Medicine students at Somerville join a thriving academic community committed to excellence in research and clinical care. 

Somerville strongly wishes to encourage applicants from the widest range of social, ethnic and geographic backgrounds: candidates are selected solely on the basis of academic excellence and future academic potential.


There are some particular advantages to studying medicine at Somerville. We have a very strong emphasis on academic excellence and scientific education, and in recent years our students have scored very highly in all three courses and are often awarded University-wide prizes. You will have the opportunity to explore the scientific research basis of medicine, and many of our students get involved in research projects beyond the core requirements of the course, sometimes being published. 

We are fortunate to have four Tutors from a wide range of clinical specialities. Professor Daniel Anthony uses a combination of non-invasive imaging, molecular biology and immunochemical techniques to explore the cross-talk between the brain or spinal cord and the peripheral immune system. Professor Damian Tyler develops MRI and MRS techniques for studying the structure, function and metabolism of the heart. Professor Matthew Wood is a clinical Neuroscientist who works on developing gene therapies for neuromuscular diseases. Dr Helen Ashdown is a GP and clinical researcher who oversees Somerville’s clinical medicine teaching. With their array of expertise, you will be able to pursue your interests with ease. There are also opportunities for final year clinical students to get involved in teaching.

We have an outstanding library, dedicated facilities for medical students in the Banister Room, and offer scholarships to graduate entry and clinical medicine students. Support for our clinical students’ elective periods and course-related travel grants are available, with grants currently of the order of approximately £1,000 per student. In addition, equipment grants are available for each student. Click here for further details of current awards.


We tend to make offers to six medical students to the pre-clinical medicine course each year. These students take the three-year pre-clinical course, reading for a BA in Medical Sciences, before proceeding to their clinical studies, for which the majority of students choose to remain at Somerville. We admit 2-3 students each year to the four-year graduate entry course: there is more integration of pre-clinical and clinical studies than in the undergraduate course, but the first year is mainly pre-clinical followed by three mainly clinical years.

Many of our students join the Janet Vaughan Society, the college medical society which creates a thriving and supportive community for all of Somerville’s students, tutors and academics affiliated to the medical sciences. Their meetings provide opportunities to hear from visiting and internal speakers, which in the past have included: world-leading paediatrician and endocrinologist Professor George Chrousos, club doctor for Saracens rugby Dr Ademola Adejuwon, and Dame Fiona Caldicott, National Data Guardian and Chair of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Students also have the opportunity to present and discuss their recent work, such as research projects, interesting cases and clinical placements abroad. The society facilitates the creation of strong links between pre-clinical and clinical students as well as helping to prepare students for a career in professional medicine.

Somerville has a long tradition of outstanding achievement in the medical sciences. Our medical heritage includes a Nobel Prize award in chemistry 1964 to Dorothy Hodgkin for discovering the molecular structures of Penicillin, Vitamin B12 and Cholesterol Iodide using X-ray crystallography. She went on to identify the structure of insulin in 1969. The College also has a history of excellence in clinical medicine: we have had two medical College Principals, Dame Janet Vaughan (1945-1967) and Dame Fiona Caldicott (1996-2010), the first female President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Next Steps

A wide variety of pathways in medicine exist. You might choose to go into specialist clinical training, or go the way of research and teaching. You don’t need to have planned all your next steps at the time you apply – Oxford’s Clinical School organises careers session for all final-year clinical students to help you choose and apply for your next post. 

Fellows and Lecturers
  • Daniel Anthony

    Fellow & Tutor in Medicine; Professor of Experimental Neuropathology
  • Robin Klemm

    Fellow & Tutor in Medicine; Associate Professor of Physiological Metabolism
  • Helen Ashdown

    Janet Vaughan Tutor in Clinical Medicine (Somerville); General Practitioner; Clinical Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
  • Rajesh Thakker

    Senior Research Fellow; May Professor of Medicine
  • Damian Tyler

    Additional Fellow and Tutor in Medicine; Professor of Physiological Metabolism; British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow; Director of MR Physics at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR)
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