Select your course options:
Why choose the School of Society, Community and Health
Our Public Health courses rank 1st in their subject table for graduation prospects – outcomes (CUG, 2024)
The majority of our students graduate with an additional professional qualification that will gain them entry to an allied health or social services profession
Gain an accredited qualification in a sector where qualified professionals are in high demand
About the course
While providing an in-depth understanding of health issues from local national and global perspectives this wide-reaching course supports you in developing specialist expertise you need to improve public health and prevent disease worldwide promoting lasting change.
When you join this MSc course you become part of a supportive and nurturing ‘community of inquiry’. You develop a critical understanding of how research processes can be applied to the study of public health; gain insights into the global drivers behind health system reform and their potential impacts on future public health policy; and build your understanding of policy development and implementation in developed and developing nations.
You start with two foundation units ensuring your studies are built on a firm base before moving on to specialist units exploring contemporary issues relating to public health policy. In your final unit you undertake a research project.
Why choose this course?
- Our research-informed teaching highlights the importance of public health and public health practice worldwide while building your practical critical and theoretical skills
- Gain expertise and insight on a course based on the principle that medical professionals should improve health and prevent disease not just provide treatment for those who are ill
- Explore case studies from around the world
- Benefit from a research-active academic team involved in internationally excellent and world-leading research at our Institute of Applied Social Research (REF 2021)
- The course addresses the key competencies from the UK Faculty of Public Health and on completion you are also eligible to apply for fellow membership of the UK Royal Society for Public Health
What will you study?
Epidemiology In Public Health
The aim of this unit is designed to introduce the key concepts and principles of epidemiology and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to describe, analyse, interpret and appraise epidemiological studies.
Other specific aims of the unit are to:
develop a critical understanding of the concepts of disease incidence, prevalence, and risk, and how they are assessed.
develop a critical understanding of the main issues in the design of epidemiological studies and critically assess the suitability of each type of study design (cohort design, case-control design and intervention)
develop a critical appreciation of key issues in the analysis and interpretation of epidemiological results and critically assess the effects of bias and confounding as well as the distinction between association and causation using appropriate research and evidence.
This unit is designed to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of healthcare commissioning using an evidence-based approach drawing on research and scholarship.
The unit aims are:
- To foster a critical understanding of what healthcare commissioning means and its importance to the UK and international public health.
- To develop a critical understanding of the key theoretical concepts related to healthcare commissioning.
- To develop a critical understanding of the key practical concepts related to healthcare commissioning
Public Health Research Methods
The unit aims to develop your critical understanding and knowledge of:
- What public health research is, its importance and uses
- What health-related systematic reviews are, and how to produce them in a rigorous fashion (including understanding narrative analyses and meta-analyses)
- The importance of research questions and how they are
- What quantitative research is, the types of quantitative research designs available to health researchers and the key concerns associated with quantitative research
- What qualitative research is, the types of qualitative research designs available to health researchers and the key concerns associated with qualitative research
- Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
- How to construct a research proposal
- How to disseminate and publish health research
- The importance of ethics in health-related research and key ethical issues to critically consider
Principles, Policies And Issues In Public Health
To facilitate an understanding of key principles of public health and the public health policies that shape the way in which public health issues might be addressed.
To foster a critical understanding of the principles, relevant policies and research issues that have impacted on the way in which public health is currently addressed in the UK and internationally.
To develop students’ skills of critical analysis and evaluation, as these are the basis for reviewing and evaluating policy and practice and its underlying evidence base.
To enable students to develop and achieve their learning objectives, which is relevant to addressing the needs of the population.
Public Health Protection
What role does Public Health Protection play in protecting the population from infectious diseases and the effects of environmental hazards? Using local, national and international examples underpinned by subject informed research and scholarship, you will investigate:
Current policies and evidence-based strategies used in preventing and controlling threats to public health.
Current protocols for investigating and managing outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Threats to public health from factors such as environmental hazards, globalisation, climate and natural disasters.
Current practice in resilience planning and preparation to mitigate the impact of threats to public health from events such as emerging infectious diseases, releases of hazardous substances and mass gatherings.
This sustained individual programme of research at Master's level marks the threshold between postgraduate diploma and master’s level study. It is specifically devised, in accordance with the University regulations, to ensure that academic rigour and objectivity balance practical competence, and builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the first two terms towards developing a scientifically sound research project.
The unit aims:
- To enable students to develop and conduct an individual research project using primary or secondary research methodologies,
- To enhance literature search and critical appraisal skills,
- To develop the ability to critique relevant research methodologies and study design; and
- To develop the ability to disseminate research findings and their implications to influence health policy and practice
Health And Social Care Inequalities
This unit aims to develop your critical understanding of health and social care inequalities. Using local, national and international examples, you will:
- Explore theories, concepts and methods used to understand, explain and influence policy and research on reducing inequalities in health and social care.
- Take an in-depth look at the determinants of health approach social categories (socio-economic, class, ethnicity, gender and age) that are used to understand health and social care inequalities.
- Explore the intersections between these social categories and how they influence the way in which health and social care is experienced by different groups in society such as women, men, older people, ethnic groups, lesbians, gay men those with disability and mental health problems.
Ethical And Legal Issues In Healthcare
The Unit will discuss a number of fundamental ethical and legal issues in healthcare. Many of them remain contentious and continue to be the focus of intense public debate, such as the justification of behaviour modification to combat obesity or the legal right to assisted suicide. The Unit will not provide answers to the many ethical and legal problems in healthcare that will be discussed. Rather, the Unit aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills, to recognise when ethical and legal issues arise in healthcare and how best to approach them using an evidence-based approach drawing on research and scholarship.
Public Health Intelligence
The aim of this unit is to establish a context for study in the field of public health intelligence through the critical understanding of the principles, analytical techniques, toolkits, and methods in health intelligence. This unit provides students (and practitioners) with the opportunity to become confident users of public health evidence, being able to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and analytical abilities to carry out rigorous collection, evaluation and analysis of public health data using local, national and international examples, and to integrate the resulting evidence with that derived from other sources, in order to answer public health questions and contribute to policy-making and decision-making that ultimately bring change in public health practice. Upon completing this unit, students will have experience suitable for applying for roles in public health intelligence in healthcare organisations. While delivering the contents of the unit, we will try to engage students in teaching and relevant discussions by employing appropriate pedagogical research, and by using small tutorial/workshop groups each week where students will be able to apply the knowledge gained.
How will you be assessed?
The assessment strategy is designed to assist you in identifying reflecting on and meeting your own learning needs in relation to your working environment. Each unit is further designed to develop your public health skills in ways which are directly relevant to your workplace.
In order to assist in your future professional and career development each assignment will require you to identify and develop a competency from the UK Faculty of Public Health framework which forms the basis of your learning and underpins your assessment. As you undertake the course units you are given the opportunity to develop your skills in a range of public health techniques via the assessments.
For example you will be required to develop an Action Plan; write a newspaper article summarizing a complex public health issue into layman's terms; write a public health report; develop a public health research proposal; develop a public health presentation; and design a public health poster. Each of these assessments will enable you to demonstrate the ability to critically understand and evaluate complex public health issues and communicate these effectively to a range of audiences.
There are a range of career opportunities within public health including public health analyst; public health programme manager; and public health specialist. The course can also act as a platform for postgraduate research (MPhil/PhD) study in public health and provides you with sufficient grounding for the UK Faculty of Public Health Part I examination. Upon completion of this course all students become eligible to apply for fellow membership of the UK Royal Society for Public Health.