Thinking of Medicine?  Here at Keble we educate medics who think and are adaptable.  We don’t just “produce doctors” and we certainly don’t “train” them.  Medicine moves fast.  Your real challenge in Medicine is to acquire an integrated and critical perspective in the face of the huge amount of information in widely different subjects.  So Oxford insists that, as a medic, you must take an Honours degree. As Oxford sees it, acquiring a firm grasp of basic sciences and developing an evidence-based approach should predominate during the first three years.  Other medical courses elsewhere emphasise a more clinically-based approach right from the start. You should seriously ask yourself which type of course will suit you best before making an application.  What evidence can you produce that you really do want to study basic medical science before going on the wards?  That said, Oxford's course does include a Patient and Doctor course as a thread through the first two years, and we have strong teaching links with GP practices in nearby Jericho (Dr Helen Salisbury) and Blackbird Leys (Dr Miranda Wynne-Edwards).

Oxford pre-clinical students are not guaranteed admission to the Oxford Clinical course, nor necessarily to any clinical course, though the selection procedure for clinical students during Year 3 normally ensures that practically all find clinical places somewhere.  Almost without exception in the last ten years, our students at Keble who want to stay in Oxford have done so.

Advantages of Keble

Keble medics consistently achieve very good academic results with 2-3 of the cohort often achieving Firsts in their FHS exams.  All Keble rooms have an ethernet network point, to enable convenient use of electronic bibliography searching and other Web-based resources.  There is substantial contact and a vigorous camaraderie between the year groups, including particularly the graduate clinical medics.  Our College Biomedical Society maintains our contacts with good project supervisors, and promotes speaker meetings and various social bonding events.  The Society Annual Dinner is a prominent focus for this.  Keble is very conveniently located for medics: we are the closest undergraduate College to the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre, and to the University's Hooke Lending Library.   The Radcliffe Science Library, whose Director is a Fellow of the College, is directly across the road from us.  The College Library is well stocked with books for 1st BM, and we have a microscope with a standard set of histological slides, and a half-skeleton for undergraduate use.

Course structure

For further information, see course details.

Pre-clinical Medicine 1st BM is taken in two parts: the first year comprises four integrated courses covering Physiology; Organisation of the Body; Biochemistry of the Cell, and Medical Sociology.  Then for two terms of the 2nd year you do Part II: General Pathology and Microbiology; Integrative Physiology; Neuroscience; and Psychology for Medicine.  The thread of the Patient and Doctor course continues throughout 1st BM.  After that the Honours course begins and comprises a range of options, taking you to the advancing edges of a speciality such as Neuroscience (which can incorporate Psychology) or Infection and Immunity or Myocardial, Vascular and Respiratory Biology or Signalling in Health and Disease (these are the Options that Keble tutors teach directly themselves), or Molecular Medicine.  The Finals course has been comprehensively reviewed and includes a compulsory dissertation, an extended essay and development of your skills in critically reading scientific papers, on which you will be examined.  It encourages you to focus on one Main Option but also to integrate topics from any part of the other options, including Psychology.  Finally the three-week course "Principles of Clinical Anatomy" is placed right at the end of the undergraduate course, to keep Anatomy very well brushed-up immediately before the clinical course starts.

Clinical Medicine is taught entirely as a graduate course, and there is a separate application and selection procedure for this during the third pre-clinical year.  About 80 to 100 of the Oxford pre-clinical intake usually continue on to the Oxford Clinical School.  We are delighted when Keble pre-clinical students continue at Keble for their clinical course, as most do.

Typical pattern of teaching

For BM you are taught by a combination of lectures (say a dozen a week), practicals and tutorials (in pairs or trios; about 2 per week on average).  This pattern continues through to Finals, with a reduced formal workload and more time for individual study.  Obviously we are particularly glad if Keble medics choose the options that are specialist interests of the Keble tutors (see above). This is the best reason for you to prefer one college over another.  If you choose other Options than those we teach, arrangements are made for external tuition.

Qualities sought for entry

We are interested in people who can think quickly, clearly and critically, and who can connect different pieces of evidence with their background knowledge.  The interviews, which are conducted without us knowing which college you may have applied to, include assessments of your academic potential to benefit best from the education we provide here as well as of general personal qualities.  We may ask you to prepare a short (4 minute) oral presentation to serve as a topic for discussion during interview.  We particularly welcome the International Baccalaureate, Scottish Higher and CSYS, or other non-GCE qualifications.

We are fully signed up to abide by the Faculty’s selection criteria and entrance requirements.

Although A2 level Biology (or equivalent) is not mandatory, in the past nearly all successful candidates have included Biology as one of their subjects.  Those who have not are required to do supplementary reading in Biology before they start their course.  A-level conditions will commonly be A*AA.

Written Work and Test  All applicants must sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). This, together with a review of your academic performance stated on your UCAS form, provides the basis for short-listing for interview.  The shortlisting ratio is about 2.5 applicants per place and is agreed collectively between all the colleges. No other written work is required.

General conditions for entry of medical students

All medical students in the UK also have to provide evidence of their Hepatitis B status.  The rare individuals who are Hbe positive may have to reconsider their plans for a full medical training.

For further information see the Medicine page of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.


Approximate yearly intake Keble: 5
Overall: 170
Department Website Medical Sciences


Via the College Office.


Dr Simon Butt MA PhD, Tutorial Fellow in Neurophysiology, has overall responsibility in directing college teaching for Biomedical Science. He is a University Lecturer in Neurosciences in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. His research is concerned with the development of inhibitory interneurons in the mammalian cerebral cortex and how dysfunction of this type of cell might underpin a range of neurodevelopmental conditions from autism to schizophrenia. He gives lectures on the Genes, Circuit and Behaviour option for 2nd year Biomedical Sciences and is heavily involved in the FHS neurodevelopment course and MSc in neuroscience programme.

Dr Ulrike Gruneberg BSc PhD, is a Tutorial Fellow in Experimental Pathology and holder of an MRC Senior Research Fellowship. Her lab is based in the Dunn School of Pathology and her field of research is the mechanism of cell division, specifically the triggers for appropriate chromosome segregation during mitosis. She provides tutorial teaching towards the Cells, Molecules and Genes Prelims paper and FHS Molecular Medicine option.

Prof Neil Herring BM BCh MA DPhil, is a Fellow by Special Election. He is Senior Registrar in Cardiology at the John Radcliffe Hospital and researches the autonomic innervation of the heart, and its involvement in heart disease.  He teaches all aspects of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Dr Rhys Evans BM BCh MA DPhil, Fellow by Special Election, College Lecturer in Physiology and former Senior Scholar and Junior Research Fellow of the College.  He is Consultant in Anaesthetics in the Oxford Radcliffe hospitals. He teaches General Physiology and metabolic biochemistry to the undergraduates, and researches lipid metabolism especially in heart muscle.

Prof Martin Farrall , BSc, MB BS, FRCPath is Fellow in Cardiovascular Genetics.  He is University Lecturer in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, on the Churchill Hospital site in Headington.  He has published on the molecular genetics of cystic fibrosis, and is currently studying the genetic basis of common diseases such as high blood pressure and ischaemic heart disease.

Dr Conrad Von Stempel and Dr Mark Little are college lecturers who provide tutorials on other parts of the course.