Applied Health Economics MSc

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Our distance learning MSc in Health Economics enables healthcare professionals to be well equipped to elicit the maximum value from finite budgets. This master's in health economics helps students understand why this area has, and should, become integral to healthcare decision making.

The MSc in Health Economics enables healthcare professionals to gain a solid working knowledge of the underlying principles, methodologies, and processes associated with this established and growing international discipline, while not causing disruptions to their daily schedules.

This MSc health economics distance learning course focuses on direct application to current topics, case studies and processes relevant to the student’s own remit and country of practice, as well as allowing them to expand their network with people around the world to share insights and boost their career prospects.

MSc Applied Health Economics

Next intake: 2023 MarchKey Facts

Awarding University
University of South Wales
Class Size
15 - 20
Application Deadline
13th February 2023
Course start date
100% Online
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Populations are ageing and overcrowded; people are living longer and have longer term health management needs. More complex research, development and diagnostic capabilities are leading to higher healthcare costs, healthcare budgets are stretched globally so that applied health economics is now foundational and integral to healthcare decision making at every level.

Its principles, methods and related processes are now applied internationally to varying degrees across public, private and mixed healthcare systems and to decisions relating to drugs, devices, treatment pathways and preventative health strategies.

Having a specialist knowledge in health economics is an increasingly important asset and extra responsibility of medical personnel. Unlike other master's in health economics, through our carefully selected teaching experts, it covers the key disease area pertinent to applied health economics for healthcare decision making.

The online Masters course has been developed for NHS Managers, Doctors, Nurses, Allied Health Professionals, CCG commissioning teams, CCG Pharmacy teams, Pharmaceutical Industry Professionals and other suitably qualified and interested individuals.

Next intake: 2023 March Key Facts

Awarding University
University of South Wales
100% Online
24 months
Class Size
15 - 20
Application Deadline
13th February 2023
Course start date

Why Study a Applied Health Economics Master's with Learna

We have over 10 years’ experience delivering online courses, giving you access to flexible, affordable distance learning in partnership with world-leading educators.


100% Flexible

Our courses are 100% online. No fixed study times mean you can log in and learn whenever and wherever.

Multidisciplinary - study in a group of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.



No physical campus means we can offer world-leading programmes at the most competitive prices.

Get a PgDip from £3,900 or an MSc from £7,500 - the most affordable courses of their kind in the UK.


Career Boosting

Get a University Validated postgraduate qualification in just 1 calendar year instead of 2 academic years.

40% of our alumni reported an increase in salary 2 years after studying with us.

Who is this course for?

Our flexible and affordable master's in health economics has been developed for:

  • NHS Managers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • CCG commissioning teams
  • CCG Pharmacy teams
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Professionals
  • other suitably qualified and interested individuals.

How Will I Learn?

You will be supported throughout your studies by a committed team of internationally recognised educational experts.

Our courses are conducted entirely online through self-directed distance learning. You’ll receive guidance throughout your course with tutor-stimulated academic discussions, which are based on clinically-rich case scenarios.

These usually occur within groups of 10-20 students, allowing you to clearly communicate with both your tutor and fellow students.


The Applied Health Economics MSc is a two year course, consisting of eight modules (180 credits) with the first 120 credits deriving from the Postgraduate Diploma. The second year of the Applied Health Economics MSc course starts with an initial 10 week online module that will develop skills in critical appraisal and knowledge of research methodologies. Students then complete the professional project module, which consists of a 1,500 word proposal and 10,500 word professional project (dissertation).

Year 1

Module Aims

  • To understand and evaluate the purpose, principles and processes of health economics in healthcare decision making & HTA.
  • To understand and critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of health economics in healthcare decision making & HTA in regard to meeting their aims/achieving their purpose.
  • To understand the relevance of Health Economic decision making to clinical practice.

Module Content

  • Principles of Health Economics
  • The role and function of health technology assessment (HTA)
  • Common misconceptions of Health Economics & HTA
  • Health Economics & HTA as part of Evidence Based Medicine/ Practice (from National, to Sub-National, to Personal Practice)
  • The relevance of Health Economics to healthcare professionals
  • The effect of budget on decision making

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate processes used in health economic decision making.
  2. Demonstrate a working knowledge of health economics used in health technology appraisals.

Module Aims
Develop a critical understanding of the way in which benefits or clinical value are calculated and judged within health economic decision making.

Module Content

  • Identifying clinical benefit: Critical Appraisal and Systematic Literature Review
  • Length vs. Quality of life (QoL): the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY)
  • Challenges with length of life estimations: time horizons, extrapolation, bias towards the younger patient, the need for future discounting
  • Avoidance of negative events
  • Critical appraisal of clinical data: Evidence Based Medicine and HTA/Health
  • Economic Decision Making
  • Critical appraisal of real world data

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to critically appraise the strengths and limitations of the Quality Adjusted Life Year as a measure of clinical benefit.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to apply principles of Evidence Based Medicine to assess the quality of clinical evidence used to support patient benefit within HTA/ health economic decision making.

Module Aims
To develop a critical understanding of the economic burden of chronic diseases, types of economic analyses, establishing pay thresholds and budget impact.

Module Content

  • Investigating and establishing the economic burden of disease
  • Types of analysis: Cost-effectiveness, Cost-utility and Cost-minimisation
  • Exploration and analysis of cost perspectives
  • Willingness to pay thresholds
  • Establishing budget impact
  • Challenges: rare diseases, end of life considerations, unlicensed comparators, affordability and work flow change

Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically appraise to budgetary burden of chronic disease.
  2. Critically appraise the implementation of health economic analysis and budgetary impact in real life/complex clinical situations.

Module Aims
Develop a critical understanding of data interpretation including levels of evidence and statistical interpretation of data.

Module Content

  • Additional Data Sources: Real World Data, Expert Opinion, The Patient’s Voice
  • Statistics: Confidence intervals and p-values
  • Statistics: Hazard ratios and NNT
  • Statistics: Bayesian statistics and Cox model
  • Statistics: Sensitivity Analysis and Marginal Analysis
  • Statistics: Indirect Comparison and Meta-Analysis

Learning Outcomes

  1. Show an ability to critically evaluate the validity of published data.
  2. Critically appraise statistical interpretation of scientific data related to health economics.

Module Aims
To develop a critical understanding of the international health economic decision making processes within legal frameworks together with the procurement and tendering processes associated with treatments.

Module Content

  • Examine the international Health Economic decision making process
  • Legislations vs. Recommendations
  • Stakeholders and Payers
  • HTA vs. non HTA processes: Procurement, Tendering, and Commissioning
  • Evolving Health System policy as it relates to Health Economic decision making
  • Maximising patient benefit in healthcare decision making

Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically evaluate, understand and contrast the current models of healthcare decision making.
  2. Critically appraise the legal basis of economic decision making.

Module Aims
To appreciate and evaluate the process of implementation of Health Technology Appraisals at the regional and local levels. Appreciate and understand the makeup and evaluation of the stakeholder group at regional/local level.

Module Content

  • Applying national decisions/guidelines at a subnational level
  • Data required to make decisions at a Sub-National level
  • Stakeholders/decision makers at a Sub-National level
  • Challenges of implementation at national level to meet Sub-National budget constraints
  • Implementation of HE analysis at sub national level with real world data
  • Budgetary analyses at subnational level with real world data

Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically appraise the implementation of HTA advice at the regional and local level, evaluating the challenges of local implementation of national decisions.
  2. Critically evaluate stakeholder contributions to decision making at regional/local level.

Year 2

This module runs over 12 weeks and is designed to develop skills in critical appraisal and knowledge of research methodologies used in applied health economics. The module consists of mandatory formative assessment activities to support your learning and development prior to the Professional Project module.

Module Aims
The module aims to develop your ability to critically appraise specific areas of research and/or organisational practice and develop skills in independent research, study and writing for publication.

Module Content
The module will depend on the creation of a piece of work based upon a specific project relevant to your practice. You will select a specific project and submit a project summary/proposal (1,200 words). Once your proposal has been approved, the professional project (10,800 words) is then completed through online guidance and supervision from your tutor.

The project may comprise:

  • Literature review and appraisal of the evidence
  • Audit of practice including organisational or clinical
  • Review and implementation of evidence-based practice
  • Qualitative or quantitative research (formal research involving human subjects is not anticipated)
  • Case-based and quality of service review with critical appraisal
  • Case report, review of literature and organisational assessment
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Design and undertake a research/development project related to acute medicine
  • Critically evaluate practice and suggest improvements for change
  • Incorporate knowledge of the research process in developing services appropriately

Assessment Methods

The Applied Health Economics MSc course places assessments at the heart of the learning process through the employment of real-life scenarios to enhance problem-solving and critical analysis. Since the scenarios act as a focus for learning and assessment, the two are intrinsically linked.

The first seven modules on the course have the same assessment format and for all modules, you will be assigned a dedicated expert tutor. Your tutor will then facilitate case discussions with the group, whilst monitoring, assessing and marking your work throughout. You will also participate in a combination of module activities that may be group and/or individual based, dependent on the module.

These innovative teaching methods enable you to envisage the translation of your studies into your every day work and practice.

For the final module of the course you will be required to produce a piece of work based upon a related project that is relevant to your practice. Once you have selected a specific project, you will submit a project summary/proposal of approximately 1,500 words. Following the approval of your proposal you will then complete a 10,500 word professional project.

To produce the professional project you will continue to study online. Much of the work is self-directed, however you will receive guidance from your tutor throughout the module.

Due to the online nature of the course, you will be expected to regularly login and participate in the course - ideally on a daily basis. Students are recommended to spend around two hours per day on their studies. Our dedicated Student Support Team are also available to help with any problems you may face. From navigating our online platform to advising you on deadlines, our team can assist with any questions or challenges you may have along the way.

Year 1

  • Every week students are presented with two/three clinical case-based scenarios that are reflective of every day clinical practice and research.
  • Tutors will post a number of questions and prompts to aid students in a formal discussion of each case.
  • These discussions are facilitated throughout by your tutor and are then assessed at the end of every module.

For this assessment, students will work on a group assignment and/or an individual assignment.

  • Group assignments are designed to hone skills in the multidisciplinary, holistic approach to modern treatments and patient management by requiring group participation in a single piece of work.
  • Individual assignments are designed to hone skills in academic career progression through such tasks as reviewing papers, developing scientific posters or abstracts, peer-reviewing, social media activities, patient information leaflets and essays.

The reflective journal is used by students throughout each module to monitor personal progress. This is guided by weekly feedback from your tutor and is graded at the end of every module. The journal typically includes the following:

  • Initial expectations and reasons for taking the course.
  • Module and/or personal learning objectives.
  • Description of events, issues and learning points within current personal practice.
  • Change in every day practice due to knowledge gained on each module.
  • A description of what has been learned during the module.
  • Students are provided with case-based problems in the form of a one-hour timed examination.
  • The exam consists of 30 'Single Best Answer' questions.
  • Students are required to complete the exam online within the set time.

Year 2

This module runs over a 8 week period and is designed to develop skills in critical appraisal and knowledge of research methodologies. The module consists of mandatory formative assessment activities to support your learning and development prior to the Professional Project module.

  • Students will work with their supervisor to submit a professional project proposal for their chosen topic.

  • Students will deliver an abstract (1000 words) outlining their proposal and, if deemed necessary, develop and submit documentation for the University’s ethical committee approval.

  • Students will create a dissertation, the theme of which has been developed in discussion with their tutor.
  • Supervision will normally involve direct online support involving planned progress, supporting research activity and reading student work.
  • Supervisors and students will agree on a communications plan, which may involve emails or online chats. Some students may employ the use of freely available chat or audio conferencing facilities for live discussion with supervisors.
  • Students will have access to online forums where they can develop their research capabilities together.
  • All communications with tutors will be logged on the Professional Project forum by the student, and consists of brief summaries of discussion.

Entry requirements

Since our MSc Health Economics is conducted entirely online, they are accessible to both UK and international students without international surcharges.

Applicants will typically hold a first degree or equivalent (including international qualifications) in a relevant professional healthcare, policy or economics field.

Applicants without these recognised qualifications will be considered on an individual basis and a wide range of prior experience may be taken into account. In some cases, applicants may be asked to submit a piece of work for assessment in order to confirm that they are able to work comfortably at postgraduate level, and demonstrate requisite analytical skills.

Documents Required

  • A copy of your updated CV including your address and date of birth.
  • A copy of your undergraduate degree certificate.
  • The name and email address of someone who is able to provide a reference, this can be a work colleague, employer or former tutor.
  • A detailed personal statement explaining why you would like to undertake the course.
  • A copy of your proof of English competency (see below).

English Language Requirements
Proficiency in the English language is also essential to completing our courses. If English is NOT your first language, we ask for proof of competency during the application process. We are able to accept an IELTS overall score of 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 for each band) or an equivalent qualification.

If you do not meet these requirements, please don’t worry. The University of South Wales run a number of English Language Programmes at the Centre for International English to prepare you for your academic studies. You can also contact our admissions team on for more information on the qualifications we accept.

Should you have already successfully completed the 1 year Postgraduate Diploma and wish to convert to the MSc and complete only the second year of the programme this is possible. Please contact our admissions department to find out more.

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Why Learna

We have over 10 years’ experience delivering online diploma courses, giving you access to flexible, affordable distance learning in partnership with world-leading educators.

Our courses are some of the most affordable of their kind, providing value for money without compromising on quality. We also don't apply an international surcharge. No fixed timetable means you can log in & learn on the go, at your convenience.

Being totally online means we can select the very best tutors and resource editors, no matter where they’re located.

Connect with multidisciplinary people around the world to expand your insights & broaden your career prospects.

Our programmes produce 90% fewer emissions than campus-based learning.

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