Master in Health Research

University of Stirling

Program Description

Master in Health Research

University of Stirling

Master in Health Research

There is an increasing need for health professionals to be directly or indirectly involved with a range of research, evaluation, clinical audit and quality improvement activities as part of their practice. Current policy and practice developments are also placing greater emphasis on the Clinical Academic Career pathway and there are now many health professionals with a clinical/practice and research focus to their roles. These developments point to the need for rigorous, high-quality interdisciplinary and flexible research programmes to prepare health professionals for these challenging and rewarding roles.

The MRes Health Research provides this. There is a strong emphasis placed on the application of knowledge and skills. The course can be taken as an advanced qualification in its own right or as excellent preparation for doctoral level study. Students can choose to study for a postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Master's degree. Stand-alone modules are also available for those interested in Continuing Professional Development.

The course has been designed to suit students from a range of backgrounds. Most students (and graduates) have a health professional qualification e.g. nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, occupational therapy. Other students are from the social care or research sectors. Our students are from across the UK and overseas with most choosing to study remotely online as that offers flexibility around their work and family commitments.

Course objectives

The MRes Health Research develops skilled and knowledgeable multi-disciplinary health care researchers, able to understand and confidently use research techniques appropriate to their practice/subject area. Helping students to become conversant with approaches used by other social and healthcare researchers is also key as well as developing practical research skills, for example, in user involvement and the use of new technologies.

The course builds capacity and capability in individuals, and the healthcare workforce more generally, by promoting lifelong learning. It supports those who wish to access a range of research career pathways, and/or further research training by advancing knowledge, research and practice in different settings. There is a focus on both skills and experience concurrently and an emphasis on proactive team and network collaborations.

Structure and content

The MRes Health Research has an interdisciplinary framework drawing on the expertise of researchers and practitioners from many different fields in nursing, midwifery, the allied health professions and public health.

Unusual in healthcare courses, this multi-disciplinary MRes develops practical and transferable skills, e.g. report writing; team working; literature searching and critical appraisal. We also collaborate online including using virtual classroom technologies (Blackboard Collaborate). The course combines high quality with flexibility and choice. Practical experience and enhanced employability is another important focus, with the opportunity for either a research placement offered to all MRes students. The exploration of new and innovative methods is a core feature of the course, with optionality and flexibility in course design ensuring an individualised, bespoke learning experience.

The modules taken will differ slightly depending on the student's learning needs. Examples of our current modules are:

  • The Practice of Health Research 1 and 2
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quantitative Research
  • Research Ethics and Governance
  • Public Health Approaches
  • Health Research Placement

Each module runs once a year and is delivered in either the Autumn Semester or Spring Semester. Health research placements are opportunities for students to experience real life research in action. Students are allocated to a research mentor in the School to work on an actual study. Placements can be campus-based or remote working ones. There is also an opportunity for students to create bespoke placements (these are subject to agreement with School staff) for example perhaps working with their employer.

Students need to complete 6 x 20 credit modules and a 60 credit dissertation to complete the Masters Programme. Full-time students will be expected to take 12 months to complete this work. Part-time students usually take two or three years. The Post Graduate Diploma can be awarded with 120 credits and the Post Graduate Certificate can be awarded with 60 credits.

The MRes in Health Research has been running successfully since 2010 – our graduates have come from all across the UK and overseas and from various backgrounds e.g. health care, social work, health promotion, research etc.

Delivery and assessment

A variety of learning experiences and assessment tasks will stimulate interest, encourage participation and develop transferable skills, including:

  • Advanced literature searching and annotation
  • Designing research projects individually and as part of a team
  • Creating funding proposals and ethics applications
  • Writing research papers for submission to journals
  • Data analysis exercises
  • Verbal presentations
  • Viva (oral examinations)

Career opportunities

The MRes Health Research is designed for students who wish to pursue a variety of different careers in health where research is a core component and who wish to make a contribution to applied research in a range of contemporary health and social contexts. Most of our students are employed as health professionals whilst they study part-time with us. When they complete their studies most students will stay in their clinical speciality but use their enhanced research skills/knowledge in their roles e.g. by conducting their own research or service evaluations. Other students wish to use their Masters study as preparation for a PhD. Our students have been very successful in gaining recognition for their research work and for winning funding for PhD study.

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 26, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus or Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
Part time
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Stirling, Scotland
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