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.
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.
At the end of the course, students should have the knowledge and skills required 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. The teaching is delivered through a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, 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 curriculum comprises four compulsory modules of varying length and intensity across three terms and four optional modules, making eight modules in total.
The compulsory modules are:
- Introduction to Global Health Science
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Principles of Statistics
- International Research Ethics
The optional modules are:
- Clinical Trials and Meta-analysis
- Communicable Diseases
- Genetic Epidemiology
- Health Economics
- Maternal and Child Health
- Non-communicable Diseases
- Nutritional Epidemiology
- Principles and Applications of Data Science
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, 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.
In addition, 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.
Students will usually meet with their supervisor once every two weeks.
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. At the end of Hilary term, two global health essays (7.5% each) are submitted. At the end of the Easter break a data set analysis and report (10%) is submitted, and two global health essays essay (7.5%) are submitted. At the beginning of the third term (week 0), there is one written examination on the Principles of Epidemiology and Principles of Statistics, comprising multi-component questions (20%). By the end of week 2 in Trinity Term, two global health essays (7.5% each) are submitted. Following submission of all summative assessments, students will undertake a research placement, leading to a dissertation (40%).
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.
Other courses you may wish to consider
Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them 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
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in medicine, a quantitative degree (eg statistics) 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.
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.
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.
English language requirement
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.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Interviews are planned for the week commencing 25 January 2021 and are conducted via video link.
Interviews will normally last around 15 to 20 minutes and will be conducted by an admissions panel of senior academics.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
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.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will 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.
You will have access to the department's IT support services and the University’s library services, such as the Radcliffe Science Library, Cairns Library and the Knowledge Centre based in the Old Road Campus Research Building. A tour of the Knowledge Centre will be given at the departmental induction.
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 up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. 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 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 college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2021-22
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£34,970|
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 likely increases 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.
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.
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 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 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 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
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:
How to apply
You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
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 CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
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 population health and epidemiology
- the motivation for selecting the department and the course
- the capacity to complete the course
- a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to the candidate’s future prospects
- any relevant academic or professional training or experience
- ability to present a reasoned case in English.
Preference will be given to applicants who aspire to do a DPhil or other doctoral degree in population health research.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, generally 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.
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.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country listed as low-income by the World Bank (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.