Evidence-Based Surgery


The Evidence-Based Surgery course introduces the basic concepts and skills of evidence-based health care. It provides students with an understanding of the background to the evidence-based approach and covers the basics of scientific methodology and study design as applied to clinical research. It allows students to confidently interpret the scientific literature relevant to their own practice, and equips them to be able to design appropriate evaluation methods for research and audit projects they may become involved in.

The course is a one-week module from the Surgical Science and Practice programme. It can be taken as a stand-alone short course or as part of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice.

Please send me an email about future The Practice of Evidence-Based Surgery courses.


By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Formulate an answerable clinical question
  • Search for relevant publications quickly and efficiently
  • Critically appraise various types of studies, including randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews of RCTs, diagnostic, prognostic and qualitative studies
  • Understand some basic statistical concepts required to interpret studies
  • Gain some insight into ethical issues surrounding evidence-based health care
  • Consider translation of evidence into practice.

The course is offered by Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and the Department for Continuing Education. It features face-to-face lectures and small group tutorials.

Small group tutorials provide greater insight from a specifically surgical perspective. Study before and after the course is supported by a rich virtual learning environment.

Programme details

This course can be taken:


This course will be held at the Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, Oxford, with a day spent at one of Oxford's hospital sites.


Short course participants who do not wish to undertake the assessed work required for academic credit but who do satisfy the course attendance requirements will receive a certificate of attendance.

Those successfully completing the course for credit can request a CATS point transcript.


Description Costs
Short course in Surgical Science and Practice £2425.00


Details of funding opportunities including grants, bursaries and scholarships are available on our sources of funding page.


The course fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Refreshments and a three course lunch on each day of the course
  • Access to the following University of Oxford libraries and services:
    • Radcliffe Science Library
    • Rewley House Continuing Education Library
    • Bodleian Libraries e-Resources
  • Access to facilities from the Department of Continuing Education, including:
    • The Graduate School
    • WebLearn virtual learning environment
    • Wi-fi access through Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL).


Prof Peter McCulloch


Peter McCulloch is a Professor in Surgery and Clinical Reader in Surgery with the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.
Director, Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit.
Member of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, University of Oxford.

Peter McCulloch is the co-lead for the module on Scientific Methodology and Evidence and is an Honorary Consultant in Upper GI Surgery at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust.

He is Director of the Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit, a research group working on safety and quality in surgery, and co-ordinator of IDEAL, an international network dedicated to improving the scientific evaluation of surgery and interventional therapies.

He is interested in surgical evidence, and is Chair of the IDEAL Collaboration, an international network dedicated to improving the scientific evaluation of surgery and interventional therapies, as well as deputy Director of the Oxford Surgical and Interventional Trials Unit (SITU). His other major research interest is in patient safety in surgery, where he is Director of a research group (Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit, QRSTU) and Co-Director of the Patient Safety Academy.

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a set written assignment, not exceeding 4,000 words. The assessment is only undertaken by those taking the course for academic credit.

Academic credit

Those wishing to may apply to take the course with accreditation. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS-equivalent points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.


Application deadline: four weeks before the commencement of the course.

This course requires you to complete the online application form (please press the 'Apply' button) and include a copy of your CV as an attachment.

If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also need to complete section two of the reference form and forward it to your referee for completion, who will then need to email it to ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

This course is part of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. If you would like to apply for the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice please visit the programme page.

Selection criteria

To apply for this course you should:

  • be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • have at least two years' professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices within the work place
  • demonstrate a suitable level of English (if this is not your first language).



Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system and online courseware. In order to participate in the course, and to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.