Statisticians are at the forefront of medical research, helping to produce the evidence for new drugs or discovering links between health and disease and the way we lead our lives. The MSc Medical Statistics course, as developed at Oxford Brookes, is designed for graduates whose first degree has a substantial statistics content, or whose work experience has given them an understanding of the role of statistics in medical research or the pharmaceutical industry.
The taught programme provides understanding and practical expertise in applying statistical methods used widely in medical research and epidemiology, including survival analysis, categorical data analysis, models for analysing longitudinal data and meta-analysis. In learning to apply these techniques, you will be working with specialist professional software as used throughout the pharmaceutical industry, adding to your professional skills and employability. The core modules in statistics lead to an individual project or dissertation and you can choose from a range of additional, optional modules which you can use to provide further experience in a specialised area.
We enable students to enhance their career prospects by developing a range of professional skills such as using medical databases, making presentations and writing reports.
To qualify for the MSc you will need to pass two compulsory modules and one elective module in Semester 1, two compulsory modules and one elective module in Semester 2 and produce the dissertation, together with the Research and Study Methods module.
Additionally, during the induction period before the formal start of the course, you may take an intensive short course in statistics as preparation for the course.
The following modules are compulsory for MSc:
Statistics Methods in Medical Research and Epidemiology covers topics in the design and analysis of clinical trials and epidemiological studies and introduces the statistical software package, SAS.
Clinical Trials, Systematic Review and Meta Analysis involves the study of the conduct of clinical trials including ethical issues and data protection and the use of meta analysis to combine the results from several research studies
Survival and Duration Analysis involves using generalised linear models to analyse survival data and the development of further skills in using SAS.
Statistical Modelling using SAS involves the use of SAS to apply advanced linear, non-linear, and mixed statistical methods to medical data
You may choose two elective modules from the following, depending on your interest and experience:
Database Technology covers advances in database application systems, a useful topic for those with a potential interest in data management
Molecular Biology aims to develop the core skills needed for molecular biology as it focuses on recombinant DNA technology.
Topics in Biotechnology is a research-led course, for students with a background in biology
Biotechnology and Business aims to equip scientists with an understanding of the bioscience business sector
Product Development in Biotechnology covers the drug discovery and product development including regulation issues.
Epidemiology provides an introduction to the application of epidemiological methods in primary and community health.
Communicable Diseases and Public Health is a module that examines the history, causes and epidemiology of communicable diseases and covers prevention methods, and the legal and ethical aspects of infection control.
Research and Study Methods underpins work carried out for the dissertation. The module, delivered in a seminar style, will provide you with research skills, planning techniques, progress management and review, and the ability to use ICT support materials. You will be given guidance on the analysis and technical presentation of research material.
The Dissertation is an individual research and development project of 10,000 -15,000 words on a topic closely related to your programme of study. The work may be undertaken in co-operation with a research, industrial or commercial organisation. The choice of topic for the dissertation will depend to a great extent on your interests and experience. Typically it will be based on your analysis of a medical dataset using appropriate statistical methods, demonstrating your skills in applied analysis.
Teaching, learning and assessment
Lecturing staff have extensive experience in teaching undergraduate and specialist postgraduate courses in statistics. In addition to the compulsory statistics modules, you can select optional modules in related fields provided by experts in other subject areas.
Teaching methods have been chosen to give students the best learning experience in each subject area. These will include lectures, seminars, computer practical classes and e-learning. In postgraduate modules, staff are able to draw on their experience of providing statistical consultancy to researchers across the university as well as carrying out their own research.
Depending on the programme you select, the majority of the assessment will be through coursework, allowing an experience as close as possible to that of a medical statistician working in the real world.