This is a professional development course for medical education professionals, spanning all medical specialties. It focuses on the history, contemporary issues and development of the field, as well as research methods and design and evaluation of research in medical education.

This part-time course is aimed at medical professionals and health science practitioners who are involved, or intend to be involved, in educating future health professionals. These medical professionals may include not only postgraduate physicians but also a range of graduate allied health science practitioners involved in the care of patients and in the education of the future healthcare workforce.

The part-time MSc in Medical Education will be offered jointly by the Department of Education in the Social Sciences Division and the Medical School in the Medical Sciences Division, with formal responsibility for the programme resting with the Department of Education. Interdisciplinarity is endemic in education and medicine and team-teaching capitalises upon the distinctive knowledge and skills of academics within the two departments.

The course combines teaching sessions within the Department and online support through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Canvas).  In the second year of the course you will receive supervision of your dissertation project from a University supervisor with expertise in a particular subject.



Watch Course Director, Dr Debbie Aitken, introduce the course:

Watch MSc student Gbemi David-West give a student perspective on the course:

Watch MSc student Chris Sparling give a student perspective on the course:

The course

The MSc will consist of six taught modules in the first year, assessed by written assignments.  Teaching will cover the following topics:

  • Patients, learners and teachers
  • Curriculum and pedagogy
  • Assessment issues and practices
  • Educational theory and philosophy
  • Work-based learning and skill development
  • Educational research methods
  • Equity, diversity and belonging

In the first year, you will attend six intensive teaching weekends at the Department of Education in Oxford over a Friday afternoon and Saturday. The Friday afternoon and Saturday morning sessions will consist of interactive lectures and workshops. Additional teaching and online support will be provided through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Canvas).

In the second year, you will undertake a research and development project under the supervision of a member of academic staff culminating in a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation.


The Department of Education is committed to attracting and retaining the very best candidates irrespective of background or ability to pay. Therefore, the Department seeks to award up to 2 scholarships to support qualified candidates to undertake the department’s MSc in Medical Education.

The Denis O’Leary scholarship is in memory of the late Dr Denis O’Leary, a highly respected Oxford educator and clinician. Dr O’Leary was a clinical psychologist, passionate about medical education – it was through his vision that the MSc in Medical Education has been developed.

Find out more about the scholarship on our dedicated webpage.

Please see the Fees, funding and scholarship search on the University’s web site for information about general scholarships.


Who is the course for?

This professional development course is aimed at researchers and professionals in the field of medical education.

How much time will I be expected to spend on study?

This will vary but on average you should expect to be studying for the equivalent of 10 to 15 hours per week during the eight week terms.  However, some of the work can be spread out to take place between terms, and some of your task and assignment research work will take place during your normal teaching.

How will my work on the course be supported?

Each student will be appointed a general supervisor for the duration of their studies. This person may go on to be the dissertation supervisor depending on the chosen research topic. In cases where a different dissertation supervisor is appointed they would also take on the general supervision. Modes of supervision include individual online communication via telephone, e-mail and Teams/Zoom meetings. For their dissertation project students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor by the beginning of Michaelmas Term of the second academic year. Together with the course director, the main teaching staff on specific modules will contribute to the tutoring for their respective papers. Modes of tutoring include participation in the virtual learning community and through telephone, e-mail and/or Teams/Zoom meetings with tutors. During residential periods, face-to-face meetings between tutors and students will be arranged. Pastoral support is also provided by a tutor in the College.

How often will I need to come to the Department for meetings?

The six modules are delivered in residential weekends, when you must attend in Oxford.  After that, meetings with your supervisor may be face to face or conducted electronically.

Do I have to apply to a college?

College affiliation is an important part of being a student at Oxford.  Please note that there is no guarantee that you will be placed at any given College, and a place will be found for you where possible.  Find out more about the colleges and making an open application here.

What should I include in the statement of purpose on the application form?

The statement of purpose really just tells us why you are interested in doing this course. You should include:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of understanding of the proposed area of study
  • professional experience of medical education
  • your ability to present a coherent case in proficient English
  • your commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • your preliminary knowledge of the subject area and research techniques
  • your capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace
  • evidence of your ability to undertake part-time study

If your ideas are less focused, it is fine simply to explain in more general terms what you are hoping to get out of the course and why you would have the support of your employer in undertaking it now.

Your statement should be no longer than two A4 pages in length.

Who should I choose as my referees?

We would expect to see at least one academic reference and two professional references.  You should choose those referees who you think will provide us with enough information to make a judgement in your ability to follow the course.

We reserve the right to request a further reference if necessary.

Will I be able to pay my course fees in instalments?

Course fees are collected by the colleges. Colleges operate their own fees schedule and this arrangement is dependent on the college.


Couldn’t find your answers under our FAQ section?

Please direct all enquiries to the administrative team and they will be happy to assist you.

Phone: +44 (0)1865 274021
Email: msc.medicaleducation@education.ox.ac.uk