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Course content

Over six core modules, two electives and a dissertation, you explore and critique key concepts and models in public health theory, policy and practice.

The course is interesting to

  • (public) health practitioners currently working in the UK or overseas: each year, the cohort has been made up of around 60% overseas students from all over the world alongside students from a range of public health organisations in the local area. If you currently work in a public health role you can gain academic credit for work based learning in the public health practice elective
  • practitioners not in a public health role, but working in organisations with a (potential) public health remit, for example local authorities, housing associations, schools, social services, criminal justice system, voluntary and community organisations
  • practitioners working with population groups who experience inequality, for example people with disabilities, older people, asylum seekers and refugees, people who are unemployed, people with mental health conditions, people with chronic illness, and who wish to explore these communities in a public health context.
  • students who have just completed their undergraduate studies in a related discipline. In the past we have had students from social work, education, sports science, food and nutrition, nursing and a range of professions allied to medicine.

You explore the links between policy, evidence and practice and you address key questions including

  • how is the health of individuals, groups and populations determined?
  • who is responsible for health and what is the role of the government?
  • how can health be promoted?
  • which skills are required for health promotion and developing the public health agenda?
  • what are the implications of emerging agendas?

The course builds on the growing importance of health promotion, public health, and health and community development on local, national and international levels.

You learn how successful management of public health requires development of critical approaches to theory, practice, and outcome measurement. We give you the knowledge and skills to be more effective in your role.

You develop knowledge in the 10 key public health competencies and standards needed to join the UK Voluntary Register for Public Health specialists. This registration allows you to work at a senior level in public health.

These include • strategic leadership for health • working with and for communities • developing health programmes and services • reducing inequalities.

Work experience

If you don’t already work in this sector, we work closely with local health organisations and may be able to provide you with access to work experience that will help you get the most out of your studies and improve your chances of find a job after the course.

International students are most welcome on this course. At Sheffield Hallam University we provide international students with a wealth of support, from pre-arrival right up to, and including, study support whilst you are studying here. Please see the International Experience Team webpage for more information.

Course structure

Full-time – 18 months (four modules a semester plus dissertation)

Part-time – typically three years (two modules a semester plus dissertation). Part-time students attend four hours a week on campus during the day. 

Design

Each of the modules is an independent module of study and can be taken alone. The core modules do, however, have a number of themes developed across them. These include

  • tackling inequalities in health
  • the relationship between policy, evidence and public health practice
  • local, national and international perspectives in health

Core modules

  • Health promotion principles, policy and practice
  • Inequality, health and poverty
  • Health, culture and public health development work
  • Public health evidence
  • Foundation of epidemiology A
  • Foundation of epidemiology B
  • Infectious diseases and long term conditions
  • Dissertation

Options

Choose one from

  • Public health nutrition
  • Public health practice

Assessment

Students are assessed using a variety of methods: reports, presentations, book reviews and essays and for all but three assessment tasks students are able to choose a public health topic and/or population group on which to focus their work. There are no examinations.

Employability

By successfully completing this course, you may find that it makes it easier to gain promotion, or enter jobs in public health departments of primary care trusts. Previous graduates have gained roles such as teenage pregnancy coordinator, health promotion specialist and five-a-day co-ordinator. Others have joined local authorities, the voluntary sector such as Agewell, and become Sure Start managers.

A number of graduates have remained in their roles as health visitors, public health nurses or midwives, working more strategically and in more depth. Overseas students have used the qualification to work successfully in their own countries. Some people have taken the course to work towards becoming a nurse consultant.

The course also provides an excellent foundation for further academic study including PhDs.


Visit the Public Health MSc page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!

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