MSc in Sleep Medicine | University of Oxford
Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
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MSc in Sleep Medicine

About the course

As a student on the MSc in Sleep Medicine, you will spend two years engaging in a comprehensive taught programme covering the physiology of sleep, through to clinical practice and societal implications. Delivery is mostly online, with a one-week residential component. You will engage regularly in real time with class mates and teaching faculty. This will culminate in the submission of a dissertation.

Structure, content and assessment

The MSc is a part-time course, spread over two years. During that time you will complete eight modules, providing a comprehensive overview of sleep medicine that is in line with the European Sleep Research Society's teaching and training guidelines. These modules include:

  • The Physiological Basis of Sleep
  • Introduction to Sleep Medicine and Methodological Approaches
  • Circadian Rhythm Disruption and Sleep
  • Insomnias
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing and Sleep-related Movement Disorders
  • Hypersomnias and Parasomnias
  • Sleep in Specialist Populations
  • Sleep and Society

Each module will be assessed by an extended essay, entailing a total of four extended essays submitted every academic year: two at the end of the second and third terms. Throughout the course you will be expected to work on your dissertation, which is the final piece of coursework, to be submitted at the end of the course. This will take the form of a systematic review and a research study design, including ethical considerations and budgeting. To support this process you will also have to complete two modules in research methods.

Pattern of teaching, learning and supervision

The course is designed to give as much flexibility as possible, whilst still providing necessary support and community. Lectures are pre-recorded and sent for you to watch in your own time, alongside any relevant reading, case studies and activities.

You will join regular discussion groups. These are run using conferencing software, allowing you to interact in real-time with classmates and teaching faculty and will typically last one hour. For these sessions you will be expected to prepare short essays and/or presentations for discussion.

For the purposes of the dissertation you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who you will meet with as and when necessary. You will also be expected to attend a week-long residential school in person at Oxford. A significant component of the course involves self-directed learning to build on taught materials. 

Graduate destinations

The main purpose of this course is to provide working health care professionals with the knowledge to implement sleep medicine practice into their own professional undertakings. This course will also prepare students to take the European Sleep Research Society Expert Somnologist examination. Students may also wish to consider further study, in the form of a PhD/DPhil.

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 psychology, neuroscience or a health-related discipline.

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 will have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

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).

In cases where a strong first-class degree cannot be demonstrated, a masters level qualification or strong professional experience will also be considered. It is expected that most applicants will currently be working in a health-related profession. Students are expected to have good IT skills. As the course is primarily pursued online, students will need to be familiar with communicating in this way and will be expected to ensure adequate internet connection and audio-visual equipment to engage fully with the course. 

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 will be short-listed based on the quality and originality of their research proposal, as well as their professional experience, academic achievements (degree level, prizes and scholarships) and the quality of their references.  

Interviews will be held via video conferencing. You will be asked to give a five-minute presentation on your research proposal, and then questioned by up to three interviewers for around fifteen minutes..

Publications

Whilst it is not expected that applicants will have peer-reviewed publications, this will confer an advantage.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Demonstrating the relevance of sleep medicine to your current practice and how you intend to implement it will prove advantageous.

Research or working experience in sleep medicine or in a sleep laboratory may be an advantage.

Evidence of training in sleep medicine or sleep medicine related techniques may be an advantage.

Awards of national prizes for excellence, scholarships etc will prove advantageous.

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 Sleep and Circadian Neurosciences Institute/Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences 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 Sleep and Circadian Neurosciences Institute/Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences 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 Sleep and Circadian Neurosciences Institute/Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

Where possible your dissertation supervisor will not change for the duration of your course, however it may be necessary to assign a new dissertation 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

All core reading material will take the form of peer-reviewed publications, which you will have  access to via the University online library, SOLO.

The Associate Director and administrative team have responsibility for providing support on a broad range of topics. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor on the course, who will guide you through your dissertation. You will also be assigned a college advisor, whose support you can seek for issues you do not want to discuss with members of the course team. Your first port of call for queries will usually be one of the course administrators, followed by your academic advisor.

No experimental facilities are provided as students will not be undertaking research during the course. When you visit Oxford you will have access to the libraries and college facilities, but you will not have a dedicated workspace as the course is mainly provided online.

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)
£7,880£1,511£9,391
Overseas£11,075£1,511£12,586

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

Students will need a computer (Windows or iOS), webcam and microphone. Students will also need to ensure appropriate internet connection. The recommended bandwidth for the software is 1Mbps. It is necessary that students attend a one week residential school at the University of Oxford. The course will subsidise economy travel and basic accommodation up to a maximum of £1000. Costs above and beyond this will need to be met by the students. 

As part of your course requirements, you will need to choose a dissertation topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses and research expenses. 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.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Sleep Medicine:

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with academic members 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.

Research proposal and personal statement:
Proposal of up to 1,000 words and statement of up to 500 words

Your research proposal and personal statement should be submitted as a single, combined document with clear sub-headings.

The research proposal should outline a research question relevant to sleep medicine and how you would plan to research this question. You do not need to identify a dissertation supervisor at this point, nor does your proposal have to be written with a view to forming part of the MSc dissertation (although that is also acceptable). In the proposal, please include information under the following headings:

  • Background to area
  • Research question
  • Proposed research methodology.

The personal statement should outline why you are applying for the course and how sleep medicine might be useful in your professional practice. The personal statement should also outline why you are applying for the MSc in Sleep Medicine, rather than the PGDip course which is also on offer. 

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying;
  • the coherence of the proposal;
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study;
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English;
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course;
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques;
  • capacity for sustained and intense work; and
  • reasoning ability.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic preferred

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 ideal though professional references will be accepted where academic references cannot be obtained.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, appropriateness of background knowledge and commitment.