Applied Health Research

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Our Applied Health Research PhD/MSc by Research programme in the Institute of Applied Health Research will give you the skills needed to contribute to research that tackles global health challenges by preventing illnesses and improving healthcare through community and hospital-based research and methodological innovations.

You will work amongst the very best researchers to produce original and distinctive globally leading research, with the ultimate goal of improving human health and wellbeing.

This programme will give you the quality research training you need to enable you to conduct independent investigative research in a range of research areas in Applied Health including:

Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation
Child, Maternal and Lifestyle
Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Management
Health Economics
Health Informatics and Patient Reported Outcomes
Social Studies in Medicine
You will work closely with your supervisory team who will help you clarify your project and support your development. Your thesis will represent an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrate independent judgement.

Why Study this Course?

When you join your programme you will become part of the Graduate School within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences giving you access to:

  • Supervision from leading academics to support you through your research programme including research techniques and training.
  • Training and development courses to enable you to gain research and generic (transferable) training skills
  • Opportunities to attend and take part in Research Poster festivals and other postgraduate activities to boost your academic and networking skills
  • An allocated academic mentor so you can access pastoral support
  • State-of-the art facilities to support a range of teaching, learning and research activity with access to dedicated write up rooms, libraries, and computer facilities.

You will also become part of the wider University of Birmingham postgraduate research community located at Westmere House where you have access to training and skills development, careers and employability advice, wellbeing and counselling services as well as welcome activities and events.


You will study three modules (two core and one optional) and you will complete a thesis based on a research project.

The taught modules provide opportunity for flexible learning, with the Programme Management and Research Governance module delivered online.

Compulsory modules

  • Quantitative Research Methods in Healthcare
  • Qualitative Research Methods

You will select one option module from those on offer (20 M level credits), for example:

  • Creating and applying evidence
  • Systematic reviews and evidence synthesis
  • Mixed methods in research
  • Current issues in health
  • Project Management and Research Governance (Distance Learning)

Students intending to gain the MRes qualification undertake a research project equivalent in effort to 120 taught credits and submit a 15,000 word thesis.



UK: £4,500, full-time; £2,250, part-time
International: £18,450, full-time; £11,790, part-time

The above fee is for one year only, if you are studying over two or more years tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years.

Entry Requirements

2:1 honours degree in a subject relevant to the research area you applying to.


The Institute of Applied Health Research offers a diverse range of research areas in the following themes. You can use the links below to explore the research interests of our academic staff to help you identify a supervisor related to your research area:

Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation

The Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation team undertakes research including the application and development of methods for test evaluation, evidence synthesis, including systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and the evaluation of interventions, particularly through cluster trials and stepped-wedge designs.

Child, Maternal and Lifestyles

The Children Maternity and Lifestyles and Behavioural Medicine research groups undertake studies on research questions that impact upon public health services and on clinical practice in maternal, infant and child health using high quality designs to provide best evidence. Behavioural Medicine comprises the development and integration of environmental, behavioural and biomedical knowledge relevant to health and disease, and the application of this knowledge to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. This group is multidisciplinary in nature and focuses mainly on intervention development and evaluation, but includes epidemiological and policy work.

Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Management

The Chronic Disease research team undertakes research to improve our understanding of disease aetiology, identify modifiable prognostic factors, and develop, evaluate and implement interventions that improve health, with a focus on tacking health inequalities.

Health Economics

The Health Economics Unit seeks to provide an internationally competitive contribution to health economics research through a coherent balance of methodological and applied research, informing policy and resource allocation locally, nationally and internationally.

Health Informatics and Patient Reported Outcomes

Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) measure patients’ views about the impact of disease and treatment and are reported directly by the patient. PROlearn is a freely accessible information resource for patients, clinicians and researchers wishing to find out more about PROs.

Social Studies in Medicine

Team members represent the fields of sociology, anthropology, ethics, history and qualitative methods. Research and teaching focuses on institutional, technological, ethical and cultural determinants of medical knowledge and health and social care practices. The Unit offers courses and programs at undergraduate and graduate levels (MA and PhD) which examine the social and qualitative side of medicine, health and society. SSiM organises seminars and workshops that bridge disciplinary boundaries, and provide an affiliation for visiting scholars wishing to explore medicine’s social or historical developments.

There are also existing research opportunities within the Institute offering specific topics and projects on which you can complete your PhD. Search our Doctoral Researcher Database to find out about our latest vacancies and scholarship opportunities.


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