About the course
The MSc in Applied Digital Health is a one-year, full-time course, designed to teach the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills needed to drive innovation in the fast-growing area of digital health.
The MSc is led by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (NDPCHS). The course combines front line clinical experience with theoretical and methodological expertise, capitalising on the breadth of internationally leading digital health research in the department. In addition, recognising the interdisciplinary nature of digital health, the MSc draws on the expertise of faculty from across the University, spanning medicine, social science, engineering, computing and data science.
Aimed at early-career professionals, entrants to the Applied Digital Health MSc will come from a wide range of backgrounds, including (but not limited to) clinical medicine, medical sociology, psychology, statistics, computer science and engineering. No pre-existing knowledge is assumed, although applicants must have an interest in both the social and technical aspects of digital health. The breadth of content means that this MSc is not suitable for applicants who wish to focus their studies on only one component of the digital health field.
Upon successful completion of the course graduates will be able to:
- discuss the drivers, enablers, barriers and challenges to digital health innovation, using real-world examples
- summarise the state-of-the-art in digital health tools – including digital therapeutics, digital diagnostics, artificial intelligence, learning health systems and those that facilitate automated care pathways or improved patient (self)management – and both explain and critically evaluate the theories and techniques that underlie them
- identify and formulate a response to the ethical, policy, regulatory and practice challenges facing digital health
- explain in detail the need for user-focused development, meaningful evaluation and successful implementation of digital health tools, and propose appropriate methods, actions and processes to meet these requirements
- describe and apply key qualitative and quantitative research methods used to study digital health care, as well as identify the strengths and weaknesses of those methods.
It should be noted that this MSc is not a computing or engineering course. While it does include significant content on the concepts underlying tools and technologies commonly used in digital health, it does not teach students how to programme digital health software.
This course consists of eight compulsory modules and a dissertation.
Each module focuses on different ways in which digital health can be used to address the challenges facing twenty-first century healthcare. These solutions include clinical informatics for better surveillance of care quality and public health; harnessing electronic health data to support diagnosis and prognosis; improving outcomes via remote patient monitoring and digital diagnostics; using digital tools to facilitate physical and cognitive behaviour change; implementing more efficient and effective models of primary care; reducing the cost of care.
Module titles are as follows:
- Foundations of Digital Health
- Real World Data for Disease Surveillance and Quality Improvement
- Harnessing Big Data for Clinical Decision Support
- Remote Monitoring and Digital Diagnostics
- Supporting Health Behaviour Change using Digital Tools
- Digital Transformation of Primary Care
- Economics of Digital Health
- User Focused Design and the Lifecycle of Digital Health Innovation
There are a number of cross-cutting themes that run throughout the modules. These themes include artificial intelligence and machine learning, behavioural science, challenges facing health systems, electronic health records, ethics, implementation, policy, programming for data analysis, regulation and law, sociotechnical processes, statistics and study design for the evaluation of digital tools.
The modules run consecutively, with each covering a two week period. In the first week of each module teaching is delivered via a range of face-to-face methods, including lectures, seminars, and group work. In the second week students engage in guided self-study and complete their assessment for the module, with learning further supported by a guest lecture series and a journal club.
In the third term students undertake an original research project, culminating in a research dissertation and a short presentation. Students are supported in the selection of a research topic, although the department welcomes students to propose a topic of their choosing (subject to conditions).
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences 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 Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. Students will be assigned an academic advisor for the entirety of the course, in addition to their dissertation supervisor, who they will meet with twice a term. In addition, each student will be allocated a dissertation supervisor for that component of the course.
During the first two terms there are a series of formative assessments designed to enable teaching staff to monitor student progress. All students are provided with feedback that will enable them to improve their learning by helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses.
There are also eight summative assessments in the first two terms, one per module. Each of these summative assessments account for 8.75% of the final mark. The assessments vary according to the content of the module but may include essays, sets of exercises and presentations.
The dissertation in the third term is worth 30% of the final mark.
This course will provide graduates with the skills to creatively and successfully harness digital health tools, be that as researchers, policymakers, technology specialists or health practitioners. For example, some students may go on to roles within health organisations that require digital health expertise, or similar roles in pharmaceutical, consulting or health tech companies. Others may be experienced health professionals who seek to exploit digital health opportunities in their own practice. Some may want to pursue an academic career path and may go on to a doctoral research position or a health policy role within government.
Wherever their particular interests may lie, it is anticipated that course graduates will be well placed to do pioneering work in the digital health sector.
Changes to this course and your supervision
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. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
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 illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a subject broadly relevant to the interdisciplinary breadth of digital health medicine or health sciences.
Examples of relevant degrees include biomedical sciences, computer science, engineering, human sciences, mathematics, medical sociology, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, public policy and statistics.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
In exceptional circumstances, applicants with a distinguished record of workplace experience or other relevant achievements may be accepted with lower grades at undergraduate level. The department nevertheless strongly encourages any applicants from industry to include at least one reference from an academic or someone in academic-related field.
GRE General Test Scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Your interest in digital health must be evidenced in your personal statement and/or the supporting documents you provide with your application.
- Relevant working experience is desirable but not essential.
- An ability to work independently is essential.
- Publications are not expected or required for admission, although publication may help the assessors judge your writing ability and thus could help your application.
English language proficiency
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Applications will be shortlisted based on the applicant’s degree, relevant experience, references, and the personal statement and submitted written work. Applicants selected for interview will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline for applications has passed.
The interview panel will consist of senior members of the programme team and interviews will normally last around 15 minutes. All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed via video link.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading.
References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed.
Shortlisting and selection
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Initiatives to improve access to graduate study
This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly.
For this course, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
Other factors governing whether places can be offered
The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
- the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
- minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.
Offer conditions for successful applications
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions.
In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Science (NDPCHS) has been one of the world’s most important primary care centres for over 20 years. The department leads research and teaching designed to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in general practice and community settings, across the UK and globally.
Digital Health is one of five cross-cutting themes in our research strategy. Applied Digital Health is also one of six themes in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford & Thames Valley Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), led by Theme Lead John Powell, Academic Director of the MSc in Applied Digital Health.
Academic staff in NDPCHS have world-leading reputations in researching a wide range of digital health topics: from applied social science and clinical researchers leading studies aimed at bringing a critical perspective to understanding the practices and processes of digital health care, to data scientists and software developers working on novel ways to access and analyse - and share actionable insights from - routine digital data. In addition, the MSc draws on the expertise of colleagues from the wider university, building on existing collaborations within the department.
Beyond the University, the department has strong links to the active digital health innovation community in academia, the NHS and industry, both in the Oxford area and further afield.
Students will also have access to the Medical Sciences Graduate School, whose main activities are:
- dissemination of information to students on events and activities across Medical Sciences and the University, as well as the outstanding services and facilities the University provides for all students; and
- a website for prospective students with clear and comprehensive information on the application process, funding opportunities and research opportunities organised by research theme.
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
The University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has been one of the world's most important primary care centres for over 20 years.
Leading world-class research and training to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in general practice and other primary care settings, both across the UK and globally. Integrating evidence and innovation, its main research focus is on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of common illness, health services research and digital health.
Research is led by internationally renowned scientists; many of whom are practising GPs, but NDPCHS also has academics from a range of non-medical disciplines including the social sciences and humanities. The department covers the broad range of issues that you might expect to consult your GP about including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, infectious diseases and childhood illness, diet, smoking and cancer. It also focuses on understanding and improving the experiences of patients, utilising big data, developing digital health interventions and working internationally.
The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has methodological expertise in clinical decision making and diagnostics, clinical epidemiology, medical statistics, modelling, qualitative research and the wider application of social science theory and methods to address practical and theoretical challenges in health and care settings. The department also has a dedicated in-house Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit.
The department is home to 14 of the National Institute for Health Research's 200 most prestigious and prominent researchers. These NIHR Senior Investigators contribute significantly to the health sciences as senior leaders, demonstrate research excellence and lead in training of the NIHR's people.
We teach elements of the undergraduate programme in medicine including arranging placements for medical students in GP practices. We also provide a highly supportive environment for postgraduates whether they are registered for a DPhil, enrolled on one of our short courses or the Evidence Based Health Care programme (administered by the Department for Continuing Education). We welcome domestic and international students to join our experienced and enthusiastic teachers, mentors and supervisors in aspirational study and research.
The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.
Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:
Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.
Annual fees for entry in 2024-25
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
Course 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 course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
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 will 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.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs).
If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief introduction to the college system at Oxford and our advice about expressing a college preference. For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Applied Digital Health:
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
Application fee waivers
An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:
- applicants from low-income countries;
- refugees and displaced persons;
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and
- applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.
You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.
Completing your application
You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.
For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.
If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.
Three overall, of which at least two should usually 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.
Your references will be assessed for:
- your intellectual ability
- your academic achievement
- your motivation and interest in the course and the subject area
- your ability to work effectively both in a group and independently.
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.
A minimum of 750 words to a maximum of 1,000 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.
Your statement should focus on your academic achievements and interests rather than personal achievements, interest and aspirations.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Your statement will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- your ability to present a coherent case in proficient English
- your commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
- your preliminary knowledge of the subject area and research techniques
- your capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability.
Two essays of a maximum of 2,000 words each or one essay of a maximum of 4,000 words
Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, typed and written in English, are required.
The work should demonstrate your ability to write a good academic document though it does not need to be related to the proposed area of study. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permitted if prefaced by a note that puts them in context.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Your written work will be assessed for:
- your ability to construct and defend an argument
- your aptitude for analysis and expression
- your ability to present a reasoned case in proficient academic English.
Instructions for submitting one long piece of work instead of two short pieces
To submit one longer piece of work in your application instead of two shorter pieces, you should upload this document in the first 'Written work' slot on the 'Supporting Documents' tab of the Application Form. In the second 'Written work' slot, you should upload a PDF document with the following statement:
'I have included one long essay in lieu of two short essays. I have checked the course page to confirm this is permitted for this course.'