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Course content

This course has run since 2011, previously being integrated with the MPhil TMAT courses and taken part-time over two years. It is being re-launched in 2015 as a full-time one year course, based in the Cambridge Institute of Public Health’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care. More than half of the curriculum is shared with the MPhils in Public Health and Epidemiology. The aim of the course is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and skills as well as practical research experience to launch an academic clinical career in primary care.

The course draws on local strengths in working with large databases, primary care-based clinical trials and a wide range of other appropriate methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses. Throughout the course students are able to draw on the research expertise within the Institute of Public Health and wider expertise in the University.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/cvphmppcr

Course detail

The aim of the course is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and skills as well as practical research experience to launch an academic clinical career in primary care. Specifically, the course aims to:

1. Contribute to the commitment of the Cambridge University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust (CUHNHSFT), Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust/ Clinical Commissioning Group and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to continuing professional development of NHS staff in an integrated academic and clinical environment;
2. Develop a cadre of primary care clinical research leaders who will pursue clinical Academic careers within academia, the NHS and industry;
3. Contribute to the commitment of the Health Education East of England to continuing professional development of GP Specialty Trainees in an integrated academic and clinical environment;
4. Expand critical and current knowledge of research methodologies through an academically vigorous education programme offered in a world-leading primary care clinical research environment;
5. Equip clinical researchers with knowledge about the complex issues associated with conducting sound translational research in general practice and community settings.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this programme successfully will have gained an understanding of the primary care research context, including the distinctive nature and contribution of primary care research, and the contribution of key underpinning methods. Specifically, graduates will possess a grounding in primary care-relevant epidemiological, psychological, sociological and health services research methods, statistical methods and data analyses including surveys, trials and evidence synthesis. Upon successful completion each student will be able to apply contemporary research tools to clinically relevant areas of investigation in primary care.

Successful completion of the MPhil will also equip students with the skills and knowledge defined by the Academy of Medical Sciences’ Supplementary Guidelines for the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) for Specialty Registrars undertaking joint clinical and academic training programmes (September 2011).

Michaelmas Term

This term focuses on epidemiological and biostatistical principles and procedures. Teaching sessions during this term will be shared with students from the MPhils in Epidemiology and Public Health course. The teaching in this term also includes training in basic data handling and analysis using the statistical package Stata.

The three modules are:

- Epidemiology
- Biostatistics
- Data handling and appraisal

During this term you will also complete an essay on the epidemiology of a chosen condition in a primary care population. This essay is a formal part of the MPhil examination and will contribute to your final mark. You should also begin to research an appropriate topic for your MPhil thesis. You should discuss this proposal with you Course Supervisor to assess the suitability of the topic and the availability of relevant data.

There will also be an assessment based on the epidemiological component of the first term. This assessment is informal and does not count towards your degree. The assessment provides your Course Supervisor and Course Directors with a guide to your progress. A guideline answer sheet will be provided at the end of the assessment.

Lent Term

This term includes modular-based lectures and seminars in more advanced aspects of epidemiological research and public health which are shared with students from the MPhils in Epidemiology and Public Health, and specific modules on Primary Care Research not shared with other MPhil students.

Modules shared with the MPhils in Epidemiology and Public Health:

- Health Policy
- Social Science
- Chronic disease epidemiology
- Genetic epidemiology and Public health genomics
- Health Promotion

Primary Care Research modules:

- Introduction to Primary Care Research
- Use of routine data in Primary Care
- Designing, delivering and analysing surveys in primary care
- Qualitative research

Please note some modules may move from term to term.

During this term you will also complete a second essay which should take the form of a protocol for your thesis research. This essay is a formal part of the MPhil examination and will contribute to your final mark. Before starting your protocol, the title of your thesis should be agreed with you Course and Thesis Supervisor. Both you Course and Thesis Supervisor should sign the thesis title form confirming the title. All students must have a designated Thesis Supervisor (in some cases this individual may also be the Course Supervisor).

Easter Term

This term includes a small number of modular-based lectures and seminars again shared with students from the MPhils in Epidemiology and Publich Health.

- Clinical Trials
- Health Economics
- Ethics and Law

The remainder of the term is dedicated to revision for the written examinations in June and thesis work. The term ends on the last business day of July 2016 with the hand-in of the thesis. If you leave the UK, you must be prepared to travel back to Cambridge for an oral examination, if required.

Assessment

A thesis not exceeding 20,000 words in length, including footnotes, but excluding tables, appendices, and bibliography, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculties of Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Two essays, each not exceeding 3,000 words in length, on subjects approved by the Degree Committee

Two written papers, each of which may cover all the areas of study prescribed in the syllabus.

The course components are completed by the end of July. However, to complete the course, students will be required to attend a viva in person on a date (to be announced) in late August or early September.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Primary Care Research page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

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