The DPhil in Public Policy at Oxford (doctorate/PhD)
My name is Pepper Culpepper, I’m the DPhil
coordinator at the Blavatnik School of Government. The DPhil is a much more independent undertaking,
you have to be a bit more sort of self-motivated and self-managing
It’s really a bunch of personally and also academically mature individuals coming here
to pursue and understand a research project. Most students at the Blavatnik School of Government
have two supervisors to provide them slightly different perspectives on what they’re doing.
The supervisions are incredibly useful, I never leave a supervision feeling as though
I haven’t learned a great deal from the discussion. The relationship with supervisors is fundamental
and that’s set up right from the admissions process.
I didn’t think that a building would really make a big difference but I was wrong. It’s
a new space, it’s purpose-built, it’s light and airy.
There’s a dedicated DPhil office and so much learning happens in that office because that’s
where there’s a lot of exchange of knowledge going on.
We all have made a home away from home at our desks and it’s always buzzing with questions
that people are asking amongst each other. The University of Oxford is one of the great
universities of the world, often ranked the best university in the world.
The collegiate system is quite a unique thing about Oxford, that means that you come into
contact with people who are studying all sorts of different things and that’s been a really
nice aspect of studying here. The Blavatnik School of Government, though
we think a lot about problems in the United Kingdom, is not just based on British problems,
it’s based on the problems of the world, we have 21 students
here representing 18 nationalities. We all like to have a good time and so you
know we’ll spend a lot of evenings outside of the office.
Nearly everyone the DPhil office has a substantial other interest that is not just their academic
work. Most DPhil students will have some form of
funding, some of it is through internal Oxford scholarships like the Clarendon award.
What we get from our students is people who are always divided between am I an academic
or am I someone who wants to go into government. We’re quite a different bunch and that’s only
a good thing. The most intellectually curious group of people
I have met in a very long time and I’m glad I found a home here at the Blavatnik School.
If you are interested in taking problems of theory and making the world better and making
governments do their jobs better, then this is the place for you.