Postgraduate MSc

Public Health

School of Health and Society





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

On this course, you'll receive instruction in core public health skills including epidemiology, statistics and research methods. As well as giving you the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of a range of topics; evidence-based public health and 21st Century Global Public Health Challenges. The focus of the curriculum is on the social determinants of health (which makes it unique among the other Greater Manchester universities).

This course aligns to the Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (2016). In this regard, the course will equip you with the core skills you'll need to to effectively interpret and understand key areas of health research and how this can be used to inform and drive policy. You'll also  learn how to use this insight to inform and drive public health.

During your time with us, you can tap into the expertise and skills of our partners, who include external public health practitioners and research staff from across the University. Whilst the programme does not include a placement, or work experience, students have the opportunity to work on external  or internal applied research projects as part of their dissertation.

One of our strengths is the small class size (typically less than 30 students per year) which enables close liaison between students and the leading research staff who will be teaching and mentoring students.

The University of Salford’s School of Health and Society is an institutional member of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

You can read more about the Public Health team and activities on our blog: 

You will:
  • Gain a public health qualification that explores the social determinants of health
  • Be exposed to a range of important issues that are recurrent in public health practice both nationally and globally
  • Develop a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach to public health

students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to understand the social determinants of public health issues


You want to help shape government policy


You want to work internationally

Course details

All about the course

The MSc Public Health adopts a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach, focusing on the social determinants of health.

The taught modules will give you core public health and epidemiology knowledge and skills, research methods and quantitative analysis skills, and give a focus on health inequality and the social determinants of health. You will also be exposed to a range of important issues that are recurrent in public health practice both nationally and globally.

This course runs full-time over one year or two/three years part-time, giving you the chance to exit with the following awards:            


  • Postgraduate Diploma: four modules over eight months                  
  • Masters: four modules plus a dissertation over one year                  
  • There is no option to complete the PgCert on a full-time basis                  


    • Postgraduate Certificate: two modules over eight months                  
    • Postgraduate Diploma: four modules over two years                  
    • Masters: four plus a dissertation over two or three years 

    Four of the modules on this programme are available as standalone for the purposes of continuing professional development: 

    21st Century Global Public Health Challenges

    Epidemiology and Statistics for Public Health 

    Evidence-based Public Health 

    Research Methods Applied to Public Health 


    Epidemiology and Statistics for Public Health

    You will gain advanced knowledge of the principles of epidemiology and statistics in public health along with how to design a simple epidemiological study and understand the key concepts of the study protocol. You will develop the capability to thoroughly and critically assess health status, health needs and analyse the biopsychosocial factors that determine a person's health. 

    Research Methods Applied to Public Health

    In this module you will learn about contemporary issues and debates in research, the nature, role and context of research in health and social care and the theoretical issues and approaches to research. You will master developing research questions and hypotheses, search for evidence and information and form a critical review of existing research.

    Evidence-Based Public Health

    You will develop an understanding of the key determinants of health and an awareness of the social context of public health and the importance of using the current best evidence in making decisions in the areas of health protection, disease prevention, health maintenance and promotion.

    Study Skills for Public Health

    This module will help you to develop the academic skills you will utilise throughout the course, together with providing you with a deeper understanding of research and how it applies to public health. Undertaking this module will help you to develop the personal and professional skills needed for study and your future careers and provide you with practical examples of innovative research projects, both external and internal. This non-credit bearing module is highly recommended for all students on the programme and is compulsory for international students on a Tier 4 visa.

    21st Century Global Public Health Challenges

    This module will allow you to increase critical awareness of the key global public health challenges for the 21st Century and develop a critical understanding of approaches to improving global public health, including the role of systems, policy and practice, and the use of digital and media technology.


    Students will have the opportunity to choose a dissertation topic of their choice, with tutorial assistance from the public health team. This will enable you to tailor your own research to your own needs. This dissertation will allow you will allow you to showcase critical knowledge and application of research/inquiry methods, critical knowledge of salient professional and clinical organisational issues and other issues relating to your practice. You will need to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of research/inquiry techniques applicable to your area of practice to enhance research and advance scholarship.

    Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

    What will I be doing?


    To accommodate different learning styles and prior student experiences, a combination of teaching and learning strategies are used throughout the course. These include: course comprises a structured teaching programme within which a variety of teaching methods will be used, to include lectures, case studies, individual and group work, independent learning, student-led presentations/discussions, seminars.

    • Lectures
    • Case studies
    • Individual and groups work
    • Independent learning
    • Student-led presentations/discussions
    • Seminars

    You will also have access to the University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, where you can tap into online resources including discussion boards and wikis.

    Teaching is over 10.5 hours per week across two days.


    Assessment will be based on a variety of strategies to include:

    • Written assessments
    • Examinations
    • Project reports
    • Oral presentations
    • Research project/dissertation

    The School of Health and Society

    The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

    We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

    Staff profiles

    The Public Health team comprise:

    • Dr Margaret Coffey
    • Professor Penny Cook
    • Dr Anna Cooper-Ryan (Programme Leader)
    • Alex Clarke-Cornwell

    Individual profiles of these staff can be found at:

    Employment and stats

    What about after uni?

    Professionals who wish to develop the skills and knowledge to take a lead role in areas such as prevention, promotion, protection and international health.

    With this qualification, you'll be well placed to apply for public health roles in local or national government health departments. The range of jobs varies widely, and can include health promotion, health policy development, research or health advocacy.

    Full time students on this course can apply for student membership with The Royal Society of Public Health. Upon completion of the course students are eligible to apply for a fellowship membership with The Royal Society of Public Health.

    A taste of what you could become

    A Local or National Government Worker

    A Health Policy Developer

    A Health Researcher

    An International Health Worker

    Career Links

    Lecturers on the MSc Public Health have close links with a range of national and international agencies and community partnership, most through research, with an ‘applied’ focus. Examples of these links include: The World Health Organisation’s Collaborating centre for Research in Oral Health in Deprived Communities; The Royal Society for Public Health; The NHS; Department of Health; Strategic Health Authority; and The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

    The benefits of these links to students include: research informed teaching; a strong applied focus to the programme; the opportunity to engage with key public health professionals and practitioners; and access to an exciting seminar series, including speakers of international renown.


    What you need to know


    This course is suitable for you if you want to develop an understanding of public health problems and intelligently appraise the debates over contemporary public health issues.

    We are looking for applicants who are passionate about working towards improving public health and reducing health inequalities.

    We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

    English language requirements 

    International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English - IELTS 6.5 band score or above are proof of this. If your current English language qualification is below this level, you may be able to take one of the many pre-sessional English courses.

    Standard entry requirements

    Undergraduate degree

    We will accept an Honours degree, normally a 2.2 or above, preferably in a health-related subject.An equivalent academic or professional qualification from the UK or elsewhere.

    Alternative entry requirements

    Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

    We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

    The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

    Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

    How much?

    Type of study Year Fees
    Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
    Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
    Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
    Additional costs

    You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

    Scholarships for international students 2019/20 and 2020/21

    To celebrate the University of Salford's expertise global health and wellbeing, high achieving international students may apply for our Public Health International Excellence Award. There are two awards worth 50% of the tuition fee. For other international scholarships, click here.

    Apply now

    All Set? Let's Apply

    Enrolment dates

    September 2020