Hi I am going into the 4th year of Physics at Oxford this October and have been looking into PhDs etc. I'm quite keen on going into theoretical physics (Particle or condensed) and from reading various university websites it seems that places for this are relatively scarce. At Oxford for example, they admit six students a year, three of whom generally come from overseas : / Basically I am looking for an idea of how difficult it might be to get a place at all. My grades are pretty decent (87% so far, 4th in year) but my current image is that hundreds of similar students will be trying for the same places. I've already had a chat with my tutors but none of them are based in the theory department so it was all a bit vague. On a similar note some universities seem to want extra courses before even being considered for the PhD (Thinking of Cambridge and Imperial here), is this an unwritten rule for the rest? The content covered by an undergrad degree doesn't seem to come close to the standard needed to begin research (e.g. 4th year theory option where I am http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/people/JohnChalker/theory-new.html). Funding a separate masters course isn't really an option so I am a bit put off by these places... Thanks very much for the help, Worried undergrad.