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MSc Public Health

PG Cert Public Health (online study option)

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

This course gives you the opportunity to explore in-depth public health issues with public health academics, researchers and practitioners. It reflects local, national and international Public Health agendas and you will have the opportunity to focus your assignment work on your own specific public health-related interests. 

You'll learn about epidemiology and critical evaluation techniques to identify what influences the health of national and international populations and use these methods to determine their health status and needs.

Units in Public Health Management Strategies and Health Promotion & Partnership Working will enable you to formulate your own health solutions, consider the role and function of partnership working to improve public health, as well as critically evaluate health strategies.

The field of public health involves a variety of partners and agencies. As such, we welcome practitioners and professionals from a range of backgrounds, not necessarily in healthcare. Students studying Public Health have come from backgrounds such as doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives and community public health workers.

It is also possible to study some units online to gain a PG Cert in Public Health (part-time). 

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


MSc: Typically 1 year full-time, or 3 years part-time. PG Cert: 1 year part-time

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 or equivalent in any subject. Experience of public health working or similar work in a closely related field is normally required. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements

Course details

You can study three units to gain our Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health, six units for our Postgraduate Diploma and a final dissertation unit for our Master's in Public Health. You can also study individual units rather than register for the whole course.

The MSc is available full-time or part-time, a Postgraduate Certificate is also available online (part-time). The online units are Context & Scope of Public Health, Exploring & Evaluating Evidence and Health Promotion & Partnership Working. Please see the IT requirements page for the PC standards that are required for studying online. 

Our Public Health course is academic in nature and is designed to reflect local, national and international agendas for the continuing professional development of the health care workforce. As a student, you will be able to apply for student membership of The Royal Society for Public Health.

On this course you will be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, researchers and qualified professional practitioners.  

Core units

  • Context & Scope of Public Health*: An introduction to the scope of the current public health agenda. You'll gain an understanding of national and international public health issues. The unit will build on your previous experience and knowledge of public health and can form a foundation for studying further units.
  • Epidemiology & Infection: During this unit you'll develop conceptual orientation and knowledge of epidemiological techniques needed for delivering health services to populations. You'll identify what influences the health of population, to assess population health status and need. You'll also develop skills in assessing, planning and evaluating health services and technologies.
  • Public Health Management Strategies: This unit explores the ways public health strategy is executed. You'll evaluate international public health strategies and interventions. Through evaluation you'll begin to create strategies and solutions to public health issues.
  • Health Promotion & Partnership Working*: This module will evaluate the role of partnership working in health promotion, considering the issues involved in health promotion and health promoting partnerships. You'll examine the evidence base for health promotion and partnership working in public health practice and explore issues such as the role and function of different agencies, needs assessment, planning, execution and evaluation.
  • Exploring & Evaluating Evidence*: Learn about the nature of knowledge and the various approaches to research and knowledge production. You'll learn about different research methodologies and how to assess research carried out by others.
  • Developing a Study Proposal: This unit will help you to prepare a proposal for a piece of research, literature review or a practice development study. You'll learn how to draw on evidence for identifying and putting together a research question and approaches to investigating it. You'll also discuss issues related to the enquiry process.
  • Dissertation Project: You'll draw on your previous learning and develop independent study and project management skills. The Dissertation Project will also help you develop specialist knowledge in an area related to your public health interests.

*These three units are available to be studied online and make up a PG Cert in Public Health qualification. 

There is a range of assesment methods throughout the course such as essays, reports, presentations. Students are required to reference their work using the BU Harvard referencing system.  

This course runs from September to September, with your dissertation being submitted in mid-September. As such you would be eligible to attend the graduation ceremony the year after you’ve submitted your dissertation. Upon completion of the course you will receive your certificate in December.

Programme specifications

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Public Health.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

We are looking for applicants who:

  • Are dedicated to improving and advancing public health
  • Are keen to develop academic skills to underpin public health strategies and implement them in practice.

As this course is multi-professional, progressive and reflects local, national and international agendas, it attracts students from a variety of professional and organisational backgrounds who are at different stages in their career and individual development. Previous students have come from backgrounds such as doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives and community public health workers.

Students on this academic course must be committed to partnership working with local communities as well as health promotion. You are therefore expected to possess strong communication and team working skills in order to work collaboratively with others to promote health. With its strong emphasis on the reduction of inequities in health and sustainable approaches to public health action, this course welcomes students who are keen to develop their skills in order to produce innovative solutions to complex issues within and across communities. You will need leadership skills and possess the ability to influence the views and policies of others to positively impact on community health.

Learning methods

You will experience a blended approach to learning, which will include lectures, seminars, presentations, reflection and e-learning, as well as self-guided study.

Assesment involves a range of methods including essays, reports and presentations.

We encourage you to access a range of source material from print-based texts and journals to electronic resources. Students therefore require a sufficient level of computer literacy which will also be utilised when writing assignments. If you aren't comfortable in using a computer with ease it may be worth brushing up on your computer skills before your course commences.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their applications – normally there are no interviews, however students with non-standard entry criteria may be asked for a telephone or face to face interview. Make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. For more information, take a look at our post graduate how to apply pages. 

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 or equivalent in any subject
  • Insight into public health, for example through work experience in a related field or a relevant undergraduate degree.

International entry requirements 

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.


This course will prepare you for a diverse range of roles in public health due to its focus on developing your research skills and knowledge to underpin public health practice. This includes working in a wide range of areas in governmental and non-governmental organisations in the UK or internationally.

Industries worked in

Our students have gone on to work as:

  • Public Health practitioner (Health Visitor)
  • Research Assistant for UK Management Sciences for Health
  • Researcher for the National Institute of Public Health
  • Vaccine Safety Coordinator in Canada
  • Set up the Dolphin Family Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria

*Other students have gone on to work for the World Health Organisation, with charities such as Save the Children and have returned to roles in pharmacy and medicine as well as having had success working as researchers for universities.

Find out more from our past MSc Public Health student who has released a new publication

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

*BU Institutional data

IT requirements

If you are studying the PG Certificate online version of this course your PC will need to meet the following standards to ensure you can easily access all the materials for the course.

PC specifications

The PC specifications required to access our online learning environment, myBU, can be found here. You will need a PC or a laptop to complete this course, an iPad or mobile device won't be sufficient to access the materials or undertake assessment.

Other requirements

You will need access to a Firefox browser, ideally a recent version, and larger than version 3.6
You will need Java Platform Standard Edition - Version 7 and Flash Player version 9+

The following technologies are not supported:

  • Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8
  • Firefox 1.x, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 & 3.6
  • Safari 2, 3, 4, 5 (or any version on Windows)
  • Windows XP 64-bit
  • Mac OSX through 10.6
  • Jre (Java)

Internet connection speed and equipment for video conferencing

You will need a minimum internet connection of 700 kbps (kilobits per second) and for video group sessions a maximum of 8 Mbps. Some examples of the internet requirements are below:

Additional equipment:

  • Headset with microphone- essential
  • Webcam- optional
  • Adobe reader

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: find our price guide 
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages 
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat Units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Your lecturers

The academic staff on this course are all research active in their various fields. Please see their profiles below. 

Professor Ann Hemingway

Ann's research projects include an EU funded project called VeggiEAT which aims to develop an EU platform for predictive modelling of processed vegetable intake that takes into account individual characteristics (acceptability, intake level, age groups) as well as environmental cues (choice architecture and institutional setting). This research will be achieved through the development of consumer-oriented products (sensory analysis); the development of recipes for use by food providers (restaurants, canteens, etc.); and the benchmarking of choice architecture facilitating the consumption of vegetables. The project aims to invigorate the vegetable sector in Europe while addressing in a constructive way the EU objectives of healthier eating at population level. Ann works on this project alongside Professor Heather Hartwell who both teach on the Public Health course. 

Another research project Professor Ann Hemingway's involved in is The Horse Course, which using horses to help young people with difficulties, or people with drug or alcohol misuse to build confidence and reduce behavioural problems. Ann's research is evaluating the program and exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of human and animal connections. 

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen is trained as a medical sociologist and has an interest in mixed-methods research, qualitative research and evaluation research. A large share of his academic work has been in the field of either Public Health or the Organisation of Maternity Care. He has substantial research experience in conducting large-scale comparative studies, often using mixed-methods approaches.

He has have been involved in evaluating large-scale community-based public-health interventions in Scotland funded by, for example, the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government, Edinburgh), the Wellcome Trust, and NHS Health Scotland.

He has also published on various aspects of research methods in a format easily accessible to a lay audience, including a paper on research ethics published in a midwifery journal.

His overseas research is largely based in Nepal. He is involved in the evaluation of a community-based project funded by Green Tara Trust (UK-based Buddhist charity) tries to improve the uptake of antenatal care.

A second one funded by The British Council was awarded in 2009 one of the DelPHE grants to a collaboration between Tribhuban University and the University of Aberdeen and Bournemouth University and a Nepalese NGO. This latest project: Improving Access to Research Literature for Higher Education Institutions in Nepal (PARI Initiative) addresses gaps in teaching, learning and research at Nepalese universities. The project aims to build on capacity of the higher education institutions in accessing and utilising research-based information in the medical, nursing and public health fields.

Professor Ahmed Khattab

Ahmed Khattab is a Professor of medical research & clinical practice at theFaculty of Health & Social Sciences. He was educated and trained at Reading University, Royal Berkshire Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. He also held an honorary position at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals. Ahmed is a physician by training with special interests in general medicine and medicine for the elderly. His research portfolio encompasses a broad range of health and clinical research programmes, including stroke, vascular disease, diabetes, respiratory, autonomic nervous system, neurodegenerative diseases, gastro-intestinal, haematology, environmental and public health as well as education research. In addition to leading and supporting a number of research programmes within the school, he also supervises a number of PhD, DProf, MSc and BSc students. His research group (i) engages in original and applied research in biomedical and clinical areas; (ii) works on the cellular and molecular basis of human disease; (iii) oversees the biomedical/clinical research programmes within the school; (iv) collaborates with local Hospitals and other Universities; (v) participates in the wider University multidisciplinary research programmes; and (vi) trains postgraduate research students.

Ahmed also leads and contributes to the teaching of a number of units at both under- and postgraduate levels. He has undertaken extensive collaborative research with NHS hospitals (at local and regional levels) as well as with national and international academic institutions. He also served on a number of Committees concerned with training and education. In addition to his membership of the UK General Medical Council, Ahmed is a chartered biologist and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health & Hygiene. He is also an active member of the Institute of Health Promotion & Education.

Dr Liz Norton

Dr Liz Norton is a member of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Department of Health Sciences and Public Health. She is also a member of the Bournemouth University Health, Wellbeing and Society Research theme. She has course co-ordination responsibilities for the MSc/ Post Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Public Health. Her teaching/learning facilitating responsibilities mainly relate to Public Health, Health and Research units. Research activity is in the field of public health particularly in relation to the role of the Arts in health and wellbeing and the primary prevention of skin cancer. She has a particular interest in research with young people. In terms of research methodology her interests are in qualitative methods and specifically Glaserian grounded theory.

Dr Anne Mills

Anne has spent much of her professional life working in the field of public health in the United Kingdom and several European countries. She currently works as a senior academic at Bournemouth University, where she is actively involved in lecturing in the field of health promotion to both undergraduates and post graduates.

Her research interests are concerned with understanding and addressing the lived experiences of health inequalities.

What our graduates think

Ramatu Wuni

The course has equipped me with valuable knowledge and skills, I feel more confident analysing issues and applying work place policies and procedures. I have also experienced remarkable improvements in my research abilities and writing skills.

Andrew Kalue

I'm currently working with Brac International as a Research Assistant exploring public health and poverty alleviation. The course was really tailored to meet my needs and I hope to pursue a PhD in the future.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

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