Masters degrees in Medical & Health Sciences
Thinking of a masters in dentistry or medicine? Read on! Also covered in this section are masters in nursing & midwifery, optometry & opthalmology, health sciences and pharmacology & pharmacy.
If curing the sick, bringing new life into the world or conducting unbelievably painful root canal treatment is your thing, this is the discipline for you. Healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, midwives, opthamologists and, er, vets are the miracle workers of the modern world: they can bring people back from the dead (within quite a limited timeframe obviously), make the blind see, extract thorns from lions' paws and all sorts of other things one would normally look in The Bible to read about. Their jobs require great dedication, hard work and responsibility. They also have to do a lot of training, which is where the courses in this discipline come in. The subject areas covered here include Dentistry, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Optometry and Opthamology, Psychology and Psychiatry and Veterinary Medicine. Most of these subject titles are self explanatory: health sciences is a bit of a catch-all category for anything that doesn't neatly fit in the other subject areas and also includes courses for people who want to go into healthcare management and policy. You will need to have qualified as a doctor, nurse, dentist, psychiatrist, optometrist, vet etc before you enrol on most of these courses. In this discipline the postgraduate level of study is mostly geared towards professional development.
Luckily for Medical and Health Science postgraduates there are always going to be sick and pregnant people and pets around the world that need treatment, so career-wise this is a safe bet. If you tire of working at the coalface under increasingly tightly funded conditions, medical research or health policy are sideways steps that can still offer excellent career prospects without having to deal with sick people every day. If you're really, really good at your job public recognition, knighthoods and a place in history might well be included in the rewards you'll deservedly reap.
If you want to be rich and feared, dentistry is an excellent career option. Anyone looking to do a masters in dentistry will already know that, however, as only registered dental practitioners are eligible for these courses. If that is you, then the courses in this section can extend and focus your skills in areas such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, orthodontics, implant dentistry and prosthodontics, among others.
As well as already being a registered practitioner, many of these courses require at least a year’s (and often more) professional experience. A criminal records bureau check may also be required for courses in paediatric dentistry. Career paths from here are pretty much set. You’re already a dentist: these courses will help you become a more skilled (and therefore, hopefully, less feared) one.
This catch-all title covers all aspects of health care practice and policy as well as social care. It includes many specialist courses for practitioners already working in health and social care settings, for example the postgraduate certificate in Working with Traumatic Death and Loss and the MA in Leadership and Management in Integrated Children’s Services.
MBAs in Healthcare Management are available, as well as research and taught masters and postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Many of the courses require professional experience as well as a relevant first degree and some are only for qualified medical practitioners. Career paths from here will probably lead to healthcare provision, social services or policy-making at national or local government level. You could become a dramatherapist, a dietician, an NHS manager, or perhaps a policy advisor in the Department of Health or the World Health Organisation.
When you think medicine, you think doctors, but courses in this subject area include numerous postgraduate qualifications in medicine-related subjects such as public health, NHS management, pharmaceutical development and medical research for which you do not necessarily have to have a medical degree. There are also plenty of courses offering professional development for qualified doctors and specialist training for healthcare professionals in areas like radiography, occupational therapy, psychiatry, pain management and palliative care. With more than 500 courses on offer, if you are a doctor or want to work in a clinical setting, it is worth looking for the relevant qualification here.
Both research and taught masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Many courses will accept a professional qualification in lieu of an undergraduate degree. Career paths from here include undertaking cancer research for a charity like CRUK, being an NHS manager, and a wealth of clinical and other positions in a hospital setting.
Nurses and midwives work extremely hard in often very stressful settings for low wages. When they fail to meet the extremely high standards expected of them, they are rubbished by the media and when they get things right the most they can hope for is a thank you card from a patient or their family. On top of all that, the profession of midwifery makes everyone snigger because it is pronounced ‘mid-whiff-ery’. If you are one of the angelic people who knew all this but completed a degree in nursing or midwifery anyway, the hundreds of postgraduate courses here can help you acquire specialist skills and move up the pay scale. Whether it’s Child Protection, Community Health or Cancer Care you are interested in, there is a course here for you.
Both taught and research masters are offered, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. You will need to be a registered nurse or healthcare professional, probably with a relevant first degree to access these courses. Potential career paths from here include taking a more senior position in the nursing profession or moving into a different area of nursing such as public health or possibly teaching.
A very limited field, the handful of courses in this subject area mainly offer professional development to practising optometrists. Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with eyes and ophthalmologists are qualified doctors. Optometrists do not have to be qualified doctors, but do diagnose eye illnesses and treat vision problems by prescribing glasses and contact lenses. If an optometrist discovers you have a disease of the eye, they will probably refer you to an ophthalmologist. Got it?
Taught masters, postgraduate certificates and diplomas and CPD modules are available. To qualify for entry onto these courses you will need a minimum of an undergraduate degree in optometry or medicine: others are designed for practising optometrists. Future career paths from here include working as an optician or perhaps a clinical researcher in the ophthalmology department of a hospital.
Pharmacology is a branch of medical science that deals with drugs and how they work. Pharmacists prepare and dispense drugs for medical treatment.Both lead to work in the medical or pharmaceutical professions, either undertaking research or treatment and many are aimed at already qualified practitioners in these fields, wishing to boost their skills and knowledge. Courses include MScs in Medicinal Chemistry, Cancer Pharmaceutics, Clinical Pharmacy and Forensic Medical Sciences. The MSc in Drug Delivery Skills is not what students – or their parents - might assume.
Both research and taught masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. You will need a first degree in one of the biomedical sciences. Some courses are aimed at registered pharmacologists and pharmacists with professional experience and confer CPD points. Potential career paths from here include working as drug developer for a pharmaceutical company, in the clinical trials unit of a hospital research department or as a forensic toxicologist advising the police and Crown Prosecution Service on drug-related crime and poisonings.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it controls behaviour. Psychiatry is the diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of mental and emotional disorders by medically qualified doctors. The hundreds of courses on offer here include qualifications in a wide range of psychotherapies from Dance, Art, Play, Music and Family therapy to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Many other courses are dedicated to subjects like Child Psychology, Neuroscience, Forensic Psychology, clinical Psychology and Cognitive Science.
Both research and taught masters are offered, as well as a number of postgraduate certificates and diplomas. As well as requiring a first degree in psychology or medicine, some courses also ask for professional experience and are aimed at practitioners already working in the field of mental health. Potential career paths from here include becoming an educational psychologist employed by a school or college; a clinical neuroscientist or perhaps a business psychologist. Rock bands like Metallica have even been known to hire therapists to help them get through dry creative spells, so who knows how strange and glamorous things could get?
Resting somewhere on the scientific spectrum between Astrophysics and Sociology, Sport and Exercise Science is a hands-on kind of science, dealing holistically with the practise and philosophy of sport and sportsmanship. A multidisciplinary area, it includes elements of physiology and psychology as well as practical skills like coaching and management. The qualifications on offer range from Exercise Rehabilitation, Sports Injury Management and Physiotherapy to Golf Coaching, Sports Management and International Sport Policy.
Both research and taught masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas and MBAs in International Sports Management and Sport Business.Masters courses in physiotherapy are aimed at existing practitioners wishing to redirect their career into sports. Potential career paths from here include being a sports coach or agent, implementing government schemes as a civil servant in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, or trying a hands on role as a physiotherapist for a Premier League football team.
Becoming a vet is probably even harder than training to be a human doctor, as the insides of different animals are unsurprisingly also arranged differently, so there’s much more to learn. Plus, unless they are very unlucky, human doctors don’t have to put up with poisonous snakes or stinky skunks in their consulting room. Many of the courses in this subject area are aimed at qualified veterinary practitioners. Others are suitable for zoologists with an interest in animal health and welfare, but will not qualify them to become a practising vet. Among the courses are MScs in Veterinary Parasitology, Veterinary Infection and Disease Control and Animal Welfare.
Both research and taught masters are offered, as well as a number of postgraduate certificates and diplomas. For many courses you will need to be a qualified veterinary surgeon, for others a degree in biology or a biomedical science will suffice. Potential careers might involve being the vet at a zoo, curing lions’ toothaches and hippopotamuses upset tummies. Or, less amusingly, looking after the welfare of animals being used for research in a scientific laboratory.