to keeping a lab notebook.

Links to some of the resources and news articles mentioned in the lectures.
(Note that some are opinion pieces, presented here to stimulate thinking about various issues. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the lecturer!)

Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford (PLTO)

The Department runs training for those interested in doing teaching (either as a College Tutor, a Departmental class tutor, or as a Lab Demonstrator). It is University Policy that all DPhil students who teach in a Department or College must attend a PLTO course.

The PLTO courses are offered at the beginning of each academic year and may be repeated later, depending on demand.

Courses involve facilitated discussions, led by Martin Galpin.

Due to space restrictions, it is necessary to book a place on one of these sessions. For the 'Tutors' course, please contact Aga Borkowska. For the 'Demonstrators' course, please contact Laura Fenwick. Priority will be given to those engaged in teaching or demonstrating imminently.

The slides for the sessions are available here:

PLTO for Tutors
PLTO for Lab Demonstrators

Here are some resources for online training resources that you might find useful during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you to the many students who helped by offering suggestions.

Online learning platforms covering a range of skills and subjects

  • Coursera - Many free online courses from worldwide Universities
  • EdX - Many free online courses from worldwide Universities
  • Khan Academy - Another well-regarded, free resource
  • Udacity - Paid-for courses
  • Udemy - Paid-for courses

Note also that Oxford has a subscription to LinkedIn Learning, a huge library of online courses, via the IT Learning Centre. Topics range from programming skills, to writing and presentation skills, to job applications and CV writing. Well worth a look.

Online science/maths courses

Computational chemistry training

Work in progress...

Programming and data analysis

Writing resources

  • Leeds University's Final Chapter site has lots of useful advice for writing.
  • Nicholas Higham's excellent book Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences is available as an ebook during the pandemic. It is written for mathematicians, but includes more general chapters of use to all scientific writers.
  • LinkedIn Learning has some very good, comprehensive courses: check out 'Writing with Flair', for example.
  • If you want to learn LaTeX, The LaTeX companion is an excellent textbook that is free online from O'Reilly (see below)
  • Mendeley is a popular reference manager for keeping track of papers and dealing with citations in Word or LaTeX.
    Other popular reference managers include EndNote, Zotero, and JabRef.


  • Use SOLO to search for electronic copies of textbooks available from Oxford's libraries
  • Cambridge University Press has made 700 textbooks freely available during the pandemic
  • O'Reilly Learning (programming books etc.) appears to be freely-accessible from the domain (i.e. using VPN)