Join a health economic evaluation course you can study around work.

In this Masters-level online short course, you’ll learn to use a range of economic evaluation methods, including cost-effectiveness analysis.

You’ll also examine the practicalities of choosing the appropriate types of economic evaluation.

With expert guidance from health economists, you’ll gain skills in:

  • key economic evaluation concepts
  • interpreting cost-effectiveness evidence, and
  • identifying high-quality economic evaluation studies.

Who can join this online economic evaluation course?

This distance learning course is ideal for health researchers and professionals working in health, government, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry.

You do not need to have a background in economics to join this course.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of online:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards this MSc qualification.

The importance of economic evaluation in health care

Health technology assessment (HTA) agencies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and other international bodies require economic evaluation evidence to inform their decision making.

Pharmaceutical companies must provide economic evaluation information (cost-effectiveness analysis) in their submissions to demonstrate value for money.

This course is designed to help you build your skills and experience in this important area of health economics.

What you’ll study

In this course, you’ll work through four units:

  • Identifying, measuring, and valuing resource use and costs
  • Identifying, measuring, and valuing benefits
  • Combining costs and outcomes for economic evaluation in healthcare, including practicalities of choosing the appropriate form of economic evaluation
  •  Critical appraisal in economic evaluation

This course focuses on methods for the identification, measurement and valuation of the costs and benefits of health technologies.

You’ll consider the importance of health outcomes, non-health outcomes and process attributes when valuing the benefits of health care interventions.

You’ll be introduced to Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), examining:

  • the use of standard gamble and time trade-off (TTO) to estimate quality weights within the QALY framework
  • the creation and use of generic QALY measures such as EuroQol, as well as specific QALY measures.

You’ll also gain critical appraisal skills to help you judge the quality of published economic evaluation evidence.

Economic evaluation concepts

You’ll develop your understanding of core economic evaluation concepts, including:

  • opportunity cost
  • costing perspectives
  • discounting
  • QALYs, and
  • valuation methods including time trade-off, standard gamble, and discrete choice experiments.

Economic evaluation methods

You’ll learn about different frameworks of economic evaluation, and when and how they can be applied to improve practical resource-allocation decisions in health.

You’ll cover economic evaluation methods including:

  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • cost-utility analysis
  • cost-benefit analysis.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to...

  • Describe the practical issues when identifying, measuring and valuing costs and benefits in an economic evaluation.
  • Explain the importance of defining the economic evaluation question, whether technical or allocative efficiency.
  • Distinguish between the different techniques of cost-minimisation analysis (CMA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), cost-utility analysis (CUA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA).
  • Know how and when to use CMA, CEA, CUA and CBA economic evaluation methods.
  • Discuss the relevance and importance of opportunity costs, marginal analysis, sensitivity analysis and discounting when valuing costs and benefits within the framework of an economic evaluation.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different economic evaluation techniques, and understand when, and how, to use these different approaches.
  • Critically appraise published economic evaluations with the help of checklists for assessing the quality of studies.

Why study health economic evaluation with the University of Aberdeen?

You’re in expert hands

We’ve been delivering online and distance learning for decades.

Award-winning research

We’re proud winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the highest national honour for a UK university, for sustained excellence in health research over the last 40 years.

Why we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize

NHS and alumni discounts

NHS staff get 10% off this online course. University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off.

How you’ll study

Online learning

Economic Evaluation: Principles and Frameworks is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn anywhere in the world, with no need for a study visa, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • video lectures
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • slide shows
  • quizzes
  • online tutorials
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with your colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Course materials

The course provides a structured but flexible learning approach through the periodic release of materials. The course materials draw on a wide range of applied examples from the UK and internationally to illustrate core concepts.

Live online tutorials

Live tutorial sessions are held in the virtual meeting room throughout the course, covering key topics. These sessions will be recorded, so you can access them after they’ve taken place.

Your tutors

You’ll study with a team of practising health economists from our Health Economics Research Unit (HERU).

Your tutors are actively involved in policy-shaping research, and HERU is one of the leading centres for health economics research in Europe.

HERU researchers work closely with national bodies, including NICE, to appraise economic evaluation evidence used to inform reimbursement decisions for pharmaceuticals and diagnostic devices in the UK.

This course is assessed entirely online.

We’ll use several types of online assessment, including:

  • multiple-choice quizzes
  • short-answer tests
  • practical exercises, and
  • essays.

Live online tutorials

This course features weekly online tutorials. Each tutorial is live and scheduled to last for around one hour.

Tutorial times will be organised flexibly at the start of the course. Your course coordinator will consider everyone’s circumstances and time zones before setting up tutorial times.

Study hours

The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes. This includes time for independent study, as well as teaching and assessments.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

You’ll have live online tutorials at fixed times, plus assessments with deadlines. But otherwise, you can access and work through your course at your convenience.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

Your teaching team

Dr Dwayne Boyers - Course Coordinator

Dwayne is a Senior Research Fellow at the Health Economics Research Unit. He has over 14 years’ experience in the development, analysis, and reporting of economic evaluation evidence. Dwayne is particularly interested in the use of economic evaluation evidence to inform national level decision making.

View Dwayne’s profile

Mary Kilonzo

Mary is a Research Fellow at the Health Economics Research Unit. Her main research interests include developing and applying economic evaluation methodology in trials and systematic reviews, and the use of discrete choice experiments in health benefit measurement.

View Mary’s profile

Study with the award-winning Health Economics Research Unit (HERU)

The first unit in the UK and Europe to focus its research on health economics, HERU was founded in 1977.

Its impactful research informed the introduction of routine breast cancer screening, smokefree legislation, and minimum unit pricing in Scotland.

HERU has active links with health policymakers across the UK, including:

  • the Evidence Directorate of Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • the Analytical Services Division (ASD) of the Scottish Government
  • NHS Education Scotland, and
  • NHS Health Scotland.
Read about HERU

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this distance-learning course. You can use these credits towards our:

Masters in Health Economics for Health Professionals

Advance your career in health. Develop sought-after research skills and build your knowledge of health economics tools and principles. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View MSc Health Economics for Health Professionals


There is a shortage of health economists in Scotland, the UK and internationally, and a lack of health economics knowledge and skills.

It’s increasingly important for non-economists in the health sector to have a clearer understanding of how they can effectively apply and interpret economic concepts.

This course aims to address this known skills gap.

In-demand skills for the health sector

As a health researcher or professional working in health, government, academia, or the pharmaceutical industry, you’ll gain:

  • in-demand economic evaluation skills
  • the knowledge and confidence to interpret and apply economic concepts
  • the ability to use economic evaluation tools in your organisation.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You do not need to provide proof of your qualifications.

But you do need to check the entry guidance above to understand the level of teaching delivered, to decide if this course is right for you.

If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check the equivalent teaching level for your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a student visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

You do not have to provide proof of your English language skills to join this course. But we want to make sure that you can use English well enough to study successfully.

Recommended level of English

This course uses our Postgraduate Higher level of English language proficiency.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements, and these are minimum scores.

IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI Academic, and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 21 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening and speaking
  • 169 for reading and writing

LanguageCert Academic/LanguageCert Academic SELT

  • 70 overall
  • 60 for listening and speaking
  • 65 for reading and writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken) – Online / In-centre

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

Oxford ELLT Digital – English Language Level Test Online

  • 7.0 overall
  • 5.0 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your studies each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Fee payment

Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.

We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.

Ways to save

You may be able to get help funding this course via:

  • discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
  • employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

Learning resources

Access to all the books and resources you need are included in your tuition fee. They’ll be made available to you online and you do not have to buy your own copies.


You may wish to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:1 UK honours degree, or
  • alternative qualifications and an appropriate level of relevant experience.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 September 2024
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