MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care | University of Oxford
Quantum dots
Semiconducting nanocrystals ("quantum dots") luminescing in different colours depending on their size
(Image Credit: Argonne National Laboratory / Flickr)

MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care

About the course

The University of Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (Department of Engineering Science) and the Department for Continuing Education, in collaboration with Begbroke Science Park, offer the part-time MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care. 

This advanced modular course is delivered by leading scientists and experts in this rapidly developing field and has been specifically designed for those who would value a part-time modular learning structure, for example those in full-time employment.

Nanomedicine is at the forefront of modern healthcare. Nanoparticles offer a new platform for drug delivery that can extend the “patent life” of drugs, but also greatly increase the targeting and effectiveness of therapy. They can also enhance most of the medical imaging modalities, and in some cases offer a combined diagnostic and therapy, now called “theranostics”.

By 2013 over 200 unique nanomedicine products were approved or under clinical testing and over 750 clinical trials were underway. Nanotechnology is providing the basis for many of the new regenerative medicine approaches that are based on artificial scaffold structures and it offers solutions for many of the new generation of point-of-care biosensors and some of the advanced gene sequencing instrumentation. There are already early indications of improved healthcare outcomes, and the creation of new business and industry.

The University of Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME), an Institute within the Department for Engineering Science, is a world-class interdisciplinary centre for biomedical engineering research, where engineers and clinicians collaborate to address unmet needs in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of major diseases and conditions. The Institute’s core research missions are to develop novel medical devices, technology and systems capable of delivering substantial healthcare benefit, and to translate new engineering technologies into clinical practice.

The MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care draws on the world-class research and teaching in nanotechnology and nanomedicine at the University of Oxford and aims to provide you with the necessary training to enable you to understand the principles of nanotechnology and its application in medical research and clinical practice. 

The programme will appeal to professionals working in the commercial or healthcare sectors who develop or use nanotechnology in their work, including:

  • biomedical engineers
  • materials scientists
  • biotech-entrepreneurs
  • medical practitioners and dentists
  • chemists and pharmacists
  • electrical engineers
  • project managers in related industries
  • patent agents and patent lawyers
  • legislators
  • clinical research fellows, graduates and other researchers in a related area of science.

Graduate destinations

Most students on this part-time course are already in full-time employment in related fields (commercial R&D, bio-entrepreneurship, academia, medicine) on commencement of their study. The course offers a contribution towards their professional development.

The Department for Continuing Education regularly follows up with its alumni to find out what they have gone on to do after completing their course.

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 either a science or engineering discipline, or a medical degree. 

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

Applicants with an undergraduate degree in biology, pharmacy or medicine must demonstrate at least A-level (or equivalent) knowledge in mathematics and physics.

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).

Alternatively, students may show an equivalent level of demonstrable understanding and competence as a result of professional experience and other training.

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

Students who have previously completed the University of Oxford's PGCert in Nanotechnology to a high standard are also encouraged to apply and may be permitted to credit their completed PGCert modules towards the MSc.

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.

Video interviews will be held after each deadline and periodically until the programme is closed to applications. They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers and will cover your application.

A video interview will be arranged for all of those who are deemed to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. All of an applicant's previous experience will be taken into account.

The purpose of the interview is to:

  • establish your level of interest, motivation and potential to benefit from the course of study;
  • clarify any uncertainties about compliance with requirements; 
  • gauge the consideration the applicant has given to the topic and organisation of their potential proposed research project; and
  • ensure that you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

You will be expected to demonstrate an approach to your study which includes demonstrable skills of critical analysis, wide contextual knowledge and the ability to manage your own time.

You must be able to demonstrate evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer’s commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.

You must also be able to demonstrate a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration).

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 Department of Engineering Science and/or the Department for Continuing Education 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 Department of Engineering Science and/or the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • A supervisor may be found outside the Department of Engineering Science and/or the Department for Continuing Education.

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.

Successful applicants will normally provide:

  • evidence of a demonstrated interest in nanotechnology; 
  • evidence of their motivation and ability to complete the course; and
  • a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to the applicant’s current employment situation and future prospects.

Those who have completed the PGCert in Nanotechnology may be eligible for exemption from modules which are also part of the MSc programme. In all cases, the award of the MSc will subsume the award of the PGCert and constitute a single award.

You are strongly discouraged from registering on any other award programme concurrently with this award programme.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research. Opening up possibilities for peer group interaction, students for the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care are taught alongside those studying for other MSc and Post Graduate Diploma courses in the health sciences, as well as healthcare professionals undertaking the modules for continuing professional development.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment.

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students.

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.

A range of scholarships are available to students on the programmes offered by the department, along with bursary funds to assist students on low incomes. Full information on these opportunities can be found on the departmental funding pages.

You may also be interested in departmental funding opportunities. Further details can be found on the department's website.

Costs

Modular course fees

The fees for this course are charged on a modular basis. You will pay an annual course fee and an additional fee for each module studied. A minimum of two annual course fees are payable for this course. If this course includes a dissertation, three module fees will be charged for the dissertation.

Fees for the 2017-18 academic year

Fee status

Annual course fee

Fee per module

Total estimated fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£3,825£1,795Please see the department’s website for further details
Overseas£3,825£1,795

The fees shown above include college fees, except that students transferring to this course from the PGCert in Nanotechnology should normally expect to pay a separate college fee. Further details can be found on the department's website. 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.

For more information about tuition 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

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. 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 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 for full-time study 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. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care:

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff 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/personal statement and research proposal:
Statement of around one page and proposal of around one page

You should combine your statement of purpose and research proposal into a single document with clear sub-headings for each item in order to upload this to your application.

Your statement of purpose should briefly explain your motivation for graduate study at Oxford. You should also submit an outlined proposal for a research study that is appropriate to the aims of the course, well-designed and feasible. Your proposal should identify your proposed research project and outline the scope and treatment of the project. 

There is no specific word limits and there are no restrictions on font size or line spacing, although both your statement and proposal should be clearly legible and written in English.

This will be assessed for your reasons for applying to this particular programme of study; what relevant academic, research, or practical experience you have; and which areas of study within the subject especially interest you. Although not required at this stage, you are encouraged to outline some initial ideas for your proposed research project.

If you hold an undergraduate degree in biology, pharmacy or medicine, rather than a mathematical or physical sciences discipline, you should include a short statement about the level of your knowledge of mathematics and physics.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

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.

Professional references are acceptable if these are relevant to the course.

Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for your chosen programme of study. Referees should provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.