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Courses / Postgraduate / Public Health (MSc)

Public Health (MSc)

Master of Science
1 year
Course Type
University Hospital Southampton and Highfield
Next course starts
September 2022

About this course

Learn how to prevent and manage communicable and non-communicable diseases around the world. This broad and practical Public Health Master’s focuses on vocational learning, to prepare you for work in real-world scenarios. You’ll be able to tailor this degree to your interests.

This master's will give you the skills for a career that makes a difference. Graduates have gone onto to public health careers for government and public bodies in the UK and abroad, including the Medical Research Council, Public Health England, local government, ministries of health, universities and charities.

Through this course you’ll learn how to:

  • develop, plan and evaluate public health programmes
  • initiate health behaviour change using social media, community engagement and advocacy
  • apply quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques
  • use the SPSS statistics software programme

You can personalise this course to your interests through optional modules and your dissertation. In previous years students have worked closely with real-world partners on dissertation projects, including the Ministry of Defence, Age UK and city councils.

Public health is an interdisciplinary profession, and this is reflected in your learning. Your lecturers are academics who are actively involved in research or are working in the sector. They’re experts from across the University, in Medicine, Health Geography, Demography, Social Science and Management.

We offer 5 pathways on our MSc Public Health degree. If you’re not sure which area of public health you want to specialise in this general pathway gives you the chance to explore a number of different areas, from advanced statistics to communicable disease control to food systems.

Your other Public Health MSc pathway options are:

  • Public Health Global Health - Discover our Public Health Global Health master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn the links between health, climate change, urbanisation and conflict.
  • Public Health Intelligence - Discover our Public Health Intelligence master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn how to collect and analyse public health intelligence research.
  • Public Health Management - Discover our Public Health Management master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn to apply systems thinking to global and local health issues.

This global health degree is available to take as an intercalation degree for undergraduate medical students. Intercalation means that you'll take a year out of your undergraduate medicine degree to gain this extra award.

Flexible study

If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
  • a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 to 5 years

  • a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) - study full-time over 1 year or part-time over 2 years

  • a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) - study the same course content as the master’s degree but with no dissertation, full-time over 1 year, or part time over 2 to 4 years

You can also take a single module as part of continuing professional development (CPD). Explore modules that are available as CPD

Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.

Course lead

Dr Penelope Nestel joined the Faculty of Medicine in 2006 and is a Principal Teaching Fellow. Since being at Southampton she has led the development of the MSc in Public Health with its four pathways (Global Health, Intelligence, Management, Nutrition).

Before joining us she worked in international nutrition for over 25 years and was involved in research, managing large research portfolios.

She has worked for Tulane University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and the International Food Policy Research Institute.


“Our personal tutors and lecturers take a personal interest in us and provide support whenever it is needed. The facilities and teaching at Southampton are excellent. ”
Alex Lister, 2019 graduate

Course locations

This course is based at University Hospital Southampton and Highfield.

Awarding body

This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.

Download the Course Description Document

The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.

Changes due to COVID-19

Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2021 to 2022. We're working hard to plan for a number of possible scenarios. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.

Find out more on our COVID advice page.

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