School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MSc Health Data Science and Statistics

This interdisciplinary programme provides you with up-to-date knowledge on data analytics, medical statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as the design and analysis of health studies. These skills are highly sought after by employers in the healthcare sectors in the UK and globally, and ultimately, help them to improve public health. This MSc prepares you to work as a health data scientist or medical statistician in the public, charity or private sectors.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Careers with this subject

The programme is designed to prepare graduates for roles such as: health data analysts, data engineers, data scientists, data managers, data modellers and medical statisticians. The skills developed and knowledge gained during this programme are highly sought after by employers in the healthcare sectors in the UK and globally, including NHS, Clinical Trials Units, healthcare industries, government agencies, research institutions and consultancy units. The skills developed also provide opportunities for employment elsewhere including in the finance and business sectors that invest in healthcare products. The programme also provides a solid foundation for those graduates who would like to continue to PhD study. The University of Plymouth hosts several Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training funded by UK Research Councils and provides bespoke training for postgraduate researchers.

Careers Service

The University of Plymouth has a dedicated careers service supporting you from the moment you start your degree, to three years after graduation.

Careers advice is embedded into your academic programme through workshops, events, placements, networks – working with the academic staff teaching on your course. We also offer materials, networks and resources online through our 24/7 portal, and a wide-range of activities, opportunities and support centrally in the Careers Service space within the Student Hub.

We are here to help you to explore, connect and succeed.

Discover our Careers Service

Key features

  • Equip applicants from many undergraduate disciplines to gain specialisations in health data analytics, one of the fastest growing scientific areas in the world.
  • Develop research skills and mastery of advanced health data research through an individual project supervised by world-leading subject experts.
  • Establish proficiency in the use and application of state-of-the-art programming languages, such as R and Python, with additional instruction in SQL and NoSQL.
  • Benefit from easy access to cutting-edge specialist labs and next-generation software and hardware. You may access facilities such as our NVIDIA seed-funded GPU Research Centre and our High-Performance Computing Centre.
  • When our new engineering and design facility is launched, students in engineering, science and the arts will have access to a range of specialist equipment and innovative laboratories.
  • Master statistical principles, and how to apply the resulting methods to solve practical problems related to the collection, analyses and interpretations of medical data.
  • Core modules in medical data analytics, computing, and health studies, with flexible choices in data science, artificial intelligence and health studies.
  • Gain modern analytics expertise for obtaining healthcare insights from medical studies, including clinical trials, cohort studies and electronic health records. 
  • We offer a range of general and merit-based postgraduate scholarships for local and international students.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • You will take four core modules and two optional modules depending upon your interests and career aspirations, and complete a masters-level project over the summer on a topic of your choice. Your MSc project can be on healthcare data analytics, health informatics or clinical studies or be a multidisciplinary mix of these areas.

    Throughout the programme, you will learn how to master sophisticated analytics techniques and professional software, including R and the tidyverse, Python, and additional software such as SQL/NoSQL databases, to handle and exploit big data, and to work as part of a project team. You will develop conceptual, and practical understanding of topics including Big Data, medical statistics and machine learning. You will gain experience of the design and analysis of health studies, and learn how to provide impactful healthcare insights from a range of medical and clinical studies.

    Core modules

    • Modelling and Analytics for Data Science (MATH501)

      This module gives students an understanding of modelling and analytics techniques for Data Science. It supplies modern data modelling tool boxes for making strategic decisions in a broad range of Business related practical situations. It offers a hands-on introduction to Bayesian inference and machine learning. It provides additional practice in making professional presentations.

    • Big Data and Social Network Visualization (MATH513)

      Sophisticated analytics techniques are needed to visualize today's increasing quantities of Big Data. Up-to-date R tools including dplyr for data manipulation, ggplot2 for visualization, and knitr/LaTeX for document presentation are studied. These are applied to database interrogation, social network visualization and sentiment analysis. The module provides considerable experience of writing professionally documented R code using RStudio.

    • MSc Dissertation and Research Skills (PROJ518)

      You will develop a methodical approach to research that helps propose research projects that are practically realistic and academically worthwhile. A substantial project will be planned and carried out using ethically suitable quantitative and qualitative research methods. The project will be reported through a high quality, scholarly and professional write-up, either as a formal dissertation or journal paper.

    • Health Data and Medical Statistics (MATH515)

      This module introduces health data and medical studies, and related ethical considerations. It discusses statistical techniques for the design, analysis and interpretation of medical studies. Up-to-date professional software for analysing medical studies is studied. Experience in preparing a professional statistical analysis plan is provided.

    • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare (MATH516)

      This module aims to introduce the cutting-edge techniques in machine learning and artificial intelligence for health data analytics. The practical implementation will be achieved using appropriate software.

    Optional modules

    • Software Development and Databases (COMP5000)

      This module will provide knowledge and skills in software development and database design. It will cover computational problem solving, abstraction and problem decomposition. The module will enable students to identify appropriate system requirements related to the relational database model.

    • Non-Relational Databases in a Big Data Environment (COMP5001)

      The module provides an introduction to current and emerging practices for dealing with big data and the large-scale database systems used by many social networking services. Students will analyse semi-structured datasets and choose appropriate storage structures for them. A representative of recent non-relational trends is presented-namely, graph-oriented databases.

    • Information Security Management & Governance (COMP5006)

      This module looks at the issues surrounding the management and governance of information security within an organisational context. Consideration is given to the need for related policy, analysis of risk, and the management of organisational assets. Coverage also includes legal and personnel aspects of security, giving an overview of the wide range of laws and regulations governing systems & information security.

    • Applied Quantitative Research Methods (MCR702)

      This module enables the student to acquire the knowledge and skills to design and conduct a quantitative research project. The students will have advanced understanding of different quantitative research methods, data collection strategies, statistical data analysis techniques, writing skills in quantitative research proposals and final manuscripts.

    • Systematic Review (MCR706)

      This module focuses on the appraisal and synthesis of evidence from research literature and documentary sources. Participants gain hands-on experience using JBI software (SUMARI). You will learn more about the systematic review methodology, critically analyse research and text or opinion papers as part of the review process and use software to perform a meta-analysis and meta-synthesis of selected studies.

    • Computational Intelligence (COMP5012)

      This module examines the state-of-the-art in computational intelligence, focussing on evolutionary computation, swarm intelligence, fuzzy systems and Bayesian and Markov networks. Students will learn about the underlying theory behind these techniques and gain practical experience of implementing them. CI approaches will be discussed against the backdrop of various industrial problems that they are suited to solving.

    • Topics in Applied Artificial Intelligence (COMP5013)

      This module provides students with a view of how artificial intelligence is used within research and commercial settings. Delivered by a mix of academics developing novel AI techniques, and research and commercial users of AI, the module will enable students to appreciate the range of complexities inherent in the application of AI to solving real-world problems. As well as technical topics, the ethics of AI are explored.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Health Data Science and Statistics programme specification_7378

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent, in biology, biomedical science, computer science, chemistry, dentistry, economics, accounting, finance, engineering, epidemiology, health, geography, marine sciences, mathematics, statistics, data science, medicine, nursing, nutrition, physics, public health, psychology, and any other related disciplines in science, engineering, health and technology. Please contact us for individual advice.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary. We encourage international applicants to contact us for further information and individual advice.

If English is not your mother tongue you need to achieve a 6.5 IELTS with a minimum of 5.5 in any element in a secure English language test.

The University of Plymouth offers pre-sessional English language courses if you do not have this.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,950 £10,500
International £16,200 £18,000
Part time (Home) £550 £580
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.

  • 20% discount on tuition fees for home students

  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students
Read our alumni discount policy

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.

Pre-masters in Data & Computer Sciences 

Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

New engineering and design facility

"The building will provide a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers and designers of tomorrow, making it the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole." – Professor Deborah Greaves OBE
Situated on the western edge of our city centre campus, the landmark new facility will provide a home for the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture .

<p>New Engineering and Design Facility</p>

High Performance Computing centre 

Supercomputers allow us to speed up computation for Big Data and to conduct data analysis on secure servers.

Computing
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lecturer Raphael Stuhlmeier meeting with tutor group

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Research 

The multi-disciplinary nature of MSc Health Data Science and Statistics will enable you to engage actively with our world-leading research institutes. You will engage with prominent academics with an international reputation for research and teaching and with strong international and national research links. We pride ourselves on wide industrial collaborations that turn research results into healthcare, technology and social innovation.

Milensu Shanyinde - graduate profile

"My work focused on randomised controlled trials including Phase II/III in oncology and primary health care clinical trials which included disease areas such as psychiatry, cardiovascular and vaccines. As a Senior Medical Statistician at the University of Oxford, I supervise junior statisticians, work on various clinical trials including COVID-19 and am a module co-ordinator for the Statistics in Clinical Trials course. My other roles includes being a statistical advisor for research design services for the south central region and part of various Trial Steering Committees as an independent statistician. 
My work is very varied as I work on various projects which are all exciting, with different challenges. I pride myself with knowing that I am possibly impacting on people’s health by working on interventions that could improve their well-being which is very rewarding.”
Milensu Shanyinde, Senior Medical Statistician, Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, University of Oxford

<p>Harry Parr, Mathematics and Statistics graduate</p>

“At the ICR-CTSU (The Institute of Cancer Research's, Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit), I work alongside, other statisticians, trial methodologists, clinician scientists, and professors, as well as the operational aspect of trial conduct including attending meetings with data and trial managers, operationalists, and the lead trial principle investigator (PI). Day-to-day work varies considerably. I am fortunate enough to have presented my work at international conferences and also to publish new findings to advance knowledge in uro-oncological diseases such as prostate cancer. My time at Plymouth really set up and laid the foundations for an exciting and rewarding career and no doubt this stimulating MSc will do the same for you!”
Harry Parr, Medical Statistician at the Institute of Cancer Research

<p>athena swan bronze</p>

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

People