MSc in Integrated Immunology | University of Oxford
Bacterial collagenase
Immunofluorescent image of bacterial collagenase within the human islet of Langerhans during islet isolation
(Image Credit: Paul Bateman)

MSc in Integrated Immunology

About the course

The MSc in Integrated Immunology is designed to present immunology within the broader context of the basic sciences and biomedicine. Both the fundamental (basic) and clinical (applied) aspects are explored in depth and breadth, and integrated with relevant areas of other disciplines such as molecular cell biology, genetics and clinical trials, together with continuing professional development.

The University of Oxford is a world leader in Immunology. This means that you will be taught by leading academics in immunology throughout the first two terms of the MSc, and that you will undertake your third term project in a top-ranked research department.

The MSc in Integrated Immunology course provides comprehensive and in-depth training in immunology for science and medical postgraduates. It is a 12 month, full-time course comprising two taught terms followed by a 14 week laboratory-based research project within a University of Oxford laboratory. The first taught term focuses on the fundamental science of immunology, while the second explores the clinical and therapeutic aspects of immunology.

In the third term you will undertake an original, supervised research project to gain an understanding of research techniques in immunology or a related area. Research supervisors provide regular supervision and guidance during the course of the research project.

Each of the two taught terms is 11 weeks in duration with nine weeks for classroom-based teaching, one for revision and one for examination. An average teaching week comprises approximately seven lectures, each lecture being 60 to 90 minutes in duration. In addition there are class directed learning sessions, tutorials and problem based learning sessions. Continuing professional development classes, including presentation and IT skills, statistics, ethics and clinical trial methodologies, take place throughout both taught terms.

At the end of each taught term, you will take a computer-based examination to test core knowledge. Further elements of the overall assessment are a critical essay in the first term, a set of clinical case commentaries in the second term, and a research dissertation in the third term. Detailed assessment instructions and marking criteria will be provided at the beginning of each term.

Graduate destinations

The MSc in Integrated Immunology has been run continuously since 2004. Over those years, about half of alumni from the MSc have gone on to graduate research degrees, with a number of those taking up DPhil positions in Oxford.

Over a third of alumni from the MSc have continued to medical school, including Oxford, or progressed to higher specialist medical training. A small number have also taken up positions in the pharmaceutical sector.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum in a physiological, biological or other relevant science.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7, a first-class degree or equivalent international qualifications.

An appropriate medical qualification equivalent to MB (MD for overseas students) is also a suitable background for applicants.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applicants are shortlisted according to the criteria listed. Interviews are normally held within six weeks of the application deadline. There will normally be a minimum of two academics on the interview panel. UK based applicants will be asked to attend a panel interview in Oxford, whilst overseas applicants can be interviewed by telephone or Skype (preferably with video).

You will be asked to outline your educational background and interest in the subject, and how this course is relevant to your future plans. You will also be asked to demonstrate your basic immunological and scientific background knowledge. Interviews are approximately half an hour in length.

Publications

Publications are not required but may be an advantage.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Research or work experience in an area relevant to the course may be an advantage.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

You will have a dedicated teaching room with PCs and a printer, with additional space to connect your own laptop to the University network. Most teaching sessions are held in this room and there is also space for study and reading.

You will be provided with an email account, and will have full access to the online library and other resources of the University of Oxford. The Cairns Library is on-site and available to you, you will also have full access to the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; access to further reading materials recommended by lecturers will be available either online or in print.

All resources, including lecture presentations and recommended further reading as well as material for problem-based learning sessions and/or tutorials, are made available through WebLearn, the virtual learning environment for which you will receive training at the beginning of the course.

During your lab-based research projects, you will become a member of the hosting research laboratory and you will be given access to its facilities and resources.

You will also have access to the department’s interaction room, where meals or breaks may be taken. There are social events, arranged ad hoc usually by the students, and often attended by the Course Administrator and Course Director. Formal arrangements include a welcome drinks reception and the final dinner with examiners, sponsors and steering group members.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

Full funding opportunities are available for all Medical Sciences Graduate School programmes, whatever your nationality. The Medical Sciences Graduate School website provides further details of these, as well as information about external funding opportunities.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
c. £4,250£3,021c. £7,271
Overseas£31,935£3,021£34,956

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Tuition and college fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees).

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs.  However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page.

How to apply

You are encouraged to communicate with the MSc Course Administrator before you apply to discuss the course content, teaching, assessment and any questions you may have. However, it is not a requirement to contact the Course Administrator or Course Director before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose:
Up to 1,500 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in. The statement should also indicate your future career plans.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying to, and suitability for, this course
  • evidence of motivation for, and understanding of, the proposed area of study
  • commitment to the subject beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas at a rapid pace.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all of which must be academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Academic references are required and professional references are not normally acceptable. You should nominate referees who are capable of providing an informed view of your recent academic ability.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to work independently as well as in a group.