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We live in a time of Big Data.

There’s rapid growth in the digital capture of information through patient records, health-monitoring devices and more. But what do we do with this huge volume of data? How can it help us understand the health of individuals and populations?

Equip yourself with the skills to tackle Big Data in healthcare. Learn to capture, link together and analyse large datasets. Explore the ways we can use health informatics to improve public health, as well as the legal and ethical challenges data collectors face.

Develop sought-after skills in this specialist area and set yourself apart. You’ll be supported by leading health researchers, ranked top in Scotland for research, and a university with a distinguished track record in transferring research into practice.

What will I study?

You’ll study the breadth of health informatics, exploring ways to use health informatics research to improve public health and healthcare.

As well as learning the key methodological considerations, you’ll examine the legal and ethical challenges involved in the collection of personal health data.

You’ll cover these core concepts:

  • Data sources
  • Data gathering
  • Data quality
  • Ethics and governance
  • Linkage
  • Data specification

You’ll gain the skills and knowledge to undertake basic data linkage and health informatics research yourself.

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

  • Describe the relevance of health informatics to research, public health and care.
  • Identify key data resources for understanding health.
  • Undertake and understand the principles of data linkage.
  • Produce a data specification for a data linkage study.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical, confidentiality, data protection and information governance issues relating to health informatics research and population statistics.
  • Communicate health informatics from routine health data.

How will I study?

This 11-week Health Informatics course is delivered entirely online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

The course is taught at Masters level by practising health informatics researchers. They're rated top in Scotland for their research in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care (REF 2014).

Your course is delivered across seven units, each headed by a tutor who is an expert in that field.

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Also available as an app, you can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and mobile device 24/7.

Your course features a range of resources, including:

  • recorded sessions
  • videos to stream or download
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • online discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

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

Where will this take me?

Health Informatics is part of a suite of Health short courses that we offer online. These can be used to build up credits towards higher qualifications, including postgraduate Health degrees.

Find out more about credits.


The demand for health researchers with training and experience in health informatics is high, and for professionals in public health it is a key skill.

You’ll gain a strong career advantage as a researcher or health professional. This course will equip you for any career in health research or public health practice, and is a perfect first step if you’re looking to develop a specialist interest in this field.

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

Further learning

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

Course coordinator

Am I ready?

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 (second-class) degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.