These courses provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the issues involved in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of randomised controlled trials of health interventions. They are suitable for students working in high-, middle- and low-income countries.
The need for rigorous evaluation of components of health care is increasingly recognised worldwide. An important type of evaluation is the randomised controlled clinical trial. These courses will give students an understanding of trials which will equip them to work in this increasingly important field.
They are suitable both for 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 in high, middle and low income countries.
The aims and learning outcomes of the courses are detailed in the programme specification.
You will meet the English language requirement if you have passed, within the past three years:
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English when a minimum overall score of B or 190 is achieved;
- (IELTS) International English Language Testing System when an overall score of at least 7.0 is achieved with a minimum of 7.0 in the Written sub-test and a minimum of 5.5 in Listening, Reading and Speaking; or
- Pearson Test of English (Academic) overall score of 68 or above, with a minimum of 68 in Writing and a minimum of 59 in Listening, Reading and Speaking
- (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language overall score of 100 or above with at least 24 in Writing, 23 in Speaking, 22 in Reading and 21 in Listening
Method of assessment
Assessment varies from module to module but will include a combination of unseen written examinations and written assignments. Details are given in the module specifications.
Examinations take place once a year in June (please note: it is not possible to hold examinations at other times of year). These are normally held in a student’s country of residence. We have examination centres in over 180 countries worldwide (for details please visit the assessment and examinations section).
Examinations are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. Students taking examinations will need to pay a fee to their local examination centre. Please note that if you fail an examination at the first entry you will be allowed one further attempt.
Credits will be awarded to all modules (15 credits each) and (MSc only) the integrating module (30 credits) successfully completed. To successfully pass an award, the following credits must be gained:
The majority of the Clinical Trials module study materials are delivered online after course/module registration. You will receive details of how to use the online learning environment effectively. Study materials provided for non-Clinical Trials modules may include study guides, textbooks, CD-ROMs/additional computer software (e.g. Stata). You will have access to past examination papers and Examiners' reports, Student Handbooks, and to the School's online library resources. We also provide all students with a student registration card.
We know that if you have a full-time job, family or other commitments, and wish to study at a distance, you will have many calls on your time. The course allows you to study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines) using the comprehensive study materials provided, with support available from academic staff. You have between 1-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Certificate, and between 2-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc.
Once registered, you will be sent the learning materials for the module(s) you have chosen to study. Clinical Trials module materials are mostly delivered online. These materials will take you through a programme of directed self-study, and indicate how and where you can obtain supplementary study materials and access tutorial support to enhance your studies.
The study year runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, during which time tutorial support is available. Those writing the Clinical Trials integrating report will also continue to have tutorial support over the summer. Deadlines for submission of coursework vary per course but are usually in March, May, August and September.
- a web-based learning environment (including web conferencing, allowing you to engage in academic discussions with tutors and fellow students)
- personalised feedback from teaching staff and advice on assignments
- tutors are allocated to each module and are available to answer queries and promote discussion during the study year, through the online Virtual Learning Environment
- communicate with other distance learning students, either individually or through learning support groups
Blended learning: taking modules in London
After successful completion of a minimum number of core modules, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc students may also be eligible for the 'blended learning option', which allows for the study of up to two modules only (from a restricted list) at the School in London during the Spring or Summer terms in place of distance learning modules. Please note that these options, and the dates when the modules are held at the School, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all distance learning students in July each year.