Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 8.89 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 27.6 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 6, 2024
1 place StudyQA ranking:924 Duration:3 years

Photos of university / #oxford_uni

This programme aims to train you in cutting-edge laboratory research applying techniques in bionanotechnology, biophysics, computational biology, microscopy, molecular biology, structural biology and systems biology to a broad range of fields including cell biology, chromosome biology, drug discovery, epigenetics, host-pathogen interactions, membrane proteins, ion channels and transporters, and RNA biology.

91% of alumni completing in the years 2008 to 2015 have gone on to pursue a career within academic or industrial research. Other graduates hold positions within a variety of sectors including patent law, scientific publishing and teaching.

The Department of Biochemistry has an active alumni network, with regular events held in Oxford and London where past and current members of the department have the opportunity to meet and share ideas.

Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help them identify the most suitable course and supervisors.


You will be admitted directly to a particular research area led by departmental members who will be appointed MSc by Research supervisors. Students who have been admitted to a particular research supervisor will not normally do laboratory rotations. You will be based in a research lab and undertake research on a subject agreed with your supervisor.

There are no taught courses examined by written papers, but you will have access to a wide range of lecture courses at a taught master’s level and foundation or preliminary level, as appropriate. If you have changed fields, this will enable you to fill in gaps in your background knowledge. There is also a wide range of courses and workshops which you can attend to acquire skills that will be necessary for the prosecution and presentation of your research, as well as your professional development as a research scientist.

You will begin your course as a probationary research student and near the end of your first year you will transfer to a MSc by Research status. 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. Continuation in the programme is subject to the student passing the transfer of status exam.

If you wish, you may attempt to transfer to DPhil status instead of MSc by Research status at the end of your first year. To transfer to DPhil status, you are required to follow the same procedure as probationary research students on the DPhil in Biochemistry and must have supporting statements from your supervisor(s) and college. The length of the programme depends on the following factors as judged by your supervisor(s) and assessors (2):

  • focus and rate of student researcher development and progress
  • achievement of acceptable focus and scope of thesis
  • publication quality research
  • length of available funding.

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

Research areas for the MSc by Research in Biochemistry currently include:

  • molecular biochemistry and chemical biology
  • structural biology of cell surface and nuclear signal transduction processes, cell adhesion, cell cycle, membrane proteins, receptors and ion channels, drug design, protein folding and dynamics
  • modelling and simulation of biological membrane systems
  • bionanotechnology and its application to cancer
  • targeting viral morphogenesis in antiviral strategies
  • integrative systems biology (dynamics of molecular regulatory networks, multidimensional optical proteomics)
  • bacterial and parasite respiratory proteins
  • bacterial cell biology, protein transport
  • control of eukaryotic gene expression
  • kinase signalling to gene induction
  • mRNA localisation in drosophila
  • epigenetic control of chromatin and gene expression
  • developmental epigenetics
  • DNA recombination and repair
  • bacterial chromosome dynamics
  • sister chromatid cohesion
  • genetic modelling of human disease
  • genetics of nematode immunity and development
  • cell biology of innate immunity in drosophila
  • genetic defects of mitochondrial energy metabolism
  • cell proliferation and cell fate determination during C. elegans development.

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in biochemistry, chemistry, biology, cell biology, molecular biology, biophysics, physics, mathematics or computation.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a GPA of 3.7, a first-class degree or the equivalent. 

A previous master's degree is not required in order to be considered for the programme.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Statement of purpose:Up to 1,000 words
  • References/letters of recommendation: Three overall, all of which must be academic


Standard level


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

  • Global Education
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships
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