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 MSc Health Policy will develop your understanding of, and critical engagement with, key challenges in health policy. Both state and non-state actors grapple with how best to promote the health of communities and populations, including the most effective strategies for preventing disease, ensuring efficient and high quality health care, and reducing health inequalities.
These challenges extend beyond the traditional domain of the health sector, requiring engagement with economic and social policy and a range of non-state actors including third sector organisations, commercial interests and international agencies.
The MSc in Health Policy is designed for individuals interested in a wide range of health-related roles including government and international agencies, health advocacy, health administration and health care delivery, consultancies, advisory roles, the commercial sector, and health-related research. Within the programme there is scope for you to specialise in either health systems or health inequalities, or to follow a broad policy stream.
The Health Systems stream is ideal for those seeking to work in health care policy, planning or management, in either the public or private sectors. It will expose you to different models of health care financing, purchasing and delivery, equipping them to engage with key contemporary challenges and debates including how to achieve sustainable health care financing, the role of the state in health care, the appropriate mix of public and private provision, and how best to achieve the goals of equity, efficiency and quality in health care delivery.
The Health Inequalities stream is ideal for those seeking to engage with health disparities both between and within countries, particularly those relating to inequities in social structures and power. In this stream you will explore evidence and policy responses to health inequalities across a range of axes, including class/socioeconomic position, ethnicity/race and gender, and will consider how health and its determinants are shaped by a range of influences including social and economic policy, commercial power and political conflict. This stream is particularly suited to those interested in working in policy, advocacy and research settings with a focus on health equity.
You may also elect to follow a broad policy stream within the MSc Health Policy, rather than specialising in health systems or health inequalities. This stream equips you with an understanding of how health policy fits within broader approaches to social and economic policy, and is particularly suitable for individuals wanting to work in public policy, advocacy or research.
Our students come from countries at all levels of economic development and from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, with many using the MSc as an investment to develop their careers or move into a more policy-focused role. While the programme has a strong policy focus, it also includes an academic orientation so is good preparation for further research at PhD level.
The MSc programme is situated within the Global Public Health Unit, which is located in University’s School of Social and Political Science rather than a medical school. This reflects our programme’s reach across traditional boundaries, linking policy analysis, public health, social policy, economics, sociology, medicine and epidemiology. The MSc programme offers innovative research-led teaching that draws on academic expertise from all these disciplines, while also benefitting from close links with the Centre for Population Health Sciences in the University's medical college.
You will complete one compulsory course and a number of option courses.
Following the taught courses, you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.
This programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge and critical skills you need to play a senior role in health policy, advocacy and research.
Specific aims are to:
This programme is intended to equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue employment positions in policy, advocacy and research roles relevant to health policy. Most students use the MSc as an investment to develop their careers or move into a more policy-focused area, including jobs with health agencies or consultancies, government departments, international organisations and third sector organisations. By combining an advanced degree from a world-leading university with expertise in an innovative field relevant to multiple policy agendas, students who successfully complete our programmes are well placed to secure interesting positions within an often very competitive area.
Our graduates in recent years have moved on to a range of exciting employment and research positions. These include positions with health departments and other government ministries in both high-income and developing countries; with agencies and donor organisations working in health care and health promotion; with international organisations and consultancy; research positions examining health systems for the European Union and other levels of regional governance; and employment in commercial sector organisations including pharmaceutical and other health-related companies.
All students have access to the Edinburgh University Careers Service during the programme and for two years after graduation.