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Course content

Our web-based Master of Dental Public Health (MDPH) course is designed for students who want to improve oral health for whole populations.

You will collaborate online with colleagues from across the world to explore practical, evidence-based approaches to care, prevention and planning services. No prior detailed knowledge of dentistry, the NHS or service planning is assumed.

The course is recognised for higher training in the specialty and confers eligibility to sit the Diploma in Dental Public Health examination of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (DDPHRCS). This grounding in methodology is also great preparation for a PhD.

Our students come from a range of occupations, including clinicians, managers, commissioners, providers or researchers. Our tutors will work with you to apply what you learn within your own context and healthcare system.


We aim to enable you to:

  • critically assess evidence that underlies oral health practice;
  • use a population approach to health issues;
  • demonstrate skills that contribute to public health policy-making and service planning;
  • demonstrate the skills necessary to research and answer population health questions;
  • take an international perspective on population health.

Special features

Connect with students from around the world

This course runs alongside the Master of Public Health (MPH) course at Manchester. There are currently around 200 students from 24 countries enrolled across both courses.

Teaching and learning

Online course delivery

The primary method of course delivery is via the internet, using technology that allows tutors to encourage active communication and discussion between participants on the course. This enables you to learn through easy access to a wealth of web-based materials and published articles, both from the course tutors and other students.

Residential course 

A two-day residential is held jointly with the MPH course at The University of Manchester at the beginning of the course. It is designed to give everyone the necessary technical training and general orientation of materials that you will use throughout the course. You are encouraged to attend the residential, but it is not compulsory, as the same induction material is available online.

Coursework and assessment

Unit assessments

The assessment of each course unit is by written assignment rather than exams. Typically, assessment of each unit would involve a mid-semester and end-of-semester assignment. The word count of the assignments is typically 1,000 and 4,000 respectively.

Additionally, some assessment may be made of your contribution to online discussion.


MDPH students will work with a supervisor on a project tailored to your own interests. The MDPH dissertation report is worth 60 credits and will be between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length.

There are five options for dissertation work:

  • research grant proposal
  • quantitative research report
  • structured literature review
  • academic public health report
  • qualitative/ theoretical study.

Course unit details

You should expect to spend, on average, approximately 10-15 hours a week for each course unit studied.

Part-time students usually enrol on a minimum of one course unit per semester, so that the coursework is completed within four years. However, the course can be taken at your own pace, provided it is completed within five years.

Part-time students are advised to take at least two core units in the first year of the course, one in each semester.

What our students say

Read about MDPH graduate Anne-Marie Agius 's experience of studying for her master's degree from Malta.


The course materials will link you to key journal articles, e-books and other online resources.

The facilities and support of the University of Manchester library will be available to you as a distance learner to enable you to search, retrieve and make sense of the quality sources around the topics studied.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

Individual units from this course are available as standalone courses for continuing professional development (CPD). Please contact us for more information.

Career opportunities

Our course will enable you to apply your new skills and knowledge to planning and delivering oral health services in your own area of work.

Some graduates may also go on to work towards the Diploma in Dental Public Health from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Visit the Dental Public Health (MDPH) (MSc) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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