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1 day per week for up to 9 months (October–June), most lectures occur between October and December, maximum study period 3 years

Application Deadline

1 July 2022


St George's, University of London

Start dates

September 2022

This course is suitable for a wide range of healthcare professional, and is of particular relevance to doctors and allied healthcare professionals in academic training, or established clinicians who wish to develop, enhance and implement their research skills.  It will also be of benefit to healthcare educators, social care practitioners and researchers.

This course covers: 

  • knowledge and techniques

  • personal effectiveness

  • engagement, influence and impact

  • research governance and organisation.

You will gain an excellent foundation for critically understanding and evaluating research, its design, conduct, dissemination and funding, as well as acquiring knowledge of appropriate statistical methods. And you will develop knowledge, practical skills and attitudes you need to become an effective healthcare researcher and conduct your own research.

To find out more about the course, watch the Healthcare Research Skills and Methods Course Talk 2020

Read more information about our courses and university services terms and conditions.

This course is currently offered through a partnership with Kingston University, the Joint Faculty of Health Social Care and Education. For students enrolling from 2022, the course will be delivered through a structure which is the sole responsibility of St George's, University of London, our Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education. There will be no impact on the teaching or the award of the degree. See further information.


We won’t be making any significant changes to the content of our programmes, but there will be some changes to the way they are delivered. Please see the Covid-19 updates tab for further details of how this may affect this course.

Course highlights

  • Based at St George’s, University of London, with a strong research infrastructure and demonstrable research track record.

  • Shared campus with St George’s Hospital, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK.

  • Taught in partnership with Kingston University, so you will benefit from a large, multi-faculty experience combined with the health science expertise offered by St George’s.

  • Curriculum based on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

  • Support to develop your clinical academic career.

  • Interprofessional education: Shared learning alongside all other postgraduate research courses, clinical and academic staff and researchers.

  • Interaction with researchers working at the cutting edge of specific areas of applied clinical research.

  • Access to postgraduate learning centre.

  • Development of a broad range of transferable skills.

Want to know more?

Find out more about postgraduate study at St George’s, University of London by clicking the button below to receive our free intro email series.

To be considered for this course, you will need to:

  • meet the entry criteria
  • write a personal statement
  • provide 2 suitable references
  • provide a Study Leave Confirmation (if your tuition fees are being paid by your employer).
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Undergraduate degree or equivalent

You should normally have, or be expected to achieve, a minimum of a second class degree (2:2). For healthcare graduates a pass is required. All degrees must be awarded before 1st August on the year of entry.

Prior training in quantitative or qualitative research methods is not required.

Alternative professional qualifications, or previous related experience, may be considered and we encourage you to apply.

International qualifications

We accept equivalent qualifications gained in other countries and use UKNARIC to assess. Please see our International Student Support pages for more information. If you have any questions, you can contact us at

English language requirements

For details on English Language requirements, please see here. This is a Group 1 course.

Personal statement and references

You will be asked to outline your reasons for applying for the course in a brief personal statement on the application form. You will also need to provide two satisfactory references. See the ‘Apply’ tab for more information.

On the Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Research Skills and Methods, you will be taught the essentials of conducting high quality research through a range of core and optional modules. 

The Postgraduate Certificate consists of four modules, each worth 15 credits for a total 60 credits at level 7.

You will study three core modules (for one you choose from two options):

  • Research Methods

  • Statistics or Practical Data Analysis: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

  • Critical Appraisal.

You choose one optional module from the following list:

  • Research Project Planning and Management

  • Implementation and Improvement Science: Principles for Practice

  • Negotiated Independent Learning.

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Research methods

This module will introduce you to a range of research approaches and methods. You will learn how to:

  • critically evaluate the characteristics of high quality, ethical research

  • set realistic and appropriate aims, objectives and research questions for research projects

  • identify different types of study design, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and select appropriate designs in practice

  • critically evaluate the importance of a range of study design issues including those related to evaluating and ensuring rigour in research

  • systematically review the published research evidence for a specific research question.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Lectures: 16 hours (face to face or option to access distant learning lecture recordings)

  • Presentations: 12 hours

  • Seminars: 12 hours

  • Self-directed study: 110 hours


1 October, 8 October, 15 October, 22 October, 29 October, 5 November, 12 November, 19 November, 26 November.


This module will introduce you to the underlying principles and structure of statistical thinking, along with the latest methods for analysing data collected using quantitative study designs. It will help you develop the skills to critically appraise the statistical methods used in research papers, interpret the results, and evaluate the conclusions. It will give you confidence in interpreting and discussing methods and statistics in biomedical, healthcare, and clinical literature, and when utilising statistics and statistical methods in your own research.

When you have successfully completed of the module, you will be able to:

  • critically appraise the statistical methods used in research papers

  • analyse and interpret the results of the statistical analyses presented in research papers

  • critically appraise the inferences made based on the statistical analyses presented in research papers

  • choose and critique modern-day statistical techniques in order to analyse quantitative data when undertaking research projects at the postgraduate level

  • propose and synthesise suitable inferences based on the results of the statistical analysis of your own research data.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement

The module content is delivered via ten lectures. Most lectures are followed by a tutorial in which you will be presented with short-answer questions based on the teaching material.

The first six lectures constitute the curriculum for the quantitative component of the Data Analysis module.

  • Lectures: 10 hours

  • Group work/discussion groups: 10 hours

  • Self-directed study: 130 hours.


1 October, 8 October, 15 October, 22 October, 29 October, 5 November, 12 November, 19 November, 26 November, 3 December.

Practical Data Analysis: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

This module will enable you to develop skills in understanding, critically interpreting and extracting data. You will be taught appropriate qualitative and quantitative data analysis methodologies, and how to communicate and present results appropriately in plain English. You will learn about both quantitative and qualitative data. Topics covered include graphs and descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, tests, regression, and the practical collection of qualitative data using interviews and focus groups.  

This module will give you the skills to:

  • critically analyse and apply a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to data analysis, and select the most relevant approach for a given research question scenario

  • plan and implement practical analyses of both qualitative and quantitative datasets using a range of techniques, and using computer packages where appropriate

  • critically interpret the results of qualitative and quantitative data analysis, with reference to underlying methodology, study design, method of data collection, rigour and validity

  • synthesise theories of research designs with the relevant data analysis

  • identify, evaluate and select appropriate methods for presenting the results of qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Qualitative tutorials/workshops: 7.5 hours (five 1.5 hour workshops)

  • Quantitative lectures: 6 hours (six 1 hour lectures)

  • Quantitative tutorials/computer workshops: 6 hours (four 1.5 hour tutorials)

  • Self-directed study: 130.5 hours


1 October, 8 October, 15 October, 22 October, 29 October, 5 November, 12 November, 19 November, 26 November, 3 December, 7 January 2021.

Critical Appraisal

This module will teach you how to critically appraise research literature relevant to your field of study, covering the principles of critical appraisal, techniques and models for critiquing papers, as well as reviewing relevant research designs and analysis methods and appraisal of key papers in the relevant specialist field, including educational research.

When you have successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

  • identify the research paradigms and theoretical foundations underlying published research papers

  • critically evaluate the design, methods, analyses and conclusions of published papers

  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of contrasting approaches to research questions adopted in published papers

  • critically assess the contributions made by published papers they have evaluated to the current state of knowledge in their specialist field

  • make recommendations for further research resulting from an analysis of published work which they have evaluated.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Group work: 12 hours (journal clubs/teaching time)

  • MOOC*: 18 hours (3 to 6 hours per week study)

  • Self-directed learning: 120 hours

Seminars will be led by subject specialists within the specific course team and will be used to review papers relevant to the students’ field of study.

*3 week critical appraisal mass open online course (MOOC) created by St George's and faculty, where you work through the contents, comprising the indicative curriculum as outlined above, at a time convenient for yourself and at your own pace, before going into face to face supervisions and face to face/webinar journal clubs to practice implementing the skills and methods learned.

Research Project Planning and Management

This module covers the knowledge, attributes and skills required to succeed as a professional researcher as defined in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), which is endorsed by organisations including Research Councils UK.

The module addresses the key RDF domains:

  • personal effectiveness

  • research governance and organisation

  • engagement, influence and impact.

It will help you further develop the critical responses and skills necessary to plan and execute projects successfully and in a timely manner, as a first step to seeing yourself as a researcher helping to advance your area of study.

This module will give you the skills to:

  • appraise the framework for research governance and legislation affecting research

  • examine the need for ethical and other approval before commencing research

  • communicate effectively with supervisors, research participants, research team members and those giving permission for research

  • critically evaluate the implications of their work to health and safety and intellectual property legislation

  • communicate effectively by reflecting on the different perspectives in the research.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Lectures: 11 hours

  • Self-directed study: 139 hours


1 October, 8 October, 15 October, 22 October, 29 October, 5 November, 12 November, 19 November, 26 November, plus a Presentation Skills Workshop (date to be confirmed).

Implementation and Improvement Science: Principles for Practice

This module examines the practice of generating evidenced-based innovations and approaches to facilitating and sustaining effective implementation of policy and interventions in practice. It draws on theory and practice from a broad range of other professional disciplines (eg sociology, management, behavioural psychology, science and technology).

This module will enable you to critically explore a range of strategies to help translate research findings into practice, considering them in the context of an ever-changing working environment and policy landscape.

When you’ve successfully completed this course, you will be able to:

  • critically discuss the concept and role of Implementation and Improvement Science in the context of health and social care, from patient and public, national and international perspectives

  • critically appraise the relevance and value of a range of implementation and improvement methodologies, frameworks and strategies, comparing and contrasting their relative merits and limitations

  • analyse situational context, critically evaluating how external factors, organisational culture, leadership and systems influence and impact on the process of change and adoption within practice

  • synthesise information from a variety of disciplines and sources, critically evaluating the best evidence for designing and delivering effective and safe care

  • demonstrate critical application of principles, theories and frameworks and develop strategies to overcome the challenges to the effective implementation of research findings

  • demonstrate the capacity to develop action plans, systematically measure outcomes, and effectively disseminate and reflect on ideas.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Key lectures: 25 hours

  • Small group/problem-based workshop: 20 hours

  • Student-led seminars: 10 hours

  • Individual tutorial: 1 hour

  • Self-directed study: 94 hours

Negotiated Independent Learning

In this module, you will identify a topic that is of interest to you or pertinent to your practice or clinical role, in consultation with the module leader. This will form the foundation of the module. You will be assigned an academic tutor who will help you to formulate a personal learning plan, and will provide you with a series of tutorials along with the module leader.

The content of your study will depend on your topic, but you will complete a small series of tasks related to it which will help you to critically examine and apply key technological, clinical and theoretical principles related to your topic, synthesising information from a variety of sources and considering their implications for professional practice.

You will complete this module over a period of six months.

When you have successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate performance and critically appraise personal learning and development as a consequence of independent learning, establishing future learning needs through the process of reflection

  • critically examine and apply key technological/clinical/theoretical principles associated with given area of learning

  • synthesise information from a variety of sources and consider its implications for professional practice

  • critically explore how the specified topic links to the context of health and social care and influences the development of professional practice

  • critically examine concepts of competence and expertise, and explore their relationship with professional development and practice.

Indicative teaching and learning time requirement
  • Key lectures: 3 hours

  • Assessment briefing: 1 hour

  • Individual tutorials: 6 hours

  • Seminars: 2 hours

  • Independent guided study: 98 hours

  • Self-directed study: 40 hours

This course is taught in a flexible, modular, part-time structure, so that you can fit it around your busy schedule.

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Teaching and learning methods

You will learn on this course via ‘blended learning’ which includes a wide variety of methods.  Face-to-face lectures and supervisions are interspersed with flipped classrooms, webinars, and online teaching (in a MOOC format).

Formal, teacher-led sessions will introduce new topics. These give you an overview of subject matter, and review difficult concepts and summaries. You are encouraged to ask questions, and will be set small problems that can be discussed interactively. Lectures are filmed, and recordings will be made available. The lectures are supplemented by tutorial sessions to make sure you have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and have discussions.

Online learning material for all modules will include lecture slides, recordings of lectures, reading lists and resources, links to videos and course information.

The core teaching for the Critical Appraisal module will be delivered via a three-week ‘massive online open course’ (MOOC), created by lecturers and hosted on the FutureLearn platform. This includes articles, videos, narrated PowerPoints, discussions and quizzes.  Given the practical nature of this very important research skill, the MOOC core teaching will be followed by interactive small group seminars and journal clubs where you are encouraged and supported to develop and refine your appraisal skills, and your confidence in reaching balanced decisions about quality of evidence.

Assessment methods

Your work will be assessed with both ‘formative assessments’, which monitor your progress, and ‘summative assessments’, which assess whether you have fulfilled the learning outcomes for this programme. Assessment methods vary between modules, and will include presentations and written work.

How to apply

Before beginning your application please check the entry criteria of the course you wish to study to ensure you meet the required standards.

Applications must be submitted through our online application system, which you can access below. 

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Access our online application system

  1. Click the application link and create an account: Healthcare and Research Skills PgCert

  2. Once you have created your account, you will then be able to complete an application form and upload any relevant documents. You can save a partly completed form and return to it later. Please make sure you complete all sections. Please make sure that the information you provide is accurate, including the options you select in menus.

  3. Add to your address book to ensure you do not miss any important emails from us.

  4. When you have checked that your application is complete and accurate, click ‘submit’.

You can track your application through your online account.

Guidance for completing your references

When completing your application, you will be asked to provide contact details of two referees. Please ensure these details are accurate. As soon as you have submitted your application, your referees will be contacted by the university asking them to upload a reference to your online application.

One must be a recent academic reference. The other should be either a second academic reference or a professional/employer reference. They should cover your suitability for the course and your academic ability.

Your referees should know you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. We do not accept references from family, friends, partners, ex-partners or yourself.

We will send reminder emails to your referees but it is your responsibility to ensure that contact details are correct and referees are available to submit a reference. References should be uploaded within two weeks of making your application.

In this tab you will find the financial information for this programme of study, including details of financial support.

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Funding your study

We have a range of funding opportunities available for students. You may be eligible for:

  • an alumni discount – if you're a former St George's student you can qualify for an additional 10% discount from this course

Fidn out more on our fees and funding webpage.

Tuition fees

2022 tuition fees UK

  • Full-time PgCert: £3,250 
  • Healthcare Research Skills and Methods module: £850.

2022 tuition fees EU and International

  • Full-time PgCert: £6,750
  • Healthcare Research Skills and Methods module: £1,750.

Fees are reviewed annually.

Additional costs

The following table gives you an indication of additional costs associated with your course.  These costs are not included in your tuition fees.



Technology requirements

Find out more about technology requirements associated with online learning.

Our priority is to keep our students and staff safe and support their wellbeing, while protecting our community from the risks of Covid-19 on our site, based inside a hospital. We have listened to feedback and preferences from our student community about St George’s as a place to study.

We won’t be making any significant changes to the content of our programmes, but there will be some changes to the way they are delivered. Please see below for further details of how this may affect this course.

If government advice changes, we may need to update our plans, but our approach is designed to make it possible to continue with much of the on-campus teaching planned. If we do need to make changes, we will update this information, and will keep current students and offer holders informed by email.

We will also continue to update our frequently asked question page for applicants and offer holders and current students as more information becomes available.

Course content

We are not making any significant changes to the content of the Healthcare Research Skills and Methods PgCert programme.

For this course’s final module, students have a choice of Research Proposal and Project Management, Improvement and Implementation Sciences or Negotiated Independent Learning (NIL). For NIL, we have previously offered the opportunity to use the module to explore learning activities based in laboratories in St George’s. This may not be possible in 2020/21 depending on the policies regarding laboratory access during the module (February–June).

There is a possibility that government advice on social distancing may change in the future and this may restrict access to the campus. Even if this were to be the case, we expect to be able to continue to deliver the modules of the programme as planned, with the exception of laboratories activities within NIL.

Supporting vulnerable students

This programme recruits healthcare professionals who may find study leave cancelled due to clinical requirements. This is especially true during pandemics such as Covid-19. We have offered module extensions and pastoral support as required.

Students considered to be most at risk from Covid-19 should work at home wherever possible in line with government advice. Students who are going on placement will be required to complete an individual risk assessment and others may choose to do so. In addition, students from vulnerable groups, including care leavers, students estranged from their families and students with disabilities, are prioritised for help from the University’s Hardship Funds and for accommodation in Horton Halls. Priority for loans of laptops from the University will be given to those eligible to receive a hardship grant; those registered as disabled, care leavers or with caring responsibilities; and international students who may have difficulty sourcing an appropriate device on arrival in the UK.

We recognise the impact that the current circumstances may have on mental health and have expanded our counselling provision, offering remote appointments to any student. In addition, every student will be allocated a personal tutor to offer individual pastoral and academic support from the start of their studies. (Further information about health and wellbeing advice during Covid-19 is available here.)

Priority consideration has been given to support for students with disabilities when accessing teaching and learning online, through the provision of automatic live captioning and British Sign Language within our primary technologies of Panopto, MS Teams and Big Blue Button. These can benefit a range of students, especially those who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as students with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), memory processing issues, and for whom English is an additional language.

Human-level captioning is also available where a need has been established through the Disability Advisory team. Human-level captioning requests are processed by the Learning Technology Services (LTS) section and can be requested by email to  

How the course will be delivered

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Incoming students (starting September 2020)

At this stage, we expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to graduate without delay if successful. One assessment (Statistics exam) is designed to be taken on site. We are currently planning to run this in person in the spring term, but if access to campus is still restricted at that time, we will try to reschedule the exam or conduct it remotely.

Current students

Some students in 2019/20 needed to request extensions to assignments due to Covid-19 changes in their professional practice, and consequently will be enrolled for longer than the usual one year. However, the programme has a three year maximum period of registration, and so no changes to course regulations are required.

Risk assessment

Students with pre-existing illnesses or disabilities, or who are shielding

If you suffer, or have suffered, from a serious illness (physical or psychological) or have a disability, or have been required to shield due to Covid-19, please let us know. St George’s is committed to supporting our students and will explore all reasonable adjustments to support you to thrive on your course.

Please contact our Disability Advisor as soon as possible with details to help us establish whether your health history or disability is likely to affect your ability to study or practise. This will also give us sufficient time to carry out a detailed assessment, obtain reports and organise additional expert assessments if required.

Attendance at site

Most of our courses include elements of teaching for which you will be required to attend the University site. Attendance at these sessions will be essential to enable you to engage with the course and undertake assessments.


You will be required to undertake a personal risk assessment before you can attend any placement that is part of your course (or undertake certain other activities, such as those which include the practice of clinical skills or require the use of PPE). Where a health concern arises, every effort will be made to identify alternative placement arrangements, but your health and safety will be the first priority, and alternative arrangements may not be possible. This may have implications for the continuation of your study. If you are clinically vulnerable or have been shielding, we strongly encourage you to contact the Disability Advisor now to undertake an assessment.

Course length

The existing learning outcomes for our modules and courses will remain in place. From September to December 2020 all students will primarily access their learning, including learning materials, via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Canvas. Hands-on practical teaching and learning activities will be delivered on campus with appropriate social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures put in place, and with controls on the number of people in each location.

The online components of the course will be designed to balance interactive real-time sessions with lecturers and other students, with self-paced independent study. Students will have clear learning pathways through the activities they are expected to engage with, and there will be opportunities to check learning and progress.

Personal tutor support and all other student support, such as the Academic Success Centre, will also be online for this period, using a range of methods for staying in touch, such as telephone, email and the University’s web conferencing systems BigBlueButton and MSTeams.  

Pending Health Education England (HEE) approval, placements are currently expected to resume from September 2020 with minimum changes to planned delivery or timings. All students on placement will be expected to undertake a risk assessment and adhere to local Trust working patterns and guidance.   

To get the most from online study, hardware requirements have been established and communicated to all existing students and offer holders. Students will need their own personal computer or laptop and an internet connection in their place of accommodation. This needs to be in place at the start of the course. Once enrolled, students will have the ability to use Office 365 as part of our institutional licence, and access software required for their modules/courses via AppsAnywhere. In addition, we offer Office for Mac via Ofice365, but only the following applications are available for Mac: Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote. Web-based Office applications are available on Mac. Full details are available here. There is a provision for students who may struggle to meet the hardware requirements to contact our IT Hardship team.

Our modules will employ a blend of live sessions and pre-recorded sessions with tailored supporting activities. At the programme level, we will offer live sessions during induction, and pathway-specific briefing and Q&A sessions for assessments.

Additional costs

Incoming students (starting September 2020)

We do not expect students to incur any extra costs over and above those that we have advertised on the course page.

As a result of our courses beginning with the majority of teaching online, you will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online lectures. Information is available on recommended device specification. If you are worried you might struggle to meet these requirements, you should email so we can look at support options for you.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided for you if needed.

Assessment methods

We assess the knowledge, skills and attributes of our students in a variety of ways. The methods that we use include written coursework, oral and poster presentations, and one exam (Statistics).

We expect to deliver all our assessments as planned.


No changes.

Location of study

All face-to-face teaching will take place at St George’s, University of London, on the campus that we share with St George’s Hospital in Tooting, with appropriate social distancing measures in place. We have not explored alternative locations for teaching and have no immediate plans to do so. If government advice on social distancing changes, we will consider ways in which we can deliver teaching on site in a manner that is safe for students and staff.

Consenting to these changes

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Incoming students (from September 2020)

The changes that we are making are the consequence of current public health advice, and our capacity to offer alternatives is limited by that advice. If you wish to avoid these changes by deferring your offer please contact

Current students

The changes that we are making are the consequence of current public health advice, and our capacity to offer alternatives is limited by that advice. You will be required to consent to these changes as part of your re-enrolment. If you wish to avoid these changes (e.g. by taking a year out from your studies) please discuss this directly with your course team in the first instance. We remain, as always, focused on the best experience and outcomes for our students.

Apply now


1 day per week for up to 9 months (October–June), most lectures occur between October and December, maximum study period 3 years

Application Deadline

1 July 2022

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