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MSc in Experimental Therapeutics

Course Description

The Department of Oncology and the Department for Continuing Education’s CPD Centre offer a part-time MSc in Experimental Therapeutics that brings together some of Oxford's leading clinicians and scientists to deliver an advanced modular programme designed for those in full-time employment, both in the UK and overseas.

The Programme draws on the world-class research and teaching in experimental therapeutics at Oxford University and offers a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the principles that underpin clinical research and to translate this into good clinical and research practice.

Visit the website https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/msc-in-experimental-therapeutics

The first deadline for applications is Friday 20 January 2017

If your application is completed by this January deadline and you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered for a graduate scholarship. For details see: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/graduate-scholarships.

Programme details

The MSc in Experimental Therapeutics is a part-time course consisting of six modules and a research project and dissertation. The programme is normally completed in two to three years. Students are full members of the University of Oxford and are matriculated as members of an Oxford college.

The modules in this programme can also be taken as individual short courses. It is possible to transfer credit from up to three previously completed modules into the MSc programme, if the time elapsed between commencement of the accredited module(s) and registration for the MSc is not more than two years.

Programme modules:

- The Structure of Clinical Trials and Experimental Therapeutics
- Drug Development, Pharmacokinetics and Imaging
- Pharmacodynamics, Biomarkers and Personalised Therapy
- Adverse Drug Reactions, Drug Interactions, and Pharmacovigilance
- How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation
- Biological Therapeutics

Course aims

The aim of the MSc programme is to provide students with the necessary training and practical experience to enable them to understand the principles that underpin clinical research, and to enable them to translate that understanding into good clinical and research practice.

By the end of the MSc programme, students should understand the following core principles:

- Development, marketing and regulations of drugs
- Pharmaceutical factors that affect drug therapy
- Pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics and pharmacodynamics
- Adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, and pharmacovigilance
- Designing phase I, II and III clinical trials for a range of novel therapeutic interventions (and imaging agents).
- Application of statistics to medicine
- Laboratory assays used to support trial end-points
- Use of non-invasive imaging in drug development
- Application of analytical techniques

By the end of the programme, students should be equipped to:

- demonstrate a knowledge of the principles, methods and techniques for solving clinical research problems and translate this into good clinical and research practice
- apply skills gained in techniques and practical experience from across the medical and biological sciences
- develop skills in managing research-based work in experimental therapeutics
- carry out an extended research project involving a literature review, problem specification and analysis in experimental therapeutics and write a short dissertation

Guidance from the UK Royal College of Physician's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine

The Faculty have confirmed that if enrolled for Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training (PMST), trainees may be able to use knowledge provided by Experimental Therapeutics modules to cover aspects of a module of the PMST curriculum. Trainees are advised to discuss this with their Educational Supervisor.

Experimental Therapeutics modules may also be used to provide those pursuing the Faculty's Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine (DPM) with the necessary knowledge required to cover the Diploma syllabus. Applicants for the DPM exam are advised to read the DPM syllabus and rules and regulations.

Members of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine who are registered in the Faculty's CPD scheme can count participation in Experimental Therapeutics modules towards their CPD record. Non-members may wish to obtain further advice about CPD credit from their Royal College or Faculty.

Assessment methods

To complete the MSc, students need to:

Attend the six modules and complete an assessed written assignment for each module.
Complete a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with a supervisor and the Course Director.

The dissertation is founded on a research project that builds on material studied in the taught modules. The dissertation should normally not exceed 15,000 words.

The project will normally be supervised by an academic supervisor from the University of Oxford, and an employer-based mentor.

The following are topics of dissertations completed by previous students on the course:

- The outcomes of non-surgical management of tubal pregnancy; a 6 month study of the South East London population

- Analysis of the predictive and prognostic factors of outcome in a cohort of patients prospectively treated with perioperative chemotherapy for adenocarcinoma of the stomach or of the gastroesophageal junction

- Evolution of mineral and bone disorder in early Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): the role of FGF23 and vitamin D

- Survey of patients' knowledge and perception of the adverse drug reporting scheme (yellow cards) in primary care

- The predictive role of ERCC1 status in oxaliplatin based Neoadjuvant for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) to the liver

- Endothelial Pathophysiology in Dengue - Dextran studies during acute infection

- Literature review of the use of thalidomide in cancer

- An investigation into the phenotypical and functional characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells for clinical application

- Identification of genetic variants that cause capecitabine and bevacizumab toxicity

- Bridging the evidence gap in geriatric medicines via modelling and simulations

Teaching methods

The class-based modules will include a period of preparatory study, a week of intensive face-to-face lectures and tutorials, followed by a period for assignment work. Attendance at modules will be a requirement for study. Some non-classroom activities will be provided at laboratory facilities elsewhere in the University. The course will include taught material on research skills. A virtual learning environment (VLE) will provide between-module support.

The taught modules will include group work, discussions, guest lectures, and interaction and feedback with tutors and lecturers. Practical work aims to develop the students' knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford

Visit the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics page on the University of Oxford website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Yasmine D Bark

'I am a pharmacist who, after graduation, was keen to enter the research field. I knew I could work with drugs, but I wanted to specialize in a drug research area and my interest was still broad. I foresaw that a postgraduate degree was the next step, and the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics was what I needed to understand the current challenges in good clinical and research practice. I learned to apply the skills I already had - and, at the same time, develop new ones in the theoretical and empirical context.

'The modules were really engaging and I enjoyed the challenge to demonstrate a high level of critical thinking and innovation. I also got the opportunity to get laboratory experience - and then initiated working on my one-year dissertation project, Ruthenium Compounds as Anticancer Therapeutics: Mechanisms of Action at The CRUK-MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology.

'Platinum (Pt) compounds are amongst the most clinically useful drugs used in cancer treatment; however, due to unresolved issues of toxicity seen with them in general, the search for alternative anticancer therapeutics containing other metallic elements is in progress. Ruthenium (Ru) is a transition metal that forms a scientifically attractive alternative to Pt for drug discovery in treating cancer.

'The project explored the role of the tumor suppressor protein p53 in determining cellular responses to two Ru(II) complexes. They were investigated for their cytotoxicity and potential for use as radiosensitisers, and were compared with other Pt agents.

'This work gained a 'distinction' and resulted in my co-authoring my first publication, in Nature.

'All achievements came with a lot of hard-work and excellent supervision - especially when dealing with many of the pioneers in the relevant areas. My goals were refined and I found myself genuinely interested in dealing with health data.

'This is how I am currently involved in a project on big data analysis at The George Institute for Global Health (part of The Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology(NDOG)). I am working on tracking physical activity (PA) from childhood into adulthood in subjects from The International Child Cardiovascular Cohort (i3C) Consortium.

'From my own experience, the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics further contributed to my personal improvement as well. I enjoyed being the student representative for my cohort and participating in meetings within the Department and the University.'


Oxford scholarships - No. of awards TBC

Key facts :
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available for courses starting in 2016-17. Full scholarships will cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs.For over 70% of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered.
The vast majority of Oxford scholarships are awarded to applicants who submit their course application by the January deadline. Oxford scholarships worth over £1,000 are advertised through the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search. You should use this tool to find out whether you are eligible for scholarships which require an additional application. If you are, the tool will include links to full details of how to apply.In order to be considered for some scholarships offered by departments, you need to enter a scholarship reference code in the relevant section of the graduate application form. If this is the case, the code will be provided in the scholarship information given on department websites. When are Oxford scholarships awarded?:
Most Oxford scholarships are awarded between late February and June. The approximate date by which decisions are expected to be made will normally be given in the scholarship information, as linked through the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search.A scholarship may be awarded either at the same time or after you are offered a place by your department. It may be awarded either before or after you have been offered a college place.

Value of Scholarship(s)

worth over £1,000


See the website

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

For entry requirements visit the website View Website

Last Updated

17 November 2016

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