The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program is an accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research careers. The program is based on the British system, in which students perform doctoral research without required formal courses other than those which students choose to take in relationship to their own interests.
Students undertake a collaborative Ph.D. project in any area of biomedical investigation with two research mentors—one at the NIH intramural campus in Bethesda, MD and one at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities in the U.K. Students conduct research at both locations and potentially at other sites, including field work in Africa and elsewhere around the world.
Each scholarship provides full tuition and educational fees at the host institution (Oxford or Cambridge) for the duration of the recipient’s doctoral program. Scholars also receive an annual living stipend, health insurance coverage, and travel allowance. The program also provides special educational opportunities for career development.
Candidates for each first-year class of scholars must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Academic standards for admission to the program are high, but even more than grades or test scores, the program seeks students who have had one or more substantial research experiences by their senior year or have done research after college. Outstanding recommendation letters, particularly those from mentors who have supervised an applicant's laboratory projects, factor heavily into selection decisions, as do applicants’ personal statements.