About the course
The University of Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (Department of Engineering Science) and the Department for Continuing Education, in collaboration with Begbroke Science Park, offer the part-time MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care.
This advanced modular course is delivered by leading scientists and experts in this rapidly developing field and has been specifically designed for those who would value a part-time modular learning structure, for example those in full-time employment.
Nanomedicine is at the forefront of modern healthcare. Nanoparticles offer a new platform for drug delivery that can extend the 'patent life' of drugs, but also greatly increase the targeting and effectiveness of therapy. They can also enhance most of the medical imaging modalities, and in some cases offer a combined diagnostic and therapy, now called 'theranostics'.
Nanoparticle-based medicines are now becoming part of the mainstream approaches for diagnostics and therapy. A 2016 review identified 51 FDA-approved nanomedicines and 77 products undergoing clinical trials. By August 2018, 151 clinical trials using nanomaterials were completed or underway. Whilst most of these used fairly simple single-phase materials, there is a growing trend for more complex multi-functional nanomaterials and there are exciting possibilities ahead.
Nanotechnology is providing the basis for many of the new regenerative medicine approaches that are based on artificial scaffold structures and it offers solutions for many of the new generation of point-of-care biosensors and some of the advanced gene sequencing instrumentation. There are already early indications of improved healthcare outcomes, and the creation of new business and industry.
The University of Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME), an Institute within the Department for Engineering Science, is a world-class interdisciplinary centre for biomedical engineering research, where engineers and clinicians collaborate to address unmet needs in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of major diseases and conditions. The Institute’s core research missions are to develop novel medical devices, technology and systems capable of delivering substantial healthcare benefit, and to translate new engineering technologies into clinical practice.
The MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care draws on the world-class research and teaching in nanotechnology and nanomedicine at the University of Oxford and aims to provide you with the necessary training to enable you to understand the principles of nanotechnology and its application in medical research and clinical practice.
The programme will appeal to professionals working in the commercial or healthcare sectors who develop or use nanotechnology in their work, including:
- biomedical engineers
- materials scientists
- medical practitioners and dentists
- chemists and pharmacists
- electrical engineers
- project managers in related industries
- patent agents and patent lawyers
- clinical research fellows, graduates and other researchers in a related area of science.
The course is taken part-time as a mixture of online and face-to-face modules, consisting of six modules and a research project and associated dissertation. The programme is normally completed in two to three years. Students are full members of the University of Oxford and are matriculated as members of an Oxford college.
The course uses a blend of individual study together with group work during live online tutorials, conventional lectures and discussions and also requires the student to submit a dissertation reporting an original piece of nanomedicine-based research. The group sessions with tutors are particularly valuable because they offer highly focused learning and assessment opportunities.
The course comprises:
- three online modules giving a thorough introduction to the fundamental science of nanotechnology and the behaviour and characterisation of nanoscale materials;
- three five-day residential modules taught face-to-face in Oxford explaining the scientific, regulatory, clinical and commercial aspects of the application of nanotechnology to medicine and healthcare; and
- an original research project of approximately 18 weeks to be written up as a dissertation.
The three online modules can be taken from anywhere in the world with tutors who provide online support and electronically replicate the famed Oxford tutorial system, whereas the three face-to-face modules offer intense, focused lectures from Oxford academics from a range of disciplines with expertise in this field. Assessment throughout the modules ensures that students can monitor their progress.
It is recommended that students plan to spend at least 10-15 hours per week in private study in addition to time spent in classes or participating in on-line learning.
- The Wider Context of Nanotechnology
- The Fundamental Science of Nanotechnology
- Fundamental Characterisation for Nanotechnology
- Introduction to Bionanotechnology
- Nanomedicine – Science and Applications
- Clinical Translation and Commercialisation of Nanomedicine
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Engineering Science and/or the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor may be found outside the Department of Engineering Science and/or the Department for Continuing Education.
To complete the MSc, students need to attend the six modules and complete the assessed written assignments for each module, and complete a research project with dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with a supervisor and the Course Director.
Most students on this part-time course are already in full-time employment in related fields (commercial R&D, bio-entrepreneurship, academia, medicine) on commencement of their study. The course offers a contribution towards their professional development. In addition, several students who have recently completed their undergraduate course have used the MSc as a bridge to PhD studies.
The Department for Continuing Education regularly follows up with its alumni to find out what they have gone on to do after completing their course.
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
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 lead department
All graduate courses in this area offered by the Department for Continuing Education
All graduate courses offered by the Department of Engineering Science
Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21
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 either a science or engineering discipline, or a medical degree.
Applicants with an undergraduate degree in biology, pharmacy or medicine must demonstrate at least A-level (or equivalent) knowledge in mathematics and physics.
Students who have previously completed the University of Oxford's PGCert in Nanotechnology to a high standard are also encouraged to apply and may be permitted to credit their completed PGCert modules towards the MSc.
Alternatively, students may show an equivalent level of demonstrable understanding and competence as a result of professional experience and other training.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 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
Successful applicants will normally provide:
- evidence of a demonstrated interest in nanotechnology;
- evidence of their motivation and ability to complete the course; and
- a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to the applicant’s current employment situation and future prospects.
You will be expected to demonstrate an approach to your study which includes demonstrable skills of critical analysis, wide contextual knowledge and the ability to manage your own time.
You must be able to demonstrate evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer’s commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.
You must also be able to demonstrate a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration).
Publications are not expected.
- Those who have completed the PGCert in Nanotechnology may be eligible for exemption from modules which are also part of the MSc programme. In all cases, the award of the MSc will subsume the award of the PGCert and constitute a single award.
- You are strongly discouraged from registering on any other award programme concurrently with this award programme.
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.
Video interviews will be held after each deadline and periodically until the programme is closed to applications. They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers and will cover your application.
A video interview will be arranged for all of those who are deemed to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. All of an applicant's previous experience will be taken into account.
The purpose of the interview is to:
- establish your level of interest, motivation and potential to benefit from the course of study;
- clarify any uncertainties about compliance with requirements;
- gauge the consideration the applicant has given to the topic and organisation of their potential proposed research project; and
- ensure that you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.
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.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
Students studying this course will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in order to apply for a short term visa. Non-visa nationals will also require an ATAS certificate to show at Immigration Control. Further information can be found on our Student visa page.
The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.
The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.
The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research. Opening up possibilities for peer group interaction, students for the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care are taught alongside those studying for other MSc and Post Graduate Diploma courses in the health sciences, as well as healthcare professionals undertaking the modules for continuing professional development.
The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment.
Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.
The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students.
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.
Modular course fees
The fees for this course are charged on a modular basis. You will pay an annual course fee and an additional fee for each module studied. A minimum of two annual course fees are payable for this course. If this course includes a dissertation, three module fees will be charged for the dissertation.
The annual course fee differs depending on whether you enter the MSc directly, or whether you first complete the PGCert in Nanotechnology, as shown below. Please refer to the course page on the department’s website for further information about the fee structure (see under Further Information and Enquiries).
Fees for the 2021-22 academic year (direct entry to MSc)
Annual Course Fee
Fee per module
Total estimated fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|£4,430||£2,080||Please see the department’s website for further details|
|Overseas (including EU)||£4,430||£2,080|
Fees for the 2021-22 academic year (entry following PGCert in Nanotechnology)
Annual Course Fee
Fee per module
Total estimated fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|£5,280||£2,080||Please see the department’s website for further details|
|Overseas (including EU)||£5,280||£2,080|
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.
Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. 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.
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.
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 Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care:
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 and research proposal:
Statement of a maximum of 500 words, proposal of a maximum of 500 words
You should combine your statement of purpose and research proposal into a single document with clear sub-headings for each item in order to upload this to your application.
Your statement of purpose should briefly explain your motivation for graduate study at Oxford. You should also submit an outlined proposal for a research study that is appropriate to the aims of the course, well-designed and feasible. Your proposal should identify your proposed research project and outline the scope and treatment of the project.
There are no restrictions on font size or line spacing, although both your statement and proposal should be clearly legible and written in English.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for your reasons for applying to this particular programme of study; what relevant academic, research, or practical experience you have; and which areas of study within the subject especially interest you. Although not required at this stage, you are encouraged to outline some initial ideas for your proposed research project.
If you hold an undergraduate degree in biology, pharmacy or medicine, rather than a mathematical or physical sciences discipline, you should include a short statement about the level of your knowledge of mathematics and physics.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional
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.
Professional references are acceptable if these are relevant to the course.
Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for your chosen programme of study. Referees should provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.
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.