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Health Sciences Open Award

MSc / PGDip / PGCert

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

The MSc Health Sciences Open Award allows you to build a bespoke Master’s degree pathway. You can access a wide range of modules across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and combine these into an MSc pathway.

The award offers opportunities for work-based learning and for bringing professional expertise and academic knowledge into dialogue. The recognition of the workplace as a forum for learning and development enables you to capitalise upon educational opportunities and to situate your professional practice in a rich context of academic theory. 

Relevant credits may be gained entirely within the Oxford Brookes modular framework or may include some credit from other recognised institutions.

Available start dates

January 2019 / September 2019 / January 2020 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Headington Campus, Marston Road site / Distance learning / Swindon Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MSc: 12 months, Distance learning: 12 months, PGDip: 12 months, PGCert: 6 to 12 months
  • Part time: depends on the award sought and any credit already attained; maximum of 3 years (Distance Learning 24 months)

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • You will be working with staff at the cutting edge of professional development for health and social care.
  • Oxford Brookes provides access to health care settings with international reputations for excellence and innovation, including the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation NHS Trust.
  • As a member of the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre, we work with partners to provide opportunities for the translation of world leading research into the teaching and delivery of health care.
  • You will gain academic credit for projects pursued in the workplace such as quality improvement projects or educational programmes.
  • All the resources you need will be at your finger-tips including a world-class academic community and access to some invaluable resources, including the Radcliffe Science Library.
  • We also work closely with major charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support.

Modules running at Oxford Brookes that are relevant to your professional and personal development change every semester, and you should contact us to find out the best options for your specific circumstances.

Modules that were accessed by current students on the MSc Health Sciences (or its predecessor, the MSc Student Designed award) in the past include:


Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from the one above.


Teaching and learning

On the MSc Health Sciences course you negotiate your own combination of modules; please contact the programme administrator for the list of currently available modules. Every MSc programme must include a dissertation or project management  report, and it must also include research design training.

Oxford Brookes is committed to student-centred learning, with an emphasis on contracted learning activities and educational staff acting as facilitators. Our students are experienced professionals whose skills and knowledge have led them to design and undertake individual programmes of learning. 

Your programme will be built on existing knowledge and skills, and will provide opportunities for academic learning whilst further developing the professional practice of yourself and/or others. In order to draw on your experience and prior learning, and encourage innovation and development within the practice areas, a student-centred and facilitative approach is taken to teaching and learning.

Approach to assessment

Modules are assessed either by coursework or examination or both and full details are given in module guides. University processes ensure that assessment is rigorous, of an appropriate standard and fair - a process overseen by an external examiner, who ensures that the standards used to assess students are comparable with those of other universities.

Each assessment is designed so that you can show that you have achieved the learning outcomes for the module and for the whole programme. The range, type and timing of assessments have been carefully chosen to promote independent and reflective learning. Tasks and questions are set by the module leader, internally moderated (checked by another member of staff) and sent to the external examiner to ensure that they are appropriate for assessment of the module learning outcomes and that the instructions and marking criteria are clear. 

Attendance pattern

The modes of study are full time and part time; on campus and distance learning. Some modules are available as distance learning only and others are on campus only. Typically, full-time students will take three modules per semester plus a dissertation running across two semesters. Part-time students will take one to two modules per semester. 

It is possible for home and EU students to change mode of study from full-time to part-time or vice versa (Tier 4 visa holders are required to study full-time as a condition of their visa).

Most of the other students on this course are full-time employed in the health and social care sector, and our staff are aware that you may have to juggle a number of commitments while studying.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £1,020 per single module 2020/21: 1,040 per single module

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £1,020 per single module 2020/21: 1,040 per single module

Home/EU - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £1,020 per single module 2020/21: 1,040 per single module

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,050 2020/21: £14,500

International - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £1,520 per single module 2020/21: £1,610 per single module

For information there are 9 single modules to pay for in the full masters programme.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

  • Entry normally requires a UK/EU first degree or equivalent overseas degree from a recognised institution. Subject to approval by Oxford Brookes University, equivalent professional or other qualifications applicable to health and social care can be considered under some circumstances, particularly if you are registered as a health or social care professional. Please enquire for further details. If you wish to engage in any work-based learning (which is not compulsory), you must be employed in a health or social care role, and have achieved appropriate registration with a relevant United Kingdom professional body.
  • Evidence of recent study (within the last 5 years) at degree or equivalent level is highly desirable. Students who do not hold a first UK/EU degree or equivalent overseas degree from a recognised institution (taken within the last 5 years) OR students who have not studied at degree or equivalent level within the last 5 years will be required to write and submit an assignment which will be taken into account as part of their application.
  • Six months' experience as a student, employee or volunteer within the health / social care sector (European or International; public, private or voluntary) will normally be required.
  • When designing your programme, the credit for learning at other recognised institutions or prior experiential learning cannot exceed two-thirds of the total credits required for the award, as one-third must be from Oxford Brookes University. As the recognition of such credit is subject to approval by Oxford Brookes University, it is recommended that you contact the subject co-ordinator upon application and discuss any prior learning that you would like to credit towards your programme of study.

You will need to agree your study aims, title and modules (programme of study) with your academic adviser, and have this approved by the University, on admission to the programme and before commencing your studies. Initial enquiries should be made directly to the Programme Administrator.

English language requirements

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

International students, like home and EU students, must be practising health and social care professionals or have recent experience of working in these sectors.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Application for HL72 MSc Health Sciences Open Award is via our portal.

Prior to applying, you may wish to discuss your programme of study with the Programme Lead Dr Jan Davison-Fischer. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Administrator Lucy Crilly with all other queries. 


Along with your application you will be required to submit:

  • two references (professional/academic)
  • copies of certificates of previous qualifications
  • NMC PIN is registered
  • English language qualifications if your first language is not English
  • confirmation of funding


Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

This course will assist you in developing your career by providing a programme of study that is tailored to your individual needs and which takes the specific nature of your current role into account. The course can thus help you to meet your professional development needs and can be tailored to match your career aspirations for the future.


Post-qualifying education in your health or social care field may allow you to take on more senior roles at work, and may improve your prospects and options for promotion and progression.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

The Professional Education and Leadership course team have research and publication interests in the fields of coaching and mentoring, service improvement, medical trainees' educational experiences, and inter-professional and work-based learning.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 98% of our research in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy was rated as internationally recognised, with 82% being world leading or internationally excellent. 

For more details about our research portfolio, go to our website.

Research areas and clusters

The course content is underpinned by the research and scholarship activities of the staff in the fields of consultancy, educational development, management education, leadership development, project management, and related clinical fields including health promotion, drugs and alcohol, and clinical trials.

Over the past few years, these researchers have won external research and consultancy contracts including grants, fellowships and studentships for NHS staff. Our research staff collaborate with researchers from across Oxford Brookes University, with researchers from the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, and with research teams from many other UK and international centres.