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The University of Oxford is offering a new online course in sleep medicine, due to start in October 2016. Students will be able to work towards two potential qualifications: a Post-graduate Diploma (PgDip) or a Masters (MSc).

The new programme is hosted by the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi), which was established in 2012 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and the University of Oxford. The SCNi is based in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, a highly interdisciplinary environment in which research, teaching, clinical training and care interact.

The course will equip health-care professionals to apply sleep medicine within the guidelines of their own practice and qualifications. Modules  cover the breadth of sleep medicine, from the physiological basis of sleep and sleep disorders, to sleep and society.

The programme has been designed flexibly to fit around professional demands. Students will be able to listen to lectures online, and take part in web-based discussion groups. There will also be a residential school, with talks and seminars given by international experts in sleep medicine. This school will include classes focusing on practical aspects of sleep medicine along with high-level topic reviews and discussions of new or emerging research findings.

Assessment will be based on extended essays, and, in the case of the MSc, a dissertation.

This is an immensely exciting development and puts Oxford at the vanguard of sleep and circadian rhythm education - not just in the UK but across the world
- Professor Russell Foster, Director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute

Professor Colin Espie has designed the course, alongside Dr Chris Harvey. Dr Simon Kyle has been appointed by the University of Oxford to run the new programme. He said: ‘This is excellent news. More than one third of the population experience disordered, insufficient or mistimed sleep yet surprisingly sleep medicine training remains limited. This programme represents a significant advance in sleep medicine education, through its novel online delivery as well as integration of both sleep and circadian science and practice.'

Read more about the programme.