About the course
Immunology is an interesting, complex and dynamic subject, the applications of which have changed society. The discoveries and inventions of immunologists have led to worldwide successes in vaccination, immunotherapy, transplantation and immunodiagnostics.
The aim of the taught MSc in Integrated Immunology (Part-time) is to provide students with a stimulating and comprehensive education, high-quality research training and the professional skills required for a rewarding career in modern immunology. This part-time postgraduate course is delivered online over two years, with a one-week residential component in Oxford towards the end of the first year of study. The course is aimed at those who wish to study the exciting subject of immunology at a world-class institution, but who are not able to relocate to Oxford to study full-time in-person. We particularly welcome exceptional candidates from underprivileged, challenging or unconventional backgrounds, those residing in low- and middle-income countries, and those with caring or professional responsibilities.
Structure and Content
The part-time online MSc in Integrated Immunology explores immunology in breadth and depth and is intended for science and medical postgraduates. It is a 24-month, part-time course comprising two taught units followed by an extended research project typically hosted by a University of Oxford research group. The first taught unit focuses on the fundamental science of immunology. This is taught over Michaelmas and Hilary terms of the first academic year. The second unit explores the applied, clinical and therapeutic aspects of immunology, and is taught over Trinity term and the long vacation of the first year. The third unit research project takes place over the second year of study, beginning in Michaelmas term and ending during Trinity term.
Taught units are each delivered across a series of five linked topic themes to ensure holistic coverage of modern immunology.
Course content includes:
Unit 1 Scientific Principles of Immunology taught themes:
- Fundamentals in immunology
- Innate immunity and inflammation
- Antigen presentation and recognition
- Adaptive immunity
- Evolution of human immunity
Unit 2 Clinical and Applied Principles of Immunology taught themes:
- Infection & immunity
- Failure of immunity
- Aberrant or unwanted immunity
- Cancer immunology
- Manipulation of immunity
Unit 3 Experimental Principles of Immunology:
- Research project
Teaching and Learning
The course is designed to support you with flexible part-time study, therefore, written, recorded and interactive materials are accessible asynchronously, allowing you to study at a time that suits you. The class will meet ‘live’ online, typically at fortnightly intervals during taught units. Pre-recorded lectures are given by speakers drawn from the University of Oxford Immunology Network, Oxford University Hospitals or external institutions. During the third unit you will undertake a desk-based remote project with staff affiliated to a top-ranked research department or institute across the Medical Sciences Division. Oxford has one of the highest concentrations of research-active immunologists in the world; students on this MSc course are therefore uniquely placed to benefit from this wealth of expertise.
Within taught units, topic themes each last between two and four weeks. In an average teaching week, students usually watch three to four pre-recorded lectures and complete related reading and asynchronous interactive activities. Each topic theme includes one or two synchronous ‘live’ online small group discussions, collaborative activities or problem-based learning sessions, which are led by tutors or students. Continuing professional development classes, including in scientific skills, careers and special research seminars take place throughout both taught terms. Self-directed study is also required alongside structured teaching. In the third term you will undertake an original, supervised research project to gain a working understanding of research techniques in immunology or a related area. Research supervisors provide regular support and guidance during the course of the desk-based project, and students are normally expected to work on their projects part-time during the week, or as agreed with their supervisor.
On average, over the units of study during the course term time we would expect students to devote an average of 12 hours per week to their studies.
A one-week residential is included as part of the course and is held in Oxford at the end of the first year of study. This will include special seminars and other academic activities, opportunities for professional networking and time to explore your college and the wonderful city of Oxford. This will include social events with your fellow students and the course team.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences 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 Surgical Sciences.
The Course Director will be your primary supervisor throughout the course. They typically have close contact with the class during the first two terms, and will meet regularly with students to discuss their progress. In the third term day-to-day supervision is devolved to the project supervisor, however the Course Director remains available to meet with students and will continue to monitor their progress.
By the end of the course students should be able to clearly demonstrate their understanding of how the fundamental principles of immunology integrate with the clinical aspects of immune-driven disease, and with other relevant bioscience disciplines. Our successful graduates should also be able to respond to complex questions and challenges in immunology using their comprehensive understanding of the field and their analytical and research skills. To evidence this, students undertake six assessments across the two-year course.
At the end of each taught term, you will take a computer-based examination to test core knowledge. Further elements of the overall assessment are a critical essay in the first term, a set of clinical case commentaries in the second term, a research dissertation in the third term, and a final viva voce examination.
Detailed assessment instructions and marking criteria will be provided at the beginning of each unit. The course also includes regular formative assessment and feedback opportunities, designed to prepare you for the main assessments and to develop your academic and professional skills.
This part-time online program is new for autumn 2024. However, the MSc in Integrated Immunology (Part-time) has run continuously since 2004 as a full-time in-person program in Oxford. Over those years, about half of our alumni from the MSc have gone on to graduate research degrees, with a number of those taking up DPhil positions in Oxford. Approximately a third of alumni from the MSc have continued to medical school, or progressed to higher specialist medical training. Others have taken up positions the pharmaceutical, biotechnology or corporate sectors as senior scientists, policy advisors, analysts and managers. We anticipate that students on our part-time course will follow similar career paths to become part of the global network of immunologists.
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 a biological, biomedical or other relevant science, including interdisciplinary subjects.
However, entrance is very competitive and many successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
An appropriate medical qualification equivalent to MBBS (MD for overseas students) is also a suitable background for applicants.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7 or above.
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 or work experience in an area relevant to the course may be an advantage.
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
Interviews are normally held online as part of the admissions process.
Applicants are shortlisted according to the criteria listed. Interviews are normally held within six weeks of each application deadline. There will typically be a minimum of two academics on the interview panel. Interviews are conducted over Microsoft Teams (with video).
You will be asked to outline your educational background and interest in the subject, and how this course is relevant to your future plans. You will also be asked to demonstrate your basic immunological and scientific background knowledge. Interviews are approximately half an hour in length.
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.
You will be provided with an email account, and will have full access to the online library, the Bodleian Libraries and other resources of the University of Oxford. You will therefore have online access to further reading materials recommended by lecturers and tutors.
All teaching, learning and assessment materials and resources are made available through Canvas, Oxford’s virtual learning environment for which you will receive training at the beginning of the course.
During your research projects, you will become a member of the hosting research laboratory and you will conduct a desk-based project with remote support from your host group.
Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) is the academic department of surgery at the University of Oxford. It hosts a multidisciplinary team of senior clinical academic surgeons, senior scientists, junior clinicians and scientists in training.
The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences offers research training opportunities for both clinical and non-clinical graduate students. It has a growing number of full-time funded research student opportunities. Research undertaken within the NDS covers many areas including fields such as cancer, immunology, and neurosciences, and specialities such as patient safety, transplantation, urology and vascular surgery.
The graduate research programme within NDS provides a fully integrated training environment. You will be working closely with an academic supervisor who oversees your studies.
NDS also offers two graduate taught courses: the MSc in Integrated Immunology and the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice is offered jointly with the Department for Continuing Education.
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.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
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.
All students on this course will need access to a computer, webcam, microphone and a reliable broadband internet connection (compulsory). The recommended bandwidth for the software used is 1Mbps. This is estimated to cost approximately £1000. Departmental or college bursaries may be available for this. Students will have to attend a compulsory residential week at the end of Year 1. Travel and subsistence for this visit is estimated to be £1000 for overseas candidates and £600 for home students, and the course will underwrite these expenses at these rates. Additional costs may be covered by college travel grants, which may be means-tested.
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.
If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.
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 Integrated Immunology (Part-time):
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.
You are welcome to communicate with the MSc Course Administrator or the MSc Course Director to discuss the course content, teaching, assessment and any questions you may have, via the contact details provided on this page.
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, ideally 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.
Academic references are ideal though professional references will be accepted where academic references cannot be obtained.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to work independently as well as 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.
Statement of purpose:
A maximum of 1,500 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. The statement should also indicate your future career plans.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying to, and suitability for, this course
- evidence of motivation for, and understanding of, the proposed area of study
- commitment to the subject beyond the requirements of the degree course
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- ability to absorb new ideas at a rapid pace.