MSc Health Data Science

Year of entry: 2021

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Overview

Degree awarded
MSc/PGDip/PGCert/CPD
Duration
MSc 3yPT/1yFT Dip 2yPT/1yFT Cert 12-18m PT/6m FT
Entry requirements

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or overseas equivalent in:

  • mathematics
  • statistics
  • computer science
  • physical science
  • biomedical science (including epidemiology, biological sciences or medicine/nursing)

Your degree must have had significant statistical and computational elements and be from a recognised institution or an approved and relevant postgraduate qualification (minimum postgraduate diploma or equivalent).

We may also accept the equivalent of previous advanced study, research and/or relevant professional experience that the University accepts as qualifying the candidate for entry.

In the case of non-UK applicants, the institution certifying advanced study must be recognised and approved by the University.

You may be accepted for entry to the postgraduate diploma track with a Lower Second degree or under subject to interview, and be moved to the master's track on achieving suitable results in the taught part of the course.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form , following any instructions for completion carefully. See the Application and selection section for details of the supporting documents that we require. We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MSc Y Y N N
PGDip Y Y N N
PGCert Y Y N N

Course overview

  • Learn how to work within a team to collect and interpret health data and use it to help solve healthcare delivery challenges.
  • Experience key technical skills and software for working with and manipulating health data.
  • Access sophisticated research and teaching facilities at the Centre for Health Informatics (CHI).
  • Open up a wealth of career opportunities in the NHS, industry and academia - an estimated 52,000 data scientists are needed in the UK alone.
  • We also offer units from this MSc as CPD courses .

Open days

Attending an open day is a great way to find out what studying at Manchester is like. Find out about our upcoming open days .

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2021, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £10,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £20,500
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): Year 1 £4,000; Year 2 £4,000; Year 3 £2,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): Year 1 £8,200; Year 2 £8,200; Year 3 4,100
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £8,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £16,400
  • PGDip (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £8,200
  • PGCert (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £8,200
  • PGCert (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £2,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £4,100

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The course fees include all the tuition, technical support and examinations required for the course. All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review. Courses lasting more than one year may be subject to incremental rises per annum. For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Additional expenses

The University permits applicants with comparable previous experience to submit an application for consideration of AP(E)L Accreditation Prior (Experiential) Learning. The maximum AP(E)L is 15 credits to a PGCert, 45 credits to a PGDip and 60 credits to a master's.

If your AP(E)L application is successful, the University charges £30 for every 15 credits of AP(E)L. The overall tuition fee is adjusted and then the administrative charge is applied.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Contact details

School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Contact name
Postgraduate Admissions Team
Telephone
(+44) 0161 543 4699
Email
Website
https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/medicine/
School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or overseas equivalent in:

  • mathematics
  • statistics
  • computer science
  • physical science
  • biomedical science (including epidemiology, biological sciences or medicine/nursing)

Your degree must have had significant statistical and computational elements and be from a recognised institution or an approved and relevant postgraduate qualification (minimum postgraduate diploma or equivalent).

We may also accept the equivalent of previous advanced study, research and/or relevant professional experience that the University accepts as qualifying the candidate for entry.

In the case of non-UK applicants, the institution certifying advanced study must be recognised and approved by the University.

You may be accepted for entry to the postgraduate diploma track with a Lower Second degree or under subject to interview, and be moved to the master's track on achieving suitable results in the taught part of the course.

English language

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through a secure and approved testing system. We ask for English language proof from applicants from non-majority English speaking countries (a list of majority English-speaking countries, as defined by the UK Home Office, can be found here ).

Specifically, we require a minimum of:

  • IELTS: Overall 6.5 (6.0 in reading and writing)
  • TOEFL iBT: 90 (25 in reading and writing)

See further information about requirements for your country .

If you envisage any difficulties in satisfying our English language requirements then please do let us know. The University offer a number of pre-sessional English courses designed specifically to help international students meet our requirements prior to the start of their course.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

Self funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Please upload a copy of your current valid passport with your application showing the photograph page with your application. For CAS purposes, this must show your full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number and the date the passport is valid until, which must be later than the date of your planned arrival in the UK, and the start date of your course. You cannot use your CAS to apply for a visa more than three months before the start date of your course.

This means that if you intend to begin a course on 21 September 2020, we will not issue you with a CAS number before 21 June 2020.

Your CAS number is only valid for one Tier 4 application.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form , following any instructions for completion carefully. See the Application and selection section for details of the supporting documents that we require. We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Advice to applicants

Your application form must include the following documents:

  • two academic/professional references on letter headed paper, signed and dated within six months of your application. Unfortunately we cannot request references from your referees on your behalf;
  • official academic certificates and transcripts of all your current and previous studies (with fully certified translations by a professional translator if not in English);
  • personal statement of approximately 300-500 words about why you wish to take this course and how it will affect your personal and professional development;
  • CV including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience;
  • a scanned copy of the photograph page of your passport;
  • proof of English Language proficiency (if appropriate).

Supporting documents can be uploaded and submitted with the online application form, or sent directly to pgtaught.cbm@manchester.ac.uk .

Your application cannot be considered until all your supporting documents are supplied. Please include your University ID in all correspondence.

How your application is considered

Applications are considered on an academic and relevant professional experience basis, using all information provided, including interview.

Interview requirements

Applicants may be required to have a short interview with the course director and another member of staff.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We welcome applications from overseas students.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful, you may apply again.

Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. 

We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Our MSc Health Data Science course aims to create a new breed of scientist who can understand the healthcare sector and medicine, how data is collected and analysed, and how this can be communicated to influence various stakeholders.

The current model of healthcare delivery in the UK is subject to unprecedented challenges. An ageing population, the impact of lifestyle factors and increasing costs mean that the existing approaches may become unsustainable. 

This, coupled with a drive towards personalised medicine, presents an opportunity for a step change in healthcare delivery.

To do this, we need to make best use of the health data we collect and create a better understanding of the relationship between treatments, outcomes, patients and costs. 

This MSc promotes the need for translational thinking to provide the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be applied across new challenges within healthcare delivery.

Students from a variety of professional backgrounds will benefit from the course, as the structure of the MSc ensures that you will share this knowledge with each other and learn to work in multidisciplinary teams, rather than in specialist silos.

The course has eight taught units covering key skills for health data science. Seven units are core and there is one optional unit depending on training needs and background. For those studying for an MSc, there is also a 60-credit research project.

Aims

This course will allow you to:

  • gain key background knowledge and an understanding of the healthcare system, from the treatment of individuals to the wider population;
  • gain an understanding of the governance structures and frameworks used when working with health data and in the healthcare sector;
  • experience key technical skills and software for working with and manipulating health data;
  • understand the breadth and depth of application methods and the potential uses of health data;
  • comprehend key concepts and distinctions of the disciplines that need to be synthesised for effective health data science;
  • appreciate the role of the health data scientist and how they fit into the wider healthcare landscape;
  • understand the importance of patient-focused delivery and outcomes;
  • develop the in-depth knowledge, understanding and analytical skills needed to work with health data effectively to improve healthcare delivery;
  • develop a systematic and critical understanding of relevant knowledge, theoretical frameworks and analytical skills to demonstrate a critical understanding of the challenges and issues arising from heterogeneous data at volume and scale, and turn them into insight for healthcare delivery, research and innovation;
  • apply practical understanding and skills to problems in healthcare;
  • work in a multi-disciplinary community and communicate specialist knowledge of how to use health data to a diverse community;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of techniques and methods in relation to health challenges and the issues addressed;
  • extend your knowledge, understanding and ability to contribute to the advancement of healthcare delivery knowledge, research or practice through the systematic, in-depth exploration of a specific area of practice and/or research.

Special features

Research project options

MSc students will have an opportunity to conduct their research project in other settings such as the NHS and the biopharmaceutical industry, as well as academia.

Teaching and learning

The course covers four main areas that bring together technical, modelling and contextual skills to apply these to real world problems when harnessing the potential of health data. 

In each of the units that deliver the key skills, both the importance of the patient and the governance surrounding working in the healthcare environment (especially structures around information governance) is embedded throughout.

Each unit will use case studies provided by existing work and research at the CHI . The course will focus on large and complex health datasets (often routinely collected) in environments that safeguard patient confidentiality.

The course will encourage intellectual curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking, providing transferable skills for lifelong learning and research and cultivation of reflective practice. 

Through the development of these innovation, critical, evaluative, analytical, technical, problem solving and professional skills, you will be able to conduct impactful work and advance healthcare delivery. 

We see learning and teaching as collaborative knowledge construction, which recognises the contribution of all stakeholders (academic staff, service users and carers and students). This is demonstrated in the course through contributions made by these stakeholders through case studies, examples, invited seminars and participation in group work.

A variety of teaching methods will be used within the constraints of the method of delivery. The course will be student centred and will be delivered from the outset using a combination of face-to-face, distance learning and blended learning units.

Coursework and assessment

A range of assessments are used within each course unit and across the course as a whole.

All assessments require you to integrate knowledge and understanding, and to apply this to case studies and the outcomes of each unit.

Assessment will occur in a variety of forms including (but not exclusively) essays, case studies, assessed seminar/tutorial presentations and literature reviews.

Written assignments and presentations have a formative role in providing feedback (particularly in the early stages of course units) as well as contributing to summative assessment.

Online quizzes provide a useful method of regular testing, ensuring that you actively engage with the taught material.

The assessment of tutorials contains an element of self and peer evaluation, so you can learn the skills associated with the effective management of and participation in collaborative activity.

The course also places an emphasis on group work, as this a vital skill for professionals operating in a multidisciplinary area such as health data science, and this is shown in the teaching methods and assignments. 

Each unit has a different emphasis on the group work assessment based on the nature of the material being covered, how they are to apply the knowledge and the work they are to complete.

The dissertation for the MSc requires you to undertake an extended written piece of work (10,000 to 15,000 words) that focuses on a specific aspect of health data science.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Principles of Digital Biology COMP60532 15 Mandatory
Introduction to Health Informatics COMP60542 15 Mandatory
Health Information Systems and Technologies IIDS67601 15 Mandatory
Tutorials in Health Data Science IIDS67611 15 Mandatory
Understanding Data and Decision Making IIDS67622 15 Mandatory
Fundamental Mathematics & Statistics for Health Data IIDS67631 15 Mandatory
Biomedical Modelling for Health Data IIDS67642 15 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Epidemiology POPH60991 15 Mandatory
Principles of Digital Biology COMP60532 15 Optional
Modern Information Engineering IIDS61302 15 Optional

Course collaborators

Our course is embedded in the rich ecosystem of world-class research in the field across the University, and is at the forefront of driving the professionalisation and skills agenda.

The MSc is hosted by the Centre of Health Informatics (CHI), which has built an internationally recognised multi- and trans-disciplinary research base attracting over £50 million of funding from research councils, the EU and industry. 

CHI was originally founded in 2012 through funding from the Medical Research Council. It is part of the Health Data Research UK Northern Partnership and is leading research in the Learning Healthcare System in which data analysis is used to directly improve health care (including improvements in care for elderly and antibiotic prescribing). CHI previously led the Department of Health funded programme Connected Health Cities which piloted the Learning Health System. CHI is also conducting key research projects such as the EPSRC Wearable Clinic and innovative projects such as ClinTouch, a mobile early warning system. CHI has experience of delivering research-led innovative education that remains relevant to the needs of the market.

This centre runs a programme of research and education that brings experts together from a wide range of academic, NHS and industrial partners. In particular, it has a UK-wide remit to professionalise the field.

Facilities

You will have access to CHI's state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities.

In addition, you will have full access to the University's IT and library facilities . This will include Blackboard and other e-learning facilities.

Each student will have an identified personal tutor who can provide advice and assistance throughout the course. During the research project, you will be in regular contact with your research supervisor.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

If you cannot commit to a full postgraduate course, or need to focus on a particular skill set, we offer units from this MSc for continuing professional development (CPD).

You can submit assessments to receive university credits, and then apply for admission to the full postgraduate course.

It is expected that CPD students will take these on an ad hoc basis, but will have the opportunity to work towards an exit award within five years of sitting the first unit. This will be in accordance with AP(E)L regulations and will allow students to be able to transfer credits from other universities that deliver similarly focused courses (eg those belonging to Health Data Research UK). 

The units do not need to be taken in a specific order (except where pre-requisite units have been specified). However, you will be required to demonstrate that they have sufficient background knowledge to sit the individual unit requested.

Careers

Career opportunities

Data science is increasing in importance in the fields of medicine and public health, where we can determine how to best design treatments and allocate resources based on analysis of health and related data.

For students completing this MSc, there will be a wealth of career opportunities available in the NHS, industry and academia. It is envisaged there is a need for 52,000 data scientists in the UK alone.  

Students completing the master's course will be eligible for consideration for PhD programmes within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and you will be encouraged and supported to develop relevant research proposals.

Many students have gone on to study for a PhD or gone into the healthcare or commercial sectors.

Associated organisations

Our course is closely linked with local centres and networks such as Health Innovation Manchester and the NW Informatics Skills Development (ISD) Network, which provides an environment to facilitate training that meets the needs of the market.