Skaggs-Oxford Program

The Skaggs-Oxford Program is a joint five-year program in biology or chemistry at Scripps Research in either La Jolla, California or Jupiter, Florida, and biochemistry at the University of Oxford in Britain leading to the award of a joint Ph.D./D.Phil. degree. Students gain a broader and deeper interdisciplinary research experience than is possible from a single institution's doctoral program. It provides diversity in curriculum, scientific approaches, and research training with access to facilities and expertise at both Oxford and Scripps. It also offers students the experience of the distinct cultures of the United States and Britain.

The Skaggs-Oxford scholars are admitted as probationary research students and are subject to both Oxford regulations and Scripps Research student guidelines. They participate in the Oxford professional development course and must succeed in the oral qualifying examination. In consultation with their advisors, they then decide when to relocate to either Scripps Research or Oxford. Skaggs-Oxford scholars are required to carry out research for a minimum of two years at Oxford and have the option of beginning either at Oxford or at Scripps Research. The thesis and the research upon which it is based are expected to conform to Scripps Research’s criteria and Oxford for the award of the degree.

Use the links below to explore this program in greater detail.


Scripps Research’s graduate program and the Oxford Department of Biochemistry appoint a minimum of two faculty members to supervise each scholar. Term reports are required on students' progress and are submitted to both institutions.

Student counseling services, a student-chosen faculty thesis committee, and access to several deans ensure that the students have every opportunity to discuss the challenges that may arise during doctoral studies at Scripps Research and Oxford.


Academic progress supervisors at Scripps Research and Oxford submit written reports each quarter or term while the student remains in the degree program; i.e., until the thesis has been accepted for the award of the PhD/DPhil degree. Any concerns about progress are discussed between the supervisors of the two institutions, the Director of Graduate Studies in Biochemistry at Oxford and the Dean of Graduate Studies at Scripps Research, and with the student.

Applicants for transfer of status are judged by two assessors, at least one of whom is a member of the academic staff at Oxford who is familiar with the student's field of research. Academic staff from both institutions are involved in assessment of progress, and in particular, confirmation of status requires supporting statements from the supervisors from both academic partners.

Success in all stages of the course is required for progress to the submission of the thesis and the PhD/DPhil examination.

Awarding of Degree

Successful candidates are awarded a degree certificate from Scripps Research and the University of Oxford. They are invited to attend ceremonies at both institutions.

Students have the option of beginning either at Oxford or Scripps Research, subject to the availability of appropriate supervision for the intended research project. Students are required to carry out research for a minimum of two years at Oxford.

Starting at Oxford

Year 1

  • Professional development
  • Laboratory placement (typically the student is admitted directly to a specific research area and does not normally do lab rotations)
  • Research and study leading to transfer to doctoral status at the end of year 1, including submission of a report on the research conducted in year 1 and a proposal for the research to be conducted in subsequent years, which are assessed as part of a Transfer of Status exam.

Years 2-3

  • Continuation of study leading to high quality thesis research
  • Confirmation of DPhil status, including a written progress report, thesis outline and oral presentation, which are assessed as part of a Confirmation of Status exam.
  • Relocation to Scripps Research as advised

Years 4-5 (at Scripps Research)

  • Continuation of study leading to high quality thesis research, thesis production and examination

Starting at Scripps Research

Year 1

  • Professional development
  • Laboratory rotations and advisor selection
  • Coursework (9 to 18 units)

Years 2-3

  • Complete coursework requirement (if not completed during year 1)
  • Prepare/pass candidacy exam
  • Continuation of study leading to high quality thesis research
  • Relocation to Oxford as advised

Years 4-5 (at Oxford)

  • Confirmation of DPhil status, including a written progress report, thesis outline and oral presentation, which are assessed as part of a Confirmation of Status exam
  • Continuation of study leading to high quality thesis research, thesis production and examination


The Skaggs-Oxford Program is open for competition to all students who meet the minimum requirements for entry to both Scripps Research and Oxford. These include:

  • UK first or upper second class honors degree or its equivalent.
  • An appropriate score in one of the two standard English language tests for those individuals not having a first degree from a North American or British university (IELTS: 7.0 or higher in each test; TOEFL 650 or higher - 280 in the computer-based test).


The application will be considered by Scripps Research and the Oxford Department of Biochemistry and candidates will be interviewed by a joint Scripps Research/Oxford selection committee.

Application Procedures

The following materials must be received by December 1 in order for your application to be considered complete.

  1. Submit an online application. Only one application is required to apply for both the Skaggs-Oxford and Scripps Doctoral Programs. On the online application, in the Program of Study section, simply select Skaggs-Oxford.
  2. Submit an additional statement of purpose specifying why you are interested in the Skaggs-Oxford Program. (via the online application)
  3. Submit transcripts from all colleges or universities attended with the online application. Official transcripts are not required and an electronic copy of a transcript or a university generated web printout is preferred (must be official records from the university or college attended). Hand-typed listings of courses prepared by the applicant will not be considered. Official transcripts documenting the degree awarded at each college and/or university will be required prior to enrollment
  4. If applicable, international students must submit evidence of proficiency in English. Request Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores from ETS. The institution code for the TOEFL is 4651. No department code is necessary. We now accept IELTS scores as well.
  5. A minimum of three letters of recommendation from faculty who can assess your research intensity and drive, your perseverance and independence in the lab, your creative contributions to the design and progress on a research project, and how quickly you assimilate to new ideas and embrace alternate approaches to a problem. Of particular interest to Scripps Research's doctoral program are letters from research advisors or research supervisors with direct knowledge of your previous laboratory research experience. Recommenders should submit letters directly using the online application system, or email them to

If I apply to the Skaggs-Oxford Program and do not get accepted, am I still eligible for Scripps Research’s Doctoral Program in Biological and Chemical Sciences?
Where exactly in Oxford will the Skaggs-Oxford scholars be based?
Skaggs-Oxford scholars will be attending Lincoln College in Oxford. (
How much time would I spend at Oxford?
The minimum time spent in Oxford in order to gain an Oxford degree (D.Phil.) is 6 terms or two years.
How do I apply to the Skaggs-Oxford Program?
Students can apply to both programs via a single online application. The online application is also where you will provide all required documents, including the statement of purpose. For more information, click admission guidelines link above.
What is the stipend level for the Skaggs-Oxford Scholars?
For the 2020-21 academic year, the stipend is $39,000 plus a $1,500 academic allowance.
If accepted into the Skaggs-Oxford Program is it important to choose the PIs at Scripps Reseach and Oxford right away?
No, you only need to choose an advisor at the campus in which you start.
Do you have to do the same amount of coursework as other Scripps Research graduate students?
Yes, you must complete 18 units of Scripps Research coursework.