MSc in Sleep Medicine | University of Oxford
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MSc in Sleep Medicine

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 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.

Structure, content and assessment

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
  • Insomnias
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing and Sleep-related Movement Disorders
  • Hypersomnias and Parasomnias
  • Sleep in Specialist Populations
  • Sleep and Society

Each module will be assessed by an extended essay, entailing a total of four extended essays submitted every academic year: two at the end of the second and third terms. 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.

Pattern of teaching, learning and supervision

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.

Graduate destinations

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. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on 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.

All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

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 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 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.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide.

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.

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.


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.


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.


There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.


Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

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

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£10,460

Annual fees for students entering the MSc after completing the PGDip in Sleep Medicine

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£7,385

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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

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 up to a maximum of £1,000. 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.

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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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 2020-21, 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.


The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Sleep Medicine:

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with academic members of staff before you apply.

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.


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 and personal statement:
Proposal of up to 1,000 words and statement of up to 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. 

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.

References/letters of recommendation:
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.

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

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