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Public Health - MSc

Why study this course?

The Public Health MSc focuses on wider determinants of health and wellbeing, and is ideal for anyone interested in working to improve population health and health promotion, whether within the NHS, community organisations, government or related agencies. Based on the view that public health strategies reach far beyond the healthcare system, it provides a comprehensive coverage of the twenty-first century complexities of both national and international public health. In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The course will develop your critical understanding of the impact of social determinants of health on populations and the range of political, social, economic, environmental and health interventions that might improve population health.

You’ll evaluate key principles and concepts that underpin public health developments and interprets evidence crucial for decision-making and problem-solving in public health policy and practice. You’ll also understand the ethical dimensions of public health and develop critical reflective abilities and moral responsibility for population health.

A master's degree in public health will provide you with the multi-disciplinary learning and teaching environment that will help you become effective public health professionals and leaders capable of examining situations from multiple perspectives, participating in pro-social action and improving awareness of your own and other cultures to a high level of global consciousness.


You’ll be assessed through seminar papers, presentations, essays, coursework reports, mini projects, case studies, unseen examination and a final dissertation.

You will be required to have:

  • at least an upper second class (2:2) honours degree in a relevant subject or related area (those with relevant professional or technical qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered)

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday

    This multi-disciplinary module examines health and health care in urban settings. It focuses on the notions of urban health crisis, urban health penalty and urban health advantage which are examined by reference to London and other selected “global” and "world cities". It explores the significance for health and health care of London and other world cities by focusing at their position as global cities as the starting point. Hence, students will examine health challenges experienced in London and other world cities by patients, communities, health workers, service providers and local authorities against a background of globalization. The module uses a public health approach grounded in the impact of social and economic factors on health exemplified in the work of the London Health Improvement Board and WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. The module highlights urban and public health issues and inequalities in health status amongst population groups and communities within urban settings. In addition, it analyses the outstanding factors that create differences in health and healthcare systems between global / world cities in the developed and developing world. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for students to develop skills underpinned by global citizenry and attributes that will enable them to engage critically with the process of formulating policy in relation to shifting public health agendas towards health promotion and health care improvement in urban settings in the context of globalisation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester

    This module will allow students to explore the concept of impact assessment drawing on theory, practice and evidence base, using case studies and group activities. Using a variety of techniques and tools that are common practice e.g. community profiling, data analysis, literature review, social science/qualitative research techniques, lobbying, political awareness, partnership working, project management and a team approach students will learn to assess the distribution of effects of different interventions on population groups.

    Please note:

    Oct 19 10-1pm
    Oct 20 10-5pm

    Nov 15 10-1pm
    Nov 16 10-1pm
    Nov 17 10-5pm
    Nov 18 10-2pm assessment

    Dec 14 10-1pm
    Dec 15 10-5pm

    Jan 15 6-8pm revision

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • summer studies morning

    The Dissertation carries triple (60 credits) the weight of a normal module (20 credits) and is designed to give students an opportunity to undertake a substantive independent piece of research on a specific public health issue, policy or practice that integrates the dissertation and course learning outcomes. It is a highly integral part of the Masters award. Students are reminded to pay attention to three aspects of the course philosophy: 1) that this course aims to provide opportunities for developing advanced knowledge and skills to promote public health using a social science approach and focusing at the various social determinants of health; 2) that it also aims at enhancing a broader understanding of key policies and practices influencing developments in public health and health promotion at local, national, regional and international levels; and 3) that the course provides a multi-disciplinary learning environment ‘that helps students acquire attributes as socially responsible global citizens and effective public health professionals and leaders capable of examining situations from multiple perspectives, participating in pro-social action and improving awareness of own and other cultures to a high level of global consciousness.’
    The dissertation builds upon the taught core modules of the programme. Students are required to demonstrate a high level of autonomy and self-direction to integrate, synthesise, apply and evaluate knowledge and skills developed in both core and optional modules of the course by employing a secondary analysis of existing data (comprehensive literature review) or the collection of primary data. Therefore, the dissertation module provides students with an opportunity to reflect critically on a research question in relation to the learning outcomes. Students will need to identify gaps in knowledge or underlying problems and issues in public health within a contextual approach of social science and undertake research to develop an understanding and appraisal for interventions, strategies, policy and practice required to protect or improve population health or improve health and social services. There is no doubt that it may be the biggest test of the academic skills that a student has developed during his or her academic career on this Masters course.
    Full-time students starting the course in the autumn will normally complete the dissertation over the summer period. Full-time students starting the course in the spring will normally complete the dissertation over spring of the following academic year. Students on part-time study may programme to finish in any part of the year (autumn, spring or summer) to fit their individual timetables. Part-time students usually complete the Programme in two academic years. However, part-time study is allowed a maximum of six academic years.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This is a core module for the MSc Public Health programme. The module explores theory, policy and practical aspects of public health and health promotion within a World Health Organisation context and a Faculty of Public Health approach. Students contextualise current public health practice drawing on comparative approaches. The main focus will be key theories, policies and practices influencing developments in public health and health promotion at international, national and local levels. Relevant initiatives and research in strategies and priorities for public health and health promotion such as health inequalities, participation and involvement, partnership working, social determinants of health, life styles and behaviour and population groups will be analysed. The Module also provides an opportunity to examine multiple global perspectives in relation to key contemporary public health challenges.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday

    This module introduces the principles of epidemiology. It focuses on the factors that affect the health and illness of populations with special reference to the impact of social interactions and human activities on populations' health. Emphasis is placed on the understanding of concepts, principles, and methods of epidemiological investigation together with applications of appropriate statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. The module also discusses current theoretical trends in social epidemiology and understanding of psychosocial, politico-economic and eco-social approaches in analysing determinants of health, wellbeing and disease.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    This module is Block delivered, over the Summer period

    Students are introduced to a range of policy initiatives relating to children and families, and practice implications for professionals are critically appraised.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    Ethical Issues in Healthcare
    This module provides an opportunity for in-depth enquiry at advanced level into the ethical dimensions of contemporary healthcare, and examines the application of ethical theories and approaches to practical dilemmas in healthcare.
    Semester: spring
    Assessment: Oral Presentation 30%; Essay 70%

    In the 2014-15 session this module should run in Block - June 9,10, 16 and 17 (10:00-17:00)

    Read full details.
  • Housing Strategy (code SSP131N) introduces students to the role of local authorities in developing partnerships to ensure that residents have decent, affordable housing and sustainable communities. It addresses the need for a strategic approach to housing, evaluates sources of evidence and critically assesses how strategies are developed and implemented. Housing and planning is placed in the wider economic, social and environmental context. The module critically explores how addressing housing problems and building new housing contributes to regeneration and improvements in social cohesion, health and education. Students will have the chance to develop transferable skills that can be used for further study or employment. It is taught in semester A, and there are no prerequisites, co-requisites or barred combinations. The assessment is a 2500 word report, and a 15 minute presentation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday

    This module has been designed to enable students to reflect on their management knowledge, skills and experiences, set their own development goals and draw on a robust theoretical framework and practice skills set to address common management issues. Students will be able to analyse management approaches critically in respect of the quality of service delivery and staff performance and in the context of resource constraints.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday

    This module is closely related to Managing Self and Others. It focuses on the cultural and social context of organisations workign in and with communities and on achieving organisational development and change. It is concerned both with internal relationships, structures and processes, and with external relationships, including partnerships and collaboration.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The module focuses mainly on the micro level of management: managing oneself and relationships with others. Management issues are addressed in the context of values-based organisations whether in the public, voluntary, or community sectors or social enterprises. Participants are introduced to management and leadership theories and relevant policy frameworks in order to facilitate critical reflection on aspects of their management and leadership role. In addition, participants will explore key practice areas, drawing from relevant theories and reflecting on their relevance to their own experience. Particular attention will be paid to time management, leadership and communication skills, assertion, and negotiation skills. Students will also review the developmental role of the leader and manager, and the module will critically explore current ideas and practices regarding enabling change and managing risk, and in working with teams, networks, and inter-professional working groups.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday

    This is a core module aimed at anyone whose work requires a focus on promoting mental well-being with emphasis upon recovery and includes those working on policy, or providers of primary health or mental health services, or a wide range of other types of voluntary, public, or private sector services. It aims to provide students with a broad knowledge base from which to construct and critique interventions designed to promote mental health and/or prevent mental ill-health. Students will examine and analyse structures and support at the individual and service provider levels, and at community and policy levels. This module also reflects on the support valued by people coping with mental ill-health, and on the types of support and treatment that they seek from primary and secondary care services. It will also explore the social exclusion and sense of devaluation a person with a diagnosis of mental illness might experience, and how this might be counteracted. Self management of symptoms and valued coping responses are considered. The concept of recovery is now core to mental health policy and practice and students will be required to identify and critique these developments alongside strategies designed to promote wellbeing.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The module will cover relevant theory, policy, practice and ethical issues. Definitions of partnership working and inter-professional care will be explored, alongside students' own reflections on past experiences. Professional codes and ethics, users’ rights and needs will be discussed, as will professional stereotypes. The impact of policy and organisational issues will be explored in relation to users and carers of services and the implications for working together, including negotiation and decision making. Skills, capabilities and underpinning values will be addressed throughout and include communication, risk management, confidentiality, accountability and shared accountability. As part of the process students undertake small and large group works so some aspects of group and team dynamics will be explored: this will be important for developing self-awareness to allow students to acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses with regard to development planning. Please note we will use examples drawn from real cases as much as possible so the client group or setting is not the key point but what you can learn about the principles and practice of partnership working.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday afternoon

    This module is core for district nursing students and is open to health, social work and other students with an interest in the health and social care of older people. The module explores a range of health and psych-social perspectives in relation to ageing in today's society. Attention is paid to the individual experience and assumptions about older people with regard to current policy and rights through themes - eg the user's voice, values and choices with regard models of caring, hazards and key health concerns.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday

    The module starts from the proposition that the study of social policy includes much more than the study of western welfare states. It examines critically the ways in which societies and communities from the local to the transnational, not just governments, address (or fail to address) basic needs. The module uses a selection of policy examples which aim to address a range of basic needs such as access to paid employment, healthcare, schooling, citizenship, family benefits, in and out of work benefits, pensions, affordable housing, adult care, early childhood education and care. It will look at aspects of these through various analytic lenses, including the impact of policies on social divisions, and the roles of neoliberalism, globalisation, social investment, human development, social development, antiracist and feminist perspectives. The module includes a ‘regional’ approach, covering some of the following: the European Union; Latin America; North America; sub-Saharan Africa; East Asia; the Indian sub-continent. The most prominent approaches to comparative social policy are pervasive, namely: regime analysis, path dependency/institutionalism, and convergent functionalism.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday

    This module introduces students to the concept of public service strategies and how they relate to the public policy making process. It requires you to focus on the strategy making process in an organisation of your choice. An introduction to concepts of strategy, administration and management is followed by an analysis of contexts, core values, problem identification, options analysis, models of decision-making, and implementation. Strategies of, and management of change are a key focus. The evaluation of the success of strategic decisions and an appraisal of ethical issues arising are also considered.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday

    The module aims to provide a critical understanding of the policy process and challenges confronting countries in policy development, analysis, implementation and evaluation. It uses a range of theoretical and practice-based perspectives from social science disciplines to examine the varying contexts in which health policy is developed and implemented.

    Read full details.

Students will take four core modules, two optional modules and a dissertation of around 15,000 words.

Core modules:

  • Public Health and Health Promotion
  • Impact Assessment
  • Social Epidemiology
  • Health in the City
  • Public Health Dissertation

Optional modules include:

  • Strategic Planning and Change Management
  • Cross Cultural Management
  • Management of Health and Social Services
  • Managing Self and Others
  • Developments and Management in Community Care
  • Perspectives of Ageing
  • Ethical Issues in Healthcare
  • Children and Families: Policy and Practice
  • Understanding the Policy Process
  • Mental Health Promotion and Recovery
  • Partnership Working
  • Project Management
  • Researching Communities
  • Managing Change in Organisations and Systems
  • Housing Strategy
  • Social Policy Themes and Priorities: Local, Regional and Global

“What I loved about this course was the teaching staff and their enthusiasm. They engaged me and my peers in a very positive way.”

"What I enjoyed most about this course is how it developed my mind to research more problems of the world, for example, Ebola in West Africa. I appreciate what I've learnt through London Met and I recommend it." 

Olaoluwa Isaac Taiwo, graduate

Completion of the course provides a wide career pathway in population health. Graduates have gone on to positions within the National Health Service (NHS organisations, community organisations, government agencies, local authorities, health promotion agencies, human rights agencies, health sectors abroad, international health institutions, academia, the business and voluntary sectors). Some graduates also undertake advanced research studies.

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

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When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

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