test tubes labelled with Covid-19 Oxford vaccine trial in a laboratory
Test tubes in a laboratory
Image credit: Sean Elias

MSc by Research in Paediatrics

About the course

The MSc by Research in Paediatrics offers excellent opportunities for high quality research training, for both clinical and non-clinical graduates, in wide-ranging leading research areas. As a student you will spend up to three years in one of the department's many research groups, working on a project supervised by the group's principal investigator. 

This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly. For this course, the socio-economic data you provide in the application form will be used to contextualise the shortlisting and decision-making processes where it has been provided.  Please carefully read the instructions concerning submission of your CV/résumé in the How to apply section of this page, as well as the full details about this pilot.

The Department of Paediatrics has major research interests in developmental immunology and haematology, infectious diseases of infancy and childhood, mucosal immunology, HIV infection and immune control, design, development and testing of vaccines, neuromuscular biology and gene therapy, the origins of childhood leukaemia, paediatric neuroimaging, and paediatric molecular genetics.

As a graduate student, you will conduct research within a department which has over 30 graduate students and 130 members of staff, including clinical practitioners, research scientists, support staff and academic visitors.

You will join one of our research groups with primary supervision provided by faculty members in one of the department's laboratory or clinical research facilities, and you will become part of a vibrant research community both within the department and in the wider University.

You will develop research skills by making use of a range of research training and skills development offered by the Medical Sciences Division, alongside direction by your supervisor in specific research methods in relation to your project. The first step in applying is to contact a potential supervisor or supervisors to discuss potential projects. This course does not contain any taught modules.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Paediatrics 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 Paediatrics. 

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. The supervisor would meet with their student at least 3 times a term.

Assessment

You will begin your course as a Probationary Research Student (PRS) and near the end of your first year you will transfer to MSc by Research status. To transfer your status, you must apply formally, before the end of term four, submit a research report and statement of future research plans, and take an independent assessment by two assessors. Continuation in the programme is subject to the student passing the transfer of status exam. The final thesis assessment & oral examination would then occur before the end of the ninth term.

Graduate destinations

Alumni from the Department of Paediatrics are expected to go on to careers based both in UK and internationally in academic research or medicine in conjunction with academic research. Other career paths may include industrial research, teaching, scientific publishing, patent law, charitable scientific employment and pharmaceutical consulting positions.

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

You are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help 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.

All graduate courses offered by the Department of Paediatrics

Paediatrics MSc by Research

Entry requirements for entry in 2023-24

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a relevant discipline

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

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

  • Research or working experience in any field may be an advantage. For clinical applicants, evidence of your employer's support will be required.

  • Previous publications are not a requirement; however, they would be advantageous to your application. Although it is not essential, preference will be given to applicants who have had recent publications and/or awards from various funding bodies.

Further guidance

It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of their proposed supervisor and have an understanding of the background to their proposed area of study.

English language proficiency

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, including the 'Home Edition'

(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.

Declaring 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.

References

You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applications are reviewed by a panel of academics associated with the course. A short-list of applicants is confirmed, based on assessment of achieved or predicted undergraduate degree grade, academic references, personal statement and CV.

The main round of interviews is held between mid January and early February. Additional interviews may be held at later dates subject to the availability of places.

Interviews are in person or by video conferencing software, take approximately 30 minutes, and are conducted by a panel of two or more interviewers. Applicants are asked to talk about any research project(s) that they may have pursued and questioned on aspects of their research training to date, understanding of the proposed area of study and motivation for undertaking a research degree.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading. References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Initiatives to improve access to graduate study

This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly. For this course, the socio-economic data you provide in the application form will be used to contextualise the shortlisting and decision-making processes where it has been provided. Further details about this pilot, which applies to all applicants to this course, can be found in our pilot selection procedures section.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about processing special category data for the purposes of positive action and using your data to assess your eligibility for funding, can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

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.

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our After you apply pages provide more information about offers and conditions

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also 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 department has state-of-the-art laboratories with a number of research groups at different locations in Oxford, with most of the groups based at the John Radcliffe Hospital and WIMM, the Centre for Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine at the Churchill Hospital, and the Science Centre at South Parks Road.


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. 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.

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine

The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) fosters research in molecular and cell biology with direct application to the study of human disease. The WIMM is the location for the developmental immunology and haematology research groups in the Department.

Peter Medawar Building

The Peter Medawar Building houses an inter-disciplinary research consortium which investigates pathogen diversity through a combination of experimental and theoretical approaches, with links to two University divisions: Medical Sciences, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences. This is the location for the HIV research group.

Oxford Vaccine Group, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM)

The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) is located in CCVTM which is a purpose built space for research in vaccinology and tropical medicine. The facility includes fully-equipped modern Containment Level 2 and 3 laboratories for the design, development and clinical testing of vaccines. Facilities are designed to accommodate multi-disciplinary working across microbiology, immunology, and molecular techniques in proximity to clinical expertise and trial patients/volunteers.

Paediatric Nutrition Research Group Laboratories

The two Paediatric Nutrition Research Group Laboratories are located in the neonatal unit. One is a visual function laboratory to study the development of visual pathways in brain-damaged infants following neurotropic supplementation of their diets. The second is a body composition laboratory which house an air displacement plethysmography used to validate new techniques derived from 3-D ultrasound measures of body composition in new-born infants.

Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine (IDRM)

The Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine (IDRM) has opened in 2022 and will be an available resource for relevant students. At its core is a formal merger of developmental biology and regenerative medicine in the form of 15-20 world leading research groups comprising 240 cardiovascular, neuroscience and immunology scientists. Our intention as an organisation is to integrate their expertise to foster multidisciplinary collaborations.

Library services

Bodleian Health Care Libraries provides services to the staff and students of the University of Oxford, mainly in clinical medicine, and to the staff of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. There are over 20,000 books and over 550 journal titles in the Bodleian Health Care Libraries

IT resources

The Medical Sciences Division IT services provide Information Technology services, support and advice to the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division. It operates and manages data networks and networked services for the division's departments located on the Oxford Hospital Sites (John Radcliffe, Churchill, Warneford and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre), the Old Road Campus in Headington, and parts of the Science Area in the centre of Oxford.

Funding

The University expects to be able to offer around 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2023-24. 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 December or 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 any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:

Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.

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

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2023-24

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home£8,960
Overseas£29,700

Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

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 changes 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 and Funding section of this website, which includes detailed fee status information.

Additional information

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.

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 2023-24 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,290 and £1,840 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 2023-24, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of 5% or more each year – although this rate may vary significantly depending on how the national economic situation develops. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.

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 by Research in Paediatrics:

Before you apply

Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. We recommend that you submit your application well in advance - two or three weeks earlier. 

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.

Readmission for current Oxford graduate taught students

If you're currently studying for an Oxford graduate taught course and apply to this course with no break in your studies, you may be eligible to apply to this course as a readmission applicant. The application fee will be waived for an eligible application of this type. Check whether you're eligible to apply for readmission.

Contacting the department

Before you apply, you should identify an academic member of staff who is willing to supervise you and has the resources to support your proposed research project. You should do this by contacting them directly. Details of academic staff, including their research interests and contact details, can be found on the department's website.

A potential supervisor can give advice on what to put in your 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 department's Graduate Studies Officer in the first instance.

Completing your application

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents. If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Proposed field and title of research project

Under the 'Field and title of research project' please enter your proposed field or area of research if this is known. If the department has advertised a specific research project that you would like to be considered for, please enter the project title here instead.

You should not use this field to type out a full research proposal. You will be able to upload your research supporting materials separately if they are required (as described below).

Proposed supervisor

Under 'Proposed supervisor name' enter the name of the academic (s) who you would like to supervise your research. 

Referees
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.

One professional reference is acceptable, though your other references should be academic and should comment specifically on your academic ability.

Your references will be assessed for:

  • your intellectual ability
  • your academic achievement
  • your motivation and interest in the course and subject area
  • your ability to work effectively both in a group and independently.

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
Full instructions and link to standard CV creation form

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. You will need to upload a standardised CV to the graduate application form as part of your application. This standardised CV should be generated using the online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. Once you have completed the form, you will have 15 minutes to download your CV as a PDF document. 

This PDF document will be in the same format for all applicants and you should not modify the document before you upload it, or submit your CV in a different format. 

Full instructions and a link to the standard CV creation form are provided on the Medical Sciences Division website. The instructions page contains links to example clinical and non-clinical CVs, with details of what to include and suggested answer formats.

If you require help or advice while generating your CV using the online form, please contact the Medical Sciences Graduate School for assistance (graduate.school@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

You can find more information about the standard CV form on our page that provides details of the continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications.

Statement of purpose/personal statement and research proposal:
Statement a maximum of 500 words, proposal a maximum of 1,000 words

Your statement of purpose/personal statement and research proposal should be submitted as a single, combined document with clear subheadings. Please ensure that the word counts for each section are clearly visible in the document.

Statement of purpose/personal statement

You should provide a statement of your research interests, in English, describing how your background and research interests relate to the programme. If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

The statement should focus on academic or research-related achievements and interests rather than personal achievements and interests.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying;
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study;
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English;
  • capacity for sustained and focused work; and
  • understanding of problems in the area and ability to construct and defend an argument.

It will be normal for students’ ideas and goals to change in some ways as they undertake their MSc by research, but your personal statement will enable you to demonstrate your current interests and aspirations.

Research proposal

You should submit a detailed outline of your proposed research, written in English, covering areas such as the background to the research, methodology, expected results and the contribution to the field of learning.

The overall page count should not include any bibliography or footnotes.

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

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • the coherence of the proposal
  • the fit of your research interests with those represented in the department
  • the originality of the project
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course.

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.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please refer to the requirements above and consult our Application Guide for advice. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide Apply

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