Improve your skills in healthcare research through this flexible online learning programme.

Key Facts

9 Months / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
Online Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Call +44 (0)1224 437096 Email Enquire Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply


Delivered entirely online, utilising a range of engaging and innovative teaching and assessment methods, the PgCert in Research Methods for Health will provide you with the framework and methodological skills to design effective, rigorous, ethical and relevant healthcare research projects.

This involves being able to:

  • Critically appraise research evidence (including systematic reviewing)
  • Develop a precise research question and articulate and justify an appropriate study design
  • Select a suitable statistical method for analysis and interpret the findings

The programme offers a fully flexible, participatory learning opportunity enabling you to:

  • Study while working
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Review material as often as you require
  • Incur limited financial costs
  • Study only the modules you are interested in

This PgCert is aimed at healthcare professionals, policy makers and early career researchers who would like to improve their health research skills but are unable to take time out for full-time study and/or want to avoid relocating.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 9 months full time / 2 year part time online learning PgCert programme which runs in September.

Degree Structure


The PgCert comprises 4 courses each of 15 credits. You may choose to complete one or two courses as part of your continuing professional development. Alternatively, completion of four courses leads to award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Health.

The total duration of each course is 13 weeks with the first week being an induction week.

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Online Learning (PU5028)

The Introduction to online learning course gives students the opportunity to ensure they are comfortable and familiar with the use of the various online tools used during the courses in the online PgCert in Research Methods for Health. These include listening to podcasts, taking online quizzes, uploading electronic assignments, contributing to synchronous or ‘live’ discussions in our virtual classroom and asynchronous discussions using discussion boards, wikis and blogs as well as activating links to relevant and current websites, e-books/journal articles. Students are required to have a headset with a microphone function for this course

View detailed information about this course.

Fundamentals of Research Design (PU5027)

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of health research methods. The course will focus on the development of research protocols, including how to formulate research questions, identify appropriate study designs, identify relevant outcomes and plan data collection. Students will be introduced to the main study designs used in health research including experimental, observational, qualitative and mixed method designs. Sampling techniques and methods for data collection for both quantitative and qualitative methods will be addressed. Students will also be introduced to the importance of critical appraisal and research ethics and will learn how to communicate scientific findings.

View detailed information about this course.

Applied Statistics (PU5522)

Applied statistics introduces students to statistical concepts involved in the appropriate design, analysis and interpretation of research in health settings, covering aspects of data types and presentation of data; probability; samples, distributions, statistical inference; hypothesis testing; univariate parametric and non-parametric methods and correlation with an introduction to regression.

View detailed information about this course.

Evidence - Based Health (PU5031)

This course is taken by students registered for the PGCert in Research Methods for Health and the MPH. It is delivered online and provides interaction with fellow students and faculty both synchronously and asynchronously. Everyone taking part must be registered for the course and complete all assessments.This course aims to enable the fundamental understanding and application of evidence based health at an individual- and population-level, focusing on the use of systematic reviews to synthesise evidence as well as methods to translate and implement evidence to inform health practice and policy.

View detailed information about this course.

Epidemiology (PU5538)

This course in applied epidemiology gives an introduction to disease measurement at a population level, basic epidemiological study design and analysis, and provides an understanding of key methodological issues needed to apply when designing – or critically appraising – an epidemiological study.

View detailed information about this course.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

The course makes the most of digital tools and online technology to enable active learning and provide repeated exposure to evidence-based practice using real life examples.

Innovative teaching methods are used to help you in the understanding, application, and the development of a critical academic attitude. These include:

  • Podcasts
  • Synchronous and asynchronous discussions
  • Links to relevant and current websites
  • e-books and journal articles
  • Wikis and blogs
  • Live 'office hours' for questions

On-going support is provided by the dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers who will be tutoring you. Technical support is provided and peer support will develop throughout the course(s) since engagement with students from other countries and disciplines will be actively encouraged.

You are expected to engage in independent study and work through the weekly topics at your own pace. It is estimated that you will need to engage with the course material for ~15 hours per week for each course with the learning outcomes from each week linking into the next.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects


All assessments within the programme are completed and delivered online. There are several different types of assessment used throughout the programme including formative and summative assessment (MCQ, online tests, essays, presentations, peer review).

All assessments are marked using standardised assessment forms and according to the University's Common Grading Scale (CGS). Online assessment also allows for automated marking with immediate feedback.

Why Study Research Methods For Health?

  • You will benefit from being part of a supportive online community, helping to facilitate the successful achievement of clearly defined learning outcomes.
  • Through the use of digital media you will be engaged in a collaborative learning environment benefiting from teaching methods that fit with your preferred style of learning.
  • The programme is delivered by staff from our Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS), a large multidisciplinary grouping of University staff and NHS researchers who work to promote health and healthcare delivery.
  • Lecturers on the programme are active researchers and you will benefit from the skills and experience they have gained in conducting their own research and through the University's strong collaborations with other Universities and research institutions across the globe.
  • Learning materials and resources are accessed via the University's dedicated online learning environment called MyAberdeen. You will also have access to the full text of over 85,000 online books via the Ebrary, plus articles from over 20,000 electronic journals.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students
Charged on a modular basis per 15 credits
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £750
International Students
Charged on a modular basis per 15 credits
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £750
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. More Information can be found on the Finance and Funding page.

(Please note this cannot be claimed in conjunction with any other scholarship award.)

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Public Health in Primary Care Top in Scotland

The University was ranked 1st in Scotland for its research in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care (2014 Research Excellence Framework)

Entry Requirements


Applicants will usually need to possess a health-related honours degree (at a second class level or at least 60% or GPA – 3/5; 2.4/4; 6/10 OR equivalent) or be able to demonstrate evidence of equivalent experience in health care practice/research. They will also require reliable internet access.

Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Life Sciences and Medicine Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempt from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.


Successful completion of the PgCert will enable you to develop a range of essential methodological research skills allowing you to carry out research leading to improvements in your own healthcare workplace. You may also be more competitive in securing external funding for projects to improve health and reduce health inequalities. You should benefit from increased opportunities as a result of an enhanced professional profile and will have the confidence and methodological skills required to design and undertake a research project

The PgCert could be the first stage in gaining an MSc in Applied Health Sciences (specialisation) with a specialisation area such as substance abuse, health economics or sexual and reproductive health.

Our Experts

The programme will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of world renowned and vastly experienced experts in applied healthcare with each course having its own specialised co-ordinator(s).

Other Experts
Dr Alison Elliott
Dr Mike Crilly
Ms Jacqueline Bell
Dr Margaret Watson
Dr Kirsty Kiezebrink
Dr Shona Fielding
Programme Coordinator
Professor Amanda Lee

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


College of Life Sciences and Medicine Graduate School
University of Aberdeen
Polwarth Building

AB25 2ZD
+44 (0)1224 437096
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