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Public Health MSc

Course Description

This programme has been designed to provide an integrated, coherent and multidisciplinary approach to public health activity. It will have an emphasis on advancing critical awareness and problem solving skills in order to develop innovative, reflective and pro-active approaches to meeting challenging and complex health needs. Examples include critical health issues such as obesity and mental health, and those linked with public protection such as climate change and infectious diseases.

It will be delivered by a range of teaching methods such as core lectures, group work, online activities, use of case studies and directed learning approaches. Shared learning with other professionals will be a focus of this course and students will be encouraged to develop a critical, evaluative approach to the knowledge which underpins present-day public health practice.

Course content

This postgraduate award prepares students for a career in Public Health at both strategic and operational levels. The full MSc consists of five compulsory modules, and two designated modules. Compulsory modules are those which every student must undertake. Designated modules are those that have been identified as offering a range of public health topics which students can choose dependent on their experience and specialism.

All modules (except the Dissertation) incorporate 200 hours of learning, which includes taught sessions as well as self-directed independent study and assignment preparation. Furthermore, (included in the 200 hours) are six study days, in which students are expected to either attend lectures or work online on electronic activities via the online learning environment, NILE.

The teaching team have created a flexible and challenging Public Health programme, which involves face-to-face teaching, workshops and tutorials, as well as three of the core modules having an extensive self-directed online component. Opportunities exist to undertake a volunteering post within a Public Health environment and to gain experience of working within a Non-Governmental Organisation whilst ‘giving back’ to the vulnerable in society.

Embedded within the course are sessions from the University Centre for Employability and Engagement (UCEE), who offer support and advice to students in both cohort groups and on a one-to-one basis for; CV writing, interview techniques and help with locating a volunteer placement. These skills are invaluable when it comes to applying for employment or PhD study.

Course modules (16/17)

-Leading Public Health Practice
-Leadership: The People Challenge
-Principles and Perspectives of Health Promotion
-Research Methods – Philosophy and Study Design
-Comparative Health Care Systems
-Professional Project
-Substance Use and Misuse
-Therapeutic Communication Interventions
-Voluntary Sector Placement
-Innovations and Creativity
-Managing Advanced Professional Practice

Methods of Learning

The programme is offered through a full time or part time route. The part time programme is through flexible modular delivery which enables part time students to access modules at a pace that suits individual needs. The full time programme is more structured in order to enable students to complete within a one year time frame.

There are a range of teaching and learning methods used within this programme including core lectures; action learning and group work; online activity; tutorials and workshops. It is anticipated that students will have some background within public health environments and will therefore bring some knowledge and skills to this learning experience. Students will be encouraged to debate, discuss and reflect on contemporary public health issues in order to enhance learning.


This programme comprises of a range of assessment strategies which enables students to demonstrate knowledge, synthesis and analysis in a variety of forms. Assessment strategies include exams, vivas, reports, proposals, essays, audio taped interventions and presentations. The aim of the assignment programme is not only to test knowledge and skills but also to develop these skills (for instance, the ability to present to a group of people). Students can expect between one and three items of assessment per module and these are spread evenly throughout the three trimesters which make up the academic year.

Facilities and Special Features

Students have the opportunity to undertake a designated Voluntary Placement module and engage in a minimum of 50 hours of volunteering in a placement relevant to Public Health. This course will also:
-Develop and enhance current knowledge and skills regarding public health practice.
-Extend and apply both knowledge and practical skills to current circumstances.
-Identify learning needs and develop independent learning skills to meet these needs.
-Encourage inter-professional learning.


Public Health is a growing field of study, therefore there is an abundance of job opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skills. A Master’s degree will help career advancement within a variety of organisations and professions such as health and social care, local authority, and voluntary organisations.

Our Public Health students develop excellent communication and analytical skills and have entered a diverse range of jobs as well as further study.

Visit the Public Health MSc page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language will need to demonstrate that they meet the minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent). Students who do not have a first or second class honours degree but can demonstrate its equivalent in terms of experience relevant to the programme of study, may be able to access the course as associate students. For more information regarding this please contact the course leader Kirsty Mason at .

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