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This distance learning programme gives you the necessary academic background and specialist skills to carry out healthcare and clinical research in health services, academic environments, contract research organisations, or pharmaceutical industry environments. It is designed for those who need an understanding of the healthcare research process, providing a detailed picture of the complex and highly inter-related activities of the development cycle, from discovery to successful commercialisation.

If you are a graduate, nurse, medical doctor or other health professional working in contract research organisations, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare, this programme has been designed for you.

This programme will:

  • Give you an understanding of the regulatory framework governing good clinical research
  • Allow you to apply the principles that you have learnt to your professional commitments
  • Contribute to the research culture and knowledge base in healthcare
  • Give you the knowledge to solve problems in healthcare practice
  • Develop your skills in gathering, recording and communicating information.


Healthcare research methods is available for study to MSc or PGDip level, over a period of one year full-time for the PGDip, or two years for the MSc. You may also study for the MSc or PGDip part-time, over a period of up to five years, or by distance learning.

This postgraduate programme share a common spine with our Clinical drug development programme, which also covers the key areas of expertise needed for a successful clinical research programme. The Healthcare research methods programme places an emphasis on health management.

The modular nature of the programme is designed to fit in with the needs of those students who are in full-time employment. The taught element of the modules is delivered in three-day blocks every four to six weeks (approximately).

To achieve a Postgraduate Diploma, you must complete and pass eight modules. The MSc award is dependent on your successful completion of a further four modules, two of which will comprise a critical dissertation of approximately 20,000-words.


Undertaking a masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly.

Distance Learning

This programme is delivered online by our easy-to-use online virtual learning environment.

You will be able to follow each lecture online via audio recordings and slide/whiteboard content. All written assignments are submitted through the blackboard system and poster and oral presentations assessed through SKYPE/webcam system. You are encouraged to interact with teaching staff and other students in online discussion forums, join group activities and be part of the student community.

The aim of the Distance Learning (DL) PGDip/MSc in Healthcare research methods programme is to provide you with a multi-disciplinary perspective to facilitate your skills.


Part-time study is another option which means that the number of modules taken is reduced per semester, with the full modules required to complete the programme spread over two academic years. Teaching is generally done during the day and part-time students should contact the course convenor to get an idea of when these teaching hours are likely to take place. Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you may be able to gain an expectation of what will be required.

Core modules

  • Clinical Study Design
  • Practical Aspects of Clinical Research and Early Drug Development
  • Ethics and Regulation
  • Data Management and Statistics
  • Specific Topics in Clinical Trial Design
  • Elective Dissertation
  • Health Outcomes and Pharmacoeconomics
  • Marketing Healthcare
  • Dissertation
  • Health and the Human Body
  • Healthcare Organisation and Decision-making.

Option modules

  • Drug Discovery and Pre-clinical Research and Development
  • Toxicology.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. A variety of teaching and learning methods will be employed including; seminars, self-directed learning, one–to-one tutorials, case presentations, reading lists of books and journal papers. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.


For a Postgraduate Diploma, you must complete and pass eight modules. Successful completion of a further four modules, two of which will comprise a critical dissertation of approximately 20,000-words, are required for the MSc award.

The assessment of the taught modules is by continuous assessment. You will submit essay-style answers, a series of shorter answers or a mixture of both. These are marked and returned to you according to the timetable specified in the Programme Handbook. There is no final written examination.


You will also be assessed on a 20,000-word dissertation if you proceed to the MSc.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,212

Part time £4,600

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £18,850

Part time £9,425


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Visit the MSc Health Care Research Methods page on the Queen Mary University of London website for more details!




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