MSc by Research in Clinical Neurosciences | University of Oxford
Two students undertaking an experiment
Running an experiment at the John Radcliffe Hospital
(Image Credit: Angel Sharp Media)

MSc by Research in Clinical Neurosciences

About the course

The MSc by Research in Clinical Neurosciences offers excellent opportunities for high quality research training, for both clinical and non-clinical graduates, in wide-ranging leading areas of clinical neuroscience. 

As an MSc student in NDCN you will be a part of one of the leading and largest clinical neuroscience departments in Europe. The MSc by research in Clinical Neurosciences will develop your skills through a range of research and practical training.

NDCN incorporates six divisions each of which hosts world-leading programmes in basic, translational and clinical research.

  • Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia
  • Division of Clinical Neurology
  • MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit
  • Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics
  • Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology
  • Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging

You will be admitted directly to a particular research area (https://www.ndcn.ox.ac.uk/research) and you will work alongside your supervisors to develop your programme of study which is normally part of a larger research group with shared interests. You will not normally do laboratory rotations.

There are no taught courses examined by written papers but there is a wide range of courses and workshops available across the Medical Sciences Division and you will be encouraged to attend regular departmental and divisional seminars

The MSc by Research in Clinical Neurosciences is normally a two year course, though if you have an appropriate background in research, you may complete it in one year.

Part-time study

It is possible to study for this course on a part-time basis. Completing this course on a part-time basis normally requires between two and six years of study, compared with the full-time master's course which takes between one and three years to complete.

Supervision

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

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.

Assessment

You will begin your course as a probationary research student (PRS) and you will be monitored and assessed regularly via completion of termly reports by you and your supervisors through the Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) system.

You will be expected to transfer your status from PRS to MSc before the end of your first year. To transfer your status, you must apply formally, submit a research report and statement of future research plans, and take an independent assessment by two assessors
The degree is examined by thesis and oral examination by two examiners. Most MSc by Research students submit their thesis within two years.

Graduate destinations

According to the latest statistics available, 86% of graduate research alumni from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences are employed across a wide range of sectors with the remaining 14% going on to further study.

Past students from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences have gone on to careers based both in the UK and other countries in teaching and research in universities or back to clinical posts.

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 Neurosciences DPhil
Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience MSc
Neuroscience MSc
Neuroscience combined MSc and DPhil

All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

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 discipline (eg neuroscience).

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

A master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission.

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

  • Evidence of a prior interest in the area of research proposed may be an advantage.
  • Publications are not expected as part of the interview process.
  • It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor.

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 standard 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 standard level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's standard level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.06.5
TOEFL iBT (Institution code: 0490)100Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*185176
C2 Proficiency185176

*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.  

Interviews are held in person and arrangements to interview in any other way are made at the discretion of the department. There will be a minimum of three academics on the panel and the details of the interview format will be provided to you after shortlisting.

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

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences provides a focus for world-leading translational neuroscience allowing the swift transfer of basic biomedical findings to the clinical setting and the delivery of evidence-based therapies for the benefit of society and the economy. 

The department has state-of-the-art laboratories with most of its staff housed in the West Wing and the adjacent WIN building at the John Radcliffe Hospital. The West Wing also includes the in- and outpatient facilities for the clinical Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuroanaesthetics, Ophthalmology and ENT, which are closely integrated with the NDCN. This provides the perfect setting to share facilities, expertise and knowledge.

The NDCN offers you excellent opportunities for high quality research training in wide-ranging leading areas of clinical neuroscience. Much of the graduate research in the department is interdisciplinary and in collaboration with research leaders at other research centres. In addition, the department as a whole sponsors regular seminars and public lectures which attract distinguished national and international speakers.

Students will have access to the department’s IT support and University library services. Workspace will be related to individual circumstances. If undertaking experimental work, bench space will be provided within a laboratory. If undertaking theoretical research, there will be shared office space. The provision of other resources specific to a project should be agreed with the supervisor as part of the planning stages of the agreed project.

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.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2021-22

Full-time study

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£8,290
Overseas (including EU)£27,460

Part-time study

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£4,144
Overseas (including EU)£13,731

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.

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

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

Full-time study

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research 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.

Part-time study

Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further 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. 

How to apply

If you are interested in applying then you must contact a potential supervisor before submitting your application. A potential supervisor can give advice on what to put in the application form; please note, however, that the support of a supervisor at this stage does not imply that you will be admitted. 

If you are unsure of who you might contact as a potential supervisor, please contact the NDCN Academic Administration team in the first instance.

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.

Research proposal:
A maximum of 500 words

A research proposal comprising a detailed outline of your proposed research, written in English, is required. It is expected that you will prepare your research proposal in consultation with a potential supervisor.

The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.

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

This will be assessed for:

  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the originality of the project
  • evidence of motivation
  • an understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available (a maximum of 3 years)
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques and suitability to undertake the proposed work

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.

Your proposal should focus on research rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations.

Submissions that exceed the word count may be penalised. 

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.

You may use either academic of professional references.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences does not ask for an additional piece of written work as part of the admissions process. Individual supervisors may ask to see written work when an initial enquiry is made by a prospective student.

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 - Full timeApply - Part time

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