MSc in Clinical Trials (Distance Learning)

The need for rigorous evaluation of components of health care is increasingly recognized worldwide as a global health issue. An important type of evaluation is the randomized controlled clinical trial.

This course is suitable for both those wishing to gain an overall understanding of trials before moving into the field and those who have general or specialist experience in clinical trials and aim to broaden their role in the design, management, analysis and reporting of clinical trials. It will be suitable for students working in high, middle and low-income countries.



Aims and Objectives

The course aims to develop:

  • a theoretical and practical understanding of the issues involved in the design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of randomized controlled trials of health interventions
  • skills to scrutinize information, to critically analyze and carry out research, and to communicate effectively


Course Structure

The course begins with 4 compulsory modules:

  • Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
  • Basic Statistics for Clinical Trials
  • Clinical Trials in Practice
  • Reporting and Reviewing Clinical Trials


To complete the MSc, 5 elective modules must be studied. At least 3 elective modules must be chosen from the following list:

Trial Designs; Project Management and Research Co-Ordination; Regulatory Affairs, Good Clinical Practice, and Ethics; Data Management; Data Monitoring and Interim Analyses; Design and Analysis of Epidemiological Studies; Further Statistics for Clinical Trials; and Cluster Randomised Trials.

The remaining elective module(s) can be chosen either from the list above or from a specified selection of the School’s other Distance Learning courses. These modules include:

Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases; Epidemiology of Non-communicable Diseases; Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology; Economic Evaluation; Health Care Evaluation; Human Genetic Epidemiology; and Medical Anthropology.

In addition, a final compulsory module in Protocol Development and an Integrating Module must be completed.

MSc students may also be eligible for the 'blended learning option', which allows for the study of two of the advanced modules specified above in London at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine during the spring or summer terms in place of distance learning modules.



Course Duration

Each compulsory module will require 100-125 hours learning time. Each elective module will require 80-100 hours learning time.
MSc students have a minimum of two and a maximum of five years to complete their qualification.



Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

One of the following:

  • A first or second-class honors degree, or the equivalent, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London, in a subject appropriate to the course
  • An appropriate professional or technical qualification, together with at least three years' relevant experience, which satisfies the University as a qualification equivalent to a second class honors degree. All applications in this category will be considered on an individual basis


Students who do not satisfy the above requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the School on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience, and references.



Language Requirements

For awards at FHEQ level 7, students must provide satisfactory evidence showing that they have passed within the previous three years a test of proficiency in English at the following minimum level:

  • IELTS with an overall average of at least 7 with a minimum of 7 in written sub-test, or
  • TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 in the computerized test) and a minimum of 5 in the TWE, or
  • A British Council (IELTS) overall score of 7 or over with a minimum of 7 in the written sub-test, or
  • TOEFL iBT with a minimum overall score of 100 including a minimum score of 24 in the test of written English taken within the last 3 years.


Where an applicant does not meet the prescribed English language proficiency requirements but believes they can demonstrate the requisite proficiency for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.



Computer Requirements

As one of our students, you need to have regular access to a computer and the internet. This may be for accessing the Student Portal, downloading course materials from the Virtual Learning Environment, and accessing resources from the Online Library. You will also need to have access to appropriate software, for example, a PDF reader and suitable hardware capacity on your computer e.g. for document storage. Additional requirements include that you have JavaScript and cookies enabled to access particular online systems such as the Student Portal.



Supported Browsers include:

  • Internet Explorer 7+
  • Firefox 5+
  • Chrome 13+


Screen resolution (recommended)


1024 x 768 or greater

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated May 7, 2019
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Alumni Inspiration: MSc Clinical Trials, Jane Walker, UK