Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research


Take your first steps to unlock the power of statistics

This eight week online statistics module is designed for health and social care professionals who want to understand the basics of analysis methods commonly used in medical research, in order to understand published research and to participate in more specialised courses. Students will learn to use and interpret basic statistical methods using SPSS, with reference to cohort studies, case control studies and randomized controlled trials. Online discussion forums enable communication between students and the tutor to provide support and to interpret and understand real-life scenarios.

The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday 27th September 2024. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.


The overall aims of this module are to enable students to:

  • Understand and manipulate basic mathematical and statistical techniques as preparation for more specialized courses in health care;
  • Understand the statistical issues in the planning and analysis of research;
  • Understand the basic statistical aspects of published research;
  • Apply statistical analysis to cohort studies, case control studies and randomized controlled trials.


No previous knowledge of statistics is required to take this module. Students who are already familiar with the majority of the topics listed should consider taking the Essential Medical Statistics module.

For a detailed comparison of these two courses please click here.


This module will cover:

This course is divided into 8 units. Each unit covers a different aspect of statistics and statistical modelling.

Individual units are built around practical exercises and realistic case studies that will enable students to apply statistical knowledge in a health context.

Weekly study for each unit is self-paced using online resources. Movement through the units is structured week by week to enable students to complete sections at the same time as the rest of their course group.

Individual activities can involve reading of related text book chapters and articles, working through problems or analysing example datasets. The group activities will mainly involve online discussions of important issues in statistics so that students can put the application of statistics into an everyday context. Discussions occur weekly, but are "asynchronous" due to possible local time differences between the student's locations.

Programme details

Unit Content:

  • The use and importance of statistics
  • Handling and describing data, learning to use SPSS
  • Analysis of numerical results
  • Confidence intervals
  • Comparison of two means
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Analysis of variance
  • Linear regression and correlation
  • Analysing binary outcomes
  • Comparing two proportions


Description Costs
Short Course in Health Sciences £3175.00
Students enrolled on MSc in EBHC £2570.00
Students enrolled on PG Cert in Health Research £2570.00
Students enrolled on PG Dip in Health Research £2570.00


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


If you are an employee of the University of Oxford and have a valid University staff card you may be eligible to receive a 10% discount on the full stand-alone fee. To take advantage of this offer please submit a scan/photocopy of your staff card along with your application. Your card should be valid for a further six months after attending the course.


Dr Paul Bateman

Module Co-ordinator

Pau Bateman is a Statistical Programmer at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

Dr Maria Vazquez Montes

Module Co-ordinator

Maria Vazquez Montes is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. Her focus is on prognostic and risk prediction research.

Assessment methods

  • Each unit includes a data analysis exercise to consolidate understanding
  • The assessment consists of statistical problems in health research designed to give insight into real statistical problems in healthcare and to test ability to apply and understand correct statistical analysis.

Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.


This course requires you to complete the application form and to attach a copy of your CV. If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also be required to provide a reference. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes which appear when you click on the symbols as you progress through the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.

Selection criteria

Admissions Criteria:
To apply for the course you should:

  • Be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • Have professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • Have a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration)
  • Show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.
  • Be able to demonstrate English Language proficiency at the University’s higher level

IT requirements

Please ensure that you have access to a computer that meets the specifications detailed on our technical support page.