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Health Care Research Methods

MSc ( 1 year Full-time )


This distance learning programme gives you the necessary academic background and specialist skills to carry out healthcare and clinical research in health services, academic environments, contract research organisations, or pharmaceutical industry environments. It is designed for those who need an understanding of the healthcare research process, providing a detailed picture of the complex and highly inter-related activities of the development cycle, from discovery to successful commercialisation.

Over the last 30 years healthcare research and drug development have been transformed from peripheral activities carried out on an ad hoc basis to a core activity that requires trained, professional, staff. We have developed a modular postgraduate programme in healthcare research, designed to give you the necessary academic background and specialist skills to carry out healthcare research in a contract research organisation, pharmaceutical industry or health service environment.

If you are a graduate, nurse, medical doctor or other health professional working in contract research organisations, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare, this programme has been designed for you.

This programme will:

  • Give you an understanding of the regulatory framework governing good clinical research
  • Allow you to apply the principles that you have learnt to your professional commitments
  • Contribute to the research culture and knowledge base in healthcare
  • Give you the knowledge to solve problems in healthcare practice
  • Develop your skills in gathering, recording and communicating information.

Why study your MSc in Healthcare research methods at Queen Mary?

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry is comprised of two world renowned teaching hospitals, St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London, which have made, and continue to make, an outstanding contribution to modern medicine. We were one of the top five in the UK for medicine in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

The William Harvey Research Institute is the largest university-based pharmacological research institute in the UK and our success in this respect can be measured by publications in high-impact journals, accompanied by renewal and additional funding of one MRC and five Wellcome Programmes, which we lead or support as co-investigators.

  • The Institute has strong links with other clinical and healthcare research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Our location in the east of London and elsewhere in the East London Gateway will enhance your experience.
  • Barts and The London is part of Queen Mary, the only university in central London to offer extensive campus-based facilities.
  • We have modern state-of-the-art buildings alongside more traditional facilities such as our fantastic library.
  • The modular nature of the programme is designed to fit in with your full-time employment.


Distance learning students will have access to the college online library facilities. This gives access to a large number of relevant journals. Students will have access to other academic literature and journals in the same way as on-site students.

You will have access to postgraduate only facilities. The Learning Resource centre has 200 networked PCs and is open to students round the clock, there are dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.

You will also have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource. There are medical libraries located at the Royal London and St Bart's hospitals and at the main College campus at Mile End.

The William Harvey Research Institute offers state-of-the art core facilities, including a Genome Centre, a flow cytometry and cell sorting station, and in vivo imaging facilities.


Nina Ravic

+44 20 7882 3404


Healthcare research methods is available for study to MSc or PGDip level, over a period of one year full-time for the PGDip, or two years for the MSc. You may also study for the MSc or PGDip part-time, over a period of up to five years, or by distance learning.

This postgraduate programme share a common spine with our Clinical drug development programme, which also covers the key areas of expertise needed for a successful clinical research programme. The Healthcare research methods programme places an emphasis on health management.

The modular nature of the programme is designed to fit in with the needs of those students who are in full-time employment. The taught element of the modules is delivered in three-day blocks every four to six weeks (approximately).

To achieve a Postgraduate Diploma, you must complete and pass eight modules. The MSc award is dependent on your successful completion of a further four modules, two of which will comprise a critical dissertation of approximately 20,000-words.


Undertaking a masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly. Please contact the course convenor for precise information on the number of contact hours per week for this programme.

Distance Learning

This programme is delivered online by our easy-to-use online virtual learning environment.

You will be able to follow each lecture online via audio recordings and slide/whiteboard content. All written assignments are submitted through the blackboard system and poster and oral presentations assessed through SKYPE/webcam system. You are encouraged to interact with teaching staff and other students in online discussion forums, join group activities and be part of the student community.

The aim of the Distance Learning (DL) PGDip/MSc in Healthcare research methods programme is to provide you with a multi-disciplinary perspective to facilitate your skills. This programme is designed for individuals who need an understanding of the Healthcare research method process and provides a detailed picture of the complex and highly interrelated activities of the development cycle for Healthcare research methods.

The programme provides you with the opportunity to get into the hard-to-enter and highly competitive healthcare environment and indeed improves your chances of getting into this environment.


Part-time study is another option which means that the number of modules taken is reduced per semester, with the full modules required to complete the programme spread over two academic years. Teaching is generally done during the day and part-time students should contact the course convenor to get an idea of when these teaching hours are likely to take place. Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you may be able to gain an expectation of what will be required.

Core modules

  • Clinical Study Design
  • Practical Aspects of Clinical Research and Early Drug Development
  • Ethics and Regulation
  • Data Management and Statistics
  • Specific Topics in Clinical Trial Design
  • Elective Dissertation
  • Health Outcomes and Pharmacoeconomics
  • Marketing Healthcare
  • Dissertation
  • Health and the Human Body
  • Healthcare Organisation and Decision-making.

Option modules

  • Drug Discovery and Pre-clinical Research and Development
  • Toxicology.


Nina Ravic

+44 20 7882 3404

Entry requirements

For entry onto the programme you will need either an appropriate degree or equivalent from a recognised academic institution, or an appropriate professional qualification (for example nursing) or experience acceptable to the Programme Director and Director of Graduate Studies.

If English is your second language, you will also require a minimum IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 610 score.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. Find out more about ourEnglish language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. A variety of teaching and learning methods will be employed including; seminars, self-directed learning, one–to-one tutorials, case presentations, reading lists of books and journal papers. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


For a Postgraduate Diploma, you must complete and pass eight modules. Successful completion of a further four modules, two of which will comprise a critical dissertation of approximately 20,000-words, are required for the MSc award.
The assessment of the taught modules is by continuous assessment. You will submit essay-style answers, a series of shorter answers or a mixture of both. These are marked and returned to you according to the timetable specified in the Programme Handbook. There is no final written examination.


You will also be assessed on a 20,000-word dissertation if you proceed to the MSc.


Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

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