About the course
The course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills of advanced technologies, to conceptualise and run research projects that develop and test novel psychotropic and neurological agents.
The MSc taught course in Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience is a one-year course designed to equip students with the transferable skills required for a career in translational (“cell to patient”) research. The course will offer you insights into a range of fields including molecular biology, brain imaging, behavioural research and epidemiology. It is delivered by pre-clinical and clinical research teams based in the Department of Psychiatry, in other University of Oxford centres within the neuroscience community, and in the NIHR Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility.
The course will provide you with:
- a broad knowledge of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders and their current treatments and management;
- direct experience in integrative, multidisciplinary and novel pre-clinical and clinical research investigation for treatment discovery;
- an ability to critically appraise research methods and experimental results;
- familiarity in conceptualising and designing experimental protocols and clinical trials for drug/treatment discovery; and
- an opportunity to communicate research results and their clinical implications to a wide audience.
The course will be delivered through a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, student presentations and independent learning and study. You will participate in small group teaching and develop close working relationships with academic and project supervisors. In addition to this, practical classes will enable you to acquire analytical skills required for the processing of structural biology, brain imaging and clinical trial data. Students are expected to work for about 44-46 weeks in Oxford, and to spend about 20-25 hours per week on independent reading and work on essays and journal presentations. Typically, there will be no more than 15 hours per week of contact time with teaching staff for every term. Note that students are expected to study material covered in lectures in their own time.
You are advised to visit the course page on the department's website to obtain further information on the course (see Further Information and Enquiries).
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Psychiatry 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 Psychiatry and will also be offered by the Academic Advisor, Course Director and supervisor(s) of project rotations.
You can expect to have regular contact, e.g. once a term with the Course Director, at mutually agreed times, and whenever necessary as agreed between you and the supervisor(s).
Course assessments are based on four essays, two dissertations and an oral poster presentation. The dissertations are based on two 12-week projects, one completed in the second term and the other in the third term. You will be provided with a list of topics, some laboratory- and some clinic-based, and will have the opportunity to consult with project supervisors and submit a list or preferred topics.
Based on the course design and content, we anticipate that some MSc students will apply for PhD places in the UK and overseas and that others will carry on to medical school, work for pharmaceutical companies and health services around the world or as research assistants and clinical trials co-ordinators.
Other potential career destinations include positions as medical writers, patent lawyers, regulatory affair officers and medical sales representatives.
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
The requirements described below are specific to this course and apply only in the year of entry that is shown. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.
Please be aware that any studentships that are linked to this course may have different or additional requirements and you should read any studentship information carefully before applying.
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 any science discipline.
Successful completion of a professional training course or professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field may also be considered.
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.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Research experience, such as a placement, in a professional environment (industry, neuropsychiatric ward). Exceptional students in the physical sciences (mathematics, physics) who express a strong interest and vision to transfer their skills to clinical neuroscience and drug discovery.
- Publications are not expected but, when documented on CVs, will be taken into account.
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.
|Minimum overall score
|Minimum score per component
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)
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
Whilst interviews are not mandatory, they are a normal part of the admissions process. An interview will be arranged for applicants who appear to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course.
Applicants selected for interview will be notified within six weeks of the deadline for applications, usually by the end of January, and will be interviewed in mid-February. Successful candidates will usually be informed within seven days.
The duration of the interview will be 15 minutes, and will be conducted by video link. Applicants will be asked about their motivation to attend the course, their experience and knowledge of research (including a discussion of their last research project where applicable), and their interpretation of some data emailed to them shortly prior to the interview. The interview panel will consist of the Course Director, Assistant Course Director, and one staff member from the departments hosting the course (Psychiatry, NDCN, NDM, Pharmacology). An equal number of male and female interviewers will be selected.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements described 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.
All students enrolled on the MSc Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience course will be based in a dedicated open-plan office in the Department of Psychiatry. You are welcome to use this space during the day for self-study both before and after your classes. The room contains printing and photocopying facilities.
You will also be provided with a laptop and given access to a remote desktop connection for the duration of your MSc studies. This will provide access to a variety of software required to support your studies which will involve several departments.
The Department of Psychiatry offers up-to-date seminar room facilities. Meeting rooms are also available for social and networking events. The department also offers excellent IT facilities and support.
The Department of Psychiatry provides well-equipped suites for psychological testing and patient consultation as well as laboratories that support basic neuroscience, clinical and experimental medicine research. There is also a brain imaging facility, the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, on site. These resources and other state-of-the art technologies are also provided by our allied departments in the Medical Sciences Division.
Course lectures will take place in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology and the Nuffield Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Clinical Medicine. You will also have access to the extensive range of seminars and symposia in other departments in the University.
University libraries stock many current textbooks relating to neuroscience and you will be able to access virtually all relevant journals through the University library services. You are likely to find the Cairns Library and Radcliffe Science Library particularly helpful.
The Department of Psychiatry offers supervision in a wide range of research areas including laboratory-based neuroscience, brain imaging, literature synthesis and psychological and pharmacological treatment research.
The DPhil and MSc by Research degrees, both of which can be studied on a full- or part-time basis, provide students with the opportunity to gain expertise in their chosen field and to develop the skills and experience required to manage a project and conduct independent research. Supervision is provided by senior researchers from within the department and, where appropriate, students can be linked with a co- supervisor in another department (for example, the Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). Students are also encouraged to attend seminars and research meetings which are held frequently within the department.
In addition to academic supervision, the graduate studies team within the department provide support and advice to student at all stages of their study. This includes holding regular meetings to provide a forum for students to discuss their research and identify those working in related areas with whom they can share ideas.
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.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) 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, it is possible that you may incur additional expenses. You would need to meet those 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 Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience:
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.
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. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide.
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.
Applicants can contact the course administrator with basic questions about the course and application process.
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.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Three overall, at least two 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.
Your references will support your intellectual ability, your academic achievement, your motivation and interest in the course and subject area, and 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 maximum of 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.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- reasons for applying
- evidence of understanding of the proposed area of study
- 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
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.