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Course Descriptions

Course requirements

The Master of Medical Studies program consists of 19.5 credits made up of a research thesis, three required courses, and one of three elective course choices.

Students in the MMS program are required to attend at least one face-to-face Program Workshop. The purpose of the Workshop is to provide a venue for networking, research presentations, and program evaluation.

Full-time Status

Learners enrolled in full-time study are expected to complete the program of study in two years, including completion and successful defense of the research thesis. We anticipate physicians enrolled full-time will significantly reduce their clinical workload.



Part-time Status

Part-time learners are expected to complete the MMS program within six years, including completion and successful defense of the research thesis.




*Learner outcomes are examples, and can vary with each offering.

MEDS 5810 – Research Thesis (9 Credits)

This course comprises the research thesis component of the MMS degree.  The thesis will be written in either the traditional approach utilizing individual chapters or the more progressive approach as an expanded manuscript.  The approach, which is taken, is decided by the student’s thesis committee and takes into consideration the area of research interests. It is expected that each student will enroll concurrently in this course each semester that they are in the program either as a full time or part time student.  Once the thesis is completed and successfully defended, then the total course credit of 9 will be awarded.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Formulate a novel research question.
  2. Apply the concept of socially accountable research to the selection of the research question. 
  3. Write a thesis with introduction, methodology, results, figures, tables, discussion and references. 
  4. Collect, analyze and interpret data. 
  5. Defend research work in an oral defense. 

MEDS 5815 – Introduction to Research in Medical Studies (3 Credits, required)

This is the foundational course for the MMS degree and it focuses on contemporary approaches in conducting research in medicine and the health care field. It includes topics such as: research design and experimentation, qualitative and quantitative methodology and analyses, bioethics, and the development of a research proposal. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to develop a research proposal and apply the appropriate qualitative or quantitative approach to data collection and analysis as it relates to health-based research.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Knowledge of components that form a research study.
  2. Knowledge of different research designs. 
  3. Knowledge of research terminology including purpose statement, research question, hypothesis, dependent and independent variables, translational research, etc. 
  4. Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, data collection, statistical methods, and data analysis.  
  5. Knowledge of the predominant statistical methods used in clinical research. 
  6. Knowledge of “big data” and “administrative data” sets, how and when they are used in health research. 
  7. Knowledge of health data specific to rural, remote and underserviced populations . 
  8. Knowledge of the steps associated with developing an independent study plan. 
  9. Ability to conduct in depth literature review. 
  10. Knowledge of steps used in critical appraisal.  
  11. Knowledge of principles of research integrity and ethics. 

MEDS 5830 – Independent Study/or Advanced Topics (3 Credits, required)

This course is designed to introduce the student to topics of interest that are related to the student’s proposed area of research.  This course will allow the student to explore their area of interest at a greater depth and gain more specialized and specific knowledge, which will assist in designing and conducting their thesis research project. The topic will be agreed upon by the supervisor and student and must be related to their research area of interest. Upon completion of this course, the student will have a greater understanding of the selected area of research in order to develop their own research proposal and thesis topic.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. In depth knowledge of the topic area. 
  2. Ability to critically evaluate literature in the topic area and compare and contrast research related to the topic area.   
  3. Knowledge of the goals, aims and objectives of research in the topic area. 

MEDS 5835 – Bioethics and Research Integrity (3 Credits, required)

This course is designed to provide the student with an in-depth understanding of topics in research bioethics and responsible conduct of research in areas of health and medicine, as they relate to research in rural, remote and marginalized communities. This course will include consideration of the moral, ethical and philosophical implications of health research and the principles of responsible conduct of research in the context of national and international standards. 

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Knowledge of ethical issues related to the design, implementation, interpretation and dissemination of health research projects. 
  2. Basic understanding of research misconduct, conflict of interest and related topics.   
  3. Knowledge of the ethical considerations in human and animal research. 
  4. Knowledge of local, national and international governance structures for research ethics and integrity. 
  5. Knowledge of Indigenous peoples’ experiences with research and researchers.   
  6. Knowledge of how research protocols and practices differ when research is conducted with Indigenous peoples and communities. 
  7. Basic understanding of informed consent. 
  8. Basic understanding of issues concerning privacy and confidentiality. 
  9. Knowledge of strategies to minimize risk in research. 

MEDS 5850 – Research Grant Writing (1.5 Credits, elective)

This course introduces students to various aspects of grant writing and grant writing styles. This course focuses on the step-by-step processes involved in creating a competitive research grant proposal. This course also provides instruction on identifying health research funding opportunities from local, provincial, national and international agencies, including those unique to Northern Ontario.  This course culminates in students developing and writing a grant proposal based on their chosen area of research interest and how the funding would support advancement of that field of study.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Knowledge of regional, national and international funding opportunities.  
  2. Knowledge of the components of a grant proposal: summary, full proposal, figures, tables, budget, etc. 
  3. Ability to write a coherent grant proposal. 
  4. Ability to critique a grant proposal. 
  5. Basic understanding of steps involved in grant submission and post-grant administration. 

MEDS 5855 – Critical Appraisal of Research Reports (1.5 Credits, elective)

This course will introduce students to methods for critically evaluating health research by focusing on critical appraisal of current and relevant health research publications, including clinical research. This course will include a systematic approach for evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and value of research reports and how to assess the usefulness and validity of the research findings. The students will also learn the skills necessary to evaluate various types of research methodologies with the aim of providing the students with the tools to guide their own critical analysis and evaluate their own written work.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Ability to define critical appraisal. 
  2. Basic understanding of how to critically appraise a research article.  
  3. Ability to assess the findings as they relate to the proposed intent of a research study. 
  4. Ability to assess the generalizability of research results. 
  5. Ability to assess the relevance and impact of research findings. 

MEDS 5870 – Special Topics in Rural and Remote Practice (1.5 Credits, elective)

This course will focus on aspects of rural and remote practice in the context of Northern Ontario. This course will include topics on health and illness as they relate to rural and remote communities, what defines rural and remote, access to care, social determinants of health, training for rural or remote practice, and recruitment and retention of rural health workforce. This course will introduce students to organizations that address rural and remote practices globally.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Basic knowledge of the social, demographic and cultural characteristics of remote rural communities. 
  2. Understand the importance of culturally sensitive programs and information for Indigenous peoples. 
  3. Basic understanding of the relationship between social determinants of health and the patterns of health status, morbidity and mortality in Northern Ontario communities.  
  4. Ability to identify the structure and function of service models in remote and rural community settings. 
  5. Basic understanding of approaches to recruitment and retention of rural health professionals. 
  6. Basic understanding of education and training models for rural health practice. 
  7. Understand the importance of strong relationships within the inter-professional/interdisciplinary team in northern and rural practice. 
  8. Understand the notion of cultural competence, which includes awareness, sensitivity and safety. 
  9. Identify barriers impeding access to health services for Indigenous peoples living in remote communities.