Taught course

Doctor of Public Health

Teesside University · School of Health and Social Care

Entry requirements

The admission criteria to the DrPH course is outlined below:

  • a UK honours degree (2.2 and above) or its equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in a relevant subject
  • applicants with a master’s degree in public health from a UK university can join the course at year 2 full-time or year 3 part-time through advance standing arrangements
  • applicants with a master’s degree in public health from an overseas university can be able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and if approved can join the course at year 2 full-time or year 3 part-time
  • other University standard entry criteria apply.

The full-time route lasts a minimum of four years and a maximum of five years, and the part-time route lasts a minimum of five years and a maximum of six years. The DrPH provides a smooth academic and/or career progression if you have undertaken the MSc Public Health/MPH. Students joining the course with a Teesside University MSc/Master of Public Health qualification can join the course at year 2 through advance standing arrangements to study the level 8 modules. Students with a master’s degree in Public Health (MSc/MPH) from another university are able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and also join the course at year 2.

Months of entry


Course content

Public health is rapidly becoming one of the most recognised areas to focus attention on in terms of improving health and quality of life of populations. The need to expand and develop the public health workforce locally, nationally and internationally is well established.

Course Details

As population structures continue to become dominated by ageing populations, rates of chronic illness increase, emergency of complicated infectious diseases (such as Ebola, Zika, HIV), and health and social care budget cuts, there has never been greater emphasis on preventing disease and improving public health and wellbeing. There is an increasing urge to move from viewing health concerns through lenses of biomedical models to biopsychosocial models. This demonstrates the need to develop more intricate multidisciplinary approaches that blend medical, allied health, nursing professionals, psychologists and sociologists working together to improve health and quality of life of populations – an initiative that requires effective leadership.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) cultivates effective leadership skills among current and future leaders in public health practice enabling you to develop advanced knowledge and competency in translating current best evidence into public health practice. You develop advanced critical thinking, administrative and problem-solving skills relevant for a dynamic contemporary public health practice environment. You develop a unique ability to analyse and understand the complex global public health issues, and provide sustainable evidence based solutions for improved health outcomes.

The DrPH also enables you to become a fully independent public health researcher able to take the lead on your own learning and research. You have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside experienced and prolific researchers in public health, supporting you to engage in public health research, and to develop a record of wide dissemination and publication – important aspects in your career progression towards achieving a consultant position. The tutors on your course are all specialists in their areas with much expertise and skill in their disciplines. A number of external experts also contribute to modules including health protection experts from Public Health England, environmental health experts from the local authority, public health commissioners from a range of backgrounds and emergency planning officers who run a simulated event for students.

What you Study

The DrPH course is made up of a taught part and a research part. The taught component consists of six Level 7 modules totalling 120 credits and three Level 8 modules totalling 120 credits. The research component carries a total of 300 credits. You undertake a public health research project and produce a robust thesis that is defended through a viva voce examination.

You can study this course full-time or part-time. It’s also available on attendance, distance learning and flexible modes of learning. The full-time route is a minimum of three years and a maximum of four years, and the part-time route a minimum of four years and a maximum of six years. The DrPH provides a smooth academic and/or career progression from the MSc Public Health/MPH. If you hold a master’s degree in public health/MPH from a UK university, you can join the course at Year 2 and complete the course in two to three years full-time or three to five years part-time. If you studied a master’s degree in Public Health/MPH from an overseas university you can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and if approved, you can also join the course at Year 2.

The course incorporates an optional placement, which you can undertake within public health practice settings to enable you to integrate real practical experience with theoretical knowledge. This enables you to gain a holistic understanding of the issues and complexities within contemporary public health practice.

Where you study

The attendance mode of the course is delivered at Teesside University main campus in Middlesbrough. The course is also available by distance learning, allowing you the flexibility to study anywhere at your convenience.

Course Structure

Core modules

  • Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project
  • Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project Preparation and Management
  • Data Analysis Methods
  • Epidemiology
  • International Public Health
  • Leadership and Management in Public Health
  • Promoting Scholarship in Public Health by Writing for Publication
  • Public Health in Context
  • Public Health Project Specific Negotiated Learning Module

The learning and teaching methods throughout the entire course focus on developing independent learning skills that you need to succeed on the course and to accomplish a key component of the course, which is the final Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project. The specific strategies therefore have a heavy focus on student-led learning and aim to foster your abilities to engage in a critical discussion of the content being delivered and to apply core knowledge and concepts to develop your own understanding of the complex issues in public health and research practice. The course can be undertaken either by attending taught classes, as distance learning or through a mixture of both attendance and distance learning.

Attendance learning

You learn through a variety of teaching methods, including seminars, IT practical sessions, guided independent study, tutorial support and supervision. Within seminars the focus is on student-led debate and discussion to challenge you to develop your ability to think critically and to support you in developing the skills to defend your standpoint on issues relevant to your research and practice development. Students on the attendance mode are encouraged to embrace e-learning through using the virtual learning environment (VLE) which is used as a repository for learning materials including pre-reading materials, guided independent study and extra reading after sessions. Learning is supported through the use of the student cohort community (SCC) which is a student-led, peer-support mechanism based on the principles of action learning. The SCC aims to enhance retention and progression through peer support and provides a mechanism for staff and students to work in partnership to enhance student learning.

Distance learning

If you are undertaking the course through distance learning, teaching methods include use of the VLE where written learning materials, narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, interactive structured learning materials and activities are put. As a distance learning student you are encouraged to participate in a range of discussion forums using VLE platforms such as the discussion board, wikis and blogs. Through use of Panopto software you are able to join live sessions at a distance if you wish. Panopto software is the University’s platform that supports distance learning – it has a webcast live feature which allows users at a distance to attend sessions synchronously. More support for distance learners has been built into all modules to ensure parity in the learning experience between distance learners and attending students. Learning is supported through the use of the online learners’ community café which is a peer support mechanism for distance learners. You are required to contribute to the topical discussions using online platforms on the VLE, for example the discussion board, wikkis, blogs.

Flexible learning

Flexible learning includes a mix of both attendance and distance learning and you have a choice regarding the sessions to attend and those to learn at a distance.

How you are assessed

The assessment methods guide you towards developing the academic skills necessary for studying at doctoral level and to achieve the learning outcomes of the course.

A variety of assessment methods are used on the course. Formative assessment is used in a number of modules to support your learning and provide you with the opportunity for feedback on your academic skills and the development of your academic writing and referencing skills before you attempt the summative assessment.

Summative assessment methods utilise a range of approaches such as written reports, statistical analysis, written research proposals, oral and written exam, essays, action plan write up, case study write up, defended poster, journal article for publication, a thesis for the research project and a viva voce examination. The range of approaches used enable you to develop your theoretical knowledge, research skills and key transferable skills including written and verbal communication, IT and numerical skills; relevant for public health professional practice and research.

Work placement

You have the opportunity to undertake an optional fellowship placement in semester 3 of the first year (full-time) or second year (part-time). The placement is in a public health practice setting, for example at the Department of Public Health in Middlesbrough, or the World Health Organization. The placement activities are wide ranging including working with a team of experts to implement and evaluate public health interventions in communities. You are expected to develop a reflective portfolio to evidence your learning on the placement.

The course addresses core public health competencies outlined by the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health. Successful completion of the course should enable you to successfully pass Part A Faculty of Public Health examinations.

Career opportunities

This course supports you to leave university well prepared to lead public health teams, initiatives and projects both in the UK and internationally and assists you as a public health professional to prepare for management and leadership roles reflected in the contemporary public health workforce needs. The Doctor of Public Health is highly recognised by all public health professional bodies and key international and UK public health employers place high regard in a candidate with the qualification.

Information for international students

Applicants whose first language is not English will need to satisfy the English language requirements which are a minimum overall score of 6.5 IELTS and 5.5 in each band.

Fees and funding

For funding information, please contact the University Finance Office on +44 (0)1642 342171 or email finance@tees.ac.uk

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
60 months
distance learning
72 months

Course contact details

School of Health & Social Care Admissions
+44 (0)1642 384110