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School of Medicine and Population Health,
Faculty of Health
We are encountering new challenges in public health – for example, the obesity crisis – that means the focus of public health bodies is shifting away from traditional communicable diseases. With new challenges come more opportunities to improve population-level health.
This course covers the broad range of knowledge and skills required for public health practice around the world. You’ll explore how public health principles apply to professional practice and how research processes apply to public health. Your understanding of public health approaches will be increased, as will your knowledge of health service organisations, management and economics.
The course welcomes students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.
Continuing Professional Development
All modules on this course can be studied as standalone CPD modules. It is possible to complete standalone modules and then apply to transfer to an MSc/PGDip/PGCert qualification. Any time spent on the CPD route counts toward the time-limit a student has to complete their chosen qualification.
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Book a 15-minute online meeting with our school postgraduate taught courses director to find out more information and ask further questions.
Accredited by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA)
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.
- 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
- Introduction to Research Methods
This module is offered across several programmes. Learning activities for the module are tailored to your individual specialist areas to provide learning that is relevant and specific to your chosen degree programme.15 credits
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.
- 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
- Disaster and Emergency Management
Disasters and emergencies can strike any community. It is not a question of whether a disaster will occur but when. However, the likelihood, scale and impact of a disaster can be minimized through appropriate emergency planning, preparation and response by the community, governmental and non-governmental organisations. This module will cover the key concepts of disaster and emergency management, explore some of the contemporary issues and develop students' knowledge and skills in this field.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
- Contemporary Health Psychology and Behaviour Change
Health Psychology is a rapidly growing field of study as there is increasing awareness amongst health professionals of the need to focus on social and psychosocial as well as biomedical aspects of illness. This module provides an introduction to contemporary research in this area, covering both traditional mainstream approaches and newly emerging critical studies. Topics covered include: models and approaches within health psychology; psychological approaches to understanding and changing health behaviour; the experiential aspects of illness; patient-provider communication; stress and health; and the application and relevance of contemporary work in global and cultural context.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. These topics draw on economic theory and use it to identify possible solutions to health system problems. Health system performance measurement will also be covered, linking the economic and health system content to empirical studies.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
- Leading and Managing Health Services
This module, which is delivered face-to-face, integrates the principles of managing public health care services, quality improvement and leadership on rapid changes and advances in regional, national and international contexts. Principles of public health management will be demonstrated through case-based teaching, in order to enable students to understand how to solve common managerial and improvement project related problems. Cases will be used to illustrate the complexity of the operating environment for public health and health care services. Students will be supported in developing critical thinking about the relative effectiveness of different approaches to management and improvement by analysing their own health care services (or another service) within a broader cultural, political and policy context. Over the course of the module students will work in small groups in class to gain practical understanding of how to apply management and leadership theories and styles in different health care contexts.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
- The Sociology of Health and Illness
The sociology of health and illness module involves studying how society is structured by looking at the patterns of relationships that have an existence over and above individuals. In this respect it looks at how health is distributed as a consequence of how people are related to each other in a number of ways. This involves looking at how, for example social class, and gender relations result in varying patterns and experiences of health.15 credits
The module goes well beyond this however. In this module you will also undertake a journey to study social organisation. What this means is that you will be looking at how the collective ideas of, for example health, can shape what we think is good and bad about health. We will be exploring how our very ideas about health can be controlled and manipulated, and how these ideas are historically located.
Beyond this sociology is also the study of what things mean to people. A large part of the sociology of health involves understanding how people relate to each other both rationally and emotionally through what things mean for them. Not only this but we will explore how the meaning of health can shape encounters with various health professionals including doctors, health promoters, dentists and various different therapists.
- 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
- Using Policy to Strengthen Health Systems
The module seeks to build on students' own experiences and knowledge of policy and public health systems. During the module, you will work individually and also in groups to develop a critical understanding of policy within particular public health systems. You will consider how policy to strengthen public health systems is developed and how improvements might be targeted at any combination of the regional, national, district, and community levels.15 credits
In the module, policy is interpreted broadly as 'purposeful and deliberate actions' through which efforts can be made to reshape or address issues within public health systems and is about power and politics (cf. Gilson, 2012). Public health systems are understood both as public health systems (covering, for example, health protection, health promotion and health care public health) and, more narrowly, as health care systems. The module is suitable for students with a broad public health and health care knowledge, but also for those with more limited experience.
- 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
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.
An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.
Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.
You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent study.
You will be assessed through coursework, exams and a dissertation.
Our public health masters graduates go on to work in a variety of 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.
I love the University and Sheffield as a city. I did my undergraduate degree here and didn’t want to leave. Whilst what I learnt was related to public health, such as disease outbreak management, the problem solving skills can be applied to other areas in the future.”
Master of Public Health
Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree or a relevant medical degree.
We may also consider your application if you do not meet the standard academic requirements but you have considerable relevant professional experience in public health.
We also accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.
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 now 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.