Health Care Policy and Management MSc/PGDip/PGCert

The MSc Health Care Policy and Management, provides both theoretical frameworks and practical tools that can be applied to health systems in the UK and overseas, designed for senior managers, clinicians and policy makers working in or with health care organisations, or with an interest in developing their careers in this direction. 

Download a copy of the MSc Programmes brochure 2017 (PDF)

We can confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who intend to start their studies in 2018 or 2019 will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of their course. The Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan will also be available to eligible EU students for the duration of their course. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

HSMC teaching programmes offer a range of options to support and develop a range of learning needs:

  • Masters (180 credits) incorporates taught modules with an additional piece of independent research in the form of a dissertation.
  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) are earned with ‘taught’ modules of 20 credits each

These translate into our following programme pathways:

  • MSc Health Care Policy and Management 
  • MSc in Health Care Policy and Management specialising in managing quality and service improvement

A postgraduate certificate or diploma can be awarded within any of these options.

Students can study full-time (one year) or part-time (over two years). Often students select the part time option while they are working in health services or a related field.

If you require further information, please telephone 0121 414 2280 or email   

Why study this course

The Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) is one of the UK’s leading centres for research, teaching, professional development and consultancy to health and social care agencies. For more than forty years, the Centre’s mission has been to strengthen leadership and management in health care, and to promote improved health and wellbeing.

HSMC has pioneered innovative approaches to personal and professional education. We deliver multi award winning national leadership programmes that have made a real difference to the working lives of staff and have improved patient care and experience across all healthcare settings.

HSMC is underpinned by a number of distinct principles developed by academic, policy and practice partners: n Recognition of the interdependence between applied research, teaching, evaluation and policy analysis n Emphasis on providing research-based analysis, development and teaching n A focus on developing sustainable national and international collaborations and networks to benefit policy makers, managers, staff, patients and service users.

A course at HSMC bridges the traditional divide between academic study and the worlds of policy and practice.


Our modules are listed below (but note that the detailed content of programmes is regularly updated in line with developments in theory, policy and practice: HSMC reserves the right to make adjustments to this indicative programme outline as appropriate):

Health Services Management (HSM) 

Drawing on theory, research, and comparative analysis of international health systems, this module will provide you with the understanding and achieving the ‘building blocks’ of high quality care: well-trained and motivated staff, efficient use of resources, a culture of improvement, and an ability to integrate care.


This module will focus on integrated care. It will take you through a development process to equip you with the theoretical knowledge and personal skills to understand the health and care environment, improve integrated working on the frontline, and assess ways to achieve more efficient and person centred services.

Health Policy 

This module looks to make sense of current health and care challenges by drawing on ideas, theories and frameworks from the tradition of public policy. We will encourage you to connect theory and practice in understanding the role and influence of different actors, interests, organisations and institutions within the health policy process.

Strategic Planning and Decision Making

This module examines the socio-economic, political and policy context of strategic planning and decision making in healthcare. Different perspectives are covered in relation to assessing need and demand for services; setting priorities; ensuring quality; and involving the public in planning, commissioning, and purchasing activities. You will
be introduced to key national and international research on the impact of strategic planning and decision making,
including consideration of lessons from other sectors.

Healthcare Quality: Measuring and Assuring

This module will introduce quantitative and qualitative approaches to measuring and evaluating quality. A variety of tools to monitor and analyse quality are covered including run charts, control charts and performance indicators.

Healthcare Quality: Innovation and Improvement

This module analyses the adoption and spread of innovation across healthcare systems. It also looks to analyse different perspectives, tools, and techniques for how quality and safety in healthcare can be improved. This includes quality improvement methods such as process mapping and plan do study act cycles as well as alternative perspectives related to social movements and communities of practice.

Organisational Development  

This module seeks to explore change within health and social care organisations by drawing on organisational development as a field of study and practice. It sets out the origins, history and definitions of organisational development and the key theories that underpin it. It will also asks you to undertake an analysis of a real organisation in order to deepen your understanding of how to put theory into practice and consider the relative merits of different organisational interventions. Throughout, theory, research and practice experiences are combined with active participation encouraged through formal group work activities and a group based assignment.

People, Patients and Communities

This module will examine a range of concepts, debates, approaches and challenges in public and service user involvement. The module builds on your experience to provide illustrative examples of relationships between providers and users of services.

These compulsory modules total 80 credits.

Optional modules

In order to fulfil the Programme Requirements you need to obtain 120 credits in taught modules. You can do this by selecting two of the optional modules below (each worth 20-credits).

  • Health Care Quality Improvement and Innovation (08 25990)
  • Health Care Quality: Measuring and Assuring
  • Integrated Care Policy and Theory
  • Strategic Planning and Decision Making

The dissertation is awarded the final 60 credits. The dissertation is a 10,000 word research project. This can be based on literature, or a primary research study. Dissertation study days are held each year, and all students are allocated a supervisor to support them through the self-directed piece of work.

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can help you make other choices.

Fees and funding


Masters (MSc):

Code: 2355 UK/EU (full-time) £11,520
Code: 2356 UK/EU (part-time) £5,760*
Code: 2355 Overseas students (full-time only) £19,440

Code: 6000 UK/EU (full-time) £9,900
Code: 6005 UK/EU (part-time) £4,950
Code: 6000 Overseas students £15,480

Code: 8072 UK/EU (part-time) £4,950

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students 

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning. More information can be found on the FindAMasters loans page.

*This is the first year fee, second year fees are liable to rise slightly with inflation/ increases in university fees generally. Please check with the Centre for the most up-to-date fees information.

Learn more about fees and funding


Contact:  International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. 

Learn more about Scholarships for international students

Entry requirements

The normal entrance requirement is a good Honours degree (upper second-class or above), or an equivalent professional qualification and professional experience. However, appropriate career experience may be taken into account.

Learn more about entry requirements  

International students:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – 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:

  • by holding an English language qualification to the right level
  • by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students

How to apply

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is Monday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is Monday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

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

Our programmes provide a challenging and inspiring study experience for both existing and aspiring practitioners in health and social care organisations. They equip participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop both their careers and organisations. HSMC staff bring their wide knowledge of UK and international health systems (gained through research and consultancy activities, as well as their own professional experience) to their teaching and tutorial support for students.

This emphasis on combining theory and practice is maintained throughout all of our programmes, from the choice of titles for assignments, through the involvement of practitioners and policy makers in teaching activities, to the topics selected for dissertations.

While some students choose to concentrate on theoretical topics, many students carry out empirical studies for their dissertation, often related to their own place of work or area of professional expertise.


Postgraduate programmes are taught at Park House which is a short walk from the centre of the University campus and provides a comfortable and well-appointed study environment. Facilities include:

Just a few steps away is the University’s Conference Park, which provides an excellent hotel environment for those wishing to be residential for taught modules.

HSMC students have access to the University’s main library and substantial online journals, databases and other materials via Canvas. A Programme Handbook provides comprehensive advice and information, and a separate handbook is provided for each module.

Participants are assigned an academic tutor to guide them through their studies and bespoke dissertation workshops are held twice a year. Students are encouraged to engage as much as possible with HSMC staff and to participate in other events such as conferences, seminars and workshops.

If you require further information about any of our courses, please email 

Assessment methods

Each module is worth 20 credits and is normally assessed through one 1,000 word 'in-module' assessment and one 3,000 word reflective essay.

The MSc dissertation is 10,000 words and worth 60 credits. It is a personally chosen and managed research project, undertaken over the duration of the programme with formal research training incorporated.

This programme is designed for senior managers, clinicians and policy makers who are already working in or with health care organisations, or who have an interest in developing their careers in this direction.