MSc Health Data Science

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2-3 years
  • Healthcare and Medicine
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date September


The September 2020 intake will not be affected by COVID-19 as all modules will be delivered online if necessary. Deadline for applications to be considered for fully funded places: April 22nd 2020

  • 1 of only 6 new MSc courses in the UK funded by Health Data Research UK (HDRUK). Five students will receive full fees and stipend (EU/UK fees).
  • A chance to learn and apply your quantitative skills (e.g. computing, maths, statistics) in a health and medical setting, even if you have had no experience in health, medicine or biology.
  • Exciting research project opportunities, including working in the NHS, and health-related industry such as large pharmaceutical companies.
  • We offer a genuine interdisciplinary experience to you –delivered by experts from mathematics, computing, biomedical science, the NHS and industry.
  • Learn about and gain cutting edge skills in the field of health-related data; a rapidly growing area in which the UK excels with access to the largest biobanks, genomic and health services resources. The course will offer you exemplary employment opportunities after graduation.

Our MSc Health Data Science will help you develop innovative skills needed to unlock knowledge from complex health data, to address some of the biggest health challenges that we face across the globe today. This course combines the expertise of our world-renowned health scientists with experts in mathematics and computer science to develop a better understanding of diseases and to find ways to prevent, treat and cure them.

Why Exeter?

We are one of only six UK institutions chosen to deliver this training for Health Data Research UK which means that we demonstrated scientific excellence, a track record in postgraduate training, innovative approaches to further education and strong institutional commitment. Five students will receive full fees and stipend as part of the Health Data Research UK funding (EU/UK fees).

Who can apply for this course?

• Graduates with a Computer Science, Physics, Engineering or Maths degree, may not have any prior life sciences, medical or health experience.
• Graduates with Life, Health or Medical Science degrees (or Medicine intercalators) with proven basic computer programming skills.
• Graduates with a strongly numerate degree AND working as analysts in the NHS or other health related organisations.
• People without a first degree, but who can demonstrate evidence of strong quantitative skills and experience, for example if they have been working in the NHS and have good computer programming and maths.

Programme structure

The MSc Health Data Science can be taken as a full time or part time programme of study, as appropriate. It is delivered at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7.

The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total, and a supervised dissertation worth 60 credits. We have eleven partners from the NHS or industry who will provide and supervise dissertations.

The programme is divided into units of study called modules which are assigned a number of 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Compulsory modules

Module number Module name Credits
ECMM444 Fundamentals of Data Science 15
HPDM092 Fundamentals of Research Design 15
HPDM096 Health Statistics for Data Scientists 15
ECMM445 Learning from Data 15
HPDM097 Making a Difference with Health Data 30
HPDM098 Stratified Medicine 30
HPDM099 Research Project 60

View the timetable for an indication of when modules will run for 2020 – 2021.

View the Overall Course Structure to get an idea of what your programme may look like depending on which pathway you choose.

The above documents are for illustration purposes only and may vary in subsequent years.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

MSc Health Data Science - Tom Monks

Associate Professor Tom Monks, Module Lead for the MSc Health Data Science, describes the programme.

This course will be delivered by research-active academics from the College of Medicine and Health and the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Our non-academic partners, including the NHS, pharmaceutical and data companies, will also contribute to the course in the form of guest lectures and seminars, and provide at least 50% of the research projects.

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will remain with you throughout the programme. Personal tutors are able to provide guidance and feedback on assessment performance, guidance in generic academic skills and pastoral support. They are also able to refer you to more specialist support services, both within the College and elsewhere across the University.

This is an example of the kind of code students will need to feel comfortable with prior to the start of the course. (pdf)


You will be equipped to work in health and biomedical interdisciplinary teams and to tackle the exciting opportunities and challenges in health data science across a wide range of careers. We will focus on two broad areas in which Exeter excels – health services research and modelling, and stratified medicine, including genomics.

We will support your career progression by introducing you to the full range of careers open to you, with seminars and visits to different environments in industry and in NHS Trusts. By providing funds for attendance at HDRUK workshops, and, through our Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Alan Turing Institute meetings and conferences. The role of the personal tutor will include discussion of future career paths.

Entry requirements

You will have, or be predicted, at least a 2:1 degree in a strongly numerate subject (e.g. computer science, mathematics, physics), OR a 2:1 in a health/life sciences degree AND demonstrate good programming ability in a modern computer language. Alternatively you will have strong skills in maths and computing, but not have a degree.

Computer pogramming ability will be assessed with a short test as part of the selection process, and in selecting the students who will receive full fees and stipend.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

For 2020/21, fees will be charged pro rata per 30 credit module for UK/EU students. Fees are subject to an annual increment each academic year.

MSc fees (1 year)

  • UK/EU: £8,800 full-time; £2,950 part-time
  • International: £21,100 full-time

MSc fees (2 year)

  • UK/EU: £4,400
  • International: £10,550

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.


Five fully funded places 

Five students will receive full funding of stipend and fees (EU/UK fees) . There will be a selection process that focuses on computing and mathematical skills to assess which students are eligible.

Pro Vice Chancellor's NHS Postgraduate Scholarship 

The College of Medicine and Health is delighted to offer the Pro Vice Chancellor's NHS Postgraduate Scholarship of £5000 to NHS staff who accept a place to study on one of our Masters programmes. This is a merit-based scholarship which you have to apply for. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply to our PVC NHS scholarship 

University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship

We are pleased to offer University of Exeter graduates and alumni starting postgraduate study with us a scholarship towards the cost of their tuition fees. These scholarships are awarded automatically to eligible applicants. Find out more about alumni scholarship

See the Masters funding page for more information on more internal and external scholarships.


Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

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Research degrees

If you would prefer a dissertation-based Masters rather than a taught and thesis Masters then this is available as the MSc by research:


Masters in Health Data Science

Our MSc Health Data Science will help you develop innovative skills needed to unlock knowledge from complex health data, to address some of the biggest health challenges that we face across the globe today.

Health Data Science - Professor Tim Frayling

Professor Tim Frayling describes the structure of the programme.

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