MSc in Clinical Embryology

The course brochure can be downloaded here.

Students wishing to apply for this course should note that the tuition fees are £34,338. Information concerning funding for overseas students is available at:

The following Oxford Colleges have accepted our student in the past: Jesus College, Oriel College, Worcester College, St. Edmund Hall, Mansfield College, Green-Templeton College, St. Catherine's College, Wolfson College, Kellogg College, St.Hugh's CollegeUniversity College. St. Hilda, St. Cross, St. Anne's and Trinity. If you do not have a preference for a specific College, then you should indicate on the online application system that you have ‘no college preference’, the University will then automatically assign you with a suitable college.

Please note that in addition to the normal application process, which requires a completed application form and curriculum vitae, we would like each applicant to write a short (no more than 500 words) statement explaining why the applicant wishes to take the course and how the course might influence their future career.

Applicants are advised that the University Course Code for the MSc in Clinical Embryology is 003840.

 Copyright of Jake Bryant of

Martriculation photoCourse Outline

This new, one year, residential, taught MSc aims to provide graduate students, scientists and clinicians with highly advanced theoretical and practical understanding of human reproductive biology, embryology, infertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) along with intensive ‘hands-on’ practical training in essential laboratory skills and the sophisticated gamete micromanipulation techniques associated with ART. Our MSc will fully prepare students for employment within the clinical embryology/ART sector. Our broad intention is to inspire, motivate and train a network of future leaders in clinical embryology throughout the world. Additionally, our students will benefit from intensive training in a range of laboratory skills highly suitable for a research career in reproductive science.

The MSc course is organised by the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and is based alongside the Oxford Fertility Unit in new purpose-built premises, the Institute of Reproductive Sciences, with dedicated state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.

The course runs over a period of one year, from October to September, incorporating the three University of Oxford terms: Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. Fundamental reproductive science and laboratory methods/practical skills are taught in the first term (Michaelmas) over five discrete Modules. Applied and clinical aspects are delivered in the second term (Hilary) over a further set of five Modules. Each Module is delivered over a period of one to three weeks and together, the ten Modules comprise the ‘core content’ of the course. The third term (Trinity) is extended to allow sufficient time for a high quality laboratory research project.

We place significant emphasis on the acquisition of practical laboratory skills. A particular strength of our course is that students will be trained individually on micromanipulation and laser biopsy equipment using training beads, mouse oocytes, human sperm and surplus human oocytes when available. Our Students spend significant amounts of time in the Oxford Fertility Unit (OFU) following Senior Clinicians in the Clinic, and embryologists in the IVF laboratory. Our Students also spend time with Junior/Trainee OFU embryologists to discuss career options, writing CV's and preparing for interviews. Our Students also meet visiting clinicians and embryologists from other leading UK IVF clinics, such as Hammersmith IVF Unit. Our staff will also provide significant insight into the legal issues surrounding ART, along with quality management, ethics and ISO-accreditation. Our students will also attend professional development seminars covering a wide range of topics including medical ethics, business and management skills, communication and presentation skills, intellectual property and experimental design.

Course Modules

  • Essential Cellular and Molecular Biology MSc student in lab - liquid nitrogen
  • Laboratory Methods and Practical Skills
  • The Mammalian Reproductive System
  • Fertilization and Early Embryogenesis,
  • Embryonic Development and Pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology
  • Assisted Conception: Skills and Techniques
  • Micromanipulation in ART (including ICSI and PGD)
  • Infertility and ART: Developments and Current Issues

Copyright of Matthew Lodge 2010

Teaching and Learning Methodology

The course will be taught primarily by senior members of staff from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and from the Oxford Fertility Unit. A variety of teaching methods will be used to enhance and optimise student learning: class lectures, group tutorials, laboratory practical classes, self-directed learning, problem based learning and in-house demonstrations by visiting companies. Students will also attend lectures given by visiting scientists who are world experts in their field.

Our students will have access to a dedicated communal office, photocopying facilities and personal computers. You will also have access to one of the best library collections in the world. Once enrolled on our MSc, you will be allocated a Departmental Mentor, who will be a senior member of the clinical, scientific or research staff. Your Mentor will provide individual support and guidance throughout the course and will meet you regularly to discuss coursework and assessment. You will also become a member of one of Oxford’s historic and prestigious Colleges and be assigned a College Tutor. This level of individual support is a prominent and highly acclaimed feature of the University of Oxford environment and will provide the support necessary for you to achieve maximal benefit from your studies.

Further Information and Application Procedure

Applicants must have a minimum 2:1 degree (or equivalent for non-UK students) in a clinical or scientific subject related to the field of clinical embryology. Aside from the normal graduate studies application procedure, applicants are asked to submit a short essay (no more than 500 words) describing why they wish to study for the M.Sc. and how they think our programme might influence their future career. Overseas students will be expected to demonstrate a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score, as stipulated by the University. For further specifics and the application procedure, please refer to the University Graduate Studies Prospectus. It is anticipated that we will be able to offer small bursaries to some of our students, to be awarded on a competitive basis.

Further details can be obtained from the MSc Course Director, Dr Kevin Coward, Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, email or phone 01865 782878.

The Institute of Reproductive Sciences – a new centre for cutting-edge research into causes of infertility and assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF – has opened on the Oxford Business Park in Cowley.
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To read an article written by course staff on Professor Sir Robert Edwards, the pioneer of IVF, click here


To read an article written by course staff on embryology training in the UK, click here



"We have been very impressed with the student we employed from the Oxford MSc in Clinical Embryology. She has progressed very quickly in our clinical laboratory. The training program in Oxford is obviously very good and we would be very willing to consider future graduates for our on-going embryology research training internship programme". Dr. Nina Desai, Director, Cleveland Clinic Fertility Centre, Ohio, USA.

"We at Victory ART in Hong Kong are most grateful to you for your teaching and hope that more of our young trainees would be able to come under your tutorage in the near future". Dr Clement Ho, Director, Victory ART, Hong Kong.


May 2012 - The innovative teaching styles deployed on the Oxford MSc in Clinical Embryology have been recognised by the Higher Education Academy (UK), an organisation which champions excellence in learning and teaching in higher education. Dr Kevin Coward has been awarded an HEA Teaching Grant to help develop novel methods for teaching practical laboratory skills. This Model will be deployed on the new class joining us in October 2012.

August 2012 - Core staff associated with the development and delivery of the Oxford MSc in Clinical Embryology have been awarded  a 'Major Educator Award' as part of the University of Oxford Medical Science Division's Teaching Excellence Award Scheme. The award-winning team includes Dr Kevin Coward, Mrs Celine Jones, Dr Junaid Kashir, Professor Stephen Kennedy, Professor Ian Sargent, Ms Pip Elphick, Dr Christian Becker, Mr Enda McVeigh, Mr Tim Child, and Dr Karen Turner.

June 2013 - Dr Kevin Coward and Mrs Celine Jones have been awarded an OxTALENT Award (Teaching and Learning Enhanced by New Technology) for innovative use of technology in the classroom. The award-winning work was funded by a teaching development grant from the Higher Education Academy and involved the use of mobile interactive board technology for wet laboratory practical teaching. For more information, click here



October 2013 –  A new textbook has been published by Cambridge University Press (UK) focussing upon clinical embryology and the treatment of human infertility. Edited by Dr Kevin Coward and Dr Dagan Wells, the Textbook of Clinical Embryology, features contributions from many of the lecturers contributing to the Oxford MSc in Clinical Embryology and covers scientific, clinical, legal, and regulatory issues related to this expanding discipline. The book aims to represent a highly useful resource for a wide readership, including students, teachers, scientists, clinicians, and embryologists.  

June 2014 -  Dr Kevin Coward, Mrs Celine Jones and Dr Natalia Barkalina have been awarded an OxTALENT AWARD (Interactive Infographics) for innovative design of a novel method for poster presentation, that uses electronic video-enhanced posters projected on a mobile interactive whiteboard. For more information click here  


OxTalent 2014