The Center for Life Beyond Reed

NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars program

Apply through Independent Application Process

Internal Deadline: none - see website for annual deadline, usually December

» Scholarship's official website


The National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program is an accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research careers. The program is based on the British system, in which students perform doctoral research without required formal courses other than those students choose to take in relationship to their own interests.

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

  • Students carry out research with a goal of earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD or DPhil), which requires spending roughly equal amounts of time at the NIH and at the chosen university.
  • During their time at the NIH, students become members of one of the NIH Institutes and also join a vibrant graduate student community of more than 400 students.
  • Most doctoral study programs in the U.K. 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 the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.
  • An NIH class dean works with each student in order to ensure satisfactory progress while pursuing his/her research goals.
  • At the start of the program, all new students develop a detailed research proposal and an individualized training plan that outlines goals and a personalized plan of study. This requirement launches students and their mentors on an accelerated plan of research. Students' progress is tracked by holding to program timelines and benchmarks, which allows for problems to be addressed quickly.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, and must have undergraduate preparation in biology, chemistry (both inorganic and organic), physics, and mathematics. They must have an outstanding academic record and show exceptional promise for a career in biomedical research. Previous laboratory research experience is a strong qualification for this program.

Application Procedure

See website for application details.