Taught course

Public Health

University of Glasgow · School of Medicine

Entry requirements

A relevant first degree, at least at 2:1 honours level, or equivalent in addition to a minimum of six months work experience in public health or health care. Exceptionally, if a first degree is not relevant then a professional qualification and experience in the practice of public health for at least two years at a professional level is required.

Months of entry


Course content

The science and art of public health is a major force. Designed for the 21st century practitioner, this Masters in Public Health reflects the multidisciplinary nature of public health with a flexible, innovative curriculum. You will study under the supervision of some of the country's leading experts.

Why Glasgow?

  • The University of Glasgow has been involved in teaching public health since 1839. The Master of Public Health (MPH) programme has been taught since 1981. Over the years the programme has responded to the changing emphasis in public health debates.
  • Teaching is provided by academics and practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines including; Health Protection Scotland, Environmental Health, and Public Health Medicine and Business/Management.
  • Public health has a central role in guiding clinical practice, influencing health policy and improving population health. If you work or intend to work in an organisation which has public health responsibilities or aims to improve population health; and you want to develop knowledge and skills around the theory and practice of public health, this programme is designed for you.
  • The Academic Unit was among the earliest to move towards a multidisciplinary range of courses involving staff from a number of areas. Currently disciplines represented include health protection and health promotion, epidemiology, sociology, psychology, statistics and health economics.
  • Public health practitioners are drawn not only from the health services, but are also employed in the education system, national and local government, the voluntary sector, as well as industry or commerce. In essence, anyone who works or intends to work in an organisation which has public health responsibilities or aims to improve population health.
  • This programme is multidisciplinary in focus, including health protection and health promotion, epidemiology, sociology, psychology, statistics and health economics.
  • You will benefit from our teaching which is provided by practitioners from a wide variety of agencies and disciplines including Health Protection Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, public health medicine, environmental health and business/management.

Programme Structure

You will attend interactive lectures, seminars and individual tutorials and take part in lab, project and team work.

Core courses

  • Principles of public health
  • Introduction to statistical methods
  • Introduction to epidemiology
  • Research methods.

Optional courses (three courses chosen)

  • Communicable diseases
  • Economic evaluation
  • Environmental health
  • Further epidemiology and statistics
  • Globalisation and public health
  • Health economics
  • Health promotion: principles and practice
  • Managing healthcare organisations
  • Oral health (this course is offered every second year)
  • Psychosocial approaches to public health
  • Qualitative research methods.

If you are studying for the MPH, you will also undertake a research project of 15,000–20,000 words.

Core Courses

Introduction to Statistical Methods (Semester one)
1. To introduce fundamental concepts in biostatistics, especially uncertainty, variation, estimation and comparison.
2. To examine statistical issues in study design.
3. To introduce the most commonly used methods of analysis of data.
4. To give students a framework for critically reading published papers.
5. To give students experience of carrying out standard statistical analysis of small data sets using a computer.

Principles of Public Health (Semester one)
Aims: This course provides an introduction to the degree programme. It outlines the meaning of Public Health and the factors that influence health in different settings. It will also introduce students to specific public health activities and challenges.

Research methods (Semester one)
Aims: This course aims to introduce the key principles of, and skills used in, public health research. The course aims to give the students both theoretical grounding and practical ‘hands on’ experience of research skills. It will explore the whole research process from identifying a topic of interest, through to presenting and disseminating results. In addition to introducing public health research designs and methods, the course provides the foundations for successful completion of the Research Project.

Research Project (Semesters one, two and three)
Aims: The Research Project is an independent learning exercise and creates an opportunity for the postgraduate student to carry out an original piece of work. This may consist of the following:

Introduction to Epidemiology (Semester two)
Aims: To introduce students to the epidemiological approaches that are used to understand the health of populations.

Optional Courses (choose three)

Qualitative Research Methods (Semesters one & two)
Aims: To provide students with the knowledge required to understand qualitative research as applied to research in public health.

Communicable Diseases (Semester two)
Aims: To review the threats to Public Health from communicable disease and appraise the tools available to respond to these.

Health Economics (Semester 2)
Aims: This unit aims to provide students with a basic understanding of health economics, its value and limitations. It will familiarise students with the principles of health economics and the techniques of economic appraisal.

Health Promotion: Principles and Practice (Semester two)
Aims: To introduce students to the principles, methods and theoretical approaches to Health Promotion. Including the planning and evaluation of health promotion programmes at local, regional and national levels.

Managing Health Care Organisations (Semester two)
Aims: The aim of this course is to provide an introductory overview of Managing Health Care Organisations and organisation theory, drawing on areas that have particular relevance in the public health context.

Oral health (Semester two)
Aims: Provide an update on the aetiology and prevention of caries, periodontal disease (PDD) and oral cancer.

Psychosocial Approaches to Public Health (Semester two)
Aims: To explore the main psychological and sociological concepts of direct relevance to public health.

Environmental Health (Semester two)
Aims: To understand the role of the physical environment in determining health status and perpetuating inequalities in human health.
To be familiar with strategies for measuring and controlling environmental exposures for public health purposes.

Economic Evaluation (Semester three)
Aims: To develop skills in economic evaluation and decision analysis and to provide an environment in which to practice/apply these.

Further Epidemiology and Statistics (Semester three)
Students must have successfully completed introduction to epidemiology and introduction to statistical methods before undertaking this course.
Aims: To build on the concepts and methods introduced in the introductory courses on statistical methods and epidemiology
To introduce students to the application of more advanced, but commonly used, methods of analysis of data; to give students practical experience of the application of these methods to the analysis of data using a statistical computing package (STATA).
To demonstrate the application of epidemiological principles and interpret the rationale for and results of statistical analyses applied to specific areas including cardiovascular disease, cancer and psychiatric disease.

Globalisation and Public Health (Semester three)
Aims: To provide an overall view of Globalisation and its impact on public health. To examine the major themes within the globalisation debate from different disciplinary perspectives. The course will also examine a number of major global health challenges and their overall impact on the Global Burden of Disease.

Career Prospects

Career opportunities include specialist registrar and consultant positions in public health, lecturer, clinical university teacher, health development manager, public health advisor, health programme specialists, epidemiologist, research positions.

Information for international students

IELTS: overall score 6.5; no sub-test less than 6.0; ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20. CAE: 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169 CPE: 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169. PTE Academic: 60; no sub-test less than 59

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24-36 months


full time
9 months
part time
18-33 months


part time
10 months
full time
5 months

Course contact details

Miss Margaret Ashton