University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

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Qualitative Health Research

These courses are not open for new admissions from 2016. The following information is provided for currently enrolled students only.

Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Health Research (not open for new admissions from 2016)

Master of Qualitative Health Research (not open for new admissions from 2016)


  Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Health Research Master of Qualitative Health Research
Course code GCQUAHER1000 MAQUAHER2000
CRICOS code N/A 068819F
Degree Abbreviation GradCertQHR MQHR
Credit points required to complete 24 60
Time to complete full-time Not available 1.5 year
Time to complete part-time 1 to 3 years 2 to 6 years


Qualitative research is increasingly common in health-related fields including medicine, public health, nursing, allied health, dentistry and health policy. Qualitative research aims to provide a deeper knowledge of how health fits into people’s everyday lives and how health and medical organisations work. It provides evidence to policymakers, clinicians, health promotion professionals and consumers to understand the perspectives people bring to their health, the values people hold, and the actions people take.

Qualitative researchers observe people as they go about their usual activities, interview people, conduct focus groups and examine documents and images. They systematically analyse the resulting data to gain a better understanding of issues as they arise in the ordinary social world.

Qualitative health research offers a demanding but extremely rewarding career for proficient communicators who love language and ideas, and are interested in textual rather than statistical analysis. Qualitative research skills are in demand from:

  • Universities and research institutions
  • Research Federal agencies and State departments of health
  • Non-profit, non-government and advocacy organisations
  • Private research consultancies

Early career researchers and those considering a PhD will develop a solid grounding in the experience, skills and knowledge required for future research endeavours.

Experienced researchers interested in advancing their career or moving into new areas will broaden and consolidate their skills, and develop new and deeper understandings of qualitative research

Course outcomes

The Sydney Qualitative Health Research Program is Australia’s only purpose-designed postgraduate program providing qualitative research skills and knowledge in this growing area of research inquiry. We offer you:

  • teaching by leading qualitative health researchers working across a wide variety of health issues;
  • an intense and rigorous training in the core skills and conceptual foundations in commonly-used methodologies, study design strategies, data creation, and analysis and writing;
  • opportunities for hands-on experience of important aspects of qualitative research practice, including data collection, analysis and dissemination; and
  • mentoring to develop a sound proposal and ethics application for a future research project.

In addition, the Master’s program offers you:

  • access to elective units to gain content knowledge in the areas of health and illness that interest you, or advanced theoretical training in philosophy, sociology, bioethics or history; and
  • mentoring by expert qualitative researchers to conduct a substantial final research project

Further information

Both programs in qualitative research include four core units (PUBH5500, QUAL5002, QUAL5003, QUAL5004) that provide skills training and conceptual foundations. They cover essential ideas, commonly-used methodologies, study design strategies and skills for data creation, analysis and writing. Master's students undertake additional core units in research practice (QUAL5101, QUAL5102, QUAL5103) and elective units of study.

Further enquiries

Dr Julie Mooney-Somers
Phone: +61 2 9036 3412
Fax: +61 2 9036 3436