Research Methods (Health) MA


Fact file

MA Research Methods (Health)
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time (NIHR funded). 2-4 years part-time (non NIHR funded).
Entry requirements
To apply for the MA Research Methods you should have a first or upper-second-class honours degree or equivalent and an interest in research.
Other requirements
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Queen's Medical Centre
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.

NIHR are revising their clinical academic scholarship programme for MRes/pre-doctoral Research Methods training.

The University of Nottingham remains strongly committed to supporting clinicians to develop clinical academic careers. Please see the Overview section for more information.


This course will equip students with the in-depth skills required to carry out research in health care. It is an interdisciplinary degree programme, taught by colleagues from politics, the social sciences and health.
Read full overview

NIHR are revising their clinical academic scholarship programme for MRes/pre-doctoral Research Methods Training.  

The University of Nottingham remains strongly committed to supporting clinicians to develop clinical academic careers. We are in the process of designing bespoke training; we will support you with applications to the NIHR for this funding.  Further information will be available in January 2018. 

Any queries please contact Dr Alison Edgley or Dr Claire Diver.

The University of Nottingham is one of only ten UK universities to offer a fully-funded National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) masters degree in Research Methods, with ten fully funded places on offer. We also welcome applications from self-funding students, who can benefit from the experience of learning within a highly motivated cohort.

With a maximum of 16 places on offer (including both NIHR and self-funded students), the course fosters a close-knit and supportive study environment. It is ideal for those working within healthcare, or preparing for PhD doctoral-level studies.

The course provides the in-depth skills required to understand and/or carry out research in healthcare, alongside offering an interdisciplinary learning environment embedded within the University’s Economic and Social Research Council funded Doctoral Training Partnership (ESRC DTP), taught by colleagues from politics, the social sciences and health. As healthcare is a multi-disciplinary practice, exposure to learning opportunities outside healthcare both broadens and deepens the learning experience.

The emphasis throughout is on linking theoretical and methodological understandings with practical experience of research design and implementation. Students will learn a variety of methodological techniques (for example qualitative and quantitative approaches) and research techniques (such as interviewing or advanced statistical analysis), alongside developing their ability to critique evidence, which is required for making informed policy decisions and clinical recommendations. 


I wanted to point out how beneficial the MARM has been in a way that I have not realised until now. I am streets ahead of the other students regarding the skills I need to do a PhD. I feel really well prepared. So much so that I am exempted from the mandatory core modules. 


- Caroline Estrella

Course aims and objectives

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Be familiar with the range of methods used by researchers in the health and social sciences, and understand how some issues or practices may be viewed differently from different disciplinary perspectives
  • Understand the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of these methods
  • Be able to make an informed choice about which methods are appropriate for answering particular questions
  • Be competent to design and carry out research using a range of different methods of data collection and analysis
  • Have a clear grasp of the ethical and political issues which arise in research in health, social work or the social sciences
  • Be able to frame research in relation to the theoretical and conceptual issues which arise in the subject areas in which they are working

About the ESRC DTP

This course is embedded with the University of Nottingham's ESRC DTP, a collaborative venture between the universities of Nottingham, Birmingham, Warwick, Leicester, Loughborough and Aston.


International students

We welcome international applicants and the University’s International Office provides a range of dedicated support services and advice.


Key facts

  • Rated 8th in the UK for nursing and midwifery in the Complete University Guide 2018.
  • 86% of our research activity is rated as ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’, with significant impact on people's health and wellbeing.
  • Ranked 5th in terms of ‘research power’ in our unit of assessment, a measure which includes the quality of research and number of research active staff, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • 88% of students from nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy who participated in the 2015 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey were satisfied with the experience of their research degree programme.

View our alumni video: Victoria Jansen discusses her experience on the course


Course details

Students will receive training in core research methods and researcher development, offered through a blend of Graduate School-level and school-level provision. This typically includes the provision of training in advanced word techniques, writing a bibliography and other transferable learning skills.

The taught component of the course consists of 80 credits of core research methods training, 30 credits of subject specific training, and then 10 credits of optional advanced training - plus dissertation. 

Each student takes the following, totalling 180 credits:

  • Research Design and Practice (20 credits)
  • Philosophy of Social Research (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Quantitative Analysis (20 credits)
  • Foundations in Qualitative Research (20 credits)
  • Clinical Research Issues and Methods (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Health Policy Debates (10 credits)
  • Advanced Research Training Module choice (10 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Flexible learning

The programme is available as both a self-funded and NIHR funded research degree and can be studied either full or part-time. Details of the NIHR-funded route can be found on the school’s scholarship page

Application for 2018 entry

Applications for funding require an outline research proposal to be submitted with the application.

The selection process will then be held in mid-April. This will involve an interview; provisional interview dates are 8th/9th May.

Students in health sciences will study alongside Research Methods students registered in other schools. 



Research Design, Practice and Ethics

This module aims to familiarise students with diagnosing and evaluating elements of research design in existing research, familiarising them with trade-offs involved in these choices and enabling them to make conscious design choices for their own research.

The module also aims to provide students with sufficient insight to organise practical and ethical aspects of their research.


Fundamentals of Quantitative Analysis

This module aims to give students:

  • An understanding of the methods of statistical analysis, using topics and datasets from the empirical social science literature
  • A familiarity with STATA statistical software and data management

The course uses a range of datasets from across political science, focusing on topics such as social capital, voter turnout, cabinet duration, demonstration activity and class voting.


Philosophy of Research - Social Science

Through guided reading and discussion, this module aims to:

  • Enable students to analyse the epistemological and ontological issues that arise from different social and educational theories and their impact on social research methodologies, and how they relate to the validity of explanations or descriptions. 

Foundations in Qualitative Methods

This module aims to:

  • Provide students with critical insight into the possibilities and applications of qualitative research and the role that it occupies within the wider range of research methods
  • Map debates on the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Develop an awareness of key aspects, concepts and forms of qualitative data
  • Identify and examine ethical issues, in particular researcher-subject roles and relationships


The dissertation will be an outline PhD proposal and a small piece of empirical work. The research proposal should indicate what the PhD might be along with what the empirical work might be. The proposal should be no more than one side of A4 and should include; an aim, rationale, background literature, proposed methodology and methods.

Find out more on how to write a research proposal. You will also need to provide a personal statement.


Clinical Research, Issues and Methods (subject specific module)

This module aims to examine clinical research and consider the historical, political, contextual, practical, ethical and legal issues that shape the way clinical research is conducted in current healthcare services.

Contemporary Policy Debates in Healthcare (subject specific module)

This module aims to critically examine ways in which social, political and policy contexts, professional groups and health organisations interrelate to influence the delivery of care.


Advanced training modules

From the School of Health Sciences

  • Evaluating Interventions, Services and Health and Social Care
  • Principles and Processes of Comprehensive Systematic Review
  • Mixed Methods in Health Research
  • Social Epidemiology: Theories and Methods for Understanding the Social Determinants of Health 
  • Individual and Group Interviews

From Politics and International Relations

  • Intermediate Quantitative Analysis
  • Measurement Models
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Text Analysis
  • Advanced Methods in Survey Analysis 

From Sociology

  • Conducting an Ethnography
  • Analysing Verbal and Visual Interaction
  • Archival Methods
  • Visual Methodology
  • Health Economic Evaluation: Principles and Practicalities
  • Researching Media, Culture and Society
  • Researching Public Policy and Management

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Home/EU students

Funding opportunities

The University of Nottingham is one of only ten UK universities contracted by the NIHR to deliver a fully-funded masters degree in Research Methods. These Masters in Clinical Research Studentships will provide full tuition fees and employee salaries to cover employer's back-fill costs.

Find out more about NIHR funding on the flyer

Visit the NIHR website.

Information about the NIHR funding route.

There are some other funding opportunities from sources such as ESRC studentships.

We are happy to advise prospective applicants on their eligibility for these funds and other opportunities. We also offer administrative support and advice to assist students with applications to external funding opportunities for postgraduate professional research education in the school.

The University of Nottingham Graduate School website provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Students who are interested in self-funding can complete the online application form or call general postgraduate enquiries on +44 (0)115 823 1213. 

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



This course is the second stage of the HEE/NIHR integrated clinical academic pathway. Download the pdf for more information

The programme is consistently highly evaluated by graduates and can open a range of doors, including both research career opportunities in the health service and academia, leading to future clinical academic or advanced clinical leadership roles. Many of our graduates go on to do funded PhD study.

You will develop the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to continue your research at PhD level and will be ideally placed to pursue an academic or clinical academic career in the field of healthcare research. 

Upon completion of the course, the school offers support and mentorship in the development of PhD applications.

Find out more about clinical academic careers on the NHS Careers website.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 98.6% of postgraduates from the School of Health Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £25,082 with the highest being £61,000*.

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for work, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

Those who complete postgraduate research with us will benefit from support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, as well as dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.

This service offers a range of support including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops. Once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life. 

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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+44 (0)115 823 0833
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Lisa Burr, Administrator
School of Health Sciences
The University of Nottingham
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Queen's Medical Centre
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