Study R programming and learn to use data to tackle and analyse issues in healthcare.
Help address the recognised shortage of skilled health data scientists in the UK and around the world.
Join this online health data science course and discover:
- what health data science involves, with examples of real-life healthcare applications
- the potential benefits for the health of individuals and populations
- the technical, legal and ethical challenges presented by health data
- how to use R, the popular data science programming language.
Study anywhere with experts from the Centre for Health Data Science, the NHS and industry. And set your own study hours on this course that fits around full-time work.
Who can join this online health data science course?
This course is ideal if you have:
- a healthcare or health research background and want to develop your data science skills, or
- a computational or data-intensive sciences background and are keen to seek related work in the health sector.
Supported by Canon Medical, NHS Grampian, Kheiron Medical and Opportunity North East.
Experts from these organisations help to:
- develop and review what you learn on our health data science courses
- ensure your learning addresses in-demand sector needs.
They may deliver guest teaching too.
What you’ll study
You’ll cover topics including:
- how data science is used to address healthcare problems
- the role of health data scientists in research and healthcare
- the importance of health data research
- issues surrounding access to health data
- tools and techniques in health data science
- databases and data extraction using SQL (Structured Query Language)
- data cleaning, exploration and visualisation using the popular data science language R
- communication of health data
- current challenges in health data science.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…
Discuss the role of health data scientists in research and healthcare.
Explain how data science is used to address healthcare problems.
Analyse current challenges in health data science.
Apply a data science workflow using R to healthcare problems.
Discuss the limitations and assumptions made in health data science projects.
How you’ll study
This distance-learning Health Data Science course is delivered flexibly, 100% online.
You can learn anywhere, with no need for a study visa, and manage your study hours to suit you.
Part of MSc Health Data Science, 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 to stream or download
- reading materials
- discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
- the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.
You’ll have lots of direct support while you study with us on this course. If you live locally, there will be weekly on-campus tutorials you’re welcome to attend at our Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen. If you’re studying remotely, you’ll have the same support online via one-to-one online tutorials with your course tutors.
You’ll learn from a multidisciplinary team of experts in health research, engineering, computing, ethics and law.
You’ll have guest lectures from active health data scientists working in the NHS and industry too.
This course is delivered by the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition and the School of Natural and Computing Sciences.
You’ll be assessed entirely online via:
- a report describing the application of a health data science workflow to address an example healthcare problem (70% of your total grade)
- the design and presentation of a resource, such as a slide show or infographic, to discuss one of the current challenges in health data science (30% of your total grade).
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.
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, such as assessments with deadlines or meetings with your tutor. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.
Weekly on-campus tutorials
If you live locally and want to attend the weekly on-campus tutorials, they’ll:
- take place once a week, on the same day each week
- be two hours long.
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:
- Careers and Employability Service – including one-to-one advice sessions
- Disability support
- IT support
- Library support
- Student Support Service – help with finances, stress, wellbeing and non-academic issues
- Student Learning Service – study support, with advice sessions available via phone or Skype
- Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) – run by students for students
- Toolkit – clever apps and free training that can make your study life easier
Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.
Your course coordinator
Dr Dimitra Blana
Dimitra is an interdisciplinary health researcher with a background in biomedical and computer engineering. She has over 10 years’ experience working with health data and advanced modelling methods in the UK and the USA.View Dimitra’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:
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 Health Data Science (on campus)
Develop your skills in health data science, whether you’re a graduate with a healthcare or computational background, with this on-campus MSc.View MSc Health Data Science
Build your learning with more short courses
We have a range of online healthcare and medicine short courses you can use to build your skills.
Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:
Nationally and internationally, there’s a critical shortage in data-intensive analytic capacity applied to healthcare.
This course is a perfect first step for building your skills towards a career in health data science. It will help you work towards a career as a:
- health data scientist
- health data analyst.
Career pathways span academia, the NHS and industry.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.
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.
You do not need a 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 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 International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)
- Overall High Pass
- 33 for listening, reading and speaking
- 38 for 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
- 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 to your course 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 course 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.
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.
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.