The side of the Bodleian Library against a blue sky
The Bodleian Library
(Image credit: Karl Dudman / Graduate Photography Competition)

Courses by department and division

The University of Oxford has four academic divisions, made up of individual departments, faculties or other centres, and a Department for Continuing Education, which offers courses across a range of subject areas.

A-Z of departments offering graduate courses

Select a division to show its departments:

Departments in all four divisions and the Department for Continuing Education

Departments in the selected division(s)

Related subject areas offered by the Department for Continuing Education are shown below this list.

Please select at least one division


Oxford is at the forefront of international research in the humanities, with five subject areas judged to have the highest volume of world-leading 4*-rated research in the UK in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

The Humanities Division comprises around a third of the University's community of staff and students, offering taught graduate and research degrees in a very wide range of subjects. Humanities departments and faculties attract outstanding students, academics and researchers from across the globe. As a result, graduate students have the opportunity to undertake their studies and research in a stimulating, challenging and highly rewarding intellectual environment.

Some of these subjects are relatively new, and cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Others are areas of academic research that have long been recognised as of central importance, and they include some that few other universities are still able to support. In each case, the objective is to sustain and to teach the highest standards of scholarship. The dynamism of intellectual activity is in evidence in the wide variety of open lectures and seminars, in addition to those for specific courses.

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You will have access to an immense range of research material, including digital resources. These resources are provided through Oxford’s impressive library system, based on the central Bodleian libraries, through the work produced by the University's research projects, and through the rich and diverse holdings of its museums.

In addition to materials and support focused on conveying subject-specific knowledge, there are a wide range of facilities aimed at the personal and professional development of students, strengthening their existing skills and developing new skills, and preparing them for careers after they have completed their studies.

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division is home to some of the most creative and innovative scientific thinkers and leaders working in academe. Senior researchers in MPLS at Oxford have been awarded some of the most significant scientific honours and the division has a strong tradition of attracting and nurturing the very best early career researchers who regularly secure prestigious fellowships.

The division’s nine departments span the full spectrum of the mathematical, computational, physical, engineering and life sciences, and undertake both fundamental research and cutting-edge applied work. Our four year interdisciplinary programmes are preparing a new generation of scientists to undertake quantitative and predictive research at the interface between the mathematical and physical, and the biological and medical sciences. They were established with funding from the following UK Research Councils:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); and
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)

The disciplines within the MPLS Division regularly appear at the highest levels in world rankings and have been evaluated as conducting world-leading and internationally excellent research in UK research assessments. We have extensive links with other leading universities, research institutes, public sector bodies, business and industry, in the UK and abroad.

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Teaching is a major part of the division’s activities and a number of highly rated taught master’s courses are offered. For research students, a range of courses are available and the division is developing further cross-disciplinary provision for key research skills. Research at the interface between disciplines is strongly encouraged, both within the mathematical, life and physical sciences, and within the medical and environmental sciences. MPLS graduates are much in demand from academia, business and industry, government and the professions.

Medical Sciences

The Medical Sciences Division houses some of the strongest biomedical research in the world; Oxford is repeatedly placed first in clinical, pre-clinical and health in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The Medical Sciences Division’s departments and institutes in Oxford and overseas are home to some of the strongest biomedical research in the world, regularly appearing at the highest levels in world rankings and rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

The Medical Sciences Division’s 2,000 researchers cover a wide range of research, from atomic-resolution molecular structural biology to epidemiology as applied to very large populations. This enables students to work on virtually any biomedical problem. The division provides a stimulating and challenging environment for more than 2,000 talented graduate students with excellent new facilities and close personal supervision by world-class researchers. To complement research supervision and course teaching there is a wide range of facilities aimed at the personal and professional development of students, strengthening their existing skills and developing new skills.

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The course titles and department names do not fully reflect the wide range of research projects available. You can also use the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to identify opportunities and courses based on your area of interest. You are also encouraged to look at webpages hosted by the different departments and institutes of the division for a further sense of the opportunities on offer.

All candidates who apply by the December or January deadline shown on the course page are automatically considered for full funding awards, irrespective of their nationality. The majority of students accepted by the Medical Sciences Division secure full funding, covering both fees and living expenses.

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences Division comprises the largest grouping of social sciences in the UK, home to fourteen outstanding departments, tackling some of the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Oxford's Social Sciences departments are committed to research that develops a greater understanding of all aspects of our complex society, including cybercrime, economic and political turmoil, environmental change, inequality, legal systems, movement of people and social development.

This research is disseminated through a wide range of innovative graduate courses, many of which are recognised by the UK Research Councils and provide preparation for doctoral work, as well as being discrete programmes of advanced study in their own right; others provide a professional qualification. 

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The purpose-built Centre for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, adjacent to the Faculty of Law houses the Department of Economics, the Department of Politics and International Relations and the Bodleian Social Science Library, providing exceptional facilities for master's and research students. All are rooted in research of international standing and students have access to a well-resourced, active research environment. The division also includes the Saïd Business School and the Blavatnik School of Government.

As one of the major providers of social science research in the UK, the University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of a Doctoral Training Network. ESRC DTP studentships are available in a wide variety of training pathways in the social sciences, for both DPhil and master's-to-DPhil programmes.

Department for Continuing Education

The need for new learning opportunities throughout life is now recognised throughout society. An intensive, initial period of higher education is not always enough in times of rapid social, economic and technological change. The Department for Continuing Education is known worldwide as a leading provider of extended learning for professional and personal development.

The department provides high-quality, flexible, part-time graduate education, tailored for adults. Students can undertake graduate-level certificates, diplomas and taught master’s degrees in a wide range of subjects. Increasing numbers of courses are delivered in mixed mode, combining intensive periods of residence in Oxford with tutored online study.

The department recruits adult students of all ages on a regional, national and international level. Many courses are offered jointly with other academic departments around the University. Courses are offered in the following areas:

All postgraduate students on the department's courses are members of its Graduate School. The Graduate School aims to provide a stimulating and enriching environment for learning and research. It also fosters intellectual and social interaction between students coming from different disciplines and professions. Interdisciplinary research seminars, training opportunities and other events are offered by the Graduate School in support of this goal.

All masters' and DPhil applicants are considered for Clarendon Scholarships. The department is committed to seeking scholarship support for other students wherever possible.