Thomas Oliver was born in Nottingham and educated at Cambridge University, graduating BA in 1909. He came to Manchester to complete his medical training and took the MB ChB in 1912. In 1919 he was awarded the MD, and he also took the MRCP. His first post was house physician at MRI working with George Murray. During the First World War he served in Mesopotamia, and was based at Basra.
In 1921 he joined E.M Brockbank's unit at MRI. He became a honorary physician at MRI in 1934. He was dean of clinical studies at MRI from 1921-39. He was also a consulting physician at Bury General Infirmary. His research interests were in sugar diabetes.
Oliver had a good reputation as a teacher. He was part-time professor of clinical medicine from 1940-46, and part-time professor of therapeutics from 1946-8. at the University of Manchester. He was president of Manchester Medical Society from 1939-43