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MScApplied Statistics in Health Sciences

Why this course?

This unique Masters in Applied Statistics in Health Sciences provides an opening to a career as an applied statistician, without having previously studied statistics.



The course is run in collaboration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Statisticians from APHA, as well as those who have extensive experience in working with the National Health Service in Scotland, will provide lectures based around real-life problems and data from the health sciences.

Although the programme is focused on health, the skill set provided will also equip you with the necessary training to work as an applied statistician in other areas such as insurance, finance and commerce.

What you'll learn

The three modules covered in Semester 1 will equip you with fundamental probability and data analysis skills. In Semester 2 there are four modules, each focusing on a different applied element of being a statistician. The course concludes with a research project that will involve the analysis of a real-life data set.

Programme skills set

On the programme you'll acquire:

  • in-depth knowledge of modern statistical methods that are used to analyse and visualise real-life data sets and the experience of how to apply these methods in a professional setting
  • skills in using statistical software packages that are used in government, industry and commerce
  • the ability to interpret the output from statistical tests and data analyses and communicate your findings to a variety of audiences including health professionals, scientists, government officials, managers and stakeholders who may have an interest in the problem
  • problem solving and high numeracy skills that are widely sought after in the commercial sector
  • practical experience of statistical consultancy and how to interact with professionals who require statistical analyses of their data
  • through the contacts with APHA and NHS staff, an understanding of what it's like to work as an applied statistician in practice including, for example, during disease outbreaks

Guest lectures

Several modules will be taught by academics who also work for other organisations including government and health services.


The Department of Mathematics & Statistics has teaching rooms which provide you with access to modern teaching equipment and computing laboratories that are state-of-the-art with all necessary software available. You'll also have a common room facility, a modern and flexible area which is used for individual and group study work, and also a relaxing social space.

The Department of Mathematics & Statistics

At the heart of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics is the University’s aim of developing useful learning. We're an applied department with many links to industry and government. Most of the academic staff teaching on this course hold joint-appointments  with, or are funded by, other organisations, including APHA, Public Health and Intelligence (Health Protection Scotland), Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS). We bridge the gap between academia and real-life. Our research has societal impact.

Course content

Semester 1

Compulsory classes

The three compulsory classes covered in semester 1 will equip you with fundamental probability and data analysis skills.

Foundations of Probability & Statistics
This degree course is a conversion MSc. It's aimed at graduates with a biological background who have not necessarily studied mathematics and/or statistics at university level. This course will provide the foundation elements of probability and statistics that are required for the more advanced applied classes. The class will run as a two week block, prior to the official start of semester 1.
Data Analytics in R

This class will introduce the R computing environment and enable you to import data and perform statistical tests. The class will then focus on the understanding of the least squares multiple regression model, general linear model, transformations and variable selection procedures.

Applied Statistical Modelling

This class will cover the fundamental statistical methods necessary for the design and analysis of scientific experiments. There will be an emphasis on the use of real data and the interpretation of statistical analyses in the context of the research hypothesis under investigation.

Semester 2

Compulsory classes

Each class focuses on a different applied element of being a statistician.

Medical Statistics

This class will cover the fundamental statistical methods necessary for the application of classical statistical methods to data collected for health care research. There will be an emphasis on the use of real data and the interpretation of statistical analyses in the context of the research hypothesis under investigation. Software packages such as Minitab will be introduced.

Bayesian Spatial Statistics

This class will introduce you to Bayesian statistics and the modern Bayesian methods that are used in health care research. Again, the focus is on real-life data and using statistical software packages for analysis.

Effective Statistical Consultancy

This cover all aspects of statistical consultancy skills necessary for being a successful statistician working in any research environment. You'll work on real-life problems in small groups and have the opportunity to interact with health care researchers to formulate hypotheses.

Risk Analysis

This class will cover the theory of assessing risks under uncertainty. It will focus on the practical assessment of risk using simulation methods such as Monte Carlo simulation. You'll develop skills in communicating risk to risk managers as well as formulating practical risk questions that can influence policy decisions.

Survey Design & Analysis

Surveys are an important way of collecting data. This class will introduce you to the methods that are commonly used in health care to design questionnaires and analyse data resulting from these questionnaires.

Semester 3

Research Project

You undertake a research project in which you'll work on a real-life data set, putting the theoretical skills you have learned into practice. Working with APHA and the NHS on one of their policy-driven problems is possible.

Learning & teaching

Classes are delivered by a number of teaching methods:

  • lectures (using a variety of media including electronic presentations and computer demonstrations)
  • tutorials
  • computer laboratories
  • coursework
  • projects
Teaching is student-focused, with students encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Classes are supported by web-based materials.


The form of assessment varies for each class. For most classes the assessment involves both coursework and examinations.

Entry requirements

  • An honours degree, or overseas equivalent
  • Mathematical training to A level or equivalent standard
  • Applications are also welcome from those with appropriate professional qualifications or those who can demonstrate relevant practical experience
  • English requirements: IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £5,000

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £6,000


  • 2017/18 - £14,000

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


There are many exciting career opportunities for graduates in applied statistics. The practical, real-life skills that you'll gain means you'll be much in demand in international organisations. A report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry identified statistics and data mining as “two key areas in which a 'skills gap' is threatening the UK's biopharmaceutical industry.”

Typical employers of statisticians and data analysts include:

  • Government
  • Health services
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Human, animal, plant and environmental research institutes
  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Internet information providers such as Google
  • Retailers

Contact us


Applied Statistics in Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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