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Health Data Science (MSc)

Our course will equip you with the key skills you need to work as a health data scientist and help tackle challenges in healthcare.

Health Data Science Overview

Year of entry: 2017

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New challenges mean the health care sector needs scientists who understand health care and medicine, how data is collected and analysed, and how this can be communicated to influence various stakeholders. 

Our Health Data Science MSc promotes the need for translational thinking to provide the knowledge, skills and understanding to do this, creating a new breed of health data scientists capable of working across the NHS, industry and academia.

The course covers four main areas that bring together technical, modelling and contextual skills to apply these to real-world problems when harnessing the potential of health data.

Both the importance of the patient and the governance surrounding working in the healthcare environment - especially structures around information governance - is embedded throughout units delivering key skills.

You will:  

  • learn how to work within a team to collect and interpret health data and use it to help solve health care delivery challenges;
  • gain key background knowledge of the health care system, from the treatment of individuals to the wider population;
  • experience key technical skills and software for working with and manipulating health data;
  • understand the importance of patient-focused delivery and outcomes;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of techniques and methods in relation to health challenges;
  • extend your ability to contribute to health care delivery knowledge, research or practice through in-depth exploration of a specific area.

Completing the MSc can lead to a wealth of career opportunities in the NHS, industry and academia. Around 52,000 data scientists are estimated to be needed in the UK alone.  

Research and teaching facilities

The course is based in the Centre for Health Informatics (CHI), where the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) concentrates its academic e-health activity.

CHI hosts the Medical Research Council's Health eResearch Centre (HeRC), which is part of the UK's newly formed Farr Institute for Health Informatics Research.

Students will have access to HeRC's sophisticated research and teaching facilities for this course. Manchester's HeRC is led by Professor Iain Buchan.

CPD opportunities

You can study individual units from the MSc as standalone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses. Please visit the Informatics and Biostatistics (CPD units) page for more information.

We also run a six-month Informatics for Healthcare Systems CPD course.

Learn more

More information on this master's course is below, including details of how to apply. If you would like to sign up for advice on the application process or ask a specific question, please fill in our online contact form.

Degree awarded
MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert, CPD
MSc 3yPT/1yFT Dip 2yPT/1yFT Cert 12-18m PT/6m FT
Entry requirements
  • An honours degree (minimum Upper Second) in a mathematics, statistics, computer science, physical science or biomedical science (including epidemiology, biological sciences or medicine/nursing) from a recognised institution.
  • An approved and relevant postgraduate qualification (minimum postgraduate diploma or equivalent).


  • The equivalent of previous advanced study, research and/or relevant professional experience that the University accepts as qualifying the candidate for entry.

In the case of non-UK applicants, the institution certifying advanced study must be recognised and approved by the University.

Candidates may be accepted for entry to the Diploma track with a Lower Second degree or under subject to interview, and be moved to the master's track on achieving suitable results in the taught part of the course.

Full entry requirements

Contact email
Contact telephone
+44 (0)161 275 1798
How to apply

We recommend that you apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment as places can fill quickly.

Please apply via our online application form , following any instructions for completion carefully.

Your application form must include the following documents:

  • two academic/professional references on letter headed paper, signed and dated within six months of your application. Unfortunately we cannot request references from your referees on your behalf;
  • official academic certificates and transcripts of all your current and previous studies (with fully certified translations by a professional translator if not in English);
  • personal statement of approximately 300-500 words about why you wish to take this course and how it will affect your personal and professional development;
  • CV including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience;
  • a scanned copy of the photograph page of your passport;
  • proof of English Language proficiency (if appropriate).

Supporting documents can be uploaded and submitted with the online application form, or sent directly to .

Your application cannot be considered until all your supporting documents are supplied. Please include your University ID in all correspondence.

Course options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning

Course description

The current model of healthcare delivery in the UK is subject to unprecedented challenges. An ageing population, the impact of lifestyle factors and increasing costs mean that the existing approaches may become unsustainable. 

This, coupled with a drive towards personalised medicine, presents an opportunity for a step change in healthcare delivery.

To do this, we need to make best use of the health data we collect and create a better understanding of the relationship between treatments, outcomes, patients and costs. 

This requires individuals who understand:

  • the healthcare sector and medicine;
  • how data is collected and analysed;
  • how this can be communicated to influence various stakeholders.

Our MSc in Health Data Science aims to create a new breed of scientist able to work across all three sectors - health data scientists who will be at the forefront of this step change in healthcare delivery.

The course promotes the need for translational thinking to provide the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be applied across new challenges within healthcare delivery.

Students from a variety of professional backgrounds will benefit from the course, as the structure of the MSc ensures that you will share this knowledge with each other and learn to work in multidisciplinary teams, rather than in specialist silos.

The course has nine taught units covering key skills for health data science. Seven units are core and there is one optional unit depending on training needs and background. For those studying for an MSc, there is also a 60 credit research project.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2017, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,000
    International students (per annum): £17,000
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Year 1 £3,600; Year 2 £3,600; Year 3 £1,800
  • PGCert (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £3,600
    International students (per annum): £6,800
  • PGCert (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Year 1 £1,800; Year 2 £1,800
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £7,200
    International students (per annum): £13,600
  • PGDip (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £3,600

The course fees include all the tuition, technical support and examinations required for the course.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Additional expenses

The University permits applicants with comparable previous experience to submit an application for consideration of AP(E)L - Accreditation Prior (Experiential) Learning. The maximum AP(E)L is 15 credits to a Certificate, 45 credits to a Diploma and 60 credits to an Masters.

If an AP(E)L application is successful, the University charges £30 for every 15 credits of AP(E)L. The overall tuition fee is adjusted and the administrative charge is applied.