International Development

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 14.5 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 26.1 k / Year(s) Deadline: Nov 18, 2023
1 place StudyQA ranking:1368 Duration:4 years You need IELTS certificate

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The DPhil in International Development provides an opportunity for outstanding students to pursue in-depth multi- and interdisciplinary research, guided by leading scholars in the field, into processes of social, political and economic development and change in the global South.

Graduate destinations

Graduates of the DPhil in International Development have a strong track record in developing academic careers in universities and research institutions across the world. The department’s alumni now hold positions at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leicester, London (LSE and SOAS) and Sussex in the UK, and at the Australian National University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dartmouth College, the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, and the Universities of Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Leiden, Leuven, Melbourne, Peru, Port Harcourt, Rome, Roskilde, York (Canada) and the Witwatersrand overseas, among other institutions.

Other former students have taken up positions in major international institutions, including the World Bank and the UN organisation, such as UNCTAD and UNHCR, and in NGOs.

Academics at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) can offer supervision in a wide range of subjects, including economic growth and instability, trade and investment, poverty and inequality, insecurity and conflict, the history of social and political change, migration and refugees, global governance and the environment, children and human development, and technology and industrialisation. The department also has close connections with other departments and research centres across the University.

As a DPhil student you will undertake your own original research project under the guidance of your supervisor, with whom you will typically meet at least two to three times a term. The supervisor will help develop and guide your project and, at later stages, provide feedback on chapter drafts. You will work on your own extensively however, and will need a high level of motivation. 

You will be admitted initially as a Probationer Research Student (PRS), transferring to full DPhil status at the end of your first year. During the probationary period, you will develop and begin work on your thesis topic. You will be offered training in relevant research methods, language, computing and other skills, and have the opportunity to attend lectures, seminars and classes in your general topic area.

As a PRS you will take one taught course, either in research methods or from an Oxford master’s degree relevant to your research, on which you will be examined at the end of the first year. You must pass this course with a strong performance in order to transfer from PRS status to full DPhil status. You also need departmental approval of a fully developed research plan, which you will present in your transfer paper to two assessors approved by the department’s graduate studies committee.

You are expected to be resident in Oxford for the PRS period. Once the transfer is complete, you may leave Oxford for up to three terms in order to conduct your fieldwork and continue the course by carrying out your own research under the guidance of your supervisor, with whom you will continue to meet or correspond with regularly. You should return to Oxford after fieldwork for at least three terms.

Assessment of progress will be made during these sessions with your supervisor and also in more formal viva voce meetings – for the Transfer of Status (usually at the end of the first year) and for Confirmation of Status (usually at the end of the third year). More information on these two meetings can be found in the course handbook on the ODID website.

As a PRS you will normally be expected to complete your degree in a period of three years plus up to one year of fieldwork (if needed). Students who transfer to the DPhil after the MPhil in Development Studies are expected to complete in two years plus time needed for fieldwork: they are also expected to be resident in Oxford for part of this time.

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a relevant social science subject.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.8 out of 4.0.

Applicants for the DPhil must also be predicted to or have achieved a distinction or very high 2:1 (or equivalent) for their master's degree in a relevant social science subject. The master's degree must be completed and a final transcript made available to the department by the end of August prior to the start of the DPhil.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Research proposal:Around 3,000 words
  • Written work:Two essays of 4,000 words each
  • References/letters of recommendation:Three overall, generally academic


Higher level


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

  • Global Education
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships
  • A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
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