Learn to design effective, rigorous and ethical healthcare research projects.

Join an online Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Health that will prepare you to carry out healthcare research.

You’ll develop the skills and confidence to design and undertake research in your own workplace, and be more competitive in securing external funding for research projects.

You’ll learn to:

  • critically appraise research evidence (including systematic reviewing)
  • develop a research question and justify an appropriate study design
  • select the most suitable statistical method for analysis
  • choose the right methods to generate, handle and analyse qualitative data
  • interpret your findings.

You’ll be supported by internationally experienced active researchers. Their work informs government and healthcare organisations. They’ll share their experience and expertise with you as you build your skills.

Who is this online PgCert for?

This distance-learning PgCert is designed to help healthcare professionals, policymakers and early-career researchers improve their research qualifications in their spare time. Studying part-time online, there’s no need to relocate or take a career break.

Fits around full-time work

This PgCert is designed to fit around work. With part-time hours and 24/7 study access.

You’re in expert hands

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

NHS and alumni discounts

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

What you’ll study

You can choose to study for a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)
  • or start with one of the short courses that make up this PgCert (15 credits).

How you’ll study

Online learning

Research Methods for Health is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

Your teaching

Your online teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our 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:

Your tutors

This online PgCert is designed and led by our Institute of Applied Health Sciences. You’ll learn from a dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers. Each course has its own specialised coordinator.

We actively encourage engagement with other students, so you’ll also learn from your peers across countries and disciplines.

Assessments

This PgCert is assessed entirely online. We use several types of assessment, including multiple-choice quizzes, short online tests, essays, presentations and peer review.

Hours for taught courses

A 60-credit PgCert takes around 600 hours of study and assessment time to complete.

If you plan to study part-time, we recommend you take no more than 30 credits per term. Students typically take one or two 15-credit short courses per term.

15 credits

  • Around 150 hours of study and assessment time to complete.
  • You’ll study 10 – 15 hours per week per term.

30 credits

  • Around 300 hours of study and assessment time to complete.
  • You’ll study 20 – 30 hours per week per term.

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 at fixed times, such as online meetings with your tutor or assessments with deadlines. But otherwise, you can access and work through each course at your convenience.

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.

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.

We’re a member of the Access scheme run by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL).

Access study spaces, books and journals in your area

The SCONUL Access scheme allows you, as a University of Aberdeen student, to access books and resources at university libraries across the UK and Ireland, or visit them for a quiet place to study.

You’ll be able to use study spaces, books and journals at over 150 university libraries which belong to the scheme.

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme for libraries.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Professor Amanda Lee

Amanda is co-programme coordinator. She’ll be on hand to answer any questions about course content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Professor Kirsty Kiezebrink

Kirsty is co-programme coordinator. She’ll be on hand to answer any questions about course content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Clare McHattie

Clare is part of the School’s postgraduate teaching support team. She’ll be there throughout your studies to answer any of your non-academic queries.

Get in touch

The online education team is here to answer any questions you have right now about this qualification, or about studying online.

Ask us a question

Where this will take you

Towards a PgDip and Masters

This PgCert underpins many of our online degrees. You can use it to continue on to our:

You can also use your PgCert as the first stage in gaining an MSc in Applied Health Sciences.

Careers

Your qualification will be recognised by healthcare employers and learning institutions around the world. Your PgCert will give you the skills to:

  • confidently carry out health research and lead improvements in your workplace
  • be more competitive in securing external funding for projects to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

You’ll also have broadened your network of professional contacts.

Lifelong career support

Our career support doesn’t stop when you graduate.

You have access to our free careers service while you study, and beyond.

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

Fees and funding

The fee quoted above is based on you starting your studies with us in the 2024/25 academic year.

We have confirmed that our fees will rise by 5% for the 2025/26 academic year. Our indicative cost includes a 5% fee rise each year.

Pay as you go

This is a pay-as-you-go degree.

You do not have to pay the full tuition fee upfront.

You can spread the cost and pay as you go, term by term.

How it works

  • You decide how many credits to study for each term.
  • At the start of term, you pay only for the credits you’re taking that term.
  • This gives you control over your costs and workload for each term of your degree.

Your personalised cost breakdown

Use the degree scheduler to plan your studies and see your cost breakdown, term by term.

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.

Printing

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

There are several ways you may be able to get help funding your studies:

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.

20% Alumni discount

You’re entitled to 20% off our postgraduate taught degrees and short courses if you have a degree from the University of Aberdeen. View Alumni discount details.

10% NHS discount

NHS staff receive 10% off online postgraduate degrees and short courses offered by our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition; our School of Psychology; and our ILM leadership courses. View NHS discount details.

How discounts work

Discounts are applied during your application process. Only one discount can be used per application. If you are eligible for more than one discount, we will apply the largest discount for you.

Why study health research online with the University of Aberdeen?

1st in Scotland

We’re rated 1st in Scotland for Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care in the UK’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

Real-world impact

Our work has changed clinical practice, policy, legislation and academic method, directly impacting the lives of millions of people.

Our research impact

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

Entry requirements

PgCert

  • A 2:2 (lower-second) health-related honours degree
  • or be able to demonstrate evidence of equivalent experience in healthcare practice or research.

These are our minimum entry requirements. They are given as a guide and do not guarantee entry.

Short course route to PgCert Research Methods for Health

If you do not meet these entry requirements, or are not ready to commit to a full PgCert, you may be able to use our online short courses as a route into the PgCert instead.

Find out about our short course route to entry

You apply through our online Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents.

Applying to the University of Aberdeen is always free.

What you need to apply for this degree

  • Degree transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Degree certificate
  • CV / Resume

Apply now

Start with our step-by-step guide. It explains degree transcripts, what to write in your personal statement and how to use our Applicant Portal.

You can apply to start in either September or January.

Apply as early as you can. This is so we have time to review your application and get a decision to you. We also want to ensure you have time to enrol before teaching starts.

September 2024 intake

Teaching starts on 23 September 2024.

Application deadlines will be announced in due course.

January 2025 intake

Teaching starts on 27 January 2025.

Application deadlines will be announced in due course.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.

Visa requirements

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

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

If English is not your first language, use our English requirements checklist to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply.

English language tests and scores

If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements.

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

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.

Software

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.

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Control the pace and cost of your degree. Decide how much you want to study each term.

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Postgraduate Certificate

60 credits

£5,160

This indicative cost is based on 30 credits of study per term, starting in September 2024.

Apply for this programme

Start month
September or January
INDICATIVE COST
£5,160

This indicative cost is based on 30 credits of study per term, starting in September 2024.

Apply via our Applicant Portal
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