Masters | Postgraduate Course - Health Informatics (distance learning) MSc Course Details within University of Sheffield

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Health Informatics (distance learning) MSc

Study Details

MSc: 3 years part-time

Health Informatics is one of the fastest growing areas within healthcare. In its simplest form, health informatics is about getting the right information to the right person at the right time. It is critical to the delivery of information to healthcare professionals so they can deliver the most appropriate care.

If you are working in, or closely with, the health sector and have an interest in using information and communication technologies to improve services in your sector, this is the course for you. You will learn the theory behind health informatics and develop practical management skills, as well as the ability to evaluate current trends in health and social care.

As this course is taught by distance learning, you can study from anywhere in the world. First year students will be invited to take part in an online induction before the course starts.

Sheffield is a world-leader in the field of information systems. Our research in areas such as health informatics, e-business, digital technology and social media influences the way businesses, governments and individuals interact. This CILIP-accredited course is aimed at healthcare professionals who want to improve services in their sector by getting more out of information and communication technologies.

Module details

The course encompasses information science, computer science and health care, with core modules covering areas such as information systems, e-health and the use of electronic records, and optional topics ranging from telehealth and telecare to leadership and strategy in healthcare and analysis of health information. It equips students with generic tools to enable them to respond to future developments in health care and in information technology while grounding these in the "real world" of current initiatives in information policy, technology and management.

The course will prepare you to become an integral part of the information management structure within a health care setting. You will learn the theory behind health informatics and develop practical management skills, as well as the ability to evaluate current trends in health and social care. It will enable you to respond to future technological developments and ensure maximum information efficiency at all times.

The second year includes a research methods and dissertation preparation module to help you prepare for your dissertation on a subject of your choice, which you will undertake in your third year.

Core modules

  • Introduction to Health Informatics
  • The Internet, Web and E-Health
  • Information Systems in Health
  • Placing Electronic Records at the Centre of Care
  • Information and Knowledge Management
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Health Care Information
  • Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Introduction to Telehealth and Telecare
  • Leadership, Strategy and Change
  • Public Health Informatics
  • Analysis of Health Information

Entry Requirements

You possess a honours degree, usually in a social science, science, technology or a medical/health area. However if you do not have a degree, but have substantial work experience in the health care environment, you may be admitted onto the Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in the first instance, with the possibility of upgrading to the MSc, subject to making satisfactory progress.

Technical background

You have some experience of using a variety of computer systems in your workplace and an interest in how information and informatics are used to support patient care. Ideally you have access to computers both at work and at home.


You have at least two years’ experience working in a health care environment either within the health services or in a commercial role where you interact with the health sector. You may also be accepted if you have less than two years’ health care experience, provided that the quality of your experience to date is sufficiently high.

You do not need to conform to a ‘typical’ profile; instead you must demonstrate achievement in each of these domains and compensate for any shortfall by possessing complementary strengths in another domain.

If your first language is not English you need to provide documentary evidence of English Language competence. You must meet the following minimum IELTS requirements: overall score 6.5, listening, writing, speaking, reading all 6.0

Programme Assessment

During the first two years you will be taught via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment and specialised distance-learning software, which delivers lectures, seminars and tutorials online in real-time. Each module lasts 12 weeks. On top of that, we recommend that you spend 10–12 hours a week on reading, coursework and assignment preparation. Assessment varies across modules and includes essays and written reports.

Throughout the course you will have the support of a personal tutor and module coordinators, and peer support through student-led discussions and interaction is also encouraged.

The 12–18,000-word dissertation makes up a third of the course and provides the opportunity, under one-to-one supervision, to focus in depth on a topic of your choice. You may choose to carry out your dissertation with an external organisation, for instance if you are in employment, your project could be directly related to your own work situation. In the past, students who have carried out such dissertations have welcomed the opportunity to tackle ‘real-life’ problems.

Closing Date for Applications

Graduates work for healthcare providers and agencies around the world.

RAE Score and League Table Rankings

Our department has been rated as the UK's number one for Information Studies research in every single Research Assessment Exercise. Employers know our masters students are taught by experts at the forefront of their fields.