Health Economics and Decision Modelling (MSc/Diploma/Certificate)

For general enquiries about this course contact us at scharr-hedm@sheffield.ac.uk or call (+44) 0114 2225454.
You can contact the course director, John Stevens, for course-specific enquiries at j.w.stevens@sheffield.ac.uk

About the course

The role of mathematical modelling in informing healthcare resource allocation decisions has been increasing over the past two decades. The MSc in Health Economics and Decision Modelling (HEDM) is the only Masters programme in the UK with a specific focus on the practical application of mathematical modelling to inform healthcare decision problems. This is a truly bespoke course, bridging the gap between the underlying theory and application of mathematical modelling for decision making and more traditional health economics. The three principal aims of the course are as follows:

  • Equip students with a professional level analytical skill-base required to evaluate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems for which they have responsibility
  • Provide an in-depth understanding of current state-of-the-art methods for mathematical modelling to support and inform evidence-based healthcare decision problems
  • Provide a firm grounding for students wishing to pursue research degrees in health economics and mathematical modelling

This MSc is very focused on the techniques and methods of health economics and modelling, which are applicable to a vast range of settings.

Course refinement: please be aware that the Health Economics and Decision Modelling course is currently being updated to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of our students. It is envisaged that these changes will be implemented for students starting the full-time and part-time routes in September 2017. Whilst the names of the modules and their content modules may change, the overall aims and outcomes of the course will be the same. Once the nature of the changes have been confirmed, which we envisage will be in Q1 2017, we will update the website and contact all applicants and offer holders with full details of the changes.

For further information on the course review please contact the Course Director, John Stevens at j.w.stevens@sheffield.ac.uk

Skills and opportunities

Health economics and decision modelling is undergoing a massive expansion internationally as governments, insurers, healthcare organisations and the pharmaceutical industry meet the need to analyse the costs and benefits of health related strategies. There is an international shortage of qualified specialists at post graduate level.

This internationally focused Masters course is intended to equip participants with the techniques and methods of health economics and modelling to meet these needs. It is ideal for students wishing to pursue a career as a professional health economist / modeller.

Graduates of the MSc in Health Economics and Decision Modelling will:

  • be equipped with a professional level of analytical skill-base required to evaluate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems and services
  • have an in-depth understanding of current state-of-the-art methods for mathematical modelling to support and inform evidence-based healthcare decision problems
  • have a firm grounding, enabling the pursuit of research degrees in health economics and mathematical modelling
  • have the skills to develop a research proposal in the area of health economics and mathematical modelling, including the gathering and analysis of primary or secondary data
  • be able to review an extensive literature on a topic in health economics and mathematical modelling
  • be able to undertake a project for the dissertation using the skills acquired in the taught component
Why study at ScHARR? Journals held in the ScHARR library

The role of mathematical modelling in informing healthcare resource allocation decisions has been increasing over the past two decades. The MSc in Health Economics and Decision Modelling is the only Masters programme in the UK with a specific focus on the practical application of mathematical modelling to inform healthcare decision problems. This is a truly bespoke course, bridging the gap between the underlying theory and application of mathematical modelling for decision making and more traditional health economics.

How this course is taught Image via assetbank

Students are required to complete eight taught modules over the course of their studies, which are examined at the end of each semester. In addition, students are required to complete a dissertation. The award of an MSc in Health Economics and Decision Modelling requires students to pass the examinations and the dissertation. Each module will be valued at 15 credits, whilst the dissertation will provide 60 credits. Both full and part-time curriculums are available.

Most modules will require the submission of a written assignment of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, depending on the level of analysis required. Although the assignments are primarily for assessment, they comprise a major component of the learning process. At the end of each semester, a written examination will be taken for modules taken within that period which require this. The final part of the MSc degree, after the taught programme, will be the submission of a 10,000-15,000 word dissertation.

Full-time curriculum

Students will be required to take four modules per semester to the value of 120 credits during the year. The dissertation is expected to be completed simultaneously during the second semester and submitted by 30 September.

Part-time curriculum

Students will be required to take two modules per semester to the value of 120 credits over two years. This is follwed by a six month period in which to complete the dissertation.

Please note

Students will be expected to have their own laptops for use on this course. We use a range of specialist software that will be provided for you, including Stata, TreeAge and Simul8. Please make sure that your laptop is capable of running these programmes by checking the specifications here, here and here. You will also need to have Excel in a recent version - we suggest 2010, but at a minimum the 2007 version.

If you have any queries about computing requirements, please contact us.

Course team

The core staff for this course are listed below:

In addition to these core staff members, the course draws on the expertise of other experts within the School. See the course structure pages for details of some of the other staff members involved.

Online open days

The online open days are an opportunity for you to learn more about the course and how it will be taught.

Course structure

All modules account for 15 credits unless stated otherwise.

Modules

Code Title Led by Semester
HAR667* Cost-effectiveness Modelling for Health Technology Assessment Colin Angus Autumn
HAR6260 Economic Evaluation Tracey Young and Sabine Grimm Autumn
HAR669* Health Research Methods Marrissa Martyn-St James and Munira Essat Autumn
HAR668 Introduction to Health Economics Allan Wailoo Autumn
HAR672* Advanced Simulation Methods Hazel Squires Spring
HAR673* Dissertation (60 credits) Sophie Whyte Spring
HAR670 Medical Statistics and Evidence Synthesis John Stevens and Jean Sanderson Spring
HAR671* Operational Research Techniques in Health Resources Allocation Praveen Thokala Spring
HAR694 Valuing the Benefits of Health Care Jon Brazier and Anju Keetharuth Spring

* by a module code indicates a year 2 module when the course is taken part time. Please mouse over the module code or visit the module page to find out the details.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

Our students

Career opportunities

Opportunities exist around the world, including the USA, UK, Europe, Australia and Canada, in:

  • the pharmaceutical industry
  • government or other policy organisations
  • healthcare purchase or provider organisations
  • health related consultancy
  • the medical research sector
  • academia

Click on the following links for information about vacancies currently being advertised:



Student testimonials


image of dawn leeI started the HEDM MSc part-time alongside commencing my career as a health economist at BresMed. Since completing the degree less than 3 years ago I have been placed in charge of the health economics team at BresMed (20 people), worked on a exceptionally wide variety of products submitted to HTA bodies across the world, represented manufacturers at NICE approx 15 times and had my work published in a variety of journals. The HEDM MSc helped me get up to speed on health economics modelling terminology and techniques fast enabling me to progress considerably more quickly than would have been the case without.

Dawn Lee (Health Economics and Decision Modelling graduate)

image of chrissy almondI studied for an MSc in Health Economics and Decision Modelling part-time during my first two years working as a Graduate Health Economist for BresMed, a health economic consultancy based in Sheffield. The skills and knowledge I gained whilst studying have helped me to progress to become a Principal Health Economist less than 5 years from the start of my career. I now manage a team of 5 health economists from graduate level upwards and I regularly take a lead role on projects involving multiple teams within BresMed. The MSc gave me increased confidence in presenting my work to others, something that forms a regular part of my working life, and greatly improved my critical thinking and report-writing skills as well as providing essential technical skills required for developing economic models. I was able to present my dissertation as a poster at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research European congress in 2013 which I have attended with BresMed annually since joining.

Chrissy Almond (Health Economics and Decision Modelling graduate)


(3 years, all ScHARR courses, response rate 58.5%) data available in full at http://www.careers.dept.shef.ac.uk/studentgems/external/graduate.php
(choose MSc/Health Eco & Decision in the course dropdown menu)

Sponsorships Image via assetbank

Health economics and decision modelling is a growing area in public policy, in academia, and in the private sector, with a national shortage of qualified specialists at post graduate level. Whether you represent a pharmaceutical company, a research consultancy, a health economics consultancy, or any other commercial organisation within the field of health economics, you can prosper by association with the Health Economics and Decision Science section of ScHARR. Some of the benefits include:

  • contribution to the growth in the number of health economic decision scientists
  • option to employ a successful graduate of the Health Economics and Decision Modelling MSc
  • specification and delivery of a piece of research of your choice
  • association with a world leading organisation in the field of Health Economics
  • featured URL link to your organisation's website

There are many ways that you can make a contribution to the industry. Consider the range of options below and, if you would like to discuss any of these in more detail, please register your interest.

Fund an employee or trainee

Graduate employee

Fund a place on the Masters programme for a new or existing member of your team to study part-time.

Graduate trainee

Fund a specific student to study full-time for 1 year who has agreed to:

  1. deliver a dissertation on a piece of research of your specification
  2. join your organisation as an employee for 1 or 2 years following graduation

(with the option to sponsor fees and bursary or fees only)

ScHARR graduate trainee

Sponsor a specific student to:

  1. undertake the part-time study programme for 2 years
  2. simultaneously work part-time with ScHARR staff
  3. join your organisation as an employee for 1 or 2 years following graduation
Other funding opportunities

ScHARR's list of current funding opportunities can be found here

Dissertation

We are currently identifying dissertation hosts for our students, because we encourage their dissertations to be conducted as part of a placement (academic, industry, consultancy, NHS etc). MSc HEDM has been established for 4 years, and we have organised UK and international placements for our students which have led to high quality and valuable research. Many of our alumni are now professional health economists, and several have taken up full time positions with their student placement hosts.

The students will be ideally suited to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis. They will have developed models using TreeAge, Excel and Simul8. They will also have taken modules in Medical Statistics, Operational Research Techniques and Health Economics. Students undertake the placement from July to September inclusive (full time).

If you are potentially interested in hosting a student, or would like to find out more information, please email.