The part-time DPhil Programme considers applications from those who have already been awarded the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care. Applications may also be considered from students with a Master's in a related subject. Supervision is arranged to suit the DPhil topic and may involve staff from within the Medical Sciences Division as well as co-supervision with members of the Evidence-Based network.
The part-time DPhil is part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme, which is jointly run with the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences. The programme also works closely with the Centres of Evidence-Based Nursing, Evidence-Based Mental Health, and Evidence-Based Dentistry. The Department's graduate students have access to the full range of Oxford's library and computing facilities.
The part-time DPhil regulations normally require a minimum of six years' part-time study (equivalent to two years' full-time) up to a maximum of eight years part-time study. Research students may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the Department. In addition, they will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research.
Steve Edwards became the first person ever to earn a DPhil in Evidence Based Health Care at the University of Oxford. Steve’s DPhil research, entitled 'Indirect Comparison by Systematic Review as the Basis for Health Economic Evaluation', focuses on methods for analysing the economic effectiveness of health care treatments.
‘I have been conducting traditional efficacy systematic review and meta-analysis for the past 10 years and had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of randomised controlled trials available comparing key treatments of interest’, Steve said. ‘I have always felt that in a funding-limited resource like the NHS, identifying a significant difference in treatment effects (such as efficacy and/ or safety) is only the beginning–and any differences need to be formally assessed in an economic evaluation to demonstrate which treatment offers value for money.’
Steve had previously completed the Department’s MSc in Evidence Based Health Care where he showed so much promise that the programme directors invited him to research for the DPhil.
Professor Mike Clarke, one of Steve’s research supervisors, said ‘The part-time research programme in evidence based health care was ideally suited to someone like Steven. He was able to combine successfully a full time job with the work for his DPhil, and produced a thesis of high quality. He also led the work for several journal articles which have placed his research findings into the public domain over the last few years.’
Steve said ‘The most enjoyable part of the DPhil was being connected with a wider community. I have taken part in a couple of Cochrane Colloquia (Dublin 2006 and Freiburg 2008) where I felt a real sense of community with like-minded people. The biggest challenge was what I’ll call the “mental stamina” of working in isolation for four years where you have to be your own and only source of setting achievable deadlines and meeting them.’
On the 16th of August Steve begins a new role as the Head of Health Technology Assessment with the BMJ Group, a prestigious global medical publisher. At BMJ he will conduct research and appraise the research of others in his field. ‘Having the DPhil allowed me to demonstrate my ability to be successful in the role.’
‘The award of the University’s first ever DPhil in Evidence Based Health Care to Steven Edwards is a richly deserved new milestone in his career, and a credit to those who established this novel programme,’ said Professor Mike Clarke.
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