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Facts and Data

  • Duration: 4 semesters
  • Degree Award: Master of Science
  • Language: German
  • admission free
  • Special admission requirements

Health Services Research - Master's Programme

Health services research is an emerging, interdisciplinary field of research within health sciences. It focuses on day-to-day aspects of healthcare, the needs of patients and the general conditions required in order to provide good care. Health services research also facilitates the translation of scientific findings into all areas of healthcare. The field’s primary aim is to improve the health of individuals as well as specific population groups.

Orientation and Goals

This interdisciplinary and research-oriented degree programme explores fundamental aspects of healthcare and supports training in evidence-based healthcare. The curriculum is tailored to the needs of scientific fields at both higher education institutions and institutions within the health system. The aim of this degree programme is to qualify students to become health services researchers who are able to identify and explain opportunities and problems in healthcare using scientific research methods and who are able to plan, evaluate and implement healthcare innovations.
By the end of this research-oriented, interdisciplinary Master’s degree programme, students will have acquired the following learning outcomes:
  • knowledge of the medical, psychological and sociological basics of health and illness
  • knowledge of the theoretical concepts of health services research, evidence-based healthcare, ethics and organisation of healthcare services
  • knowledge of the design of
health systems and health economic evaluations
  • knowledge of digitisation and technical support in healthcare
  • knowledge of the principles and measures of quality and risk management in healthcare
  • the ability to independently answer research questions in the field using both qualitative and quantitative methods as well as methods of evidence synthesis
  • the skills and knowledge required to communicate research results
  • an awareness and understanding of good scientific practice, research ethics and participatory research
  • self-management skills and the ability to work in a team
The programme combines a wide range of both fundamental knowledge and practical skills, thereby equipping graduates with the skills they need to pursue a wide range of scientific careers.
The offered modules allow the development of a profile in the areas of digitisation in healthcare as well as organisation and quality.

The degree programme lays the foundations for a doctorate (e.g. Doctor of Medical Science (Dr. rer. medic. at the University of Oldenburg) and therefore also forms a basis for early-career researchers to gain additional qualifications.

Study Design and Contents

The Master’s degree programme (120 credits) comprises:
  • Basic modules with a student workload of 42 credits
  • Advanced modules with a student workload of 18 credits
  • Specialisation modules with a student workload of 30 credits
  • The final Master’s module with a student workload of 30 credits
Content of the degree programme:
  • Understanding and knowledge of healthcare services
  • Theoretical basics required to understand healthcare services
  • Broad range of methodological skills in health services research
  • Applied techniques and strategies
  • Professionalisation

Focus Areas

The programme offers specialisations in the following subjects:
  1. Digitisation in healthcare
  2. Organisation and quality
Additional specialisations are available based on the department’s research groups and their specific research focus, e.g.:
  • General Medicine
  • Outpatient Care and Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Assistance Systems and Medical Technology
  • Organisational Health Services Research
  • Ethics in Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Research
  • Health Economics

Teaching and Learning

The modules offered as part of the Master’s degree programme in Health Services Research comprise a mix of lectures, seminars and practical exercises.

Reasons for Studying

  • Research-oriented: Students gain a wide range of methodological skills and research experience at the Department of Health Services Research, which in this form is unique in Germany
  • Individual/Personal: Small groups, close contact with lecturers and researchers
  • Connection to the professional field: Links with the School of Medicine and existing projects ensuring a high relevance for practice
  • Interdisciplinary: Curriculum incorporates elements from a range of scientific disciplines
  • Innovative: Qualification in an emerging research field that is in high demand on the labour market

Foreign Language Skills

In order to study this course at the University of Oldenburg as a student from outside of Germany, you need an adequate knowledge of German.

German Language Proficiency
  • DSH: Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (Level 2) or
  • TestDaF: Test – Deutsch als Fremdsprache (with level 4 in all four areas) or
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level C1

English Language Proficiency see admissions regulations
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2 or
  • if applicants have a university degree obtained in English

The proof of language proficiency must be presented for the enrolment. Applicants who need a preparatory German course before commencing their studies must present their knowledge of English with their application.
For other proof possibilities see: Language requirements

Careers and Areas of Employment

Graduates of this programme are also prepared for careers in
  • scientific careers. Some graduates go on to do a doctorate; others pursue careers outside the world of academia
  • in research management and research transfer at private research institutes (e.g. scientific institutes of health insurance companies)
  • quality management and coordination at larger healthcare organisations (e.g. hospital groups)
  • in the evaluation and implementation of and advising on health policy measures at self-regulatory bodies in the healthcare sector (e.g. associations of statutory health insurance physicians), as well as in health policy.
Such positions require skills in the areas of (quality) management, digital health and organisational development in addition to academic qualifications.

Target Group/Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification from prior studies in Health or Social Sciences units or in a closely related field worth at least 180 credit points.
A previous degree programme is suited to the subject if it has taught the following competences in the areas:
  • Research methods with at least 14 ECTS
  • Health Sciences and/or Health Economics and/or Social Sciences and/or Sociology and/or Psychology with at least 60 ECTS

English Language Proficiency see admissions regulations
  • Level B2 of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
For more details see Language skills on this page.

Application/Admission Procedures

This is an open admissions degree course, and applications are accepted only for the winter semester.
The application deadline for the winter semester is 30 September.

Please note

For open-admission Master's degree programmes it is strongly recommended to submit their applications as early as possible before 15 July for the winter semester. If the supporting documents are submitted after these dates but before the standard application deadlines, your application can only be processed at the start of the lecture period in the new semester. This may result serious problems (German document).


International applicants: There are different application procedures.

(Changed: 31 May 2023)  |