Postgrad Oxford Interviews

By Asia Hoile @bioblogicalphd

After an unsuccessful interview at Oxford for undergraduate, I was very apprehensive about my interview for a DPhil in Interdisciplinary Biosciences. Graduate interviews work slightly differently in comparison to undergraduate as you usually apply to a department rather than a college. You can express a preference for a college, but this is only considered following an offer to study at Oxford.

Due to the pandemic my interview was held online via Microsoft Teams. As part of my interview I was asked to prepare a 5-minute presentation using 3-5 slides which described a research project I had undertaken. I presented my third year undergraduate project which investigated the genes responsible for complex eye development in box jellyfish. I was interviewed by a panel of three which consisted of academics and industry experts. Following my presentation I was asked questions regarding the technicalities of my project and how I would further my research. Following this I was asked more general questions regarding my interest in the course, which academics I would like to work with and what I would do during my 12-week internship. Subsequently I was asked broader questions regarding science in the news and current research in my field. Finally I was given the option to ask my interviewers any further questions.

My interview took roughly 30-40 minutes, but it felt much shorter than this! My advice would be to enjoy the process as much as you can and see it as an exciting opportunity to discuss your areas of interest with world leading scientists. I personally think it’s important to allow your passion for science and research to shine through more than anything else. It’s completely normal to be nervous, however my interviewers were nice and put me at ease. I would emphasise not being afraid to say “I don’t know” and to ask for clarification of questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.