MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Public Health

Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
One year full-time; two years part-time
Full-time; part-time; starts September
Programme leader
Dr Stuart McClean

This course is open for applications.

If you wish to study this course from January 2022, please visit the 2021/22 course page.

Page last updated 11 November 2021


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 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.

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.

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.

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
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.

Selection Process

We are looking for applicants who are committed to the improvement and advancement of public health.

As part of your application we ask for a personal statement (approximately 600/700 words) with detailed responses to:

  • 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 the importance of understanding the social determinants of health, and our research areas, 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.

Applicants applying from a background other than Social Science, or from a non-conventional background with no relevant public health experience, might be asked to complete a Pre-Course Assessment. This is an opportunity for us to see whether or not this is the right course for you, and to identify where there might be some knowledge gaps. It is for your benefit.


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.

For further information