All students undertake a substantive three-year research project. Students work with their proposed supervisory team to define the topic of their substantive doctoral project shortly before the end of their second rotation project. Projects must address research questions that lie within the remit of the programme and are subject to approval by the DTP. Once the project has been approved, students work with their supervisor(s) to develop a research proposal for this project which defines the background and aims of the project and the methodology to be used and outlines a timeline for completion of the project within the four years of their graduate studies. This proposal is formally assessed by two expert assessors who provide advice on the project at an early stage, which helps to ensure students have an exciting but feasible project that addresses an important biological research question and that students are able to take full advantage of the support available to them.
Students continue to have the support of the DTP throughout their studies as their research progresses, with specific training aimed at helping students to develop skills in areas such as project management, communication skills and the process of writing and submitting their DPhil thesis and undertaking their DPhil/PhD viva.