Public Health (Health Services Research)
School of Health and Related Research,
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health
This course teaches a range of techniques used to evaluate health services and public health interventions. The course is a strong foundation for a research degree or an academic career in public health or health services research.
We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School's website.
Accredited by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation
The unit enables students to develop an understanding of the processes and the skills required to undertake a supervised research project in public health. Having successfully completed the unit, a student will be able to: demonstrate researcher skills commensurate with the achievement of a Master's degree; demonstrate independence of inquiry; produce a cogently argued piece of writing that demonstrates researcher competence and the ability to operate independently; address issues of research design, methodology, ethics and theoretical arguments, and locate their own research in relation to these issues.45 credits
Epidemiology is the discipline underpinning both effective public health practice and research into the causes, control and prevention of disease. Knowledge and understanding of epidemiological concepts and methods is a basic requirement for effective public health practice.15 credits
This module will provide an introduction to epidemiology covering key epidemiological concepts; measures of disease; association and causation; confounding and bias. It will also introduce research designs including cross-sectional, ecological, cohort, case-control and intervention studies and introduce population health measures such as screening.
- Introduction to Research Methods
This module provides students with an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods; it covers all stages of the research process from planning and design and research ethics and public and patient involvement, through to data collection and analysis and dissemination stages. It is specifically designed for students who do not have prior research experience and would be suitable for students from a range of backgrounds, but is particularly relevant to those interested in applied health related research. The course also provides a foundation for further learning in specific research methods.15 credits
- Introduction to Statistics and Critical Appraisal
The unit introduces students to basic concepts and techniques such as hypothesis testing and confidence interval estimation in statistics. Students will learn some simple statistical methods and the principles behind some advanced methods such as regression. It will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and critically appraise statistics in research literature.The course is not aimed at 'doers' of statistics, that is, students who are going to design their own studies to collect and analyse their own data. It will not teach you how to analyse, present and report your own data.15 credits
- Key Issues in Global Public Health
This module introduces contemporary and historical public health discourses, policies and practices, before critically examining their practical and theoretical underpinnings. The module goes on to explore the role and actions of key global health players (e.g. individual governments, United Nations organisations, bilateral and multilateral partnerships, local and international non-governmental organisations and health care industries), and discusses the social determinants of health, considering how they might be tackled for improved health equity and social justice. The module then provides an introduction to major public health challenges in the contemporary world, illustrated through health issues (e.g. malnutrition, maternal and child health, mental health, sexual and reproductive health), socio-political issues (e.g. gender equity, trade, conflict, famine), and environmental issues (e.g. climate change, urbanisation, food security, waste management). Lastly, the module concludes by looking forward, in light of contemporary trends, whilst reflecting on lessons learnt, in order to sustainably improve global health in the future.15 credits
- Qualitative Research Design and Analysis
On completing the module students will be expected to be able to: understand a range of qualitative research approaches, data collection methods and forms of analysis; plan and undertake a simple analysis of student-generated qualitative data; critically appraise the methods and results of qualitative research.15 credits
- Randomised Controlled Trials
Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are used to test the effectiveness of interventions. This module covers the appropriate use of trials, the range of trial designs, strategies to optimise recruitment, sample size, outcome measures, the use of economic and qualitative methods alongside trials, the role of clinical trials units, ethical issues and governance procedures. Teaching is lecture-based. Assessment is by written assignment at the end of the module.This module is limited to a maximum of 40 students and prority will be given to ScHARR Masters students and then ScHARR Research students.15 credits
- Health Needs Assessment, Planning and Evaluation
Assessing health needs and tackling health inequalities are key aspects of public health work at the local, national and international level. This module will provide students with an understanding of the main approaches to, and methodologies for, conducting Health Needs Assessments and will equip them with an understanding of programme planning, and the monitoring and evaluation of programmes.15 credits
- Communicable Disease Control
Health protection is one of the cornerstones of public health. The control of communicable diseases is one of the major functions of health protection. This module will cover the principles of surveillance, outbreak management, immunisation programmes, and prevention and control of infectious diseases. It will also present a broad range of common infectious disease topics including HIV, tuberculosis, meningitis, diarrhoeal illnesses and hospital acquired infections. This module would provide the essential foundations for students intending to undertake the Faculty of Public Health Part A/Diploma examination.15 credits
- Further Statistics for Health Science Researchers
The unit covers fundamental statistical concepts, and both simple statistical methods and the more widely used advanced methods of multiple regression, survival analysis and generalised linear models. It will be a practical module, including the teaching of the statistical software SPSS, equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and analyse a study to answer specific research questions; to understand and critically appraise the literature; and to present research findings in a suitable fashion.15 credits
- Economic Evaluation and Healthcare Financing
This module introduces the basic principles of economic evaluation as applied to healthcare interventions and health care financing. The core part of the course focuses on economic evaluation and covers the different types of evaluations that are available and the various stages and techniques that need to be applied to generate results. As alternative techniques are described, the strength and weakness of each will be highlighted, with the students being encouraged to critically appraise their appropriateness to different contexts. The course also introduces the concepts of markets and market failure, models of health care financing and objectives of health care systems.15 credits
- Health Promotion
The module seeks to elaborate on the theoretical background of health promotion with the aim of developing a critical awareness of the key concepts, debates and methods. The module also aims to evaluate a range of health promotion strategies in different fields. Teaching will be presented through a series of lectures and workshops that will also include group discussion, case studies and examples, to develop the lecture themes, and problem-solving skills.15 credits
- Public Health Informatics
Public Health Informatics is a module designed to look at how informatics and information technology can be used to help address some of the major issues in public health. Public health informatics was traditionally defined as the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning (Yasnoff, 2000). In this module, we examine this rapidly changing field, using a combination of lectures, individual and group exercises and self directed learning. Key issues around the local, national and international contributions that technology can make to public health are critically examined and students are given a theoretical and practical grounding in this increasingly important discipline.15 credits
- Systematic Reviews and Critical Appraisal Techniques
To familiarise students with principles of systematic reviews and critical appraisal and the acquisition of skills necessary to undertake such work. The unit includes an introduction to information systems; principles of systematic literature reviews and critical appraisal; search strategies; computer-assisted search methods; practicalities of writing up the results of a systematic review; introduction to Meta- analysis; and dissemination of findings.15 credits
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
You’ll be taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent study.
Assessment is by coursework, examinations and a dissertation.
- 1 year full-time
Our public health masters graduates go on to work in very diverse areas, although many find work in a health or public health setting. Of particular note is that a significant percentage go on to undertake further doctoral/PhD study or to work in research or academic settings, which we feel reflects the quality of our research-led teaching in preparing and inspiring students.
Recent graduates from our public health course are now working in the UK, in information analyst roles, in senior public health management positions, in health promotion activities, researching in universities, and as public health specialist in the local authority and in the NHS. Internationally, students have found excellent opportunities in governments, health departments, universities, hospitals, as well as non-governmental organisations, undertaking leadership roles, public health programme interventions and evaluations, research, and policy-making.
2:1 honours degree, or a medical degree or significant experience in public health.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 5454
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.