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Master Public Health (Online Learning) (MPH, PgCert, PgDip)

    Edinburgh Medical School Logo
  • Study Type

    Distance learning & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Nursing & Health

    Social Work

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    PgCert: 1 year; PgDip: 2 years; MPH: 3 years

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgDip, PgCert, Other

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    20 February 2019

Programme description

The Master of Public Health (MPH) online programme is based on a longstanding tradition of academic teaching and research in public health at the University of Edinburgh.

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.

The programme is designed to provide an entry point to either the public health profession or public health research for those new to the subject, but also to provide sufficient depth for the benefit of existing public health professionals. The range of elective courses reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the subject.

Postgraduate training in public health has been offered continuously at the University in one form or another since 1875, when a new postgraduate science degree, aimed at those wanting to be Medical Officers of Health was introduced. Since the first Chair of Public Health was established in 1898 and the opening of the Usher Institute of Public Health in 1902, the University has engaged in research covering epidemiology, environmental health, infectious diseases, medical statistics and social sciences in health and health care.

Online learning

Online learning is a way to study for an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus. It is aimed at those who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside work or other commitments.

Online programmes are of equal value to on-campus programmes. The only difference is the way the course is delivered. Our online learning platform enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or work place.

As an online student you have access to the University's excellent resources and you become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

The MPH (online) programme is entirely online with a study commitment of approximately 10-15 hours per week. You will study alongside and share your knowledge and experience with students from around the world through active discussion boards, blogs, group work and videos. The programme is flexible and there are no specific times you need to attend class. It is designed to complement the work commitments and diverse geographical locations of our students.

Evaluation of the programme is through a mixture of coursework and online participation. The programme has a variety of types of assessments, including essays, online activities, blogs, group work and tests. The assessments are designed to fit with the learning outcomes of each course.

Programme structure

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 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:

  • Introduction to Public Health (10 credits)
  • Epidemiology for Public Health Practice (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Health Promotion (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Epidemiology and Statistics (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Health Economics (10 credits)

Year Two (Diploma)

All students take the following compulsory courses:

  • Public Policy for Health (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (10 credits)
  • Research Design for Public and Global Health (10 credits)

Students should choose elective courses totalling exactly 30 credits from the list below.

Year Three (Masters)

Students who have completed the Diploma level and are eligible to progress to Year Three can choose either to do a dissertation project (if agreed by the programme directors), worth 60 credits, or students in Year Three who choose not to do a dissertation can do a compulsory 20 credit individual project - Integrating Public Health Practice, plus 40 credits of elective courses from the list below.

Elective courses*

  • Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Societies, Reproduction and Health (10 credits)
  • Public health approaches to declining health, dying and bereavement (10 credits)
  • Leadership and Management in Public Health (10 credits)
  • Intermediate Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Project Management for Public Health Programmes (10 credits)
  • Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in a Global Context (10 credits)
  • Noncommunicable Diseases in a Global Context (10 credits)
  • Data Analysis for Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Fieldwork Skills for Qualitative Social Research (10 credits)
  • Systematic Reviews (10 credits)
  • The Global Burden of Mental Illness (10 credits)
  • Statistical Modelling for Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Data Analysis in Qualitative Social Research (10 credits)

*The above information details the structure and courses for this programme in 2019/20. We cannot guarantee that all courses will run each year.

Some courses can be studied as stand-alone short courses. Contact the programme team for further information about this option 

Learning outcomes

The programme will equip you with an extensive Public Health knowledge which will improve employment prospects in the evolving public health arena. Students have found excellent opportunities in government, health department, research, policy-making, NGO, charity and international settings.

The Masters can also offer a good basis for further study in the form of a PhD or Professional Doctorate.

Career opportunities

The programme will equip you with an extensive Public Health knowledge which will improve employment prospects in the evolving public health arena. Students have found excellent opportunities in government, health department, research, policy-making, NGO, charity and international settings.

The Masters can also offer a good basis for further study in the form of a PhD or Professional Doctorate.


Visit the Master Public Health (Online Learning) (MPH, PgCert, PgDip) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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