MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care (Systematic Reviews) | University of Oxford
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The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
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MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care (Systematic Reviews)

About the course

For health professionals seeking an understanding of the importance of systematic reviews in healthcare as well as the practical skills to conduct them.  Training is provided in the fundamental principles of evidence-based healthcare and research design, with more specific training in the conduct of basic and more complex systematic reviews.

This course is designed for health care professionals and researchers seeking to consolidate their understanding and ability in contextualising, carrying out, and applying systematic reviews appropriately in health care settings.

Core modules will introduce the students to the principles of evidence-based health care, as well as the core skills and methods needed for research design and conduct. Further modules will provide students with specific skills in conducting basic systematic reviews, meta-analysis and broader forms of evidence synthesis, such as realist reviews, reviews of clinical study reports and diagnostic accuracy reviews.

Teaching is tailored to those with a minimal prior knowledge of systematic reviews and delivered by an experienced team of tutors from the University of Oxford, who actively work to advance the practice of evidence-based health care through the conduct and dissemination of systematic reviews.

The course aims to provide health-care professionals with a structured training in designing, conducting, and interpreting high-quality systematic reviews in health care. 

The course also aims:

  • to introduce the basic concepts and skills of evidence-based health care, including how to formulate a clinical research question, search for evidence, critically appraise evidence for sources of bias, and apply evidence to health care settings
  • to describe in detail different types of research methods and identify the strengths and weaknesses of different study designs.

Students on the course will:

  • learn how to design a systematic review research protocol
  • gain a more detailed understanding of the process involved in conducting a systematic review
  • develop the skills to conduct, report and update a systematic review
  • gain a familiarity with basic and advanced techniques for the analysis of quantitative systematic review data: meta-analysis, meta-regression, network meta-analysis, diagnostic meta-analysis, individual patient data meta-analysis
  • gain an understanding of and reasons for more complex systematic reviews in health care, such as realist reviews, reviews of clinical study reports, prognostic reviews, and meta-synthesis
  • explore new paradigms in systematic reviews and evidence synthesis
  • gain sufficient training to conduct systematic reviews independently.

Compared with the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care, this degree will suit those with a particular interest in and requirement for training in the conduct of systematic reviews relevant to evidence-based health care.

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

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

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.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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.

Graduate destinations

Most part-time students starting this course 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.

Changes to this course and your supervision

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. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

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, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any subject.

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

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

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

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

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.

Publications are not expected.

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are not normally held for candidates whose application provides evidence fulfilling all the entry requirements.

Interviews may be held with candidates whose application requires clarification or further information in relation to one or more aspect of the entry requirements, such as those identified below as other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience. 

References outlining academic potential and suitability to study for the intended course are secured before discussion with the applicant takes place. 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.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

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

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

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 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Modular course fees

The fees for this course are charged on a modular basis. You will pay an annual course fee and an additional fee for each module studied. A minimum of two annual course fees are payable for this course. If this course includes a dissertation, three module fees will be charged for the dissertation.

Fees for the 2020-21 academic year

Fee status

Annual Course Fee

Fee per module

Total estimated fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£6,585£2,000Please see the department’s website for further details
Overseas£6,585£2,000

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

This course has residential sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

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

For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care (Systematic Reviews):

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Personal statement:
One page

Your statement should outline your objectives in attending the course and your reasons for seeking to register. 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.

Please indicate in your statement why you have chosen this MSc in EBHC with a focus on systematic reviews in particular.

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.

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

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

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

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

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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