Systematic Reviews in Health
Gain the skills to conduct a systematic review.
Why take this course?
This distance learning course is designed for busy health care professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and professionals allied to medicine, who are keen to obtain a postgraduate qualification in a flexible, timely manner through distance learning study. The course materials are available throughout your registration period.
The Postgraduate Certificate has been developed in collaboration with Cochrane, which is recognised as world-leading in systematic review methodology. The majority of the interactive learning materials that form part of the teaching materials were developed and extensively piloted through joint funding by Cochrane and the University of Portsmouth.
Cochrane holds the admirable aim of improving healthcare decision-making globally through the production, dissemination, updating and maintenance of Cochrane systematic reviews. These reviews are read by Health Professionals at all levels as well as Health Researchers, Health Policy Makers, Care Givers, the Pharmaceutical Industry and Patients. Cochrane Reviews are now seen as the 'gold standard' for systematic reviews in such key publications as The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal, and the Journal of the American Medical Association and routinely appear there as well as in specialised medical journals for various specialty areas.
What will I experience?
On this course you will:
- Gain an overview of systematic review methods and learn how to plan your systematic review including identifying suitable topics
- Learn about risk of bias, different types of data, appraising a systematic review, including constructing risk of bias tables and accurately documenting decision making
- Use computer software to conduct a meta-analysis, write and present your data including the practical application of the unique DORIS user-friendly tool for assisting interpretation of results and writing up
We will provide you with a personal tutor to support your learning and invite you to take part in web-based discussion forums with experienced course team members and other students to share ideas, develop protocols and find solutions to complex problems within the field of systematic review.
What opportunities might it lead to?
Successful completion of the course will help health professionals gain a better understanding of evidence based healthcare, enhance practice decision-making, and provide you with the skills to carry out a systematic review. The excellent quality of content, along with the application of pedagogically advanced interactive media to achieve an engaging learning experience, will prepare you for an academic and/or research career in behavioural and social sciences, including progression to further postgraduate opportunities.
- 1 year full-time distance learning, 2 years part-time distance learning. Start: September or February.
- A lower second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0 or equivalent.
UK/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man and International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £1,400 part time: £700 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £1,400 part time: £700 p/a*
Course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- Faculty of Science
- Programme specification
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
The distance learning units are designed to give you access to a wide range of quality material. All materials are delivered through Moodle, the university’s E-Learning platform. You can study as either a full-time (one year) or part-time (two years) postgraduate student. You may start in either mid-September or early February of any academic year. The course has two units:
Introduction to Systematic Reviews (30 credits). This unit provides an introduction to systematic reviews in health within the framework of the main systematic review organisations, such as Cochrane. Students will gain a good working knowledge of the purpose of systematic reviews in health, the different approaches of the main organisations supporting systematic reviewers, as well as the ability to plan and appraise systematic review protocols.
Extraction, Appraisal & Synthesis (30 credits). This unit will enable you to gain experience of using the skills associated with systematic review. You will follow a work plan that will guide you through the online materials, including videos and scenario based challenges. You will manage a searching strategy for systematic reviews, construct suitable data collection tools, critically appraise primary research using justified assessment criteria, evaluate the choice of analysis techniques and formulate informed conclusions from evidence synthesis in a format suitable for a professional audience.
Teaching and Assessment
You will follow a work plan that will guide you through the online materials, including videos and scenario based challenges. The materials have been written for this course by experts in the area, including the course team, who have all conducted and published systematic reviews/protocols themselves. You will be provided with a personal tutor to support your learning.
How are you assessed?
There are two assessments for each unit:
- online assessment through multiple choice and open answer questions
- a critical report
Throughout the course and embedded across the two units, you will have an opportunity for formative assessment through a number of online activities, self-assessment quizzes and, worksheet activities. Online tutorials and discussion boards will help you to assess your understanding, exchange ideas and deepen your knowledge of the topic.
Dr Ann Dewey
Our distance learning course enables you to study flexibly. You can access a wide range of the course materials including interactive quizzes on-line when and where it suits you. A key aspect to the course is access to our experts in systematic review during one to one tutorials and discussion groups held via video and telephone conferencing.
Facilities & Features
You will be provided with a personal tutor to support your learning and invited to take part in web-based discussion forums to share your work with experienced course team members and other students.
Throughout the course and embedded across the two units, there are a number of online activities, self-assessment quizzes and, worksheet activities. Online tutorials and discussion boards will enable you to assess your understanding, exchange ideas and deepen your knowledge of the topic.
You will have access to the University Library's comprehensive selection of electronic resources via internet connection, IT support, as well as postgraduate student facilities and opportunities available to distance learning students. Our library offers many online ejournals relevant to health, available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Careers & Opportunities
The quality of content, along with the application of pedagogically advanced interactive media to achieve an engaging learning experience, will prepare you for pursing an academic and/or research career in behavioural and social sciences, including progression to further postgraduate opportunities, for example, professional doctorate, PhD or MD training.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with course leaders. You can also go to a range of academic and support-based talks to get the information you need to consider when studying at postgraduate level with us.
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry are:
- Wednesday 1 March 2017, 1pm - 5pm
- Wednesday 26 April 2017, 1pm - 5pm
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
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Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.