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PGDip in Global Health Research

About the course

This online Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research fulfils a unique training need by providing an academically rigorous and pragmatic approach that will equip students with real-world skills for designing and implementing impactful global health research across many varied topics and population settings.  

The course aims to enhance knowledge and raise standards of professionals working in health research in a global context so they can lead successful and high-quality research studies.

Students will discover best practices in global health research studies, the mechanisms, the methods and processes required to implement good quality, safe and ethical research, typically in low resource settings. Through practical case studies and applied tasks, you will gain sufficient experience to implement what you learn in order to resolve difficult challenges and become the next generation of leaders in your field of study.

The postgraduate diploma is an online four-term programme that teaches the key steps required to carry out good research in the context of global health. As a student, you will learn to formulate viable research questions, you will consider target populations within your area of interest, create study plans addressing sample size and understand the variables that might affect your results. You will learn how to avoid errors in design and implementation, the most common reasons for getting wrong answers to research questions and where possible, you will be encouraged to implement your study.

The department's goal is to embed effective health research into the work of healthcare workers and allied professions. Whatever research one is planning, whether it is a randomised controlled trial, or an observational study, knowing what kind of information the study should collect is important, and so researchers may need to use epidemiology data, adapt to different social norms or utilise diagnostics to create valid, evidence based, outcomes. Whatever your research question, the postgraduate diploma will guide you from conception to execution and completion of a final report. Our graduates will conduct their research aware of the larger context within which research takes place, they will plan and implement their projects accordingly and communicate their reasoning and findings as effectively as possible, increasing the probability of successful research and turning that research into practice.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research will provide you with many transferable skills, not least higher-level critical-thinking and analytical skills to enable you to develop professionally as independent learners during and after your programme of study. At the end of the programme, we want our graduates to be intellectually curious, improve global health, gather and analyse data, lead research projects, make good decisions and continue on a journey of life-long learning, like all Oxford graduates.

The postgraduate diploma will support the attainment of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably the following goals with regard to SDG 3, ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing at all ages’:

  • 3.B ‘Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries’;
  • 3.C ‘Substantially increase…development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries’ and
  • 3.D ‘Strengthen the capacity of all countries, particularly developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks’.

This programme is different from other courses for two key reasons:

  • Firstly, it refers entirely to health issues specific to diseases of poverty in low-resource countries.
  • Secondly, this is an operational and applied course that covers the steps needed to set up studies across all types of health research

Course structure

The programme consists of four terms, with eight teaching weeks per term.

  • Term one, Research Design, will be taught during Michaelmas term
  • Term two, Data Management and Analysis, will be taught during Hilary term
  • Term three, Quality Systems, will be taught during Trinity term
  • Term four, Research Implementation, will be taught the following Michaelmas term.

Core Modules

  • What is Health Research?
  • Outcome Measures & Protocol Design
  • Ethics
  • Community Engagement
  • Study Populations
  • Study Interventions
  • Data Capture
  • Data Management & Analysis
  • Quality Assurance
  • Safety and Pharmacovigilance
  • Laboratories & Diagnostics
  • Governance and Oversight
  • Operations, including Project and Financial Management
  • Leadership & Communication Skills
  • Reporting
  • Converting Research into Practice

These subjects were identified as the key subjects required in global health research by a large-scale Knowledge Gap Analysis and E-Delphi study and workshops, involving over 7,000 participants from 153 countries across the globe.

Participants included academics, trialists and researchers, as well as representatives from stakeholder organisations such as the European Commission, the World Health Organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

These data have driven the creation of this unique and much-needed programme that focusses on the contextual necessities and operational realities of setting up ALL types of health research study in low-resource settings.

Balance of teaching

You are expected to engage daily from Monday to Friday with the interactive elements of the lesson week and you should help contribute to the evolution of class discussions.

Each week consists of an introduction, pre-recorded interactive lectures, structured discussion forums to help put theory into practice and a live lecture.

A typical lesson consists of an introduction, pre-recorded interactive lecture, discussion forum with tasks or questions to help put theory into practice. There is a live class using online video conferencing software, and asynchronous tutorials based on reflective practice.  Additional Resources include an online reading list. Students will quickly know what to expect and will only need to learn to navigate a lesson once, as all lessons will follow a similar pattern.

The postgraduate diploma is structured to be as flexible as possible for busy adults who have work and family commitments. Therefore, a lot of the activities can be completed to suit your schedule, and whilst most forums and tutorials are asynchronous, there will be a weekly live class using video conferencing software. This class will be recorded.


The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Medicine 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 Medicine.

For this course, the terms ‘supervision’ and ‘supervisor’ refer to an academic tutor that you will normally be assigned for the duration of the course.


There will be four assessments in total, one per term. Each assessment carries equal weight and is worth 25% of your overall grade for the course. All assessments must be passed to ensure progression through the course. Some assessments will be on a team basis and some will be individual.

Assessment details will be published in the week preceding the first week of each term. This is also when teams will be formed. You will work on the assessment from then until submission in week nine of term. During week three, each team will submit a formative assessment on which you will receive feedback that is directly applicable to your team assessment. On a weekly basis, each individual shall complete a reflective diary, on which you will receive one-to-one feedback, which will help you prepare the individual section of your assessment.

Graduate destinations

Graduates will have a range of specialty areas to choose from following completion of the postgraduate diploma and would typically focus on further study in specific subjects with global health research, project and programme management including clinical research, health systems, climate change, urban and environmental health.

Transferable Skills include:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Time management/planning/organisation
  • Team working and leadership
  • Academic writing skills
  • Research and report writing skills
  • Capacity to work in diverse settings
  • Advocacy, influencing and communication skills

Graduates will also have the benefit of the Global Health Training Centre's Professional Development Scheme. 

The Professional Development Scheme’s competency framework covers five key areas:

  1. Professional Skills
  2. Scientific Thinking
  3. Ethics, Quality & Risk Management
  4. Research Operations
  5. Study & Site Management

Students will complete the framework at the start and end of the course to measure the impact of their studies. This will also give each student an understanding of their strengths in key research skills. This should boost their confidence and give them very specific talking points in interviews or with current employers.

Changes to this 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. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, 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.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

You are strongly advised to visit the Medical Sciences Graduate School website to help identify the most suitable course and supervisors.

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.

All graduate courses offered by the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine

Entry requirements for entry in 2023-24

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

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

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours is normally required in a relevant discipline. 

The above qualification should be achieved in one of the following subject areas or disciplines:

  • all allied health professions degrees
  • any basic science degree
  • global health
  • public health

The course is open to applicants without a degree, however they will need to provide evidence of at least three years’ suitable work experience, including experiential learning, to a standard that broadly equates to a strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours. Suitable work experience may include nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, community health worker, work in policy, regulatory agency, department of health, or work in the pharma industry. 

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 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

The course is open to applicants without a degree, however they will need to provide evidence of at least three years’ suitable work experience, including experiential learning, to a standard that broadly equates to a strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours. Suitable work experience may include nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, community health worker, work in policy, regulatory agency, department of health, or work in the pharma industry.

This programme is a postgraduate course for professionals who can learn from the programme and add value to the learning experience of all students by sharing their own practical experiences. Accordingly, this programme is designed for learners who can reflect and learn on their own experiences. Applicants who are not currently working in global health research (or related areas) or who are on career breaks will also be considered if their experience and education suggests they will benefit from and contribute to the programme.

If an applicant does not meet the academic criteria stipulated above it is their responsibility to provide evidence of suitable work experience and learning to support their application. The evidence may be demonstrated by compiling a portfolio of some of the examples listed below:

  • Completion of The Global Health Network's Professional Development Scheme
  • Reflective accounts of their experience and the learning gained through that experience
  • Statements detailing any formal education or relevant training acquired
  • Provision of certificates, transcripts, statements from employers, etc.

In addition to those where we need to use this as a mechanism for assessment, we will also be asking all successful applicants to join, free of charge, the Professional Development Scheme. This will enable us to understand our students’ competencies at the start of the course and measure how they change over time; not just from their learning through the diploma, but also as we hope they remain in this scheme and we can use this to keep in touch and also track their progress and assess the long-term impact of this qualification.

The Global Health Network Professional Development Scheme is run in partnership with WHO and measures core research skills and competencies. It is therefore a strong, validated and robust way to assess students in a highly specific and relevant way. It brings the added benefit of giving you a structure for seeing how your research competencies are growing as you can work your way up the 25 membership levels. It should be a highly positive extra value element of this qualification that can remain with the students throughout their subsequent careers.

Once applicants meet the criteria set by the University, for example, with regard to proof of identification, authentication of official transcripts, references etc., the Course Director, with input from other academics on the Course Committee, will assess the claim based on some, or all, of the following criteria:

  • the level of competency demonstrated
  • appropriateness of the evidence in relation to the learning outcomes of the postgraduate diploma 
  • the equivalence of the academic level of the learning gained
  • the currency, reliability and validity of the evidence provided
  • the learning gained as opposed to the experience gained

Claims of achieving the equivalent level of learning outcomes from experience and prior learning must be reliable, valid and current. Applicants may be required to obtain verification of the evidence provided from an appropriate independent third party such as a Higher Education Institute (HEI), or a ‘responsible person’ at their place of employment. A responsible person is one who has authority to sign on behalf of the organisation. By signing, the responsible person attests to the veracity of the details provided by the applicant. We will spot check such applications, contacting the responsible person directly.

English language proficiency

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. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'

(Institution code: 0490)

110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

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

Declaring extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.


You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews will take place via video conferencing software. Interviews will be conducted by a panel. Each interview will last approximately 10 minutes and interviewees will have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the course. 

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading. References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about processing special category data for the purposes of positive action and using your data to assess your eligibility for funding, can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

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.

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

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

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our After you apply pages provide more information about offers and conditions

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also 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.


The Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research is embedded within the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine.

As a student you will become part of The Global Health Network which not only has over 400,000 registered members, it also provides a Professional Development Scheme developed with WHO-TDR (the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) and hosts 59 research hubs. This will give you many opportunities to expand your professional network and enhance your professional development during and after the postgraduate diploma.

You will also have access to the Bodleian Libraries via SOLO, the University’s libraries online catalogue, which contains items from over 100 University and College libraries, including over 1.4 million e-books, over 118,000 e-journals and more than 1,300 databases.


The University expects to be able to offer around 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2023-24. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.

For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.


Annual fees for entry in 2023-24

Fee status

Annual Course fees


Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

Information about course fees

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 changes 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.

Where can I find further information about fees?

The Fees and Funding section of this website provides further information about course fees, including information about fee status and eligibility and your length of fee liability.

Additional information

In addition to fees and living costs, students will require their own laptop and internet access. As this is an online course, it is advisable for all applicants to have reliable internet access. Many of our students will have reliable internet access in the workplace, but the course is designed to be accessible even in low bandwidth settings. We limit the number of synchronous elements in the course, to ensure maximum flexibility. All elements of the course will be downloadable so that students can work offline if necessary. They can then log in at various points each week to upload work and keep abreast of discussions, using Canvas, Zoom and VoiceThread to help ensure students can stay connected and engaged.

College preference

Matriculation confers membership of the University on students. Students who enrol on this course will not be matriculated and will not become a member of an Oxford college. Although not formally members of the University, non-matriculated students are expected to observe the same rules and regulations as matriculated students. Further information about matriculation is available on the Oxford Students website.

Before you apply

Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.

Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?

Before you apply, you should visit the department's website to read further information about the course. It is not necessary to contact a member of academic staff before you apply, however due to the specialist nature of the course and its entry requirements, it is recommended that you send your CV to the Course Co-ordinator before you start your application, via the contact details provided on this page. 

Completing your application

As this course takes place fully online with no requirement for you to be in Oxford, some questions on the About You tab of the application form about your nationality, visa requirements, and accommodation in Oxford will not be relevant to you. The answers you provide to these questions will not be taken into account in the assessment of your application.

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents. If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Three overall, academic 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.

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.

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.

Full instructions and link to standard CV creation form 

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. You will need to upload a standardised CV to the graduate application form as part of your application. This standardised CV should be generated using the online form that requests certain information that you will likely have included on your CV. Once you have completed the form, you will have 15 minutes to download your CV as a PDF document. 

This PDF document will be in the same format for all applicants and you should not modify the document before you upload it, or submit your CV in a different format.

Generate your standardised CV

Full instructions and a link to the standard CV creation form are provided on the Medical Sciences Division website via the button above. The instructions page contains links to example clinical and non-clinical CVs, with details of what to include and suggested answer formats.

If you require help or advice while generating your CV using the online form, please contact the Medical Sciences Graduate School for assistance (graduate.school@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

Personal statement:
A maximum of 1,000 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas in global health research that interest  you and/or you intend to specialise in after you have completed the postgraduate diploma. 

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

Your statement will be assessed for:

  • your ability to present a coherent case in proficient English
  • your commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the course
  • your preliminary knowledge of the subject area and research techniques
  • your capacity for sustained and intense work
  • your reasoning ability
  • your ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.
  • your future career plans
  • your potential to contribute to future capacity building in Global Health Research in your region.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please refer to the requirements above and consult our Application Guide for advice. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide Apply

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