About the course
As a student on the MSc in Sleep Medicine, you will spend two years engaging in a comprehensive taught programme covering the physiology of sleep, through to clinical practice and societal implications.
Delivery of this course is mostly online, with a one-week residential component. You will engage regularly in real time with classmates and teaching faculty. This will culminate in the submission of a dissertation. You may also wish to consider the related two-year PGDip in Sleep Medicine.
Structure and content
The MSc is a part-time course, spread over two years. During that time you will complete eight modules, providing a comprehensive overview of sleep medicine that is in line with the European Sleep Research Society's teaching and training guidelines. These modules include:
- The Physiological Basis of Sleep
- Introduction to Sleep Medicine and Methodological Approaches
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption and Sleep
- Sleep Disordered Breathing and Sleep-related Movement Disorders
- Hypersomnias and Parasomnias
- Sleep in Specialist Populations
- Sleep and Society.
You will also have to complete two modules in research methods, which will support you as you work on your dissertation.
Pattern of teaching and learning
The course is designed to give as much flexibility as possible, whilst still providing necessary support and community. Lectures are pre-recorded and sent for you to watch in your own time, alongside any relevant reading, case studies and activities.
You will join regular discussion groups. These are run using conferencing software, allowing you to interact in real-time with classmates and teaching faculty and will typically last 90 minutes. For these sessions you will be expected to prepare short essays and/or presentations for discussion.
You will need a computer (Windows or iOS), webcam and microphone for this course. You will also need to ensure appropriate internet connection. The recommended bandwidth for the software is 1Mbps.
For the purposes of the dissertation you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who you will meet with as and when necessary. You will also be expected to attend a week-long residential school in person at Oxford. A significant component of the course involves self-directed learning to build on taught materials.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Sleep and Circadian Neurosciences Institute/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 Sleep and Circadian Neurosciences Institute/Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.
Modules will be assessed through a mixture of extended written essays, online exams and oral examinations, which will include presentations.
Throughout the course you will be expected to work on your dissertation, which is the final piece of coursework, to be submitted at the end of the course. This will take the form of a systematic review and a research study design, including ethical considerations and budgeting. To support this process you will also have to complete two modules in research methods.
The main purpose of this course is to provide working health care professionals with the knowledge to implement sleep medicine practice into their own professional undertakings. This course will also prepare students to take the European Sleep Research Society Expert Somnologist examination. Students may also wish to consider further study, in the form of a PhD/DPhil.
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, 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.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
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 psychology, neuroscience or a health-related discipline.
However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants will have a first-class degree or the equivalent. In cases where a strong undergraduate degree cannot be demonstrated, a master's level qualification or strong professional experience will also be considered.
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
- It is expected that most applicants will currently be working in a health-related profession.
- Demonstrating the relevance of sleep medicine to your current practice and how you intend to implement it will prove advantageous.
- Research or working experience in sleep medicine or in a sleep laboratory may be an advantage.
- Evidence of training in sleep medicine or sleep medicine related techniques may be an advantage.
- Awards of national prizes for excellence, scholarships etc will prove advantageous.
- Whilst it is not expected that applicants will have peer-reviewed publications, this will confer an advantage.
- Students are expected to have good IT skills. As the course is primarily pursued online, students will need to be familiar with communicating in this way and will be expected to ensure adequate internet connection and audio-visual equipment to engage fully with the course.
English language proficiency
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.
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.
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.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. 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.
Applicants will be short-listed based on the quality and originality of their research proposal, as well as their professional experience, academic achievements (degree level, prizes and scholarships) and the quality of their references.
Interviews will be held via video conferencing as soon as possible after the application deadline. You will be asked to give a five-minute presentation on your research proposal, and then questioned by up to three interviewers for around fifteen minutes.
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. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
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.
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, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
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:
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.
All core reading material will take the form of peer-reviewed publications, which you will have access to via the University online library, SOLO.
The Course Director and administrative team have responsibility for providing support on a broad range of topics. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor on the course, who will guide you through your dissertation. You will also be assigned a college advisor, whose support you can seek for issues you do not want to discuss with members of the course team. Your first port of call for queries will usually be one of the course administrators, followed by your academic advisor.
No experimental facilities are provided as students will not be undertaking research during the course. When you visit Oxford you will have access to the libraries and college facilities, but you will not have a dedicated workspace as the course is mainly provided online.
Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) comprises more than 500 staff including over 150 graduate students. The DPhil and the MSc (Res) in Clinical Neurosciences cover all areas of the research carried out in the department.
NDCN was formed in November 2010 and incorporates the Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, the Division of Clinical Neurology, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit, the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology (which also houses sleep medicine research) and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging.
The department usually admits over 30 postgraduate research students per year, from both scientific and clinical backgrounds. Each research student will work on a specified research project with close supervision from one or more of the department’s principal investigators and their teams, and become part of a vibrant research community both within the department and the wider University. The department's sleep medicine course admits c. 15-20 postgraduate taught students per year across the MSc, PGDip and standalone modular routes.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2024-25
The annual course fee differs depending on whether you enter the MSc directly, or whether you first complete the PGDip in Sleep Medicine, as shown below.
Annual fees for students entering the MSc directly
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Annual fees for students entering the MSc after completing the PGDip in Sleep Medicine
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
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.
Students will need a computer (Windows or iOS), webcam and microphone. Students will also need to ensure appropriate internet connection. The recommended bandwidth for the software is 1Mbps. It is necessary that students attend a one week residential school at the University of Oxford. The course will subsidise economy travel and basic accommodation at an Oxford College up to a maximum of £1000. Costs above and beyond this will need to be met by the students. As part of your course requirements, you will need to choose a dissertation topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses and research expenses. 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 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
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.
Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs).
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. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief introduction to the college system at Oxford and our advice about expressing a college preference. For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Sleep Medicine:
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. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
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.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.
Completing your application
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.
Academic references are ideal though professional references will be accepted where academic references cannot be obtained.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, appropriateness of background knowledge and commitment.
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.
Research proposal and personal statement:
Proposal up to a maximum of 1,000 words and statement up to a maximum of 500 words
Your research proposal and personal statement should be submitted as a single, combined document with clear sub-headings.
The research proposal should outline a research question relevant to sleep medicine and how you would plan to research this question. You do not need to identify a dissertation supervisor at this point, nor does your proposal have to be written with a view to forming part of the MSc dissertation (although that is also acceptable). In the proposal, please include information under the following headings:
- Background to area
- Research question
- Proposed research methodology.
The personal statement should outline why you are applying for the course and how sleep medicine might be useful in your professional practice. The personal statement should also outline why you are applying for the MSc in Sleep Medicine, rather than the PGDip course which is also on offer.
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;
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study;
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English;
- commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course;
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques;
- capacity for sustained and intense work; and
- reasoning ability.
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.