How do we know what we know about a disease and its 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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.


This modular multidisciplinary programme in Health 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 healthcare
  • 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. Non-UK/EU students may only study the programme on a full-time basis.


Core modules:

You will study the following core modules:

  • Introductory module (non-assessed programme overview week)
  • Epidemiology Statistics and Research Methods (20credits)
  • Practical Epidemiology and Statistics (20 credits)
  • Dissertation 60 (credits)

Optional modules:

You will choose 80 credits from the list below.

  • Health Care Evaluation and Commissioning (10 credits)
  • Health Economics (10 credits)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (20 credits)
  • Principles of Health Technology Assessment (10 credits)
  • Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis (20 credits)
  • Clinical Trials (MPH) (20 credits)
  • Economic Evaluation in Health Care (20 credits)
  • Health Information and Health Informatics (10 credits)
  • Advanced Statistical Methods (10 credits)
  • Mixed Methods Research Designs (20 credits)

Please note: some optional modules may have pre-requisites

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:

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


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, the 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
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Last updated April 9, 2019
This course is Campus based
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7,200 GBP
PGDip £4,800 (Home/EU students), MSc £18,900/PGDip £12,600 (International students).
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