MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care | University of Oxford
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MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care

About the course

The MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care is designed to help health professionals base your  clinical and health management decisions on valid, reliable and relevant evidence, determined by sound scientific research and evaluation. It can be taken part-time alongside work commitments, normally over two to four years. 

The MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care will position you to integrate the best available research evidence with your clinical expertise and patient values to make better informed decisions in your field of health care.

This is a joint programme between the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and the Department for Continuing Education's Continuing Professional Development Centre. The programme works in collaboration with the renowned Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford.

This programme has teachers and contributors who are internationally recognised leaders in the field of evidence-based practice and teaching. The flexible structure of the course has been devised to fit with the structure of specialist training and to accommodate student choice.

The MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care is a part-time course. There are two compulsory modules, four option modules and a dissertation. Further details about the course modules can be found on the Department for Continuing Education website.

Assessment for each module will be based on a written assignment of not more than 4,000 words.  The dissertation will be on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor and the course director and should not normally exceed 15,000 words.

The aims of the course are for you to:

  • find and appraise quantitative and qualitative research evidence critically and efficiently and understand what the results mean in different contexts and for different healthcare decisions
  • integrate and synthesise different sorts of information, from diverse sources, when making both individual patient and health policy decisions in a wide range of situations
  • be familiar with key issues for evidence-based practice in your own professional area or specialty
  • work comfortably in situations of uncertainty and make sound judgements in the absence of definitive evidence
  • work comfortably in unpredictable situations and deal with complex issues systematically and creatively
  • have an understanding of ethical frameworks in health care and be able to apply ethical principles to practical issues
  • understand health care organisations, management process and the changing context in which organisations operate
  • be pro-active in recognising the need for change and have the ability to manage change;
  • understand how to work with colleagues to make informed decisions based on evidence and operate effectively in a variety of team roles
  • provide leadership for evidence-based practice and research
  • manage projects, time, people, and change effectively and efficiently
  • present and communicate information about research evidence and evidence-based practice clearly in written, electronic and oral forms to a range of audiences
  • be able to produce a robust research protocol, for a variety of different types of research question, in a format that can be submitted as an application for research funding
  • be able to play a lead role in the conduct and presentation of research
  • have an understanding of the ethical issues in health research and research governance
  • routinely use the principles of reflective practice.

Graduate destinations

Most part-time students commencing this programme are already in full-time employment. The MSc offers health care professionals opportunities to enhance their working lives by:

  • updating and improving their clinical practice
  • facilitating effective and timely decision making in health care
  • identifying and applying research critically to improve their own and others’ practice
  • disseminating and translating high quality evidence for patient and public benefit
  • opening up new career opportunities.

Past students have also gone on to study for the part-time DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care and all graduates are invited to be part of an international alumni network where success is shared and new initiatives are supported.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2016-17

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in any subject.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

Successful completion of a professional training course or professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field may also be considered.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

References/letters of recommendation 

Your references will support academic potential and suitability to study for your intended course.

It is acceptable to submit professional references but personal references cannot be accepted.

Statement of purpose/personal statement

The personal statement should be one page long. There is no specific word limit, and there are no restrictions on font size or line spacing, although the document should be clearly legible and written in English and outline the objectives in attending the course and their reasons for seeking to register.

This will be assessed for:

  • a demonstrable interest in evidence-based health care
  • the motivation and capacity to complete the course
  • a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to the candidate’s current employment situation and future prospects
  • prior academic achievement in a health-related discipline at undergraduate or master’s level, or successful completion of a professional training course or professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field. 

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate an approach to their study which includes demonstrable skills of critical analysis, wide contextual knowledge and the ability to manage their own time.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

References outlining academic potential and suitability to study for the intended course are secured before discussion with the applicant takes place. An interview will be arranged for all of those who appear to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. This will be conducted by either telephone, face-to-face or Skype and there will be a minimum of two interviewers. Applications may be rejected without further direct contact with the applicant.  

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Successful applicants should:

  • have professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field 
  • identify a work based problem for which they will be seeking evidence 
  • be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices of evidence-based health care within the workplace 
  • have a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration) 
  • show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and/or the Department for Continuing Education.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course, however it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals. 

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment. 

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students. 

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available for courses starting in 2016-17. Full scholarships will cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. Information about the full range of funding available can be found in the Fees and funding section.

For over 70% of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria and apply by the relevant January deadline, you will be automatically considered. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out whether you are eligible for scholarships which require an additional application. If you are, the tool will include links to full details of how to apply.

Divisional funding opportunities

The department’s Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for all the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. A range of scholarships are available to students on the many part-time master’s, postgraduate certificate and postgraduate diploma courses, and doctoral programmes offered by the department, including a number specific to certain courses. In addition, the department has bursary funds available to assist students on low incomes.

Departmental funding opportunities

Additional funding opportunities may also be offered by your department. Department scholarships are included in the funding search tool, with links to further information. More details on funding opportunities may also be available on the department’s website.

Costs

Modular fees for entry in 2016-17

The fees for this course are charged on a modular basis. Students enrolled on this course pay a programme or registration fee and an additional fee for each module studied. The fees for this course can be found on our Tuition fees page.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of the website.

Additional information

This course has residential sessions in Oxford so you will need to meet any travel and accommodation costs you may incur in attending these sessions.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2016-17 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between £970 and £1433 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page.

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care:

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff prior to submitting your application.

The set of materials you should send with an application to this MSc comprises:

  • a personal statement, one page in length
  • a CV/resumé
  • three references, academic or professional
  • official transcripts detailing your university-level qualifications and marks to date.