Public Health is about preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the efforts of society. Whether you are already a working professional in this area, or new to the subject, this Master of Public Health (MPH) is the ideal programme for those wishing to address today’s problems in public health.
Our MPH programme provides students with an understanding of how different scientific disciplines can be used to investigate and then develop the best professional practice in epidemiology, public health and the social science of health.
After successful completion of year one, you can choose to follow a general Public Health programme or a programme specialising in the important global health area of Noncommunicable Diseases.
This programme is taught by lecturers based at the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, which is part of the Edinburgh Medical School. The Usher Institute is an interdisciplinary research and teaching hub which draws together researchers, clinicians and practitioners from public health, primary care and biomedical and social sciences. The Centre for Population Health Sciences, within the Usher Institute, is also a WHO Collaborating Centre for Population Health Research and Training.
This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy, an interdisciplinary network which aims to improve global health through collaborative, interdisciplinary research, education and resource development:
Our online learning platform is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.
Our online students not only have access to the University of Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.
You can study to Masters, Diploma, or Certificate level. All students follow the same compulsory Year One Certificate-level courses, which provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of public health, whilst a suite of elective courses and a specialist strand in noncommunicable diseases offer students the opportunity to explore areas of interest in more depth and to tailor the programme to their own learning needs and career goals.
Year One (Certificate)
All students take the following compulsory courses:
Year Two (Diploma)
If you have satisfactorily completed the Certificate level, you can decide whether you want to follow a general Public Health programme or a more specialist programme in Public Health (Noncommunicable Diseases). Regardless of which path you decide to follow, if you would like to do a dissertation, the following courses are compulsory:
Year Two: Postgraduate Diploma Public Health
Students planning to do a dissertation in Year Three should choose elective courses totalling exactly 40 credits. At least 20 credits must be chosen from the elective courses list A (see below). Students not planning to do a dissertation should choose elective courses totalling exactly 60 credits. At least 40 credits must be chosen from the elective courses list A (see below).
Year Two: Postgraduate Diploma Public Health (Noncommunicable Diseases)
The following courses are compulsory for all students following the Public Health (Noncommunicable Diseases) programme:
Students following the Public Health (Noncommunicable Diseases) programme and not planning to do a dissertation should choose exactly 20 credits from either list A or B of elective courses below.
Year Three (Masters)
Students who have completed the Diploma level and are eligible to progress to Year Three can choose either to take a further 60 credits of elective courses (at least 40 of which must be chosen from the elective courses list A) or to do a dissertation project (if agreed by the programme directors), worth 60 credits. The dissertation option will only be available to students who have met the stipulated academic requirements.
Students who complete the Masters degree successfully will graduate with one of the following degree titles, depending on which strand they have selected:
The programme will prepare you for a career in research or academia, professional public health service, clinical epidemiology, health technology assessment, public-health protection and a wide range of national and international organisations concerned with preventing disease and improving the health of populations.
The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) calls family doctors "our rising stars of the future". This reflects WHO’s renewed commitment to build family medicine as a specialty across all regions. Strengthening family medicine has been recognized as a key component of achieving Universal Health Coverage as part of the Sustainable Development Goals to which every country committed at the last United Nations General Assembly. This degree aims to build on this momentum for strengthening primary care by developing competent family physicians who are empowered to become leaders and advocates for the future of the profession.
The University of Edinburgh provides high quality postgraduate medical education in through an online distance learning format. Students are from a variety of countries across the world, each bringing their unique experiences to create a vibrant global learning community. The programme will give doctors the essential medical knowledge and management skills for the common presenting health issues and explore management within the context of the principles, processes, and practices of family medicine. The programme will equip students with the skills to become expert family physicians whose approach will provide continuous, coordinated, comprehensive and cost effective care build around an understanding of the patient in the context of the family and the community.
The degree is awarded by the University of Edinburgh and is taught in partnership with the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Experienced members of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) are also involved in delivering teaching and supervising students.
This blended distance learning programme is delivered via the Moodle platform with the support of our partner institution CMC Vellore, India. Students have access to comprehensive learning materials as well as the University of Edinburgh’s library resources. Online tutorials are delivered regularly by experts in the field.
There are seven compulsory courses and a dissertation. Courses cover:
The dissertation provides the opportunity for the student to undertake an extended piece of scholarship in an area of personal interest and is undertaken in the last few months of the programme.
The online teaching is complemented by a two week period of face-to-face teaching each year. This builds on the online content and provides practical clinical training. This teaching is currently delivered in four sites across the world: India, Nigeria, Uganda and Egypt. Attendance provides the unique opportunity to travel and view the practice of Family Medicine in other countries whilst meeting and learning from fellow students.
In addition there is the opportunity to participate in a 30 days clinical internship following completion of the Masters qualification. This is an optional activity aimed at providing additional clinical experience to those who have completed the course.
The programme is aimed to provide doctors with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become effective Family Physicians. It is relevant to doctors of all backgrounds and experience from early career doctors to those established in other specialities.
The programme provides a high quality Masters level qualification in Family Medicine and builds on the skills already gained by the student in their post graduate clinical training. It is not a recognised vocational training course and cannot be used for direct entry to clinical practice as a Family Physician.
Studying on this course enables you to develop your knowledge and skills to work with children, young people, their families and carers to improve health and wellbeing.
You learn to develop a pragmatic public health philosophy for family healthcare and an evidence-based skill set applicable to the challenges of contemporary practice.
To meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards, your studies consists of 50% practice and 50% theory (alongside 100% attendance). We structure the postgraduate diploma to reflect the important balance of the practice elements, which are designated practice days or work-based learning. A 10 week consolidated practice block (in semester 3) enables you to work independently while remaining under the supervision of a practice teacher. The theoretical elements involve a mix of learning approaches including self-directed study days.
Another key aspect of your studies is to develop an understanding of the levels of accountability and responsibility you take on in these roles. You learn how to ensure public protection is developed to deliver safe and effective health improvements to individuals, groups and communities.
There are many opportunities on the course to share learning from your peers and other disciplines from across the primary /community care teams and services that work with children, young people and families.
When you start to put what you have learnt into practice, you benefit from strong partnerships with health, education and local authority organisations in the region.
The modern and diverse placements you go on are designed to meet the changing needs of children, young people and families, and may include placement with social services, education and a variety of organisations from the voluntary sector – foster collaborations with those that work alongside health visitors and school nurses.
You also complete a research-based module which provides a building block for further study from the exit award of PgDip to MSc qualification. The learning from the research module equips you to use policy and research to underpin and develop innovative practice and gives you the skills to frame a research question, take empirical research and write up an academic dissertation. If you successfully complete the PgDip, you can at a later date (pending additional funding and study) undertake a 60 credit dissertation module and gain an MSc qualification.
Experienced course teaching team
Experienced health visitor and school nurse lecturers deliver the course. As a student you learn from a highly motivated and proactive teaching team aiming to improve lives through excellence in professionalism. We ensure our students and the public benefit from a commitment to evidence-based education, application to practice and impact on quality of care.
Some lecturers are engaged in ongoing research and are publishing in peer reviewed journals with areas of expertise that include safeguarding, the child and families agenda, behaviour change and community development.
Four members of our teaching team are also Fellows of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), a professional body which strives for excellence in the health visiting profession.
Successfully completing the course
Gaining an MSc qualification enhances your employability in advanced and specialist roles available to health visitors and school nurses. These may include working in public health positions in local authorities or in advisory and health education positions in acute health care.
Study individual modules
You have the option to study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.
This course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Graduates are eligible to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - Health Visitor or School Nurse.
You must be registered with the NMC in order to practise as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse in the UK.
To access the full course and gain the NMC recognised qualifications, you need to be sponsored by an employing NHS organisation (hence have NHS contract for the length of the course).
Postgraduate diploma modules
You will enhance your professional and academic development on this course. Completing the course enables you to be registered with the NMC as a registered specialist community public health nurse - as either a health visitor or school nurse (SCPHN-HV or SCPHN-SN). It also enables you to be annotated on the NMC register as a community practitioner nurse prescriber. This course will also provide you with advanced skills in research.
As a health visitor or school nurse you will develop specialist skills and attributes to work in different health, social and educational settings. You gain experience of public health at an individual, family and community level, working with children, young people, families.
You can develop your career