Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical science (BMS) focuses on how cells, organs and systems function in the human body, an exciting and dynamic area highly relevant to understanding and treating human diseases.

The University of Oxford is an internationally recognised centre for biomedical research and teaching. It has excellent facilities for biomedical sciences students, which include outstanding libraries and a purpose-built teaching centre that houses computing and laboratory facilities. Oxford aims to recruit and select the brightest and best students from the UK and the rest of the world, so you will have the chance to join a high-performing international cohort encompassing students from diverse backgrounds. This comprehensive and flexible programme ranges from genetics and molecular and cellular biology to integrated systems physiology, neuroscience, and psychology. The course is truly interdisciplinary, with several departments and units contributing teaching, including Biochemistry, Experimental Psychology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. The modular nature of the course allows students first to acquire an integrated understanding of biomedical science before progressing to specialisation later in the course. Based on that specialisation, students will be awarded a BA degree in either Neuroscience or Cells and Systems Biology. The research-intensive fourth year leads to the award of a Master’s degree (MBiomedSci). For further details on the structure of the course, please refer to the Biomedical Sciences website.

Magdalen has a strong tradition of teaching and research in the medical sciences, reflected in the five Fellows past and present awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Charles Sherrington, who laid the groundwork for our modern understanding of the nervous system; John Eccles, who was his student and who helped discover how nerves signal; Howard Florey, who developed penicillin; and Peter Medawar, who discovered the function of lymphocytes and how the immune system distinguishes between self and non-self. More recently, Peter Ratcliffe, Professor of Medicine who has done ground-breaking work on the role of oxygen-sensing factors in disease, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019

The Biomedical Sciences Fellows and lecturers are Lucy Bowes, Professor of Experimental Psychology, who studies the impact of early life stress on psychological and behavioural development; Robert Gilbert, Professor of Biochemistry, who uses structural methods to study the molecular basis of several biomedically important processes, including gene expression control and membrane pore formation; Christopher Garland, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology, who studies how very small arteries control blood flow; Stephen F. Goodwin, Professor of Neurogenetics, who studies the neural mechanisms that underlie sex-specific behaviours; and Dominic Alonzi, college lecturer and associate director of Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Biochemistry, who is applying glycobiology to the development of novel strategies for therapeutics.

In addition to our tutorial fellows and lecturers, Magdalen has five other medical fellows. Gero Miesenböck, Waynflete Professor of Physiology, studies the neurophysiological basis of behaviour in fruit flies using optogenetics. Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Ratcliffe, whose ground-breaking research discovered and defined the role of oxygen-sensing factors in disease. Professor Richard Cornall, Nuffield Professor of Medicine, studies the causes of autoimmunity. Professor Xin Lu, Director of the Oxford Ludwig Cancer Research Institute and Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute.

Entry requirements


All candidates must take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

Written work

None required.

Specific subjects

Any two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics are essential. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.

Deferred entry

Applications for deferred entry are not normally considered.