Qualitative Health Research

This program will be phased out from 2016. No new enrolments will be possible from 2016 onwards.

Current QHR-students will remain unaffected from this change and be able to finish their program as per study schedule.

From 2016, former Qualitative Health Research study units will be offered as Qualitative Research Methods Short Course options


Qualitative research is increasingly common in health-related fields including medicine, public health, nursing, allied health, dentistry and health policy. Qualitative health 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.

Qualitative health 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.

Students undertaking a Qualitative Health Research course can choose the Graduate Certificate to gain core skills or the Masters to also develop content knowledge in a field of interest and undertake a research project (a NEW offering for 2015).

Qualitative Health Research course structure, core and elective units of study.


At the completion of your Qualitative Health Research course you will have:

  • high levels of knowledge in qualitative methodology and ethically sound research practice;
  • robust skills in qualitative study design, data collection, data analysis and writing, including writing applications for research ethics approval and grant funding; and
  • the confidence to reason and argue about qualitative methodology and the purpose and value of qualitative inquiry, and to assess the quality of qualitative research.

Graduate outcomes

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 health research skills are in demand from:

  • Federal agencies such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 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.

Why study Qualitative Health Research with us

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 final research project.

Study programs available

  • Master of Qualitative Health Research
  • Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Health Research

Professional development short courses