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Masters Clinical Trials (Distance Learning)

Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters by Distance Learning.

Clinical Trials (Distance Learning) - Programme Specification

Who should apply

These courses are suitable for both those wishing to gain an overall understanding of trials before moving into the field, and those who have general or specialist experience in clinical trials and aim to broaden their role in the design, management, analysis and reporting of clinical trials. 

The courses will be suitable for students working in high, middle and low income countries.

The need for rigorous evaluation of components of health care is increasingly recognised worldwide as a global health issue. An important type of evaluation is the randomised controlled clinical trial.

Aims and objectives

The course aims to develop:

  • skills to scrutinize information, to critically analyse and carry out research, and to communicate effectively.
  • a theoretical and practical understanding of the issues involved in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of randomised controlled trials of health interventions.


You are supported by an Online Learning Environment which includes 'try it yourself' questions with hints and feedback; animations; interactive diagrams and tables; vibrant graphics; and asynchronous discussion boards. The support you will receive will include:

  • a web-based virtual learning environment (including web conferencing, allowing you to pose questions and engage in academic discussions with tutors and fellow students)
  • teaching staff provide written, personalised feedback and advice on assignments
  • you can communicate with other distance learning students, either individually or by setting up your own learning support groups.

Course summary

There are four core modules common to the Certificate, Diploma and MSc courses. Postgraduate Diploma and MSc students additionally choose from a number of elective modules which will allow them to expand and deepen their conceptual and practical skills. The main disciplinary perspectives will come from clinical trials, statistics and epidemiology, but others will contribute in both the core and optional modules.

  Number of modules Course Duration Cost (2015/16)
MSc 11 modules 2-5 years £11,770
Postgraduate Diploma 8 modules 2-5 years £9,300
Postgraduate Certificate 4 modules 1-5 years £6,850
Individual modules Studying individual modules is an ideal option if you wish to update your professional knowledge or sample the programme. The fee is £1,710 per module.
Please note that the School also offers a 5-day short course in Clinical Trials, based in London.

Course Structure

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 4 compulsory core modules
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 8 modules (4 compulsory modules + 4 elective modules)
  • MSc: 11 modules (4 compulsory modules + 5 elective modules + 1 compulsory elective module + 1 integrating module)

Note: for MSc and Postgraduate Diploma Clinical Trials, for the elective modules, at least three modules must be taken from selection group CTM2. The remaining module(s) can be chosen from other CTM2 modules, or from selection groups EPM3, IDM2, IDM3, IDM5 or PHM2.

The Postgraduate Certificate:

The Certificate comprises the 4 core modules which are also common to the Diploma and MSc courses:  

After successfully completing the core modules, those registered for the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc must successfully pass a required number of elective modules to complete the award.

The Postgraduate Diploma:

To complete the Postgraduate Diploma, 4 elective modules (in addition to the four core modules) must be studied. At least 3 of these must be chosen from the Clinical Trials (CTM2) module list below. The remaining module(s) can be chosen from other CTM2 modules, or selection groups EPM3, IDM2, IDM3, IDM5 or PHM2. In addition, a final compulsory module (CTM201) and the integrating module (CTM210) must also be completed.

The Masters Degree (MSc):

To complete the MSc, 5 elective modules from the lists below must be selected (in addition to the four core modules). At least 3 of these must be chosen from the Clinical Trials (CTM2) module list below. The remaining module(s) can be chosen from other CTM2 modules, or selection groups EPM3/PHM2. In addition, a final compulsory module and the integrating module must also be completed.

Clinical Trials elective modules (CTM2):

Modules selection groups:

Integrating Module (compulsory)

All students on the MSc course will be required to complete an integrating module comprising a written report, usually in their final year of study.  Please click here for the module specification.

Combining DL studies with study at the School - "blended learning"

After successful completion of a minimum number of core modules, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc students may also be eligible for the 'blended learning option', which allows for the study of up to two modules only (from a restricted list) at LSHTM in London during the Spring or Summer terms in place of distance learning modules. Please note that these options, and the dates when the modules are held at the School, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all DL students in July each year. The fee for attending LSHTM in-house modules is payable directly to LSHTM, not to the University of London International Programmes, and is in addition to the distance learning course fees.

Method of assessment

All distance learning modules are assessed by means of a two-hour unseen written examination (with 15 minutes planning/reading time at the start of the examination).

Compulsory module CTM201 is assessed partly by an assessed assignment (80%) and partly by unseen written examination (20%). All other CTM2 modules are assessed by unseen written examination (80%) and an assessed assignment (20%). The compulsory integrating module CTM210, taken by those completing the MSc, is assessed wholly by a final integrating report.

Modules from the other DL courses (EPM3, IDM2, IDM3, IDM5 and PHM2 groups) are assessed partly by the unseen written examination (70%) and partly by assessed assignment (30%).  All assignments must be submitted electronically to the School by a set deadline.

Examinations take place once a year in June (please note: it is not possible to hold examinations at other times of year). These are normally held in a student’s country of residence: please click here to view details of the examination centres available. They are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. Students taking distance learning examinations will need to pay a fee to their local examination centre. Please note that if you fail an examination at the first entry you will be allowed one further attempt, if you have failed the module overall.

Credits awarded

Credits will be awarded to all modules (15 credits each) and (MSc only) the integrating module (30 credits) successfully completed. To successfully pass an award the following credits must be gained:

Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits
Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
MSc – 180 credits

How you study

You study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines), using the comprehensive study materials provided, with learning support from our academic staff. The academic year runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, during which time tutorial support is available. MSc students writing the integrating report (CTM210) will continue to have tutorial support over the summer. Deadlines for submission of coursework vary per course but are usually in March, May, August and September.

Study materials

The Clinical Trials modules are delivered solely online through the School's Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). Students are able to access Moodle after registration and receive details of how to use the environment effectively, together with supplementary online readings and access to e-books. Statistical software (Stata) is sent to students. Students registered for non-Clinical Trials nodules receive copies of study materials after registration. These study materials include: for the EPM modules: CD-ROMs, practical workbooks and textbooks; for he IDM modules: subject guides, CD-ROMS (IDM5 modules only), readers and textbooks; for the PHM modules: textbooks and supplementary readings. Registered students have access to the School's online library resources, and to past examination papers, examiner's reports and relevant course handbooks.

Academic Requirements

One of the following:

  • A first or second-class honours degree, or the equivalent, from a university of other institution acceptable to the University of London, in a subject appropriate to the course.
  • An appropriate professional or technical qualification, together with at least three years' relevant experience, which satisfies the University as a qualification equivalent to a second class honours degree. All applications in this category will be considered on an individual basis.


Students who do not satisfy the above requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the School on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

Language Requirements

For awards at FHEQ level 7, students must provide satisfactory evidence showing that they have passed within the previous three years a test of proficiency in English at the following minimum level:

  • TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 in the computerised test) and a minimum of 5 in the TWE, or
  • A British Council (IELTS) overall score of 7 or over with a minimum of 7 in the written sub-test, or
  • TOEFL iBT with a minimum overall score of 100 including a minimum score of 24 in the test of written English taken within the last 3 years.

Where an applicant does not meet the prescribed English language proficiency requirements but believes they can demonstrate the requisite proficiency for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Computer Requirements

Online access and general computer requirements:

As one of our students, you need to have regular access to a computer and the internet. This may be for accessing the Student Portal, downloading course materials from the Virtual Learning Environment, and accessing resources from the Online Library. You will also need to have access to appropriate software, for example, a PDF reader and suitable hardware capacity on your computer e.g. for document storage. Additional requirements include that you have JavaScript and cookies enabled to access particular online systems such as the Student Portal.

Supported Browsers include:

  • Internet Explorer 7+
  • Firefox 5+
  • Chrome 13+ (recommended)

Screen resolution (recommended)
1024 x 768 or greater

Application for Study by Distance Learning

The School's distance learning courses are run in collaboration with the University of London International Programmes. 

For the distance learning courses applications must be made online to the University of London International Programmes

Need help with completing your application online? Please check the "How to Apply" section of the University of London website.

If you have any enquiries, please submit your questions online to the University of London International Programmes. Alternatively, please contact:

The Information Centre, University of London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8360/8361/8362
Fax: +44 (0)20 7862 8358

Summary of key dates for the MSc Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

Application deadline 10 September
Registration deadline 30 September
Start of the course October
Examinations (take place the following year after registration) June


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