skip to content

Healthcare Innovation: Engineering, Systems and Improvement


Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Q. Who can I get in touch with if my question is not answered below?

For general enquiries on administrative matters, please email:

For specific questions about course content, please email the Course Director ( or the individual Unit Lead.

For questions about the application process, please email the Engineering Department's Graduate Studies Office at

Q. When is the deadline for applications?

We will be accepting applications in two 'gathered fields'. Applications for entry for the PG Certificate in Healthcare Innovation will be accepted online until mid May (see the PGCert page for exact information). If considered for interview, prospective students applying before the 2 January 2024 deadline will receive an earlier interview and, if successful, a much earlier conditional offer. Students can apply by either deadline. Applications for the course starting in September of any given year open in the September of the previous year. So, for example, for a September 2024 start, applications open in September 2023. 

Q. When will my application be considered?

All applications will be reviewed at the close of the applications windows (2 January 2024 and 15 April 2024), irrespective of when they are received.

Q. Can I take more than a year for the PGCert, PGDip or MSt?

Each of the three programmes (PGCert, PGDip and MSt) is understood as a single, cohesive unit undertaken over the course of a calendar year, and marks will be awarded on that basis. In normal circumstances, you would therefore be required to complete each of these programmes without a break (although it is possible to take breaks between each programme; see below). However, we recognise that a person may experience many different kinds of circumstances which require a break from study which was not anticipated at the start of the programme: this might include materinity or paternity, debilitation as a result of physical or mental illness, increased caregiving responsibilities, a temporary large increase in workplace responsibilities, and many other things. In such cases, the student will be able to apply for intermission; if a good reason for intermission (alongside any necessary supporting documentation) is presented, the programme will be suspended and the student will be able to return at an appropriate point. The point of return will usually be the corresponding point in the following year (eg, a person who intermits in June 2022 would return in June 2023), but earlier return may be possible depending on the time at which the intermission occurs; this will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Do I need to take each programme consecutively over three years?

Breaks will be allowed between years in a flexible manner, up to a maximum overall course duration of 8 years. As we place a great deal of value in the working relationships between the students, for continuity students may find it beneficial to work through the courses in consecutive years.

Q. Is this course available full-time?

This course has been designed for part-time delivery in order to permit students to work around their employment commitments.  It is not possible for it to be studied on a full-time basis.

Q. Is the course suitable for someone without an engineering or similar technical background?

Yes, the course is actually designed with that background in mind. The lecture content will be accessible to people with non-technical backgrounds and the assessments will be suitably introduced and graded to allow both non-technical and the more technically minded to extend their skills and knowledge and complete the assignments successfully.  

Q. Can I apply directly for the PGDip or MSt year?

There is no direct entry to the later courses - it is necessary to pass the PG Certificate in Healthcare Innovation prior to starting the PG Diploma in Healthcare Innovation: Engineering, Systems and Improvement, and the PG Diploma prior to starting the MSt in Healthcare Innovation: Engineering, Systems and Improvement.

Q. Is this course available online?

Face to face attendance is expected in each of the teaching weeks for the PGCert and PGDip. Teaching outside the residential weeks will be supported by online lectures/seminars, supervisions and online resources.

Teaching in the MSt year of the course will be predominantly online. Each student will be assigned a project supervisor who will provide regular monthly online supervision during the research project. This will be supplemented by group sessions/seminars to provide research skills training. MSt students will be required to attend in Cambridge for two two-day activities: presentation of their research project plans at the start of the year and presentation of their research findings towards the end of the year. Other year groups will be invited to attend the final presentation conference to provide the opportunity to mix across year-groups, so enhancing networking.

Q. Can I study individual Units?

Not at present students will need to study all three PG Certificate Units in their first year and all three PG Diploma Units in their second year.

Q. Can I transfer credits from my current/previous university?

We are currently unable to accept any transfer of credits from other universities.  

Q. Can I study a unit from another Cambridge course and use its Credits to qualify for the Healthcare Innovation course?

Not at present. This is something that could be considered in future years, if enough interest is expressed.

Q. Can I study two postgraduate degrees at once?

Students already enrolled on another postgraduate course, either at Cambrige or elsewhere, are not permitted to study a second course at the same time.

Q. Is there an Open Day I can attend?

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics and to find out more about courses. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details: 

Q. What if my first language is not English?

A high level of proficiency is needed and you may need to pass an English language test before being accepted onto the course. Teaching and assessment for courses are in English. If your first language is not English, please refer to our Application Details page for further guidance. 

Q. I have accessibility / disability related needs. What assistance is available?

The Cambridge Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre has a range of helpful links and advice:  The Cambridge Access Centre also carries out needs assessments for students:

Q. I have a particular interest in healthcare data. Is there a more specialised course available?

Although our course intends to offer some insights into healthcare data in the context of innovation, those looking for a much more specialised course may be interested in: Healthcare Data: Informatics, Innovation and Commercialization. This part-time course is run by our colleagues at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), University of Cambridge. Further information can be found here: