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PGDip in Global Health Research

About the course

This online Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research (GHR) 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 PGDip GHR is an online four-term course 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 PGDip GHR 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 PGDip GHR will provide you with many transferable skills, not least higher-level critical-thinking and analytical skills to enable you to develop professionally as an independent learner during and after the course. At the end of the course, the aim is for 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 course 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 PGDip GHR 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 PGDip GHR is conducted online and at no point are students required to attend in-person sessions in Oxford.

The course 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 course 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 PGDip GHR 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.

The Global Health Network Professional Development Scheme

All students are required to join, free of charge, The Global Health Network Professional Development Scheme which is run in partnership with WHO. Membership of the scheme will enable you to measure your core research skills and competencies as you progress through the course and beyond into your subsequent career if you choose to remain a member.

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

You will complete the framework at the start and end of the course to measure the impact of your studies. This will also give you an understanding of your strengths in key research skills, which will in turn boost your confidence and give you very specific talking points in interviews or with current employers.

Graduate destinations

Graduates will have a range of specialty areas to choose from following completion of the PGDip GHR 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

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.

Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25

Proven and potential academic excellence

The requirements described below are specific to this course and apply only in the year of entry that is shown. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.

Please be aware that any studentships that are linked to this course may have different or additional requirements and you should read any studentship information carefully before applying. 

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

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.

Alternatives to degree level qualifications

If you do not meet the criteria stipulated in the degree level qualifications section above, you may still apply for the course, but your work experience and previous learning must broadly equate to a strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours. 

It is your responsibility to provide evidence of at least three years’ suitable work experience and learning to support your application. Suitable work experience may include:

  • nursing
  • pharmacy
  • laboratory
  • community health worker
  • work in policy
  • regulatory agency
  • department of health
  • work in the pharma industry

Your evidence of learning 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 your experience and the learning gained through that experience;
  • Statements detailing any formal education or relevant training acquired; and/or
  • Provision of certificates, transcripts, statements from employers, etc.

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

Claims of achieving the equivalent level of learning outcomes from experience and prior learning must be reliable, valid and current. 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; and/or
  • the learning gained as opposed to the experience gained.

You 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 your 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 you. The department will spot check such applications, contacting the responsible person directly.

GRE General Test scores

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

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

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

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.

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 Global Health Network Professional Development Scheme

If you are offered a place on the course, you will be required to join, free of charge, The Global Health Network Professional Development Scheme. This will help the department assess competencies at the start of the course and measure how they change over time. 


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 700,000 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 over 50 research hubs. This will give you many opportunities to expand your professional network and enhance your professional development during and after the PGDip GHR.

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.

Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine (NDM) is a large multi-disciplinary department that links high quality clinical and basic research. The underpinning motivation behind all research carried out by NDM is the pursuit of academic excellence and the positive impact of research on the health and wellbeing of the global community.

Much of the £130 million per annum grant income is spent on understanding the most basic principles of biology and disease pathogenesis. As well as its research and clinical commitments in Oxford, the department has Africa and Asia programmes in Thailand, Vietnam and Kenya.

The NDM has a community of around 60 graduate research students each year, the majority of whom are studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree, which is the University of Oxford's equivalent of a PhD. The department also offers an MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine, an MSc in Modelling for Global Health and an MSc in Genomic Medicine, each with an intake of around 20 students every year, plus a PGDip in Global Health Research. The Careers Service at Oxford University reports that six months after leaving Oxford, postgraduate research students at NDM are on average earning £31,000 with 83.8% in employment and a further 11% in further study (eg Graduate Entry Medicine).


For details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information on external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. We would suggest that you review this information carefully, as not all funding opportunities are available for students applying to postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate courses.

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


Whole course fee

The fees for this course are charged as a whole course fee at the beginning of the course and cover the 14 month duration of the course.

Course Fees for entry in 2024/25

Fee status

Course fees

Home £14,155
Overseas £14,155

Information about course fees

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.

Continuation charges

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

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 and Zoom to help ensure students can stay connected and engaged.

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 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 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 current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.

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.

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. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.

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. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines and when to apply in our Application Guide.

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 engage informally by email with 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.

For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.

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.

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 PGDip GHR. 

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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