How does health research go on to inform health practice and policy?

Join us from anywhere in the world and develop your understanding of health-based research.

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of research and how it influences your practice.
  • Learn from experienced health researchers and clinicians who advise government on national policy.
  • Gain a strong career advantage as a researcher or health professional.

This course is a perfect foundation for clinical leadership roles, whether in medical, nursing or the allied health professions.

You’ll learn with a university awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for 40 years of excellence in health services research.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards any of these postgraduate qualifications.

What you’ll study

This Evidence-Based Health course is designed to give you a solid foundation in the understanding and application of evidence-based health at an individual and population level.

In it, you’ll focus on the use of systematic reviews to synthesise evidence.

You’ll also explore how evidence is used to inform health practice and policy.

You’ll learn how to:

  • systematically review papers and other literature to source your evidence
  • quality assess and synthesise your evidence using different tools
  • implement your results with an individual patient, or in the form of guidelines for a service provider or other organisation, including a whole population at national level.

In the first half of the course, you’ll develop the skills to search literature, identify evidence, quality assess and extract data.

Learning to synthesise your data, you’ll see how it can be used to shape health policy and practice, both at the level of organisations and individual clinical encounters.

In the second half of the course, we’ll help you format your synthesised evidence as guidelines, and explore how to implement them, considering the possible barriers and facilitators.

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

  • Evaluate evidence-based health at an individual and population level.
  • Source and translate evidence, putting it into practice with an individual patient, or with a whole population through national guidelines.
  • Systematically review papers and other literature.
  • Synthesise data so that you can use it to shape health policy and practice.
  • Turn evidence into guidelines.
  • Explain how guidelines can be implemented.

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance learning Evidence-Based Health course is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn with us anywhere, no student visa required, 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 available, including:

  • videos
  • podcasts
  • interviews with clinicians
  • tutorials via Powerpoint with audio
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with classmates
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

The first week of your course will be pre-course reading, and your final week will be for revision prior to your final online assessment.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from an experienced team of health researchers and clinical academics from our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

You’ll be assessed entirely online via three assessments:

  • An exercise to demonstrate your skills in sourcing evidence, extracting and assessing the quality of data, and synthesising your evidence (40% of your final grade).
  • You will select a review or guideline from a limited choice and provide a structured description of how you would implement the evidence at an individual and/or population level (30%).
  • In your final week, a one-hour ‘open book’, short-answer assessment covering material from the whole course (30%).

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

There may be some activities scheduled for fixed times. This could include coursework and assessments with deadlines, or online meetings with your tutor. Otherwise, you can access and work through the 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 course coordinator throughout your course. This could be by email, MyAberdeen, online call, or phone. 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 Mairead Black

Mairead is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and a former Research Fellow with the Wellcome Trust. Her work is helping to improve women’s experiences and the outcomes of childbirth around the globe.

View Mairead’s profile

Professor Amudha Poobalan

Amudha is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and is passionate about research-led teaching. A medical doctor and experienced Public Health researcher and educator, her main areas of teaching are obesity epidemiology, evidence-based health and qualitative research methods.

View Amudha’s profile

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

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

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Join an online Master of Public Health (MPH) you can tailor to your career. Study with experts and choose from a wide range of courses to focus your training. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View Master of Public Health (MPH)

Masters in Applied Health Sciences

Fast-track your career in healthcare with our uniquely flexible MSc Applied Health Sciences. Study 100% online or combine with on-campus courses at our Foresterhill Health Campus. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View MSc Applied Health Sciences

Masters in Clinical Nutrition

Join an online Nutrition degree accredited by the Association for Nutrition. Study the link between diet and health, and how issues of over and undernutrition affect populations today. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View MSc Clinical Nutrition

Masters in Health Data Science

Develop your skills in health data science, whether your background’s in healthcare or computing, with this flexible online MSc.

View MSc Health Data Science

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

PgCert in Research Methods for Health

Learn to design and carry out healthcare research projects. Study part-time with active health researchers at an award-winning health sciences university. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View PgCert Research Methods for Health

Build your learning with more short courses

We have a range of online healthcare and medicine short courses you can use to earn in-demand skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


As a graduate in health sciences or a practising researcher, this course will help you develop your research career.

If you’re a practising health professional, gaining skills in systematic reviewing, synthesising and using guidelines will enhance your career options and prospects.

The course is a perfect foundation for clinical leadership roles. These could include:

  • team leader roles
  • ward manager roles
  • clinical project management
  • service development
  • National Guideline Centre development committee membership.

As someone with a non-clinical background, completing this course could allow you to join national policy development groups.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

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.

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 2:2 UK undergraduate degree (or equivalent), or
  • relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 September 2024
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