Biomedical Sciences

Congratulations on your conditional offer of a place to study Biomedical Sciences at Oxford! We are so excited to welcome you to St John’s this autumn, and we have put together this page of resources to help you prepare for the start of your course.

You will meet the following tutors in BMS  during your first three years:

Useful websites:

Reading list & other resources

It is a good idea to get a more complete picture of the biomedical profession by reading books, blogs and watching videos written by scientists. Some examples are below, but read very broadly. Reading literature broadens your perspectives and can provide insight that will only enrich your studies. You should follow your own personal passion and this course allows you to select the directions that interest you most. 


In your first term at St John’s you will take a course in statistics. To help you prepare, Professor Jill O’Reilly has created a brief introductory resource that will help you become familiar with a coding language called Python.

Some textbooks relevant to the first year course:

  • Frances Ashcroft: Life at the Extremes (2000); The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body.
  • Cellular Physiology of Nerve and Muscle, Gary G. Matthews
  • Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, by Mark F. Bear, Barry W. Connors, Michael A. Paradiso
  • Keele, Berne & Levy Physiology, by Bruce Koeppen Bruce Stanton

General reading books:

  • Ben Goldacre: Bad Science
  • Ben Goldacre: Bad Pharma: How Medicine is Broken, And How We Can Fix It

Online lectures & interviews

If you are interested in history of medical sciences, we recommend this website with original slides, objects, stories, seminars:

There is a lecture on history of neuroscience at Oxford from Zoltan Molnar: “Neuroscience in Oxford: Four Centuries of Discovery”

There is a seminar recording on the life of Sir Charles Sherrington: “Sherrington’s Box of Wonders”

Public talks & lectures search Sebastian Seung, Henry Markram, Ramachandran, Herkulano-Houzel, Antonio Damasio, Allan Jones, Ed Boyden, Gero Miesenboeck, Oliver Sacks

If you are interested in evolution:

If you are interested in brain disorders and what they can tell us:

If you are interested in how tissue engineering can assist medicine:

If you are interested in sound localization to replace sight:

If you are interested in brain machine interface:

If you are interested in drug discovery:

If you are interested in DNA:

If you are interested in epigenetics:

If you are interested in the biology of addiction:

Some general interest lectures from St John’s College president Prof Maggie Snowling:

St John’s College President Prof Maggie Snowling discusses dyslexia; click here to access the full lecture
St John’s College President Prof Maggie Snowling discusses oral language skills

Podcasts & blogs

Open access papers

Study skills for incoming undergraduates

As an Oxford student, you have many great opportunities ahead, but studying here can also be very challenging. To help you prepare for this, we have put together some resources that will help you develop your study skills before you start at Oxford, no matter your subject.

Starting at Oxford

Starting a course at Oxford can be very daunting, but there are many resources out there to help you succeed! Here are some useful guides from across the University that you might want to check out:

  • Study skills and training: Here you can find advice on academic good practice including avoiding plagiarism, managing your time, reading, note taking, referencing and revision.
  • Student life: It’s not all about academics at Oxford; here you can find out about the range of other opportunities available to you as a student, as well as tips on how to navigate student life with your workload. If you prefer podcasts, much of this information is available in that form here!
  • Managing the cost: Undergraduate students Helena, Joe and Dan, have teamed up with the University’s Undergraduate Admissions team to discuss the financial support available to students and how they manage the cost of studying at Oxford.

Useful contacts

If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this page, you can get in touch with the following people:

ContactQuestions they can answer
Admissions Office: Sarah JonesAnything to do with offers, visas, UCAS issues, reading lists and preparatory materials
Accommodation OfficeAccommodation, what to bring, insurance, electoral roll issues  
BursaryAll things financial
College OfficePractical arrangements, bank letters, etc.
Disability enquiries: Elaine EastgateAny issues relating to disability or special requirements