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Public Health

About the Course


Minimally 1 year full- time.

Minimally 2 years part-time.


This Masters level programme responds to the developing public health agenda under the newly formed Public Health England and will be distinguished by a significant health promotion content.

The public health workforce comprises a diverse range of professionals including those who work within the NHS, local government and academic departments. The evidence that future national and international governments will continue to support health promotion and public health is overwhelmingly strong, not least because of the economic incentives to prevent ill health. The Coalition Government has moved public health to the centre of England’s health agenda and the public health practitioner and post-graduate public health specialist workforce is becoming more cohesive and professionalised every year, a trend that is set to continue. The Coalition wants the public health capacity of the whole public health workforce to rise (DH, 2013). In 2008, the NHS Workforce Review identified public health as a key workforce priority and requested that Higher Education Institutions, “… ensure that training in all healthcare professions maintain and increase a strong focus on the development of competencies in public health, including health promotion” (p4). The public health White Paper: Healthy Lives, Healthy People (DH, 2011) and the related Public Workforce Strategy (DH, 2013) emphasise the need to develop quality health and wellbeing services for all ages across the health and social sector that address key lifestyle challenges, health inequalities and the wider determinants of health and wellbeing. This will be achieved by enabling a range of students from different disciplines and professions to critically analyse theory, research, policy and legislation; advance scholarship and develop practice.


This MSc Public Health programme aims to critically engage students with the theories, principles and practices that relate to level 7 and 8 public health competencies (Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (PHRU 2013) Skills for Health: Bristol).  Students will also analyse how these translate into their workplace setting.  

In England, The Healthy Lives Healthy People White Paper (DH, 2010; 2011) and the Public Health Outcomes framework (2012-2016) (DH, 2012) clarify the Coalition Government’s plan for public health in England, and recognise that the health and wellbeing of the population rests with individuals, local government, NHS, charities/voluntary sector, business, employers and central government. The Public Health Outcomes Framework comprises four domains:

  •  Improving the wider determinants of health (improvements against wider factors that affect health and wellbeing, and health inequalities)
  • Health Improvement (people are helped to live healthy lifestyles, make healthy choices and reduce health inequalities)
  • Health Protection (the population’s health is protected from major incidents and other threats, while reducing health inequalities)
  • Healthcare public health and preventing premature  mortality (reduced numbers of people living with preventable ill health and people dying prematurely, while reducing the gap between communities)

This MSc Public Health addresses all four domains.                                                        

The MSc Public Health learning outcomes are informed by the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (PHRU/Skills for Health/PHORCaST, 2013) as well the International Union of Health Promotion and Education: CompHP Professional Standards for Health Promotion (Speller et al, 2012).


Generic compulsory modules
(offered to both MSc Public Health and MSc Health & Wellbeing)

  • Promoting Health & Wellbeing
  • Research Approaches and Methods

Compulsory modules

  • Principles of Public Health
  • Essentials of Epidemiology
  • Social Aspects of Health

Optional modules

  • Community Development
  • Global Public Health
  • Modules within MSc Health & Wellbeing including Negotiated Learning module
  • A module offered at another European University subject to this being organised by the Erasmus programme.

You will initially undertake the 20 credit compulsory module Promoting Health and Wellbeing which will be offered every year. It will introduce you to the core theoretical concepts related to understanding and improving health and wellbeing. Three other public health compulsory modules will be offered every year: Principles of Public Health; Social Aspects of Health; Essentials of Epidemiology.  

The two public health optional modules: Community Development and Global Public Health will only run if they attract a viable number of students. You can choose other modules from the MSc Health and Wellbeing in their place to gain sufficient credits. These include a shared Negotiated Learning module which will allow you to develop specialist knowledge on an individually negotiated topic about which you are particularly interested or which directly relates to your work.  Additionally, once arrangements are in place, you may be able to study one module at another European University through the Erasmus Programme. For those wishing to be awarded the MSc, you must also undertake the Research Approaches and Methods module in preparation for undertaking your dissertation.

Available awards

There are three exit points; Postgraduate Certificate Public Health, Postgraduate Diploma Public Health and MSc Public Health.   

To be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate Public Health students must complete three modules totalling 60 credits at level 7. These must include the generic compulsory module Promoting Health and Wellbeing, the compulsory module Principles of Public Health and one more module offered within the MSc Public Health programme or MSc Health and Wellbeing programme.  

To be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma Public Health, students must complete six modules totalling 120 credits at level 7. These must include the generic compulsory module Promoting Health and Wellbeing; the three compulsory modules Principles of Public Health; Essentials of Epidemiology and Social Aspects of Health; and two more modules offered within the MSc Public Health programme or MSc Health and Wellbeing programme.   

To be awarded the MSc Public Health students must complete 180 credits at level 7. These must include the compulsory generic module Promoting Health & Wellbeing; the three compulsory public health modules: Principles of Public Health, Essentials of Epidemiology and Social Aspects of Health; Research Approaches and Methods and a 40 or 60 credit dissertation project.


The programme starts in September each year at the Canterbury campus although it is envisaged that the Research Approaches and Methods module will run in semester 1 at Medway Campus and semester 2 at Canterbury Campus. Full-time is minimally 1 year. Part-time study is available to UK students, minimally 2 years duration. Each module is normally delivered over 6 days from 10am -4pm.

Entry Requirements

The University is committed to a non-discriminatory policy on admissions to its programmes.  Entry requirements for this programme are in line with University policies on widening participation and equality of opportunity. Applicants should normally possess:

  • a relevant first degree in health/ social sciences
  • a professional registration to practice in health and/or social care or equivalent  

Students accessing the MSc Public Health have to meet the recommended requirement of any International Student accessing programmes in the United Kingdom (UK), the application process will be followed according to the University procedures.  

Students should normally be working in the field of practice relevant to their proposed study or have sufficient access to it to support their studies if, for example, they are European or international students.  

Consideration is given to other graduates or non professionally-registered specialists, who can demonstrate the relevance of the award to their professional and career development.

Programme Fees

Programme fees for UK applicants: up to date fee information is available here.

Programme fees for overseas applicants: please contact the International Office for details.

How to Apply

UK candidates apply on the standard university application form obtainable from the Programme Administrator  Sara Church
Tel: 01227 782364          
or email:

For further details about the programme, contact Friday Adejo, senior lecturer, on 01227 782173 or email:

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing