Real World Evidence in Healthcare and Life Sciences (MS)

Program Overview

With the Master of Science in Real World Evidence (RWE) in Healthcare and Life Sciences you will gain all the knowledge and skills to produce important scientific and business results from real-world health data, such as electronic medical records and insurance claims. Experts will teach you how epidemiologists, health services researchers, and health policymakers use real-world data (RWD) to produce reliable evidence in real-world settings. You will explore hands-on how this research discipline creates a comprehensive understanding of disease, and learn about the complex methods and software to build that competence that directly impact the future of healthcare.

The wide range of skills you will obtain are immediately deployable to highly sought-after positions at pharmaceutical companies, regulatory authorities, health systems, technology companies, and consulting groups specializing in life sciences and healthcare. This program is designed for healthcare and other professionals who are passionate about creating evidence that will change medicine and the lives of people.


Portland Campus/Online/Hybrid

GRE not required

Application Deadlines
Aug 1, 2023 for Fall 2023
Dec 1, 2023 for Spring 2024


To graduate students must complete 31 total semester hours (approximately 3 full-time semesters). These include:

  • All Core courses
  • 6 to 12 credits of Selective courses
  • Up to 6 credits of Elective courses

Core Requirements

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
HSCI 5130 Introduction to Real World Evidence 2
HSCI 5140 Foundations of Data Models 2
HSCI 5150 Methods for Observational Research 1 3
HSCI 5160 Standardization of Real World Data 2
HSCI 5170 Data Model Transformation 2
HSCI 5151 Methods for Observational Research 2 3
PHSC 5212 Research Skills and Ethics 2
HSCI 6980 Capstone 3
Total 19


Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
HSCI 5180 Phenotyping 2
HSCI 5190 Cohort Building 2
HSCI 6110 Advanced Population Characterization 2
HSCI 6120 Advanced Population Estimation 3
HSCI 6130 Advanced Patient Prediction 3
Total 12


Electives are selected in consultation with the Program Director. Concentration courses may not be double counted as elective courses.

  • HINF 6355 — Interoperability Key Standards in Health Informatics
  • HINF 5300 — Personal Health Interface Design and Development
  • HINF 6205 — Creation and Application of Medical Knowledge
  • HINF 6220 — Database Design, Access, Modeling, and Security

Experiential Learning

The Master of Science in Real World Evidence in Healthcare and Life Sciences program draws on strong industry partnerships to provide experiential learning opportunities for students. During the program, you will work closely with Northeastern partners in the life sciences and healthcare industry in our Experiential Network (XN) to complete an in-depth capstone course. In addition, several experiential learning opportunities are leveraged throughout the program to ensure you are prepared for today’s challenges.

Program Learning Outcomes

There are several positive learning outcomes that graduates of the Master in Real World Evidence in Healthcare and Life Sciences program can expect. These benefits include:

  • Understanding the value and process of the ethical use of real-world health data to answer clinical questions.
  • Illustrating how different forms of real-world health data are collected, organized, and standardized to generate accurate, reproducible, and well-calibrated evidence
  • Using state-of-the-art statistical software and methods to combine and analyze large-scale real-world health data from diverse sources (e.g., electronic health records) while preserving privacy
  • Constructing and taking part in a team to conceptualize, analyze, and communicate the results of a study using real-world health data to answer clinical questions
  • Evaluating strengths and weaknesses of an real-world health data analysis


Fall Deadline: Aug 1
Spring Deadline: Dec 1

Admissions Requirements

A minimum GPA of 3.000
GRE not required

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

Completed application
Official or unofficial transcripts
2 letters of recommendation
Personal goal statement

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Real-World Evidence?

Real world evidence (RWE) is the clinical evidence regarding the usage and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from analysis of real-world data (RWD). These findings are generated by various studies and analyses such as randomized trials, pragmatic trials, and observational studies. Real-world data (RWD) refers to the collection of data about a patient’s health status or routine healthcare delivery collected from a variety of sources including electronic health records (EHRs), healthcare claims, and health facility billing activities.

What can I do with this degree?

The hiring market for RWE-related skills is strong, particularly in the United States, where there were over 85,000 job postings related to RWE from December 2020 to November 2021 (Source: Emsi Knowledge Base, 2021).

Why study Real-World Evidence?

Real-world evidence is on the rise, and its growth comes with rapid change. At the intersection of data analysis, research, and strategic planning, RWE is influenced by multiple factors that are quickly accelerating the evolution of the field. Despite the value in experience, specialized real-world evidence education is the best way to account for all three of these influencing factors. Here are a few reasons why your current job experience often isn’t enough:

  • The Industry Is Rapidly Modernizing: The RWE industry is modernizing, creating new methods and tools that professionals need expertise in. While experience is helpful in learning these new methods, a degree program ensures that you learn the full scope of existing methods on top of how to adapt to future modernization.
  • The Government Is Getting More Involved: The federal government has recently started investing more money into RWE, which has resulted in a rise in regulatory and standardization changes that professionals need to understand to remain agile in the field. A degree program is the best place to learn about the government’s role in the industry and how this stakeholder influences its future.
  • Professionals Are Falling Behind in the Field: RWE professionals who feel they are being left behind in the field, despite their years of experience, often earn a real-world evidence degree to fill their industry gaps. This degree equips professionals with all the latest tools and methods necessary to succeed in the field and shows them how to facilitate projects, what policies to adhere to, and how to create and interpret RWE models.
  • What kind of jobs could I apply for?

    Some of the most common careers in real-world evidence include:

    • Real-World Evidence Business Development Directors
    • Biostatisticians in Real-World Evidence
    • Real-World Data Managers
    • RWE Principal Data Scientists
    • Vice Presidents of Real-World Evidence
    • Directors of Real-World Evidence

    While there’s an abundance of industries that need real-world evidence, it’s important to note that not all real-world evidence professionals are referred to as such.

    Some of the most common career paths you can follow with this degree also include:

    • Regulatory professionals (e.g., Directors of Global Regulatory Affairs, Global Regulatory Affairs Managers, Global Regulatory Leads)
    • Medical and research scientists (e.g., Biostatistics Managers, Biostatisticians, Medical Science Liaisons, Clinical Scientists)
    • Data scientists and analysts (e.g., Data Scientists, Statistical Programmers, Associate Directors of Analytics, Health Data Analysts)
    • Life sciences professionals (e.g., Life Sciences Consultants, Life Sciences Account Managers, Life Sciences Specialists)

    Contact Our Real-World Evidence Community

    Learn more about Northeastern’s Real-World Evidence research community at the OHDSI Center at Northeastern’s Roux Institute.

    Justin Manjourides Northeastern University

    Justin Manjourides, PhD
    Program Director
    Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences

    [email protected]

    Kristin Kostka Northeastern University

    Kristin Kostka
    Program Manager
    Director of the OHDSI Center

    [email protected]