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Research Environment

Supervision arrangements

You will have a named supervisor or supervisors, who will have overall responsibility for the direction of their work on behalf of both the OxWaSP Centre for Doctoral Training and the Department of Statistics. For the first year of the programme, your supervisor will be the Programme Director and this will change to your thesis supervisor when you transfer to your research group for the second and subsequent years of your degree. Typically, you should expect to have meetings with your supervisor or a member of the supervisory team with a frequency of at least once every two weeks averaged across the year. The regularity of these meetings may be subject to variations according to the time of the year, and the stage you are at in your research programme.

The MPLS Division’s Code of Practice on the Supervision of Graduate Research Students [PDF].


You will have a comprehensive induction to the OxWaSP Centre for Doctoral Training and to the Department of Statistics. This takes place at the beginning of your first term. It will prepare you for study and research at both the Oxford and Warwick Statistics Departments. Some more specialised induction may be required at the start of your second year depending on your host group for the research stage of the DPhil.


All research students have a computer and desk space in a shared office. For your first year in OxWaSP, this will be located in an office shared with other CDT students in your year. When you begin the research part of your training, you will move to an office shared with other DPhil students in your research group.

IT support/library facilities

Research students have access to the Department of Statistics computing facilities and support, the Department of Statistics library (in addition to the Radcliffe Science Library and other university libraries, and the centrally provided electronic resources) and other facilities appropriate to the research topic. The provision of other resources specific to your project should be agreed with your supervisor as a part of the planning stages of the agreed project.

Research Environment

The research environment in the Statistics Department at Oxford is world class. In the most recent research assessment exercise, the department was first in the UK on all measures. The department runs seminar series in statistics, applied probability and in mathematical genetics and bioinformatics. There is also a weekly graduate lecture, involving snapshots of the research interests of the department. Several journal-clubs run each term, reading and discussing new research papers as they emerge. There is a regular stream of short and long term academic visitors. Seminars on statistically-related topics in medicine, economics, environmental studies, social studies and other fields are regular features elsewhere in the University.

Access to your research funds

Your DPhil is well funded for travel for research and training. Over four years, students attend around 20 student-centred mini-symposia at Warwick. They attend four three-day away days outside the university environment and away from email. Subject to satisfactory progress, third year students will have 2-3 month placements at internationally leading universities. All these are funded centrally. Additionally £1000 is available to cover travel and subsistence for students to attend international conferences. Funding for attendance at APTS courses in the first year is also provided by the Department.

Formal Graduate Skills Training

Graduate training is an essential part of OxWaSP and the first year is devoted to training in advanced statistical theory and methods. This material is taught in eight two-week modules and followed by two twelve-week research projects.

First-year students spend around one hundred hours in broadening-training work on APTS residential courses in statistics and probability with their peers from around the UK. Students engage in at least ten hours of transferable skills training each year. In the first year this includes scientific integrity; reading scientific literature across disciplines; scientific writing; poster production; publishing a research paper; presentation and communication skills; management skills; managing your CDT DPhil/PhD; interview techniques; career development; building a business. Finally, as well as the graduate lectures and journal clubs mentioned above, formal lecture courses are also available, for example from

the MSc in Applied Statistics and from the 4th year undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics courses. These can be accessed via the Oxford Graduate Academic Programme (GAP). The GAP brings together training available in this and other departments, comprising an extensive range of courses for graduate research students and postdoctoral researchers. There are around 350 courses available throughout the academic year, including academic subjects and skills; research skills and techniques; ethics and Intellectual Property; transferable, professional and personal effectiveness skill; and communication, interpersonal and teaching skills. With access to all these courses, you and your supervisor are able to tailor a training programme to suit your individual needs and interests.

Opportunities for developing and practicing teaching skills

Starting in the second year, students will teach approximately 12 contact hours per year in undergraduate and graduate courses in their host departments. This is mentored teaching, beginning with simple marking, to reach a point where individual students are leading whole classes of 10 or 12 undergraduate students. Students will have the support of a mentor and get written feedback at the end of each block of teaching. All students will take university‐run accredited courses in teaching.
Information about the department’s teaching skills activities in collaboration with the Mathematics department can be found here.

Social Facilities

At the Department

Many events bring OxWaSP students and staff together across different peer groups and research groups, ranging from pizza-lunches to away days. These support research and involve staff and students from both Oxford and Warwick coming together at both locations.

Free tea and coffee facilities are provided and on Tuesdays at 10.45am Departmental Coffee is held, where there is an opportunity to socialise with other members of the Department. There are also opportunities for sporting interaction such as football and cricket. This encourages interaction between research groups in the department. Departmental seminars and colloquia bring research students together with academic and other research staff in the department to hear about on-going research, and provide an opportunity for networking and socialising.

At College

St Peter’s provides accommodation to overseas students and students on a first-come first-served basis. College will provide meals through most of the year. Research students will be a member of the St Peter’s College Middle Common Room, which is the main social centre for graduates. The MCR provides a common room and usually organises a programme of social events throughout the year. The college also provides a bar, some computing facilities and a library, and has some dedicated funds for conference trips. A case must be made, and awards are made on the basis of the strength of this case. The MCR represents the interests of its members to the college through elected representatives to College Committees. Graduates are also welcome to participate in all other social and sporting activities of the college. Please the St Peter’s college website for further details about all aspects of college provision.

University wide

Graduate Research Students may become members of the University Club in Mansfield Road, and participate in the range of sporting activities provided by the University.

Pastoral Welfare and Support


In the first year, students get advice and support from an identified student in the year above and from a faculty advisor. The Centre Directors and Director of Graduate Studies can also help. At the end of each term students meet with their advisor and one of the centre directors. Progress is discussed, and formal student feedback gathered. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor at which any concerns should be addressed. During the first year of study, feedback on taught modules and on the projects is obtained through questionnaires to highlight any problems that may have arisen. Feedback from the students to the Centre includes monthly ‘morning tea’ meetings between the directors, lead administrators and student reps. There is two Harassment Advisers in the Department, available at any time.


There is an extensive framework of support for graduates within St Peter’s college. Your college will allocate to you a College Advisor from among its Senior Members, usually in a cognate subject, who will arrange to see you from time to time and whom you may contact for additional advice and support on academic and other matters. In college you may also approach the Tutor for Graduates and/or the Senior Tutor for advice. The Tutor for Graduates is a fellow of the college with particular responsibility for the interests and welfare of graduate students.


The University also has a professionally staffed confidential Student Counselling Service, which offers assistance with personal, emotional, social and academic problems and Careers Service.

Further information and guidance about research degrees may be found in the University’s Notes of Guidance for Research Degrees.