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 - Discover our Public Health Global 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.
- Public Health Nutrition - Discover our Public Health Nutrition master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn to develop the skills to become a public health nutritionist.
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.
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
- a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) - you'll usually study for around 15 weeks and will not need to write a dissertation
- a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) - you'll usually study for around 30 weeks and will not need to write a dissertation
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.
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.
This course is accredited by:
“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. ”
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
In light of COVID-19, we’ve made changes to some elements of course delivery for 2020-21. For details as to how this has changed delivery for this course, please view the Addendum to the Programme Specification PDF.
To apply for a master's of public health you’ll need at least a 2:2 degree in a health sciences, biomedical or medical subject.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need an overall score of 7.0 and the following scores for reading, writing, listening and speaking:
IELTS score requirements
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
COVID-19: we've made some changes to the structure of the course for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
Your studies will run for a full year, from September through to the following September.
If you’d like to take longer to complete this MSc Public Health you can study part-time over 2 to 5 years.
If you decide that you’d like to change to a different public health specialism within the first 2 weeks of term you’ll be able to change your degree.
On this course, you’ll study several taught modules over the first 8 months. In the final 4 months you’ll complete your dissertation.
The structure of this Public Health MSc is:
- 5 core modules addressing public health
- 2 to 4 modules you choose from a range of options
- a dissertation, which may be a professional, work-related project or a research project
Each 5 ECTS module is up to 100 hours of learning, and each 10 ECTS module represents up to 200 hours of learning.
You should expect to spend about 16 to 20 hours on campus every week.
Between your on-site learning you’ll take part in online discussions and seminars to support your independent learning; these take place through our online learning environment. Our academic team will support you throughout these sessions.
What you'll study:
The core modules will give you a strong grounding in public health, covering everything you’ll need to start a career as a public health practitioner, an academic researcher, or a public health analyst.
You'll learn how to:
- develop, plan and evaluate public health projects
- initiate health behaviour change using social marketing and media, community engagement and advocacy
- conduct epidemiological studies, looking at elements such as chance, bias, risk estimation and hypothesis testing
- apply quantitative analytical techniques
- use the SPSS statistics software programme
- use methods of data collection and analytical techniques to conduct qualitative research
You’ll be able to specialise even further with your choice of optional modules. Options include:
- advanced statistical methods
- health service organisation and evaluation
- communicable disease control
- geographical information systems
- critical issues in global health
- food systems and public health
- health economics for public health
Your dissertation gives you the chance to pursue your interests in your choice of topic. Previous dissertation subjects have included:
- integrated offender management housing in Hampshire
- treatment non-completion in tuberculosis patients in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
- the development of intervention strategies to reduce visual impairment in Cape Town, South Africa
- interventions maintaining or enhancing junior doctors’ well being
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our modules for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules:
You must also choose from the following modules:
Learning and assessment
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our learning and assessment methods for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
There's a strong focus on interactive learning in this public health degree, bringing together theory and practice. We’ll help you to develop a reflective and problem-solving approach to your practice.
You'll work closely with students from a wide variety of backgrounds and will learn from sharing diverse experience.
Your exact learning activities will depend on the modules you take. As well as lectures and tutorials you'll learn through:
- problem-solving exercises
- interpretation of data
- computer demonstrations
You’ll be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent learning.
We'll assess you thorugh a variety of methods, including:
- position papers
- reports and briefings
- team debates
- gap analysis
- written exams and essays
- research proposals
Your dissertation can be either a research or a professional project. You’ll need to complete a 6,600 word report and present a summary to an audience.
You'll be supported by a personal academic tutor and have access to a senior tutor.
When writing your dissertation you’ll be supported by a primary supervisor on a one-to-one basis.
“The MSc Public Health equipped me with the skills I needed to successfully gain employment and flourish in roles with a local authority public health team.” Rachel Brown, MSc Public Health
This master’s of public health is very applied. Learning reflects real-world multi-disciplinary teams and assessment is by practical tasks. This will prepare you well for employment across the sector. MSc public health jobs include:
- a practitioner in public health, developing, implementing and evaluating policies and programmes
- an academic researcher
- a public health intelligence officer, looking at the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases
Possible job roles include:
- public health policy analyst
- programme manager
- field consultant
- health educator
Previous graduates have gone on to work for the Medical Research Council, Health Education England, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Portsmouth City Council, charities such as Action against Hunger and private food companies such as Waitrose.
Some graduates go on to take a PhD and some are working for themselves as independent consultants or educators.
You’ll also gain transferable skills that will improve your employability in whichever career you choose, including:
- how to conduct research projects
- collaboration, negotiation and influencing skills
- effective communication using a range of methods
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £18,812.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
International Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarship
You are eligible for this scholarship if you:
are an international student who hasn’t taken a master's with us before
are enrolling to start a master's in September 2020
gained a 1st class honours degree at undergraduate level
If you meet these criteria you’ll be awarded an automatic £3,000 scholarship. This will mean a £3,000 reduction in your tuition fees. We’ll confirm your scholarship in your offer letter.
Unfortunately this offer isn’t open to UK / EU students.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
Single module (CPD) applications
To apply for a single module (CPD), you'll need to fill in a physical application form that you can download from our continuing professional development pages.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
You may also be asked to provide:
- a degree transcript
- a reference
- evidence of professional qualifications
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000