Log in |

courses pages people
Department for Continuing Education logo
University of Oxford logo
Department for Continuing Education logo
Department for Continuing EducationUniversity of Oxford
icon representing oxford qualificationsicon representing professional development courses

Search results

MSc in Surgical Science and Practice

Key facts

TypesOxford Qualification - Part-time
Professional Development
Start dateOct 2016
Subject area(s)Health
FeesClick here for fee information.
Application statusApplications being accepted
Application deadlineFri 24 June 2016
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 286954.


Surgical Science and Practice Programme

The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice is a part-time, modular course completed in two to three years by surgical trainees.

Delivered in collaboration with the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences it is designed to prepare senior surgical trainees for life as independent specialists by providing key skills and knowledge essential for modern practice, which are not fully represented or are omitted from most postgraduate training curricula. The course is unique as its part-time nature is designed to allow students to fit their study around work.

The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice provides a foundation in some of the most important additional life long skills which the future leaders of the profession need to acquire. Surgeons in the future will work as part of multi-disciplinary teams in complex organisations, and will need to adapt and develop new skills and roles throughout their professional lives. Thus the syllabus covers management skills, quality improvement, leadership, teamwork and patient safety, as well as an introduction to the principles of medical education and clinical research methods. The knowledge gained during this course will stand students in good stead throughout their careers.

Please keep me informed about the Surgical Science and Practice programme.

Programme details

Download the latest Surgical Science and Practice brochure PDF document.

Surgical Science and Practice Cover

The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice is organised around six compulsory modules, plus a work-based 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 course features a significant component of online and distance learning, as well as one week of intensive teaching in Oxford per module.


Each module takes place once a year, giving students the opportunity to individualise their patterns of study.

During the course there is an exceptional opportunity for an introduction, with hands-on experience, to leading edge modern surgical technology such as the Da Vinci robot. The programme also features lectures by staff from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine based in the world-renowned Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

Taught by global experts, the modules in this programme can also be taken as individual stand-alone courses.

"The MSc in Surgical Science and Practice has provided me with a solid foundation to take my career to the next level as a successful surgeon, not only as a clinician but also as an educator and a manager. Through the course I have developed a skill set that will allow me to work effectively in a team that provides high quality care in today’s and tomorrow’s NHS. The course has provided me with opportunities that have broadened my horizons. Definitely a worthwhile investment, I have new and enhanced attributes that I will use for the rest of my surgical career.” - Geoffrey Chiu, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon, UK

"The MSc Surgical Science and Practice covers critical aspects of the training of surgical specialists based on competencies. The teachers make you think out of the “doctors”-box; you are not just becoming a medical specialist, you will also be involved in research, quality improvement, teamwork, organisation, management, education etc. As a Dutch registrar, I found the discussions with international colleagues and teachers very insightful. Moreover, combining this part-time MSc (containing 6 short visits to lovely Oxford and mostly internet-based learning) with a regular training in your home country is very feasible. I would recommend it to every surgical registrar who is looking for a broader perspective on health care.” - Gabie de Jong, Surgical Registrar, The Netherlands

Entry requirements

Please visit the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice page on the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website for details of the entry requirements.



Prof Peter McCulloch

Role: Director & Tutor

Clinical Reader in Surgery, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
Director, Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit
Member of...more

Dr Lauren Morgan

Role: Deputy Course Director and Tutor

Human Factors Research Fellow and Departmental Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford

Lauren leads...more

Professor Richard Canter

Role: Module Coordinator

Visiting Professor of Surgical Education, University of Oxford

Richard Canter is currently visiting Professor of Surgical Education at...more

Dr Alexandra Cope

Role: Module Coordinator

Dr Alexandra Cope MB BS Med PhD FRCS is NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Medical Education at the Leeds Institution of Medical Education,...more

Mr Nicholas De Pennington

Role: Module Coordinator

Nick’s undergraduate degree was from Cambridge followed by clinical training in Oxford. After basic surgical training he returned to Oxford for...more

Dr David Nunan

Role: Module Coordinator

David Nunan is a Research Fellow in Evidence-Based Practice and Physical...more

Course aims

The overarching aim of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice is to provide the next generation of surgeons with the tools to build and lead successful surgical units delivering safe, high quality, high reliability care.

By the end of the course candidates will be able to understand the following important principles:

  • How to evaluate clinical research evidence critically and understand how it should be interpreted and applied to one’s own context and practice;
  • How to design, conduct and evaluate teaching and training for postgraduate clinicians, and how to assess curricula and teaching programmes;
  • Financial and quality management ideas, and methods for analysing and restructuring the systems in which surgeons work;
  • A theoretical understanding of the use of modern surgical technology linked to baseline practical training in minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques;
  • The teamwork, leadership and communication skills required for effective and safe working in a modern surgical environment.

What will you gain from attending the programme?

At the end of the programme you will be able to:

  • Critically appraise relevant clinical research and estimate its validity and relevance to your practice;
  • Understand in principle how to design your own clinical research studies, and what expert support you need to be successful;
  • Understand basic business and financial planning in the health care industry;
  • Develop your own business plans and cases for your practice;
  • Understand the principles of leading a team and how to foster an appropriate culture to promote good teamwork and communication;
  • Analyse and improve systems of work within surgery using standard industrial quality improvement and human factors principles;
  • Understand how to act as a mentor and trainer for postgraduate trainees, how to set up and run courses and curricula, and how to evaluate and improve trainee progress;
  • Understand and have some experience of using up to the minute surgical technology which is likely to become important during your career.

Assessment methods

To complete the MSc, students will need to:

  • Attend the six compulsory modules in Oxford, and undertake assessed written assignments for each module;
  • Complete a dissertation on a topic selected by the candidate in consultation with the supervisor and approved by the Standing Committee.

The dissertation will be founded on a work-based research project that will build on the 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.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.

Teaching methods

Image of Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford

The class-based modules 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 is a requirement for study. Some non-classroom activities are provided at facilities elsewhere in the University, including surgical simulators and operating theatres on the University's hospital sites. The course includes taught material on research skills.

The taught modules include group work, discussions, guest lectures, and interaction and feedback with tutors and lecturers. Practical work develops the student's knowledge and understanding of the subject. This includes supervised access to surgical simulators and robots as part of the Surgical Technology and Robotics module.

A virtual learning environment (VLE) provides extensive support between modules.

Resources available:

University of Oxford libraries, including:

Plus facilities from the Department of Continuing Education, including:


Rewley House Accommodation

Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms are rated 4-star, and come with free high-speed internet access and TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.


Click here for fee information.

MSc programme fee rates [2]

Annual award fee:

  • £1,390 for Home/EU students or
  • £6,575 for Overseas students (see note 1)

Module fee: £1,740 (per taught module)
Dissertation fee: £5,220 (equivalent to 3 module fees)

Illustration for MSc programme (assumes completion within two years)

Home/EU [3]

  • 2 x annual award fee = £2,780
  • 6 x module fee (6 taught modules) = £10,440
  • 1 x dissertation fee = £5,220
  • Total: £18,440

Overseas [3]

  • 2 x annual award fee = £13,150
  • 6 x module fee (6 taught modules) = £10,440
  • 1 x dissertation fee = £5,220
  • Total: £28,810


1. The fee rates listed are for the academic year shown, and you should be aware that these rates will increase annually, so students attending for more than one year should expect the total to be higher than is shown in the Illustration. The exact amount will depend on the fee rates set annually, and upon the years you are in attendance; these are normally published well before the start of each academic year, but for your own budgetary purposes you may wish to estimate a 5% annual increase on fee rates.

2. MSc students are matriculated and are full members of the Collegiate University; college fees are included within the MSc programme fees and are paid to the colleges on a student’s behalf.

3. See the University of Oxford website for Home/EU and Overseas classification of students for fees purposes.


Judith Hockaday Travel Bursaries: Students attending postgraduate medical courses who are normally resident in less developed countries may be eligible for a bursary to help with travel to and from Oxford.

Clarendon Fund Scholarship

Applications to the MSc completed before 22 January 2016 will automatically be considered for a Clarendon Fund Scholarship.

Other sources of funding

Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our financial assistance page.

Apply for this course

Applications for this course should be made online via the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website. Please see the Application Guide for more information on how to apply.

Applications will be considered at each of the following gathered field deadlines:

  • Friday 22 January 2016*
  • Friday 11 March 2016

If places are still available after the University's main 11 March 2016 deadline, we will consider applications until 24 June 2016. All supporting materials, including references, need to have been received by this date.

*Applications completed before 22 January 2016 will automatically be considered for a Clarendon Scholarship.

Help us to help you. Apply early - if you submit your application early, the Graduate Admissions team will be able to let you know if any items are missing. Applications must have been fully completed by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered, so please ensure that you have gathered your supporting materials in advance and have given your referees plenty of time to prepare their references before the deadline. Click here for a recommended timeline for applications.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to telephone interview.

Please read our 'Contractual and financial information' before submitting your application.

If you would like to discuss the programme please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)1865 286954 - Email: ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk

Contractual and financial information (important: please read before applying) PDF document.

facebook social media icon facebook social media icon facebook social media icon

red box iconKeep me informed

By email
Receive our quarterly email newsletter and news of upcoming events

We're happy to answer your questions and to provide information!