Courses & seminarsMSc in Sys Rev for Public Policy and PracticeCourse mapSystematic Reviews for Policy and Practice (MRS1)Systematic Reviews for Policy and Practice - Onlin
Systematic Reviews for Policy and Practice: diversity, design and debate* - Online edition

What will I gain from taking this course online?

You will have greater flexibility in where and when you study. You will still be taught by experienced researchers from the EPPI-Centre in London. See the main Systematic Reviews for Policy and Practice: diversity, design and debate webpage for the course aims and content.

Structure of the course

The structure of the course is as follows:  

The course starts with a one week induction to introduce participants to the course software and how to use it, to tutors and your fellow students, and to interacting in an online environment. Please read the notes below to understand more about the time requirements for the course. 

Dates 2015 Unit title
5 October
- 18 October
1: What are systematic approaches to reviewing and why do we use them?
19 October
- 1 November
2: Setting the scope of a systematic review
2 - 11 November 3: Searching and screening
12 – 22 November 4: Describing and appraising
23 - 29 November 5: Synthesis
30 November
-  13 December
6: Designing and managing a systematic review
14 - 20 December 7: Appraising and using systematic reviews


How many hours will I need to study per week?

We estimate that you will need to study between 10-14 hours each week.

How will I study?

This online course will take place in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). When you register for the course, you will be given full access and information on how to get started. All students will need access, from the start of the course, to a copy of the SAGE 2017 textbook 'An introduction to systematic reviews'*. All other learning materials, activities and exchanges with your fellow students and tutor will take place within the VLE.

Every one or two weeks, you will cover a new ‘unit’. Instructions on what to do, and by when, will be sent to you electronically. Over each 'unit', you will carry out a set of learning activities. You will be able to carry out these activities at your own pace and at times of your own choosing so long as you complete the specified tasks by the deadlines set. There are no set times to be online, although these may be organised if there is demand during the course.

Typical activities include:

  • Developing a review question on a topic of your own choice and receiving comments from fellow students and the course tutor
  • Having a go at key stages of a systematic review, followed by group discussions about the process
  • Reading a journal article and identifying key themes
  • Posting comments and observations on your own reading and learning and providing feedback to other students
  • Drafting short summaries on a topic, sometimes on your own, sometimes with fellow students

What materials will I get?

All course materials (such as research articles, activity sheets or podcasts) will be available on Moodle or from open access websites. Participation in the course includes access to EPPI-Reviewer, the EPPI-Centre’s specialized software. You will be able to download or stream these materials onto your computer. A small number of articles may be sent to you by post.

What support will I get throughout the course?

You will work closely throughout the course with highly trained, experienced tutors and administrators from the UCL Institute of Education. You will have access to a range of additional information and student support services from the Institute of Education.


If you are taking this course for M level credits, your assessment will consist of two pieces of work: one structured description and analysis of a pair of systematic reviews; and one critical comparative essay of these reviews (1,500 words). Draft and final versions of the assignment will be due approximately one and two months respectively after the end of the last course unit. Exact submission dates are published each year in the MSc handbook. Your assignment can be submitted online via Moodle.


For advice on fees for the 2015/16 academic year, contact us at: The course will only run if there is a viable cohort of students. Click here for standard fees for the academic year 2015/16.

What are the entrance requirements?

Click here to see the academic, technical and language requirements for this course.

How do I book?

Contact us telephone +44 (0)20 7612 6271. Please read our course fees and booking procedures.



*An introduction to systematic reviews
Gough D, Oliver S, Thomas J
SAGE Publications Ltd

Students may wish to buy their own copy, borrow one through inter-library loan, or request that their library buys a copy. Read More / order your copy. This book contains required reading for the following courses:

  • Systematic reviews: diversity, design and debate
  • Research Engagement, Participation, and Impact
  • Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis 


*  'Systematic reviews: diversity, design and debate' was previously known as 'Systematic reviews for policy and practice'

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