About the course
This is a research degree leading to the award of an MSc by Research in Chemical Biology. Many training opportunities are available throughout the course, but the focus of the course is the research project.
You will be admitted as a Probationary Research Student and will join a research group supervised by one or more members of the Department of Chemistry, sometimes in collaboration with other departments. During the first year, in addition to starting work on your research, you will be encouraged to follow training courses chosen from the vast number offered by the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division Graduate School, and it is recommended that you attend at least three of these. A quarterly report on your progress is submitted by your supervisor throughout the course.
At the end of the first year you will undergo a Transfer of Status assessment, which is to ensure that you have the potential to gain the degree. This assessment will be made on the basis of a report and oral examination.
Research proceeds with quarterly reporting until the project is complete. The degree is examined by thesis and oral examination by two examiners, one of whom is normally from Oxford and one from elsewhere. Most MSc by Research students submit their thesis within two years.
The number of students on this course is so small that statistics are not meaningful. The department runs an annual careers conference for graduate students and the careers service offers a wide variety of support, including CV workshops.
The department also hosts a large number of visits from prospective employers, where you can find out more information. There is an alumni officer, who keeps in touch with graduates, and the department runs a number of social and scientific events for them.
Other courses in this area
- Synthesis for Biology and Medicine (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training)
- DPhil in Chemical Biology
- DPhil in Organic Chemistry
- MSc by Research in Organic Chemistry
- MSc by Research in Inorganic Chemistry
- MSc by Research in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Changes to the course
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. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Entry requirements for entry in 2019-20
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a subject relevant to the proposed research. Normally this will be a chemistry degree, but degrees in other physical sciences or in a biological science may be suitable.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
A previous master's degree is not required.
If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Applicants with substantial professional experience are welcome.
Other appropriate indicators will include:
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(s)
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
The criteria for shortlisting are academic merit, references and motivation. Typically the interview lasts 30 minutes and it may include discussion on your research interests and subject-related questions.
Prior publications are not expected but may help to indicate your aptitude for research.
2. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the standard level required by the University.
3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- The ability of the Department of Chemistry to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work
- Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.
The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:
- The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Chemistry 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 Department of Chemistry.
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, maternity leave or change in employment.
4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties
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.
Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.
Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
6. Other information
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.
In the case of students who require specific help to adjust to an academic programme or to a new range of skills, the supervisor will work with them to ensure that they have additional support.
Students are supervised by some of the country’s most gifted research chemists, many of whom have world-class reputations. You will work in an environment which encourages and inspires you to acquire and develop a wide range of communication, study and research skills.
Workspace will be related to individual circumstances. If undertaking experimental work, you will be provided with space in a laboratory with access to all the required equipment. If undertaking theoretical research, you will have shared office space. The department has one of the most impressive research laboratories in the world.
You will have access to the Department of Chemistry IT support staff, to the Radcliffe Science Library and other university libraries, and centrally provided electronic resources, technical workshops and glass workshops. Experimental facilities are available as appropriate to the research topic. The provision of other resources specific to your project should be agreed with your supervisor as a part of the planning stages of the agreed project.
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.
For students applying to programmes within the MPLS Division at Oxford, Research Council and other funding opportunities available, subject to eligibility. These opportunities are included in the Fees, funding and scholarship search.