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Course content

This programme is suitable for physicians, nurses, environmental health officers, human resource professionals, trade union representatives, health and safety inspectors, managers, civil servants, scientists and others who have responsibility for the health and safety of employees.


The MSc in Occupational Health is a part-time distance e-learning programme that offers knowledge and expertise in the science underpinning occupational health and safety.

It offers a convenient means for nurses, doctors, health and safety advisors or managers with busy work schedules and other responsibilities, to gain a postgraduate degree in Occupational Health.

The emphasis is on common occupational health and safety issues encountered in the workplace.

The aims of the course are:

  • To develop an understanding of the broad processes underpinning health protection in the workplace.
  • To develop and enhance research in occupational health directly applicable and beneficial to practice.
  • To encourage attitudes pertinent to the team approach.

The course encourages self-directed learning, critical thinking and comparative analysis of occupational health systems and practice. This is done within a structured and dynamic on-line learning environment that provides interactive multidisciplinary learning and the opportunity for mutual support and collaboration. 

The course aims to enable you to explore, understand, analyse and/or apply:

  • The concepts of occupational health practice in relation to current needs and initiatives.
  • The role of occupational health practitioners and the analysis of their effectiveness in practice.
  • The management of occupational health issues including psychological, sociological and philosophical perspectives, which may affect management strategies and impinge on the role of specialist practitioners.
  • Assessments of the work environment, its effects on health, relevant legislation and the effective control of workplace hazards.
  • Health surveillance, its application within the workplace and the design of appropriate occupational health programmes.
  • Specialist roles within occupational health practice through the critical appraisal of literature and research.
  • Epidemiological principles in occupational health practice and the significance of data collection in the development of evidence based practice.

Throughout the course there will be opportunities for the development of critical appraisal skills in the analysis of literature and the development of research-based activities in occupational health practice. 

The MSc dissertation then provides the opportunity to carry out research involving a detailed literature review, the formulation of research questions, hypotheses, aims and objectives, and conducting data collection, analysis and the presentation of results. 

Distinctive features

  • The MSc course is delivered online and so can more easily fit into your own schedule and study style.
  • Subject to sufficient student interest, a short introductory course is also held in Cardiff.
  • The MSc contains an emphasis on practical solutions.

Learning and assessment

Students undertake six modules of 20 credit points each to complete the taught stages. Teaching is through engagement with a variety of online activities including individual study of course material, group discussions, individual and group coursework, working through specially designed coursework and interactive materials. Students also receive regular constructive feedback to stimulate their enthusiasm and provide support. 

This course will be delivered by distance learning and therefore can be accessed by eligible students from anywhere within the international health care community. This also allows for flexibility of study to suit individual student needs. Support will be provided wherever possible for students with additional learning needs. 

In addition, a three-day introductory course is available in Cardiff to provide a valuable opportunity to get to know the tutors and fellow students. It is therefore strongly recommended that all students register to attend this so that the course team know there are sufficient numbers to enable them to run it. 

The taught stages comprise six compulsory modules delivered over two years, three modules per year. In year three students undertake the research element of the course required for the award of an MSc.

The modules are delivered entirely via Learning Central, the University’s virtual learning environment. On Learning Central you will undertake self-directed learning based on the material provided for each module, participate in group activities such as an eConference, and collaborate with other students.

Studies at MSc dissertation level will largely consist of guided independent study and research, making use of the extensive learning and research facilities available. A project supervisor will be allocated to support and advise you on researching and writing up your specific dissertation topic.

Career prospects

The programme focuses on evidence-based practice and practical solutions in the workplace and so provides the opportunity to gain a sound basis of knowledge for occupational health practice, whatever your background, and demonstrates a commitment to your own further professional development in the area.

For qualified doctors wanting to enter specialist training in occupational medicine, the Postgraduate Diploma stage of the course will provide knowledge of the bulk of the topics needed for part 1 of the Membership Exam of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (MFOM). Further information on specialist training can be found on the Faculty of Occupational Medicine Website.

Please note that the programme does not contribute to specialist accreditation for nurses.

Visit the Occupational Health (Policy and Practice) - MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!





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