MSc in Integrated Immunology | University of Oxford
Bacterial collagenase
Immunofluorescent image of bacterial collagenase within the human islet of Langerhans during islet isolation
(Image Credit: Paul Bateman)

MSc in Integrated Immunology

About the course

The MSc in Integrated Immunology is designed to present immunology within the broader context of the basic sciences and biomedicine. Both the fundamental (basic) and clinical (applied) aspects are explored in depth and breadth, and integrated with relevant areas of other disciplines such as molecular cell biology, genetics and clinical trials, together with continuing professional development.

The University of Oxford is a world leader in Immunology. This means that you will be taught by leading academics in immunology throughout the first two terms of the MSc, and that you will undertake your third term project in a top-ranked research department.

The MSc in Integrated Immunology course provides comprehensive and in-depth training in immunology for science and medical postgraduates. It is a 12-month, full-time course comprising two taught terms followed by a 14-week laboratory-based research project within a University of Oxford laboratory. The first taught term focuses on the fundamental science of immunology, while the second explores the clinical and therapeutic aspects of immunology. The MSc course is not modular, ie all teaching elements are compulsory for all students and there are no options for students to choose.

Each of the two taught terms is 11 weeks in duration with nine weeks for classroom-based teaching, one for revision and one for examination. An average teaching week comprises approximately seven lectures, each lecture being 60 to 90 minutes in duration. In addition there are class directed learning sessions, tutorials and problem based learning sessions. Continuing professional development classes, including presentation and IT skills, statistics, ethics and clinical trial methodologies, take place throughout both taught terms.

In the third term you will undertake an original, supervised research project to gain an understanding of research techniques in immunology or a related area. Research supervisors provide regular supervision and guidance during the course of the research project.

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, and a research dissertation in the third term. Detailed assessment instructions and marking criteria will be provided at the beginning of each term.

Supervision

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.

Graduate destinations

The MSc in Integrated Immunology has been run continuously since 2004. Over those years, about half of alumni from the MSc have gone on to graduate research degrees, with a number of those taking up DPhil positions in Oxford.

Over a third of alumni from the MSc have continued to medical school, including Oxford, or progressed to higher specialist medical training. A small number have also taken up positions in the pharmaceutical sector.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

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

Biomedical and Clinical Sciences DPhil
Surgical Sciences DPhil

All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

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 a physiological, biological or other relevant science.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

An appropriate medical qualification equivalent to MB (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.

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.
  • Publications are not required but may be an advantage.

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.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

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.

Applicants are shortlisted according to the criteria listed. Interviews are normally held within six weeks of the application deadline. There will normally be a minimum of two academics on the interview panel. UK based applicants will be asked to attend a panel interview in Oxford, whilst overseas applicants can be interviewed by telephone or Skype (preferably 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.

Supervision

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: 

Financial Declaration

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.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Some postgraduate research students in science, engineering and technology subjects will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate prior to applying for a Tier 4 visa. Further information can be found on our Tier 4 (General) Student visa page. For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.

Resources

You will have a dedicated teaching room with PCs and a printer, with additional space to connect your own laptop to the University network. Most teaching sessions are held in this room and there is also space for study and reading.

You will be provided with an email account, and will have full access to the online library and other resources of the University of Oxford. The Cairns Library is on-site and available to you, you will also have full access to the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; access to further reading materials recommended by lecturers will be available either online or in print.

All resources, including lecture presentations and recommended further reading as well as material for problem-based learning sessions and/or tutorials, are made available through WebLearn, the virtual learning environment for which you will receive training at the beginning of the course.

During your lab-based research projects, you will become a member of the hosting research laboratory and you will be given access to its facilities and resources.

You will also have access to the department’s interaction room, where meals or breaks may be taken. There are social events, arranged ad hoc usually by the students, and often attended by the Course Administrator and Course Director. Formal arrangements include a welcome drinks reception and the final dinner with examiners, sponsors and steering group members.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£7,970
Overseas£38,945

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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees 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, 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.

Living costs

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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

How to apply

You are encouraged to communicate with the MSc Course Administrator or the MSc Course Director before you apply to discuss the course content, teaching, assessment and any questions you may have. However, it is not a requirement to contact the Course Administrator or Course Director before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

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.

CV/résumé

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:
Up to 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.

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.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all 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.

Academic references are required and professional references are not normally acceptable. You should nominate referees who are capable of providing an informed view of your recent academic ability.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to work independently as well as 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 plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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