Postgraduate Certificate in Qualitative Health Research Methods

Course details

Developing future leaders in qualitative research

This course aims to develop future leaders in qualitative research. It will equip students with the skills they need to conduct high quality, robust qualitative research. Through face-to-face and online sessions, students will develop excellence in the design, conduct and critical appraisal of qualitative research. All sessions are led by expert tutors with significant experience in research and teaching. 

This course will suit novices to qualitative research and those who have some experience, but want to hone their skills. It is designed for both busy professionals and full-time students. 

The Programme is delivered in partnership with Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences,  one of the world's most important  academic centres for primary care, and leaders in world-class research and training  for over 20 years.  It is also supported by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.  Find out more about the history of the centre and the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme here.

Course Director: Anne-Marie Boylan, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Watch the video below for more information about the course and the student experience:



Student opinion

You can also watch former student Mike Tringale discussing why qualitative research methods are so important in evidence-based medicine and how they provide transferrable skills for real-world decision-making on YouTube here.

Quick links

Programme details

The Postgraduate Certificate in Qualitative Health Research Methods is a part-time course. There are three compulsory modules which can be taken over 1–2 years. 


The majority of modules are run over either an eight, or fifteen week learning cycle.  Most modules are either delivered fully online or in a blended format, however, some modules are only delivered with a blended format that includes a 5 day attendance in Oxford, and some are only run entirely online.  In any given year, not all delivery formats for a module may be available.

Blended format: an initial period of self-directed study is spent on introductory activities using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This is followed by a week spent in Oxford for supported face-to-face teaching, and then a further period of Post-Oxford activities (a mixture of self-directed and supported distance learning also delivered through the VLE). The final week of each module is for self-directed personal study, shortly followed by the assignment submission.  

Fully online format: These are delivered through the VLE with the first week allocated to self-directed introductory activities. This is followed by an intensive week of 5 consecutive days of synchronous and asynchronous teaching sessions, and then a further period of activities (A mixture of self-directed and supported distance learning also delivered through the VLE). The final week of each module is for self-directed personal study, shortly followed by the assignment submission.  Courses usually run over an 8 week period.

Part-time attendance details

As a part-time student, you must complete at minimum of one compulsory module ‘in person’ in Oxford. Each ‘in person’ module requires you to attend a week (5 days) in Oxford for supported face to face teaching. Your other modules can be made up of a mix of ‘in person’ or fully online modules. For additional note: All students are required to attend a minimum of one module in each academic year on course. This can either be ‘in person’ or fully online.

Assessment methods

Assessment for each module will be based on a written assignment, which shall not be of more than 4,000 words.

Course aims

This course aims to provide holistic training in qualitative methods, developing students’ ability to design, conduct and critically appraise qualitative research, and their ability to engage with theory and wider debates.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Independently develop, design and conduct primary qualitative research, confidently adopting a flexible approach as per the philosophical underpinnings of this mode of naturalistic inquiry;
  • Critically reflect on their role (and the role of the research team) in the research process, appreciating the consequences this has on the research they conduct, whilst endeavouring to mitigate its impact;
  • Critically engage with all aspects of qualitative research, including various methodological approaches and quality appraisal;
  • Critically engage with theory and wider debate in qualitative research (including on elements associated with rigour, such as critical appraisal)

Fees and funding

Fee rates for the academic year 2024-25*

*Rates for 2025/26 to be confirmed

These rates (in pounds sterling) are for students joining in the 2024-25 academic year and will increase annually.

Illustration for full programme (completing in one year):

  • Annual award fee: £8,455*
  • Module fees: £2,570 (per taught module)*

Total fee = £16,165*

The annual award fee is due for every academic year (or part-year) attended; module fees are due in advance as invoiced. Fees must be paid in accordance with the Terms and Conditions for the programme.


  1. The fee rates listed are for the academic year shown, and you should be aware that these rates will increase annually.
  2. The Illustration is based on the fee rates for the academic year shown; however, fee rates for attendance in future years will increase, so students attending for more than one year should expect the total to be higher than is shown in the Illustration. The exact amount will depend on the fee rates set annually, and upon the years you are in attendance; these are normally published well before the start of each academic year, but for your own budgetary purposes you may wish to estimate a 9.9% annual increase on fee rates.


Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our Sources of Funding page.

Application details

Levels and demands

For the full Selection Criteria please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Funding website.

How to apply

Applications for this course should be made via the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website. This website includes further information about this course and a guide to applying.

Early application for the programme is advised. Applications which have not been fully completed before the application deadline cannot be considered, so please ensure any applications are received by us in good time so that we may advise of missing or incorrectly completed elements. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to telephone interview, and asked to provide evidence of their funding for the programme.

Applications open in September for entry in the following academic year.  To see if this course is still open for applications for admission please visit the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website. Courses with a green admission status are open for applications, amber means the course will be closing at 12 noon on the following Friday and red means it has closed to new applications.

For further information on applying, please refer to the Application Guide. Please read our Terms and Conditions before submitting your application. If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)1865 270453 - Email:



Central accommodation for visitors and students at the Department for Continuing Education