MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Public Health

Entry year
Course code
Health and Social Sciences
One year full-time; two years part-time
Full-time; part-time, starts January
Programme leader
Dr Nick de Viggiani

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 6 August 2020


A professionally orientated award, accredited and the curriculum validated by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA). We have strong links with Public Health directors in the region, who regularly sponsor their employees to undertake this programme.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Public health refers to all organised measures, public and private, to prevent disease, promote and improve health, prolong life and tackle the root causes of ill-health across the diverse populations and environments of the world. Its activities aim to reduce health inequalities by seeking to provide conditions for health improvement and development. The MSc Public Health programme at UWE Bristol is structured around an interdisciplinary curriculum that draws upon social, human, behavioural, environmental and natural science disciplines.

This course is suited to individuals already working or considering working in the areas of public health, health promotion, community development, primary care or health protection. It is also very relevant to those working in public, voluntary, independent and NGO sector organisations, spanning healthcare, social care, local government, education, planning and regeneration, international development, human rights, social justice, and the range of health-related voluntary and community agencies and providers.

Professional Focus

A professionally orientated award, this course has been accredited and the curriculum validated by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA). It is mapped against European, US and UK Faculty of Public Health professional competencies. The programme team has strong links with Public Health departments within the south-west region of England and with Public Health England, who regularly provide sponsorship and placement opportunities for students.

Read about how MSc Public Health student, Elizabeth, worked part-time on a cervical cancer health promotion programme during her course and how this helped to give her a focus for her dissertation.

Fit for Purpose

The course is stimulating, challenging and rewarding in terms of meeting individuals' personal and career aspirations. It provides professionals, researchers and graduates with an advanced contemporary education in public health theory, practice and research. Our primary goal is for graduates to emerge as advanced critical thinkers and analysts, ready and able to challenge and push boundaries in a wide range of contexts.

The course team comprises experienced academics with extensive professional experience, respected research portfolios and strong regional and national reputations. All are research-active, with research grants and publication profiles of national and international significance.  



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):

  • Introduction to 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.
  • Quantitative Health Research (15 credits) - focuses on quantitative research methods and how to apply these in public health contexts.
  • Qualitative Health Research (15 credits) - focuses on qualitative research methods and how to apply these in public health contexts.
  • Health Promotion (15 credits) - develops knowledge, understanding and practical skills in health promotion, a core component of public health practice.
  • Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Disease (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 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.
  • Leadership for Public Health (15 credits) - introduces skills in public health leadership and management, and is strongly practice-orientated.
  • Public Health Policy and Politics (15 credits) - introduces public health policy development and analysis within political contexts, exploring ideology and power in relation to real world public health scenarios.
  • Public Health Economics (15 credits) - examines techniques for measuring social and economic costs and benefits in public health, which is important for evaluating and planning public health interventions and policy.
  • 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.

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.

Study time

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.


Professional accreditation

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.

Study facilities

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.


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.

Read about how this course helped Cherry's career progression.

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.


Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding.

See details of scholarship opportunities for international students.


Entry requirements

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, and will usually be asked to complete a pre-course assignment.

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
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.

You will be required to meet UWEs English Language requirements - International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.

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.

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.

For further information