MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology
About the course
The MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology is a one-year, full-time course that provides intensive training in epidemiology and statistics to enable students to conduct and interpret research studies in important areas of population health.
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, the socio-economic data you provide in the application form will be used to contextualise the shortlisting and decision-making processes. For more information see the full details about this pilot.
The MSc is designed for students who would like to develop knowledge and skills to understand the global burden and major determinants of disease through the application of epidemiology and quantitative research methods. It provides opportunities for students to develop and enhance their critical appraisal and epidemiological research skills and prepares students for a major piece of population health research in a world-class environment.
The course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to:
- understand the global burden and major determinants of disease;
- describe and discuss the role and contribution of epidemiology to health;
- critically appraise, analyse and interpret epidemiological studies;
- select, devise and develop appropriate study designs for epidemiological research; and
- conduct appropriate statistical analyses of epidemiological and health-related data.
Teaching is delivered during the whole of the first two terms and for up to two weeks in the third term. Teaching is delivered through a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, student presentations, self- directed learning and study. Students will receive 15-20 hours of supported learning per week, and will be expected to undertake 20-25 hours of self-directed learning per week.
The first term will consist of an overview of the global burden of disease and the fundamental concepts and considerations in research methods and practice related to population health:
- Introduction to Global Health Science
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Principles of Statistics
- International Research Ethics
During the second term and up to two weeks in the third term, in addition to some continued content of the compulsory modules, students will select four of the following eight module options for further study:
- Clinical Trials and Meta-analysis
- Communicable Disease Epidemiology
- Genetic Epidemiology
- Health Economics
- Maternal and Child Health
- Non-communicable Diseases
- Nutritional Epidemiology
- Principles and Applications of Data Science
Placement Project and Dissertation
The third term will involve a 12-week research placement with a project representing the range of subjects covered in the course. The department will have a series of projects to choose from each year, hosted by academics within and outside the department but students can also propose their own project. The research project will form the basis of a 10,000-word dissertation to be submitted in mid-August.
A series of regular 'master-classes' is scheduled in which internationally-recognised senior scientists in population health from Oxford, and elsewhere, will give seminars on selected topics. These sessions will be outside of the structure of the core modules, and are intended to provide the students with stimulating materials to integrate population health thinking and perspectives.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Population Health 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 Nuffield Department of Population Health.
Each student will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support them through the duration of the course. Students will also have a placement supervisor related to their chosen placement who will meet with them regularly throughout their placement.
During the first two terms there are a series of formative assessments designed to enable teaching staff to monitor student progress. These assessments are compulsory but the marks do not contribute to the final degree. All students are provided with detailed feedback that will enable them to improve their learning by helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses.
There are seven summative assessments in total. The global health reports (7.5% each) are submitted through the academic year, in relation to when modules are taught. At the end of the Easter break a data set analysis and report (10%) is submitted. At the beginning of the third term (week 2), there is one written examination on the Principles of Epidemiology and Principles of Statistics, comprising multi-component questions (20%). Following submission of all summative assessments, students will undertake a research placement, leading to a dissertation (40%) to be submitted in mid-August.
The MSc Global Health Science and Epidemiology prepares students to establish careers in academia (by pursuing doctoral studies), major national and international health organisations, government agencies, or in industry.
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 (including Covid-19), 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.
For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.
Other courses you may wish to consider
You are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help identify the most suitable course and supervisors.
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Courses suggested by the department
Population Health DPhil
International Health and Tropical Medicine MSc
Modelling for Global Health MSc
Health Data Science (EPSRC CDT)
All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Population Health
Entry requirements for entry in 2023-24
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 medicine, a quantitative degree (eg statistics, economics) or a health-related degree.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0. However, most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7 or higher.
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
- Preference will be given to applicants with professional or research experience in a health-related field.
- Preference will also be given to those who have previously studied mathematics or statistics as a module in their undergraduate degree or at A-level, or equivalent.
- Publications are not essential, but will be viewed favourably.
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, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. 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.
Applicants will be shortlisted for interview based solely on the criteria given above. The interview panel will comprise a minimum of two senior academics and the interview will normally last around 15 to 20 minutes. Interviews will be conducted via video link and are expected to be held in mid-late January.
Applicants may be asked about their reasons for applying and to demonstrate their preliminary knowledge of the subject area.
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.
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.
Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
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, the socio-economic data you provide in the application form will be used to contextualise the shortlisting and decision-making processes where it has been provided. Further details about this pilot, which applies to all applicants to this course, can be found in our pilot selection procedures section.
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 MSc Global Health Science and Epidemiology is hosted by the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Teaching takes place in the Richard Doll Building at the Old Road Campus in Headington.
You will have access to the department's IT support services and the University’s library services, such as the Radcliffe Science Library, the Cairns Library at the John Radcliffe Hospital and the Knowledge Centre based in the Old Road Campus Research Building.
You will also have access to the weekly seminar held on the Old Road Campus and will be made aware of any other seminars taking place across the Medical Sciences Division. You will be welcome to attend the Medical Sciences Skills Training programmes if you wish.
The University expects to be able to offer around 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2023-24. 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.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2023-24
The annual course fee will depend on whether you enter this MSc directly, or whether you enter immediately after completing the PGCert in Statistics and Epidemiology without a break in your studies.
Annual fees for students entering the MSc directly
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Annual fees for students entering the MSc immediately upon completion of the PGCert in Statistics and Epidemiology
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.
Where can I find further information about fees?
The Fees and Funding section of this website provides further information about course fees, including information about fee status and eligibility and your length of fee liability.
Direct entry to the MSc
All graduate students in the department are expected to provide their own laptop. This is estimated to cost approximately £600. No bursaries are available from the department for this, however, a loan laptop may be available if it is not possible for students to provide their own equipment. 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, 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.
Entry after completion of the PGCert in Statistics and Epidemiology without a break in study
Each MSc student is expected to provide their own laptop, which is estimated to cost £600. No bursaries are available from the department for this, though we may provide a loan laptop if it is not possible for the student to provide their own.
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 2023-24 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,290 and £1,840 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2023-24, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of 5% or more each year – although this rate may vary significantly depending on how the national economic situation develops. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). 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. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology:
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. 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, 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.
References should generally be academic though one professional reference is acceptable.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.
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.
Full instructions and link to standard CV creation form
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. You will need to upload a standardised CV to the graduate application form as part of your application. This standardised CV should be generated using the online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. Once you have completed the form, you will have 15 minutes to download your CV as a PDF document.
This PDF document will be in the same format for all applicants and you should not modify the document before you upload it, or submit your CV in a different format.
Full instructions and a link to the standard CV creation form are provided on the Medical Sciences Division website via the button above. The instructions page contains links to example clinical and non-clinical CVs, with details of what to include and suggested answer formats.
If you require help or advice while generating your CV using the online form, please contact the Medical Sciences Graduate School for assistance (email@example.com).
Statement of purpose/personal statement:
A maximum of 1,000 words
Your statement must be written in English and describe why you are applying to this course, how your past studies and work are relevant to the course, what specific aspects of the course interest you and how the MSc will be important for your future career.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- a demonstrable interest in and commitment to population health and epidemiology
- the motivation for selecting the department and the course
- your capacity to complete the course
- a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to your future prospects
- any relevant academic or professional training or experience
- your ability to present a reasoned and coherent case in proficient English.
Preference will be given to applicants who aspire to do a DPhil or other doctoral degree in population health research.
Start or continue your application
You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please refer to the requirements above and consult our Application Guide for advice. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.