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Health Professions Education

This award-winning online master’s from UCL Medical School equips clinicians from all professional backgrounds to deliver the highest standards of education.

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Our flexible course has no core modules - you can create a completely bespoke programme that suits your interests. We offer a broad choice of modules, from fundamentals in teaching, learning and assessment to innovative modules on topics such as clinical simulation, quality improvement, leadership, ethics and law.

You can specialise in one of four pathways that support career progression routes in clinical education: Assessment, Leadership, Research and Primary Care.

Students will cultivate transferable skills, enabling them to develop as educational practitioners, critically analyse theory, policy and practice, and carry out research in health professions education. The course is grounded in the scholarship and research of UCL’s renowned Research Department of Medical Education, whilst having a clear focus on practical application in your working life.

This programme is delivered online, with a blend of real-time and asynchronous activities. We set creative assignments, encourage you to publish your work, and create a memorable experience.

  • Full-time or flexible modular study.
  • Delivered fully online.
  • Five pathways.
  • Three exit points from the programme: PG Cert (60 credits), PG Dip (120 credits) or MSc (180 credits).

More details

How to apply

You can apply through the UCL website.

If you are studying for a PGCert or PGDip, you must select the flexible modular option on your application.

Awards

You apply for the MSc (180 credits), but you can choose to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma (120) or Postgraduate Certificate (60) once you achieve the required number of credits.

It is worth noting, however, that there are time frames for each award:

  • PG Certificate (60 credits): Aim to complete within 2 years.
  • PG Diploma (120 credits): Must be completed within 5 years.
  • MSc (180 credits): Must be completed within 5 years.

Research Project (MSc only)

You choose the type of research project and the format of the thesis, which is a 10,000-12,000-word piece of work. This can be one of the following:

  1. An extended research project in which you collect and analyse empirical data, usually from research participants.
  2. A report based on an extended review of literature, in which desk-based research is used to answer your research question.

If you wish to progress from the Diploma to the MSc, you must also complete one of our prerequisite 15-credit modules in your Diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do.

Pathways

You can study any pathway at each level of the course: certificate, diploma and MSc.  

    There are five routes to choose from.

    MSc in Health Professions Education

    This is the most flexible of our study routes. This route has no core modules other than the final research project and pre-requisite module for the MSc.

    You can study towards a PGCert, PGDip or MSc.

    PG Cert in Health Professions Education

    • If you wish to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Professions Education, you must complete 60 credits of modules, which can be made up from modules worth 15 or 30 credits
    • There is no prescribed core content, so you are able to choose the modules that most interest you

    PG Diploma in Health Professions Education

    • If you wish to study for a postgraduate diploma, you must complete a total of 120 credits of modules. If you wish to exit the programme with a diploma, you have a completely free choice of module options.
    • If you wish to progress to the MSc, you will need to take a 15 credit pre-requisite module in the diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do. The remaining 45 credits can be chosen from the optional module list in your diploma year. 

    MSc in Health Professions Education

    • The MSc consists of 180 credits, comprising 120 credits from taught modules plus a research project. You can choose what type of research project you wish to do, as well as choosing the format of the final thesis
    MSc in Health Professions Education (Leadership)

    Our Leadership route allows you to develop your expertise in key elements of leadership theory and practice.

    You can study for a named 'Leadership' award at each level of the course: certificate, diploma and MSc.

    Leadership modules:

    PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Leadership)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Leadership) you will need to complete 60 credits of modules, which must be made up from Leadership Modules worth 30 credits, and 30 credits of other modules chosen from the optional module list.

    PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Leadership)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Leadership), you will need to complete a total of 120 credits of modules, of which 60 credits must be selected from the designated list of Leadership Modules.
    • If you wish to exit the programme with a diploma, you can choose the remaining 60 credits from the optional module list
    • If you wish to progress to the MSc, you will need to take a 15 credit pre-requisite module in the diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do. The remaining 45 credits can be chosen from the optional module list

    MSc in Health Professions Education (Leadership)

    • The MSc consists of 180 credits, comprising 60 credits of Leadership Modules, a 15 credit pre-requisite module, 45 credits of optional modules, plus a 60 credit Master’s year research project.
    • To exit with an MSc in Health Professions Education (Leadership), you must have leadership as the focus of your MSc research project.
    MSc in Health Professions Education (Primary Care)

    This route had been designed specifically for clinicians working in primary care. The postgraduate certificate has been mapped to the GMC standards for trainers, and there is the option of continuing to study for a postgraduate diploma or MSc in HPE (Primary Care). 

    You can study for a named ‘Primary Care’ award at each level of the course: certificate, diploma and MSc.

    Primary Care modules:

    PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Primary Care)

    • If you wish to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Professions Education (Primary Care), you must complete 60 credits of core modules from the list above.
    • As the PG Cert (Primary Care) curriculum has been mapped to the GMC Standards for Trainers, there is no flexibility at this level of the programme.

    PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Primary Care)

    • If you wish to study for a postgraduate diploma, you must complete a total of 120 credits of modules.
    • If you wish to exit the programme with a diploma, you will already have completed 60 credits of core Primary Care content on the certificate, and so you have a completely free choice of modules from the optional module list for your additional 60 credits.
    • If you wish to progress to the MSc, you will need to take a 15 credit pre-requisite module in the diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do. You can then make up your remaining 45 credits by choosing from the range of modules on the optional module list.

    MSc in Health Professions Education (Primary Care)

    • The MSc consists of 180 credits, comprising 60 credits of core Primary Care modules (the PG Cert), a 15 credit pre-requisite module, 45 credits of optional modules, and a 60 credit Master’s year research project.
    • To exit with a Primary Care award, your Master’s year project needs to be on an aspect of education in Primary Care.  
    PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Research)

    Our Research route allows you to develop your expertise in key elements of educational research theory and practice.

    You can study for a named ‘Research’ award at each level of the course: certificate, diploma and MSc.

    Reseach modules:

    PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Research)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Research) you will need to complete 60 credits of modules, which must be made up from Research Modules worth 30 credits, and 30 credits of other modules chosen from the optional module list.

    PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Research)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Research), you will need to complete a total of 120 credits of modules, of which 60 credits must be selected from the designated list of Research Modules.
    • If you wish to exit the programme with a diploma, you can choose the remaining 60 credits from the optional module list
    • If you wish to progress to the MSc, you will need to take a 15 credit pre-requisite module in the diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do. The remaining 45 credits can be chosen from the optional module list

    MSc in Health Professions Education (Research)

    • The MSc consists of 180 credits, comprising 60 credits of research modules, a 15 credit pre-requisite module, 45 credits of optional modules, plus a 60 credit Master’s year research project.
    MSc in Health Professions Education (Assessment) - coming soon

    Our Assessment route allows you to develop your expertise in key elements of assessment theory and practice.

    You can study for a named ‘Assessment’ award at each level of the course: certificate, diploma and MSc.

    Assessment modules:

    • Introduction to Assessment (15 credits)
    • Assessment for Learning Formative Methods (15 credits)
    • Assessment of Progression Summative Methods (15 credits)
    • Advances in Assessment Current Issues (15 credits)

    PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Assessment)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Cert in Health Professions Education (Assessment) you will need to complete 60 credits of modules, which must be made up from Assessment Modules worth 30 credits, and 30 credits of other modules chosen from the optional module list.

    PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Assessment)

    • If you wish to study for a PG Diploma in Health Professions Education (Assessment), you will need to complete a total of 120 credits of modules, of which 60 credits must be selected from the designated list of Assessment Modules.
    • If you wish to exit the programme with a diploma, you can choose the remaining 60 credits from the optional module list
    • If you wish to progress to the MSc, you will need to take a 15 credit pre-requisite module in the diploma year, based on the type of research project you wish to do. The remaining 45 credits can be chosen from the optional module list

    MSc in Health Professions Education (Assessment)

    • The MSc consists of 180 credits, comprising 60 credits of assessment modules, a 15 credit pre-requisite module, 45 credits of optional modules, plus a 60 credit Master’s year research project.
    • To exit with an MSc in Health Professions Education (Assessment), you must have assessment as the focus of your MSc research project.

    Module Timetable

    The module timetable contains the full list of modules on the MSc Health Professions Education Programme. 

    Brochure

    Download our MSc in Health Professions Education brochure (PDF).

    FAQs

    What are the requirements to be eligible to attend the MSc HPE programme?

    This programme is suited to practitioners of all disciplines involved in the education and training of medical, nursing and other healthcare staff. A minimum of a relevant second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard and relevant professional experience of health care education and training.

    If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. The English language level for this programme is 'Good'.

    What is a flexible/modular programme?

    The MSc HPE is a flexible programme and you can choose how many modules to take each year, as long as you complete within the maximum time limit for the qualification.

    For example, if you were completing the Master's, you would have up to five years to take 180 credits. You could choose to take no modules for an academic year, but you would still need to enrol on the programme and it would count towards your five years for completion.

    What is the workload ratio?

    Students often ask us for a 'rough guide' of how much time they should set aside for the modules. There is no specific number as every person studies at a different pace.

    However, as a useful template for each credit we recommend a notional 10 hours of study. So, for a 15 credit module, this would equate to 150 notional hours of study time. This can take many different forms, including synchronous days, reading background literature, participating in online discussions and writing your assignment. We recommend setting aside one day a week for studying per 15 credit module.

    What do the different modes of study mean?

    • Full-time Mixed Mode Distance – 1 year online study.
    • Flexible/modular Mixed Mode Distance – Up to 5 years online study.

    How long would it take to receive a decision on my application?

    Admissions aim to provide a decision within six working weeks of receiving a complete application and references. However, this may be longer due to other external factors. You can enquire about your application status by emailing uclms.postgraduate@ucl.ac.uk.

    Can I transfer credits from another course?

    You can apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL) when you apply to the programme. You must have achieved the credits within the past 5 years. Full details and an application form can be found at Student Recruitment and Admissions.

    Can I apply for a scholarship?

    We do not deal with scholarships in the department. You can access information at UCL funding and scholarships.


    Further Details

    For details of the cost of the programme, start dates and admission deadlines:

    Visit prospectus