MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine | University of Oxford
A student looking through a microscope
Studying cartilage samples under a microscope
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MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine

About the course

The MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine is a full-time one-year multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programme examining major challenges to the health of populations in resource-limited contexts. The course is embedded within the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine.

The course aims to develop students:

  • knowledge and understanding of the major global health problems in resource-limited settings and their potential solutions;
  • knowledge and skills in research techniques applied in the analysis of global health problems, including quantitative and qualitative research methods, health policy and systems research and public health, with opportunities for training in additional specialist fields;
  • capacity to critically appraise evidence in global health;
  • skills and practical experience in researching specific health problems in resource limited contexts

Course structure

Core Modules

The first term will consist of topics on research methods, an overview of some major global health challenges, and topics related to the research and practice of global health.

Core modules include:

  • Paradigms and Tools for Global Health (including epidemiology, statistics, health economics, qualitative and mixed methods)
  • Challenges and Change in International Health
  • Global Health Research and Practice

Options

During the second term, in addition to some continued core content, students select two of the following seven module options for further study:

  • Case Studies in Field Epidemiology
  • Development, Environment and Health
  • International Development and Health
  • Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases
  • Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
  • Research during Outbreaks
  • Vaccinology

Placement Project and Dissertation

The third term will involve a funded eight-week placement with a global health project in a resource limited setting. Projects represent the range of subjects covered in the course. The department will have a series of projects to choose from each year, hosted by partners in various geographic regions.

This research project will form the basis of a 10,000-word dissertation to be submitted six weeks after return from placement.

Leadership and Communication Training

In addition to the core curriculum, you will benefit from leadership and communication training including:

  • Preparation of policy briefs to be presented at the Houses of Parliament
  • Debate training and a public debate at the Oxford Union
  • Leadership training and team building workshops
  • Media training
  • Negotiation workshops

Moreover, a series of sessions will be organised with senior, internationally-recognised figures in global health. Sessions will be outside the structure of lectures and seminars for core modules, intended to provide stimulating materials to integrate global health thinking and perspectives.

You will also have the opportunity to attend research seminars across the University.

A series of career events will be made available throughout the year and skills-building activities integrated in the curriculum to support various trajectories.

Cohort-oriented teaching and group-based learning

Students on the course are expected to become engaged members of their cohort by actively participating in all classroom sessions, group work activities and cohort exercises. The teaching programme, by design, relies on collaboration. Peer and self-directed learning are key elements of our cohort-based teaching. The overall collective orientation of the course is deliberately design to contribute to the students’ professional development.

Assessment

Core modules will be assessed as follows:

  • Paradigms and Tools for Global Health (including epidemiology, statistics, health economics, qualitative and mixed methods): will be assessed via an unseen paper in Week 0 of Trinity Term.
  • Challenges and Change in International Health and Global Health Research and Practice: will be assessed via a 2,500 written piece with an additional 300 word executive summary, to be completed within 48h upon receipt of the exam questions.
  • All options, except Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, will be assessed by a 3,000 to 4,000 word essay in early April.
  • Assessment for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases module will require submission of a computer program or a piece of mathematical analysis (both of which are the equivalent of 1,000 words) accompanied by a short report of 2,000 to 3,000 words.

Finally, the research project carried out during the third term will form the basis of a 10,000 word dissertation to be submitted six weeks after return from placement.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Medicine 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 Medicine.

Each student will be assigned an academic advisor who will support them through the duration of the course. Students will also have a placement supervisor related to their chosen placement.

Graduate destinations

IHTM alumni have gone on to assume leadership roles in global health - in governments, non- governmental organisations and/or academic institutions.

We currently have alumni in:

  • Ministries of health in Liberia, Fiji, East Timor, Bangladesh, Japan, Pakistan, Brazil, and Thailand
  • International organisations such as WHO, PAHO, FAO, WFP, World Bank, UNDP, MSF
  • Research institutes in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mexico
  • Further study at Oxford, Cambridge, UCT, among others. 

An alumni network and virtual learning environment will continue support of MSc graduates beyond their time in Oxford.

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

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

Clinical Medicine DPhil

All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine

Oxford 1+1 MBA programme

This course can be studied as a part of the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme. The Oxford 1+1 MBA programme is a unique, two-year graduate experience that combines the depth of a specialised, one-year master’s degree with the breadth of a top-ranking, one-year MBA.

Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22

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 relevant field.

The qualification above should be achieved in one of the following subject areas or disciplines:

  • all allied health professions degrees
  • any basic science
  • international development
  • international relations
  • human geography
  • anthropology.

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

  • Experience of global health issues including at least one year's experience in a resource-limited context; the one year's experience may include all work related to global health including work with government and non-governmental organisations.
  • Publications are not required.

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.

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.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'

(Institution code: 0490)

110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*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.

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.

The interview panel will comprise three senior academics and the interview will last no longer than 30 minutes. All shortlisted applicants are interviewed via Zoom.

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.

Resources

The MSc International Health and Tropical Medicine is embedded within the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine in the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research on South Parks Road. Teaching takes place within this building.

All students enrolled on the MSc will be provided with a laptop and specialised software for the duration of the course and will receive membership of the Oxford Union.

You will have access to the Knowledge Centre, the Cairns Library and the Radcliffe Science Library. The Knowledge Centre on the Old Road Campus provides a wide range of papers and electronic resources in international health. The Cairns Library at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in addition to providing a wider range of journals, books and electronic resources also provides dedicated courses in evidence-based practice, search skills and learning support materials for library users. Finally, you will have full access to the Radcliffe Science Library.

Funding

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.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2021-22

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£19,200
Overseas (including EU)£40,500

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 detailed fee status information and the Oxford and the EU webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU.

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 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.

College preference

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 International Health and Tropical Medicine:

How to apply

It is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor or other academic staff 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.

Personal statement:
A maximum of 500 words

In your statement you should 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 this MSc will be important for your future career.

You should also demonstrate experience working both in the field of global health in a resource-limited context and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.

This will be assessed for your reasons for applying.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

References/letters of recommendation:
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 usually be academic, though professional references are also acceptable.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation to work in a resource-limited context, 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:

Step 5: Start your application using the relevant button 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.

Application GuideApply

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