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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EPIB5044M Professional Skills for Health Data Scientists

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Paul Baxter

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Academic entry requirements

A 1st degree in a quantitative or scientific subject area with substantial mathematical, statistical or numeracy components (at least 2:1). We also consider working experience (two years or more) of research in a quantitative subject area. Non-graduates who: have successfully completed three years of a UK medical degree; are normally ranked in the top 50% of the year 3 cohort; and wish to take the Health Data Analytics MSc as an intercalated programme, will also be accepted.

English language requirements

An overall score of 7.0 on IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with at least 6.0 in writing and no other skill below 6.5; from a TOEFL paper-based test the requirement is a minimum score of 600, with 4.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE); from a TOEFL computer-based test the requirement is a minimum score of 250, with 4.5 TWE; from a TOEFL Internet-based test the requirement is a minimum score of 100, with 25 in the "Writing Skills" score.

This module is mutually exclusive with

EPIB5030MProfessional Spine

Module replaces

EPIB5030M Professional Spine

This module is not approved as an Elective


- Introduce the knowledge and skills necessary to work as an effective professional in observational research;
- Provide an understanding of ethical issues relating to observational research;

Enable the student to:

- Critically appraise and evaluate published observational research;
- Develop a professional approach to submitting research articles and applying for research funding;
- Judge what is required when reviewing submitted articles and research proposals;
- Develop the skills necessary to consult professionally with non-statistical colleagues;
- Develop professional skills relevant to oral and written presentation of study results, including communicate clearly and effectively with a non-technical audience.

Provide signposted links to skills that are introduced or developed in other modules.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module participants should be able to:

- Understand key concepts, demonstrate key skills and attitudes necessary to work as an effective professional in observational research.

Transferable skills

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

- Explain and critically appraise published observational research.
- Construct a peer-review of a submitted article.
- Conduct an appropriate sample size calculation.
- Assemble a research proposal suitable for submission to a grant funding body.
- Write a paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
- Demonstrate professional consultancy skills.
- Present work effectively in both oral and written formats.
- Engage in constructive discussion of professional ethics.
- Demonstrate professional qualities and attitudes appropriate to their future responsibilities to colleagues and society, including communicating effectively with a non-technical audience.

Skills outcomes
The ability to work as a professional health data analyst or biostatistician, e.g. critically appraising the work of others and producing work of publishable quality, working ethically and liaising appropriately with other medical professionals.


The module will be taught over the second semester and will develop the core skills and competencies necessary to work as an applied biostatistician / health data analyst in a range of environments. The sessions:

- Consultancy skills
- Developing a research proposal
- Career Development
- Research Ethics
- Searching the literature
- Critically appraising the literature
- Academic writing
- Designing effective posters
- Presentation skills
- Reviewing for journals

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning111.0011.00
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Each week, students will be expected to prepare for the forthcoming seminar through material relevant to that session, such as reading journal articles, reports, referees reports, grant applications. They will then be expected to use this learning to engage with the discussions in the following week.

Students are also expected to keep a formative reflective log, in order from them to consider their learning that week in context with both the rest of the module and making links across the course as a whole.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The students will be required to keep a weekly formative reflective log. This will be reviewed mid-semester by the module leader, who will provide feedback on progress to date.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportJournal Article review (1000 words)25.00
Poster PresentationA1 poster25.00
AssignmentCurriculum Vitae / application for employment as postgraduate health data analyst (2 sides A4, 750 words)25.00
AssignmentCritical Reflection, 1000 words25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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