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Health Research

Course overview

(MSc) Master of Science
Health Research
University of Essex
University of Essex
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
MSC B99012

A degree with an overall grade of 2.1.

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

External Examiners

Dr Nicola Clarke
Birmingham City University
Senior Lecturer/Professional Navigator/Academic Advisor/Seda Accredited Doctoral

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 SC970-7-AU SC970-7-AP Compulsory 20 Compulsory Optional
02 SC504-7-AU Introduction to Quantitative Analysis Core 20 Core Optional
03 HS947-7-AU Theory and Method in Health Research Core 15 Core Optional
04 SC968-7-SP Advanced Quantitative Analysis: Models for Cause and Effect Core 20 Core Optional
05 HS948-7-SP Qualitative Health Research Core 15 Core Optional
06 Option(s) from list Core with Options 35 Core with Options Optional
07 HS982-7-FY or HS982-7-SP Core with Options 60

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

This degree will offer an opportunity to study research methods in relation to issues of health in an inter-disciplinary environment.

The course offers a grounding and substantive introduction to the key methodological and theoretical components required to undertake health related research from a social scientific perspective.

It combines quantitative and qualitative research perspectives from the areas of sociological research methods and the specific application of these research methods to the burgeoning health context (burgeoning in the sense of an ageing population and increased need for health care).

It will be best suited for graduates who wish to pursue a career in health related research, or employment in health related governmental and non-governmental organisations, or to pursue further postgraduate study to doctoral level.

The degree forms part of an institutional ESRC funded Doctoral Training Pathway.

Consequently, the course content, aims and outcomes will be closely allied to ESRC criteria.
Currently this means that the degree scheme is focussed on developing areas of scholarship in terms of the issues of 'Health, Well-being and Psychosocial Issues', 'Understanding Individual Behaviour', and 'Global Economic Performance, Policy and Management'.

Course Outcomes

1. To provide advanced training in researching psychosocial aspects of health and wellbeing.

2. To provide a solid understanding of the qualitative and quantitative approaches to researching issues of health and healthcare.

3. To provide firm knowledge of core substantive areas of social science research methods and health, e.g. health policy, public health, epidemiology, medical sociology.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Advanced understanding of key explanatory frameworks in research methods applied to the study of health
A2 Advanced understanding of the principles of research design
A3 Knowledge of the relationships between relevant academic theories and empirical health-related research
A4 Ability to translate principles of research design into both qualitative and quantitative studies
A5 Understanding of the role of computer assisted analysis in research
A6 Advanced understanding of the role of well formulated and relevant research questions
A7 Understanding of relevant ethical and legal issues around health related research
A8 Advanced understanding of the underlying epistemological and ontological positions common in health-related research
A9 Plan and carry out, with supervision, health related research to a high professional and ethical standard
Learning Methods: Lectures, seminars, workshops
Assessment Methods: 100% coursework - written assignments and presentations

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Advanced knowledge of how to systematically gather and critically appraise relevant evidence bases
B2 Ability to review and analyse competing theories and evidence
B3 Ability to engage in advanced debates of theoretical, practical and research issues
B4 Ability to develop and construct appropriate research questions to investigate research related issues
B5 Advanced knowledge of qualitative data collection methods and techniques and existing repositories of qualitative data
B6 Advanced knowledge of quantitative data collection methods and techniques and existing repositories of quantitative data
B7 Interpret empirical evidence from different forms of research
Learning Methods: Lectures, seminars, workshops
Assessment Methods: 100% coursework - written assignments and presentations

C: Practical skills

C1 Perform advanced and systematic search for information relevant to specific topics
C2 Perform evaluation and appraisal of existing research and the evidence base
C3 Process and analyse qualitative data using a software package (e.g. MaxQDA)
C4 Process and analyse data using a statistical software package (e.g. SPSS, Stata)
C5 Demonstrate ability to analyse data from different sources using appropriate techniques
C6 Demonstrate ability to conduct work in a self-directed manner and the ability to appropriately use time management techniques
Learning Methods: Lectures, seminars, workshops
Assessment Methods: 100% coursework - written assignments and presentations

D: Key skills

D1 Able to communicate effectively verbally in a group; able to summarise and communicate complex findings to others; able to communicate with professional and lay audiences appropriately; able to write well-structured and well-argued essays
D2 Able to use Internet resources, word processing packages; spreadsheets and statistics packages; presentation packages; data analysis software
D3 Ability to read and interpret tables of data and statistics from a variety of official sources
D4 Able to use advanced knowledge and cognitive skills to address theoretical, practical and research problems
D5 Able to work effectively with others, in particular able to adopt a collegial approach to participation in group discussions and providing feedback to peers.
D6 Ability to reflect upon ones own knowledge and research practice
Learning Methods: Lectures, seminars, workshops
Assessment Methods: 100% coursework - written assignments and presentations


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: