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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MSc Health Research Methods PT (2 year)

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMSc Health Research Methods PT (2 year) Programme codePTS2EMSEMS05
Study mode(s) Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)St Luke's (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The global burden of disease and the challenges of ensuring safe, effective, affordable and accessible health services means that health professionals, health service developers/commissioners, public health policy makers and researchers are engaged in a wide range of highly complex activities that take place across multiple settings and sectors. The MSc in Health Research Methods has been designed for those who wish to develop a career as an applied health care researcher or public health  researcher as well as for healthcare practitioners or managers/commissioners who are involved actively in evidence-based health service redesign and innovation.

 

The core values and principles of the programme are underpinned by those of the NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula (http://clahrc-peninsula.nihr.ac.uk/) and the South West Peninsula Academic Health Science Network (www.swahsn.co.uk). The programme will also have an international scope and be suitable for those from any health related or social science discipline.

 

Health services research (HSR) is the multi-disciplinary application of a range of social sciences to the improvement of health services, systems and policies – and ultimately, the health of individuals, communities and populations. While it is an applied multi-discipline, it has long-established professional and academic associations in the UK, North America and continental Europe. HSR and public health research broadly cover the same remit as the UK’s National Institute for Health Research, which allocates over £200 million of applied health and social care research funding annually (NIHR Annual Report 2016/17)

It spans subjects and goals as diverse as clinical trials and evaluating the effectiveness of specific treatments for certain diseases, all the way up to how the NHS or other health systems are financed and organised, or how health professionals are appropriately incentivised, or how the quality of care can be improved through the adoption of guidelines, protocols, improved teamwork or more person-centred care.

The course has been developed to be suitable for those from a wide variety of backgrounds including:
social science graduates, science graduates, health and social care professionals, academic clinical fellows, health services managers/commissioners.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The educational aims of the MSc in Health Research Methods are to:

  • Provide you with a multi-disciplinary and applied approach to the sharing of ideas, perspectives and experiences related to the real-world challenges facing health systems, policies and services in all countries;
  • Inspire you to consider solutions to complex issues from the perspectives of: patients and the public, health service providers, fellow researchers, health economists and medical statisticians, organisational collaborators and employers/care providers;
  • Support your development as an applied health services or public health researcher through engagement with fundamental and advanced research methods;
  • Enable you to analyse, synthesise, evaluate and reflect on the translation of research evidence into healthcare policy, management and practice, and
  • Provide opportunities through assessed tasks to: understand the fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, plan and conduct a systematic review, develop a business plan for quality improvement and/or organisational development within a range of healthcare contexts, and undertake an independent research project. 

The programme has been designed to be flexible and well-defined with three compulsory modules (each 15 Masters level credits) plus an independent research module (either 60 Masters level credits or 90 credits), plus 3 or 5 optional modules (or equivalent credits). 

A blended approach to learning will be achieved through online exercises and content, classroom-based taught sessions, recommended readings, bespoke tutorials, and practical exercises. All learning will be supported by online resources and moderated activities on the University of Exeter’s electronic learning environment (ELE). Expert tutors and guest lecturers will represent an appropriately diverse range of research backgrounds.

4. Programme Structure

Our PGT programmes are designed as standalone courses but the College also aims to provide flexibility where possible. We recognise that you may sometimes wish to take a module from elsewhere in the College, or the wider University, to fit in with their specific research or professional interests.  A taught Masters degree is made up of 180 credits, usually 120 credits of taught modules and 60 credits of dissertation.  Normally at least 90 credits of taught modules (but an absolute minimum of 60 credits), plus the dissertation, will need be taken from within the named award in order to graduate with that award. That means that 30 credits could be made up from one or more appropriate modules from another Masters level programme(s) in place of your scheduled ones, depending on the module prerequisites, the contact days of the modules, and your funding source.  There may be an additional fee associated with certain postgraduate modules. It is also important to note that the timing of your new module’s contact days and assessments might conflict with your existing programme of studies.  If after considering these factors you would like to explore this option further, please discuss this with the MSc’s Programme Director.  The CMH PGT Support team can then advise about the application process, which would then go for approval from the Programme Director of your current programme and the Module Lead and Programme Director of the programme(s) in which your new module(s) sits

5. Programme Modules

Your MSc in Health Research Methods is a one year (if studied full-time) or two or three year (if studied part-time) programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7.

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 15 credits being nominally equivalent to 150 hours of work. 

The MSc Health Research Methods may be taken in one year full-time, or part-time over two or three years. 

The MSc requires 180 credits, of which either 90 or 120 credits are taught modules and 60 or 90 credits is the Independent Research Project. 

The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Health Research Methods is also offered, consisting of 60 credits of taught modules. 

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Health Research Methods is also offered, consisting of 120 credits of taught modules. 

These awards are offered in the following configurations: 

  • PGCert: 1 year full-time (600 hours of study in total), consisting of  45  compulsory credits and 15 optional credits  ]
  • PGDip 2 years part-time (1200 hours of study in total), consisting of 45  compulsory credits and 75 of optional credits  ]
  • MSc: 1 year full time: 3 x 15 credit compulsory modules, a choice of a 60 or 90 credit dissertation, and the remaining credits are taken from optional modules.
  • MSc: 2 years part-time: 3x15 credit compulsory modules to be taken in your first year, and the dissertation in the final year. The rest of the credits (45 or 75 depending on your dissertation choice) are to be taken from optional modules that you can distribute across two years.
  • MSc 3 years part-time: 3x15 credit compulsory modules to be taken in your first year, and the dissertation in the final year. The rest of the credits (45 or 75 depending on your dissertation choice) are to be taken from optional modules that you can distribute across three years.

Note: All programmes address the same set of ILOs. However, PGDip and MSc are able to address ILOs in greater depth. Some of the assessment methods mapped to ILOs are module specific. 

 

Stage 1


Compulsory Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme

 

MSc full time, 2 year part-time and 3 year part-time

 

Note: If you are a part-time MSc student, take taught compulsory modules in your first year and take your research module in your final year.

 

 

 

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HPDM092 Fundamentals of Research Design 15No
HPDM093 Systematic Reviews for Policy and Practice 15No
HPDM054Z Statistics as Applied To Health 15No
HPDM148 Independent Research 60No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HPDM055 Qualitative Methods and Process Evaluations 15No
HPDM058 Implementation Science 15No
HPDM056Z Clinical Trials 15No
HPDM057 Health Economics 15No
HPDM059 Leading Change in Health Services 15No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Pose innovative and important applied health research questions, informed by systematic reviews of the literature, stakeholder needs and patient and public engagement;
2. Use appropriate statistical analytical methods to clarify associations between variables and to delineate causal inferences;
3. Select appropriate experimental, observational or mixed-method study designs to address specific health research questions;
4. Demonstrate breadth of theoretical and conceptual knowledge of health services research by applying alternative models from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, and

Lectures, seminars, workshops, master-classes, specialist tutorials; Practical sessions; Web-based learning; Resource gathering and in-depth reading; Preparation and writing of assignment(s).

1. Structured review of the literature (appraisal report on health or care/service topic of choice) - ILO 1

2. Short answer test (analysis and interpretation of statistical and/or economic data) - ILO 2

3. Health research design (detailed outline on how a study will be conducted) - ILO 3

4. Health research proposal (equivalent to a bid for funding) - ILO 4

5. Independent Research (supervised project) - ILOs 1-5. 

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

5. Apply knowledge of the needs, systems and environmental contexts of health services provision and public health programmes and policy to identify areas for improvement of health and healthcare;
6. Ensure the ethical and legal conduct of research in the design, implementation and dissemination of health services and public health research;
7. Collaborate effectively with organisations, researchers, practitioners, patients, carers and communities to plan, conduct, and disseminate applied health research, to best enable its use in changing policy and practice.

Lectures, seminars, workshops, master-classes, specialist tutorials; Small group discussions and project work; Formative presentations; Web-based learning; Resource gathering and in-depth reading; Preparation and writing of assignment(s).

1. Critical enquiry of health or care provision (coursework essay on context of choice) - ILO 5

2. Health services research design (detailed outline on how a study will be conducted) - ILO 5, 6 

3. Business plan (implementation strategy within a real-world context) - ILO 5, 8

4. Independent Research (supervised project) - ILOs 5-8.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

8. Communicate effectively the purpose, outcomes and implications of health services research through multiple channels to peers, specialists and lay audiences;
9. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at an academic or professional level;
10. Apply initiative and take responsibility as a leader and team-player within the context of applied health research studies;
11. Develop the open mindset and learning habits to continue to learn independently and to develop professionally and reflectively.

Workshops, master-classes, specialist tutorials; Small group discussions and project work; Formative presentations; Peer-mentoring and coaching; Preparation and writing of assignment(s).

1. Formative presentations, group projects and simulated scenarios throughout the programme - ILOs 9-11

2. Health research design (detailed outline on how a study will be conducted) - ILO 9-11 

3. Business plan (implementation strategy within a real-world context) - ILOs 9-11

4. Independent Research (supervised project) - ILOs 9-11

7. Programme Regulations

Classification

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Academic and Personal Tutoring: The University of Exeter Medical School, UEMS, follows the University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you on your studies and each module lead will be the first point of contact in terms of advice and guidance; the programme lead will have oversight of the types of support needed as you progress through the programme; the role of personal tutors (often referred to as pastoral tutors in UEMS) is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on issues such as personal difficulties. You can also make an appointment to see other staff members.

Student/Staff Liaison Committees enables students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

10. Admissions Criteria

Individuals who don't meet the normal entry criteria but have relevant professional experience will also be welcomed on to this MSc programme. Qualifications and experience will be assessed on application.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

MSc Health Research Methods PT (2 year)

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date Date of last revision

29/06/2022