MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Public Health
Please note this course is closed to new applications for September 2023 entry.
Page last updated 25 September 2023
A professionally-orientated and internationally recognised award, validated and accredited by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA).
Public health refers to all organised measures to promote and improve health, protect the health of populations, prevent disease, reduce inequalities and tackle the root causes of ill-health in global and local contexts.
UWE Bristol's MSc Public Health is structured around an interdisciplinary curriculum, drawing upon the social, human and life sciences to develop students' intellectual and investigative skills. Through studying a wide range of intersecting disciplines, you'll meet the professional competences for employment in the field of public health.
This course prepares graduates for employment in public health at all levels, spanning health protection, disease surveillance, epidemiology, health promotion, community development and public health leadership.
The course content is applicable to people from any disciplinary or professional background. These include health and social care, local government, education, planning and regeneration, international development, human rights and social justice, and health-related voluntary and community sector contexts.
The MSc Public Health is an internationally recognised and professionally-orientated award that is validated and accredited by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA).
The course delivers the full range of skills, knowledge and professional competences recognised by the UK Faculty of Public Health and ASPHER (the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region).
We've developed long, established relationships with public health providers across South West England. These include Health Education England and the UK Health Security Agency, who contribute to teaching and provide sponsorship and placement opportunities for students.
Fit for Purpose
The MSc Public Health is a stimulating, challenging and renowned contemporary public health course. Our primary goal is to produce leaders, critical thinkers, problem solvers and analysts, who'll contribute to the ever-changing world of global public health and build a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Our teaching team comprises experienced academics with extensive professional experience and strong research and publications portfolios. The MSc Public Health is also closely aligned with the University's Research Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing. We're based within the School of Health and Social Wellbeing, which is part of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences.
Applicants can choose to study towards a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) or the full MSc Public Health (180 credits). All the individual taught modules are also available as stand-alone Continuous Professional Development (CPD) units.
Modules (all compulsory for the full MSc Public Health):
- Dissertation (45 credits) - a summative research project, based on primary or secondary research that involves submission of a research protocol and a final research report.
- Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases (15 credits) - explores the full range of non-communicable diseases, issues, determinants and contexts, and how these are addressed within the public health realm.
- Health Promotion (15 credits) - develops knowledge, understanding and practical skills in health promotion, a core component of public health practice.
- Health Protection (15 credits) - examines the range of communicable diseases and investigates communicable disease control, surveillance and outbreak management. The module is part-taught by professionals from Public Health England.
- Introduction to Global Public Health (15 credits) - introduces multidisciplinary public health, based on a socio-ecological model of health, and prepares you for the programme as a whole.
- Leadership for Public Health (15 credits) - introduces skills in public health leadership and management, and is strongly practice-orientated.
- Public Health Policy, Politics and Economics (15 credits) - equips students with ideas from political science and policy studies to enable them to examine the origins, context and impacts of major public health issues.
- Qualitative Health Research (15 credits) - focuses on qualitative research methods and how to apply these in public health contexts
- Quantitative Health Research (15 credits) - focuses on quantitative research methods and how to apply these in public health contexts.
- Research and Project Management Skills (15 credits) - explores the key stages of developing a theoretical framework, developing a research question, crafting the research design, navigating research ethics and governance issues, and disseminating research or evaluation outputs.
Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching includes lectures, seminars, group discussions, action learning sets, case studies and self-directed learning.
For more detail see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.
Part-time students normally attend one day a week and can take up to 90 credits in one year, completing the course within two years.
Full-time students normally attend up to three days a week during two teaching semesters and must complete 180 credits including the Dissertation over one year.
All modules are assessed by a summative assessment, which can include coursework (essay or project), examination or presentation, which are sometimes supplemented with formative assessments.
For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.
A professionally orientated award, this course has been accredited and the curriculum validated by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA).
The programme team organises placement opportunities on a one-to-one basis in response to requests from students. These are not compulsory since many UK-based students are already working in public health contexts.
The department has an extensive range of teaching and learning resources. The library on the Frenchay Campus is one of the best healthcare libraries in England, with a huge selection of books, journals and audio-visual materials, including access to specialist health and social case software packages.
All modules are supported by Blackboard (online learning platform), and other Technology Enhanced Learning facilities and social media platforms.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.
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Careers / Further study
On graduation, we encourage students to publish their dissertation work, engage in research and knowledge exchange opportunities at the University or to consider pursuing doctoral studies.
The skills and knowledge acquired on the course are highly applicable to a range of roles, within and beyond Public Health. A key module on the course is Leadership for Public Health, which helps students develop important employability skills often sought by employers.
UWE Bristol's award-winning careers service can help you develop employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.
Research at UWE Bristol
UWE Bristol sees research as a primary and highly valuable activity, and has invested substantial resources to ensure excellent development and support for its research. Find out more about research in the Department of Health and Social Sciences and access our staff profiles.
Applicants are normally required to have a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject area as well as appropriate experience. Applicants without a degree level qualification will be considered individually.
Please see below for Selection Process.
GCSE Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics, or equivalents are required.
Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
International students are especially welcome on this course which reflects both UK and international public health perspectives. Dissertation study can be supported in home countries which can reduce student costs substantially.
UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.
We are looking for applicants who are committed to the improvement and advancement of public health and are interested in interdisciplinary approaches to working in this field.
As part of your application we ask for a personal statement (approximately 600/700 words) with detailed responses to the following questions:
- Why have you decided to study for the MSc Public Health at this point?
- How do your interests align with the UWE Bristol Public Health programme? In your response please consider our focus on multi-disciplinary approaches and on understanding the social determinants of health, and your own particular research interests, where relevant.
- What skills and qualities could you bring to the MSc Public Health programme and its community of staff and students?
- What are your career aspirations? How will this MSc Public Health help you realise these?
The personal statement forms part of your application, and will be used in the decision making for whether to offer you a place on the course. Failing to provide and/or failing to address the specific questions posed will lead to delays in your application being considered.
We are not able to offer deferrals for this programme. However, we appreciate there may be extenuating circumstances to consider and therefore we will consider requests on a case by case basis.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 6.0 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language requirements.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.