Health Research Methods - MSc/Diploma/Certificate

How do we know what we know about a disease and it’s treatment?

Our most reliable knowledge derives from appropriate, timely, high-quality research. 

This programme will equip you with the skills needed to understand the critical elements in planning, undertaking, and analysing research in health care. These are vital skills for anyone wanting to develop or enhance their career in health care and health-related research. 

Our modules can be accessed in a variety of ways including as standalone modules (10 or 20 credits each) or through the 60 credit PG Certificate; 120 credit PG Diploma or the 180 credit Masters

If you wish to study this programme to Postgraduate Diploma level then you will need to complete the taught elements of the programme but will not need to complete a dissertation, which is only available to those studying for the Masters.

This modular multidisciplinary programme offers a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or a Masters in Health Research Methods and is particularly suitable for:

  • clinical and allied health professionals (including doctors, nurses, midwives, dietitians, physiotherapists)
  • laboratory-based scientists wishing to further understand or transition to population-based research
  • graduates looking to launch their career in health research
  • intercalating medical students who have completed at least three years of full-time study
  • those in the commercial health care sector (including the pharmaceutical or devices industries), public sector organisations (including local government), NGOs, voluntary sector and charities
  • foundation skills for postgraduate research programmes (including PhD)

The aims of the course are to provide a world class programme that meets the needs of those wanting or needing:

  • a detailed understanding of the range of methodologies and analyses utilised in applied health research
  • the necessary skills to critically interpret the findings of health research resulting from different methodologies.

Why study this course

  • You will gain an advanced understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods in a global health care context. The programme  provides in-depth knowledge and practical experience of the range of methodologies and analyses applied in health-related research and will enable critical interpretation of the findings of health research resulting from different methodologies
  • This programme is run and taught by researchers and lecturers actively involved in leading health research nationally and internationally.
  • The programme has a modular nature which allows the flexibility for participants to shape the programme to fit their needs and teaching takes place in one-week blocks.
  • The programme is delivered in a progressive dynamic environment of up-to-date health research that employs rigour, discipline, and high standards.
  • The University of Birmingham is a thriving and dynamic institution that combines over a century of heritage with one of the most compelling and ambitious agendas in higher education. It is ranked amongst the world’s top 100  institutions for clinical, pre-clinical and health. With world-leading activity across a range of subjects, it remains one of the UK’s most broadly-based research-led universities.
  • The University has a particularly strong track record in Health Research and Health Research Methodology. 

Modules

This modular multidisciplinary programme in Heath Research Methods offers a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) and a Masters in Health Research Methods (180 credits). This programme is vital for anyone wanting to develop or enhance their career in health care and health-related research.

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the range and application of research methods in health care
  • critical evaluation and interpretation of published literature
  • epidemiology, to a level that enables formulation of appropriate questions about health at a population level, the selection of appropriate techniques through which such questions can be addressed and the analysis, synthesis and presentation of the data collected
  • statistical tests and their proper use in the analysis of various types of data, to a level that will enable critical analysis of statistical approaches in the epidemiological and clinical trials literature and the correct application of statistics in their own project work

You will attain the ability to:

  • critically evaluate published literature, analyse and interpret data and devise areas for further study
  • design and undertake research in a relevant field
  • undertake self-directed learning and applying these skills in future work
  • appropriately synthesise and present existing and new research findings and concepts

The programme can be studied either full-time, part-time or over up to five years by flexible learning. NonUK/EU students may only study the programme on full-time basis.

Masters

Core modules:

You will study the following core modules:

Optional modules: 

You will choose 80 credits from the list below.  

Please note: some optional modules may have pre-requisites

Postgraduate Diploma

You will take the 120 credits from taught modules as per the Masters choices but will not complete the dissertation.

Postgraduate Certificate

You will obtain 60 credits from a choice of core and optional modules. You can transfer from the Certificate to Diploma and from Diploma to the Masters based on appropriate performance.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The new postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced for students commencing in the 2016-17 academic year. As part of the UK’s Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement, the government has reconfirmed its commitment to loans for postgraduate Masters degrees as part of the 2015 Spending Review.

The government-backed student loans will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas.  Detailed criteria and information regarding the application process is expected in early 2016. The key information to date is summarised here.

2016/17

Home/EU students
MSc: £7,200/PGDip - £4,800

International
MSc £18,900 /PGDdip £12,600

Applicants will need to pay a £500 non-refundable deposit at the point of accepting an offer to study on the programme. The deposit is put towards payment of fees when students join the course.

Self funding students can choose to pay in instalments by direct debit.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships   
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Visit our website for information about scholarships for international students.

For information about all Home/EU and International funding opportunities please visit the Postgraduate Funding Database.

For other funding queries contact the School directly or get in touch with the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system.

Entry requirements

Enthusiasm and commitment are vital, while formal entry requirements include:

  • usually a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in medicine, a life/ biological science or another relevant subject
  • an interest in health research methods
  • an interest in evidence-based healthcare

 On a case by case situation, we also consider:

  • other classes of degree and or relevant professional qualifications
  • experience of working in health or a related field

Applications are also welcome from UK medical students who wish to intercalate and have completed at least three years of full-time study.

Please note: applications are considered as they are received throughout the year with places awarded to candidates meeting the entry requirements as they are received. Therefore we suggest that overseas students apply early and applications will need to be received by June to enable enough time for processing.

Applications from UK students can be accepted until early August.

International students:

Academic requirements
We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

English to IELTS 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each component) or TOEFL Internet based 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band.

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

As a Birmingham student, you will be joining the academic elite and will have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts, as well as your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Teaching takes place in one-week blocks, and you will participate in a range of teaching styles such as lectures, small group tutorials, presentations, peer group learning, self-study etc.

You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues.

Our facilities

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses state-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity. 

Our facilities ensure that students receive the best possible learning experience by working in a modern environment. Among our most recent developments include a refurbishment of the Medical School foyer, Barnes library and Wolfson Centre for Medical Education.

Explore our facilities and take a tour by moving around our 360-degree panoramas:

 

Assessment methods

Assessment is via a mixture of examination and assignment. If a module is assessed by assignment you will usually have 4-5 weeks to complete it after the module has finished. If a module is assessed by examination it will take place after a period to allow for revision after the taught part of the module has finished.

Masters students complete their degree by also undertaking a research project and writing a 10,000 word dissertation. This provides you with an opportunity to pursue a specific area of health research in depth, and to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught part of the programme. It is therefore undertaken only once the taught part of the programme has been successfully completed. The research undertaken for the dissertation will include use of a health research methodology taught on the programme. Examples include; a systematic review, a health equity audit or needs assessment, a quantitative or qualitative study using a previously collected data, a health service review for system improvement

Prizes are presented to the best students on the programme.

Related research

The programme provides a range of benefits for potential future employment and the flexibility of module choice enables learning tailored to meet your specific needs. 

For example, the programme:

  • provides an excellent basis for a future study towards a PhD in health
  • develops further skills to augment progression in your current or next position
  • enhances your role within the commercial health care sector (e.g. pharmaceutical, devices and related industries)
  • develops your health research skills within the clinical and allied health professions, public sector including local government, NGOs, voluntary sectors and charities
  • provides a robust foundation for a transition or entry to population-based health research from a laboratory research background (this is a frequent transition which many of those teaching on the programme have followed, including both Programme Directors) or as a new graduate wishing to launch your career in health research
  • to develop skills in applying translational research methodologies

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market.

Here are just a few ways in which we can help postgraduates to get ahead:

  • Careers Networking opportunities
  • Effective careers strategy toolkit
  • Year planner for all postgraduate students
  • Masters Career Coaching Workshops
  • One to one careers guidance

The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. They also have a dedicated careers website for international students where you can find useful resources and information.

For more information visit the Careers Network website

Birmingham is one of Europe's most exciting cities. If you are already based here you know what this vibrant, forward-thinking, international city has to offer. If you are moving here you are going to have great fun finding out. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Living in Birmingham

Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

Postgraduate and Mature Student Association (PGMSA)

If you are a mature student it's worth considering joining the Postgraduate and Mature Student Association (PGMSA). This voluntary, student-led group has an active Facebook group where you can keep up with all the events and activities on offer.

Are you an International Student?

The University of Birmingham has one of the largest international student communities within the UK. The mix of nationalities and cultures on campus greatly enriches our learning and teaching environment and will help you feel at home during your time with us. Find out more at our international student website

Accommodation

University accommodation for postgraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.