Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies', we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies', only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Clinical DPhil Paths:

A study of the career plans of clinical DPhil students (2013-18)

DPhil Paths Nov2014.PNG

Clinical DPhil Paths is OUCAGS’ longitudinal study of the career plans of clinical doctoral students at Oxford.

Why conduct the study?

At the end of their programme, clinical DPhil students will be highly-qualified clinicians who can make an unparalleled contribution to the future of medicine. However, there is very little data about what their plans are, the place which clinical academia may or may not have in those plans, and what shapes them.

Findings will therefore be of interest across Oxford’s Medical School and nationally to those seeking to understand the place of the research degree in medical careers. Findings will also inform OUCAGS’s approach to postdoctoral clinical academic careers.

Study design and data

Clinical DPhil Paths is a longitudinal study which started in 2013 with a census survey of the clinical DPhil students enrolled on clinical or clinical-related programmes at the University of Oxford. A second census survey was conducted in 2015.

The study will continue until 2017-18 and follow the trajectories of participants who enrolled between 2011 and 2014 as they complete their DPhils and take their first post-doctoral steps.

In 2014 and 2016, we also conducted focus groups with a subgroup of volunteer students.


A report will be written at the end of the study based on findings from the questionnaires and the focus groups. This will include recommendations for how those promoting clinical academic careers may be able to interest more post-doctoral clinicians in such careers. A copy of the report will be made available on this website.

In 2015-16, UCL also conducted a census survey of their clinical academic students. A joint overview publication looking at findings across institutions is also planned.


Clinical DPhil Paths is funded by OUCAGS and is being conducted under the leadership of Dr Denise Best, OUCAGS' Academic Clinical Careers Manager and Associate Director.


Lighthouse, Sydney© JLopes

OUCAGS has been using insights from Clinical DPhil Paths data to inform its practice, including in:

  • organising careers seminars for clinical DPhil students, starting 2015. Find out about the 2022 event and the 2023 event
  • reviewing our website structure and content, in 2015