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Course content

This highly successful and innovative MSc in Public Health welcomes UK, EU and international applicants from a wide range of professions. It focuses on the health of communities as a recognised concern to a wide group of professionals. In our course, you will discover how health is related to individual biology and genetics, as well as to behavioural, social and environmental factors. We show how good health can be a right, not a privilege.

This course is suitable for those seeking a career in public health; traditionally people from clinical backgrounds and allied health professionals. Those with a non-health-related degree who have work experience in a health-related field are welcome and encouraged to apply. The course will appeal if you are seeking to broaden your knowledge and skill set, or are preparing for advancement in your field or career.

The modules are delivered in a variety of styles, using workshops, lectures, and online directed and self-directed learning. We offer a range of opportunities to gain work experience with local public health organisations.

Why choose this course?

  • Gain an advanced education in public health that is fit for the 21st-century, reflecting the growing significance of non-communicable diseases in all world regions, alongside a traditional focus on communicable and infectious disease
  • Demonstrate and critically evaluate integrated knowledge, skills and values that will underpin action, reflection and evaluation of your public health practice 
  • Learn to critically evaluate public health research evidence and develop a solid grounding in research methods as a basis for future research training and degrees
  • Choice of general and specialist pathways within the course, to meet individual academic and career development preferences
  • Apply the public health knowledge gained on the course into your future workplaces and bring new and improved perspectives to a range of professions
  • Develop key competencies so that you are well placed to further your career within the UK Faculty of Public Health specialist training framework.  

This course in detail

You can take either the general track or one of two more specialist tracks:

  • Preventive and Behavioural Health
  • Leadership and Management.

Specialist tracks will enable you to focus on key public health areas, and are suitable for students who have a clear idea about their learning and career development needs. The general track will probably suit those of you who want a more general public health education and who do not currently have a specialist career development need or direction, for example students working towards Faculty of Public Health examinations.

Full-time students start in September and the modules follow a specific sequence starting with Foundations in Public Health, Data Analysis and Interpretation, and Applied Research Methods, followed in January by Epidemiology. The sequence of further modules will depend on the selected track.

Part-time students can start in either September or January.

Students who enter in January start the programme with Epidemiology and Applied Research Methods, studying Foundations in Public Health and Data Analysis and Interpretation in September.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules you choose from may vary from that shown below.

The compulsory modules for the PGCert are as follows: 

  • Foundations in Public Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation

The modules for exit at PGDip level depend on the track you take, and may include the following:

Note: the availability of modules is dependent on sufficient student numbers.

  • Public Health Policy
  • Advanced Health Promotion
  • Evidence-Based Prevention
  • Evidence-Based Social Intervention
  • Communicable Diseases and Public Health
  • Leadership in Health and Social Care
  • Operational Management in Health and Social Care

Further compulsory modules required for exit at MSc are:

  • Applied Research Methods
  • Dissertation

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, Virtual Learning Environment Activities (VLE) and project work. Some modules include group presentations.

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each module involving approximately 200 hours of student effort. Teaching might be by blended learning or face-to-face contact.

This study programme is designed to meet many of the core competencies identified in the UK Public Health specialist training curriculum from the UK Faculty of Public Health. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme together with the focus on critical self-reflection and interpersonal skills teaches you to work effectively at an advanced level within public health and interprofessional teams.

Blended learning is used effectively across the programme to impart knowledge and promote discussion as well as to enable you to develop digital and information literacy. Teaching staff are actively engaged in Public Health research.

Our students come from a variety of health and social care professions locally, from across the UK and internationally, including those working in health care, social services, environmental health, local government and the voluntary sector. Those from the UK and non-European countries are provided with opportunities to share and debate the challenges of public health within developed and developing countries.

A collaborative programme of public health workshops are also currently facilitated by staff from the Public Health team across Local Authority and NHS sites which provide a more sustainable approach to CPD development for various levels of public health professionals. Further information concerning these (non-accredited) courses is available on the faculty website.

Contributions from external visiting lecturers provide current perspectives from key domains of public health, for example, health improvement (NICE), health protection (Oxfam) and service improvement (Local Authorities). These external connections are extremely beneficial and well received adding valuable opportunities for you to gain insight and potential experience within these organisations.

Approach to assessment

Each module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, verbal presentations, workshop and practical exercises.


Visit the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Public Health page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

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