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Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is meant by ‘awarded their doctorates’ in the Further Particulars?
Doctoral award should be taken as the date of the successful defence of your doctoral dissertation at a viva voce examination or where there is no viva, the date of award on the degree certificate.

I have submitted my application but my referees have not yet received an email from the College.
Ask your referees to check their Junk email box to see if the email is there. If not, please contact

Can I include more than two references with my application?
No.  To be fair to all candidates, the College can only accept two references per application.

Can I submit my application via email or post?
No, applications must be submitted online. 

How can I verify that all my references have been received?
You will be able to log in to your application once submitted in order to check whether your references have been received.

Can I change the name and contact details for one of my referees?
If required, you may be able to change referee details (e.g. change referee or contact detail) by logging into your account until the time the references have been received or the closing date for the receipt of references,  4pm (UK time), Friday, 16 September 2016

Can my referees submit a reference before I have submitted my application?
No. In addition to uploading their reference in support of your application, your referees will be asked to verify that you meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Further Particulars. Therefore your referees will not be able to submit their reference before you have submitted your application. (Please also remember to send your referees a copy of your proposed plan of research.)

One of my referees has not been able to submit their reference before the deadline. Will late references be accepted?
Late references will be accepted until Friday, 23 September, 4.00pm (UK time), but the College cannot guarantee that they will be taken into consideration by assessors.

Can I change other details on my original application?
No, not unless you are included on the initial shortlist.  If included on the initial or final shortlist for this competition, you will be asked to supply a further sample of your work and will be given an opportunity to provide updating information, e.g. details of new publications or positions.   

Am I eligible to apply if I have already held or currently hold a Junior Research Fellowship or Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship?
Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Further Particulars.

Can I apply if I am not a UK or EU citizen?
The College welcomes applicants of any nationality as long as they meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Further Particulars but all appointments are subject to proof of Right to Work in the UK.  A successful applicant requiring a visa would normally be expected to apply for a Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visa seeking endorsement from a relevant competent body, normally the British Academy or Royal Society,

What does the ‘thesis abstract’ refer to?
The ‘thesis abstract’ refers to the abstract of your recently or almost completed doctoral thesis.

Does the word count for the ‘statement of proposed work’ include footnotes and a bibliography?
Yes, footnotes and bibliography are included in the word count.

What should I do if my doctoral thesis is not written in English?
'The 10,000 word sample of written work to be submitted as part of your application should normally be in English.  Candidates who are shortlisted will be asked to submit an untranslated copy of their thesis, together with a substantial piece of work in English.'

How independent does my research programme have to be?
Collaboration on past and future projects is acceptable.  However, if many of your papers are published with senior colleagues, the College would expect to see an explanation of your role in the conception of the work that is described.

I already hold fellowship funding that covers my salary for part of the term of this scheme? Can I apply and ask to hold an all souls PDRF on a non-stipendiary basis?
All Souls PDRFs are stipendiary fellowships and cannot be held concurrently with other fellowship funding. They are not available on a non-stipendiary basis.

Can I hold the Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship and work on someone else’s project?
The primary duty of a PDRF is to pursue in Oxford an independent programme of advanced study and research for publication. A research project that consists of work submitted and funded for a senior Principal Investigator grant is unlikely to be sufficiently independent for an ASC Fellowship, nor is the ASC fellowship intended as salary funding for a postdoctoral role in a senior person's project.    

What is an 'unsigned and unencrypted' PDF? 
A When making a PDF file, there is an optional facility to protect the PDF so that it requires a password to open it. The online application system cannot read such files so candidates are asked to ensure that the files they upload have been saved simply as PDF, not using the protection facility.  Some PDFs may be generated with a digital signature (which also uses encryption technology). Candidates should thus avoid 'digitally signing' the PDF (N.B. a digital signature is different from a image of a written signature, which is quite acceptable in the document).


What is meant by 'literature in English'? 
If your research is conducted under the aegis of a department of English (language or literature) you should assume that you are eligible.

I work on American/African/Caribbean/Post-Colonial/Australian/Old English literature. Can I apply?
Yes. Literature in English encompasses any literature written in any form of English, irrespective of where it was written. Old English is included.   

I work on film/theatre/media studies/literary theory.  Can I apply? 
Yes. Apply for either Literature in English or Classics or Modern Languages, depending on the principal focus of your work.

I work on comparative literature. Can I apply?    
Yes. Apply for either Literature in English or Classics or Modern Languages, depending on the principal focus of your work.

I work on Old English philology. Can I apply?
Yes. Apply for Literature in English.



What is meant by ‘Modern Languages’?
Modern (in the sense of post-classical) European Languages, whether used in Europe or in other parts of the world. This definition is pragmatic rather than presupposing any tight definition of ‘European’.  The range of languages and sub-disciplines that counts as ‘Modern Languages’ for the purposes of this competition is broadly similar to the range researched within Modern Languages faculties, schools, and departments in UK universities: see for example

My research is on Russian and Ukrainian cinema. Does it come under ‘Modern Languages’?
Yes, ‘Modern Languages’ are understood as including Slavic languages.

My research is on francophone Caribbean literature. Does it come under ‘Modern Languages’?
Yes, the category is understood as including uses in any part of the world of modern languages that originated in Europe.

My research is on medieval [Italian/French...etc.] Literature. Does it come under ‘Modern Languages’?
Yes. ‘Modern Languages’ are understood as embracing relevant medieval vernaculars.

My research is on linguistics. Does it come under ‘Modern Languages’?
Yes if it relates to European post-classical languages.



Specifically for Life Scientists whose project includes an experimental component

Do I need to identify a host laboratory in Oxford?
Yes, if the research project is laboratory based, short-listed candidates will be asked to provide a letter of support from a suitable host department in Oxford confirming that laboratory space and access to shared equipment can be provided without cost to the College.

Can I use College support for laboratory consumables as a contribution to laboratory equipment?
If the research project is laboratory based, the College will provide additional funds for the Fellow’s laboratory consumables, up to a maximum of £5,000 p.a. The college expects Fellow’s laboratory work to take place in a properly equipped environment. The College provision is to cover expenses that are specific to the Fellow’s own work.

Will the College pay bench fees or overheads?



What subjects are included under Classical Studies?
Classical Studies are broadly interpreted to cover research into all aspects of the Greek and Roman world before 500 AD, whatever its disciplinary base. They thus include philology, literary studies, ancient history, archaeology and philosophy. Research in reception studies may be considered provided that it is firmly grounded in antiquity and would normally be conducted in a Classical Studies department.

Do Medieval and Renaissance Latin and Greek fall within Classical Studies?
Neo-Latin is included. Other aspects of Latin and pre-modern Greek may be eligible provided that the candidate’s research would normally be conducted in a Classical Studies department.

I work on Insular Latin. Can I apply?
Yes. Apply for Classical Studies.

I study the reception of classical texts. Can I apply?
Yes. Apply for Classical Studies.



Am I eligible for Philosophy?
If your doctoral degree is or will be in a philosophy department, and you satisfy the general criteria set out in the Further Particulars, you are eligible.



What subjects/projects would be acceptable within Theoretical Physical Sciences?
The College is deliberately not specifying which subjects/projects within Theoretical Physical Sciences would be acceptable, in order to encourage quality applications from a broad range of subjects. However, a key requirement to note is that the proposed project does not require your use of experimental facilities or high-cost consumables. Please explain in your research proposal how your work fits within Theoretical Physical Sciences, if you are concerned that this may be an issue.