Qualifications Explained- Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH)


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Search Online MPH programmes from UK universities. 

What Is Covered by Public Health Practice

Public Health focuses on improving a population’s health and well-being by limiting the impact of disease, injury prevention, ageing and protection against environmental health hazards. Public health aims to improve well-being by promoting healthy choices and reducing health inequality. It works towards these goals by influencing how society organises itself, allocates recourses and manages health care and health systems through researching and presenting evidence, guiding policy and education campaigns.

Public Health practitioners can work in a wide range of roles, from monitoring and assessing a population’s health to research positions investigating and promoting evidence and knowledge for advocacy and influencing government policy.

The field of public health has led to considerable improvements in individuals’ quality of life and life expectancy, from promoting clean drinking water and immunisation to tobacco control. As populations and our understanding of the environment become more complex, so is the field of contemporary public health and policy advocacy to address these challenges.

While this page primarily focuses on Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health, the information is just as useful for prospective students interested in studying an MPH on campus.

Studying a UK Master’s in Public Health

An MPH is a taught postgraduate qualification that can be completed in one-year full-time or up to 5 years part-time and online. Unlike in some countries, MPHs are open to medical and non-medical graduates in the UK.
A public health master’s is an interdisciplinary professional degree focusing on addressing public health challenges and improving healthcare systems. As such, these courses typically cover a range of core modules, followed by a specialisation module and a final major project.

MPH Core Disciplines

An MPH comprises a number of core modules that aim to cover the areas below and shows how they interrelate into professional practice.

Biostatistics: Biostatistics involves the application of statistical methods to biological and health-related data, helping researchers analyse and interpret findings in areas such as genetics, clinical trials, and public health studies.

Epidemiology: Epidemiology is the study of patterns, causes, and effects of diseases in populations, aiming to understand and control the spread of diseases through research, surveillance, and preventive measures.

Environmental Health: Environmental Health focuses on assessing and managing environmental factors impacting human health, such as air and water quality, food safety, occupational hazards, and the built environment.

Health Policy and Health Administration: Health Policy and Health Administration examines the development, implementation, and evaluation of healthcare policies, as well as the management and leadership of healthcare systems and organisations, to improve the overall quality and access to care.

Social and Behavioral Sciences: Social and Behavioral Sciences explore the influence of social, cultural, and psychological factors on health and healthcare, aiming to understand and address issues related to health behaviour, health disparities, and the social determinants of health.

MPH Specialised Modules and Degree Titles

After completing the core modules, students take one or two specialisation modules. The modules can cover a diverse range of topics, from reducing the health impacts of climate change to strategic management.

Example titles of MPH specialisation modules

  • Global Health Economics
    Leadership and Management in Public Health
  • Data Analysis for Epidemiology
    Global Public Health and Risk Management
  • Pandemics: Preparedness and Health Services Response


Some programmes focus on a particular area and offer specialisations around that topic. These courses often have specialisation in the degree title, for example, Public Health & Health Promotion Msc Online or Public Health & Behaviour Change MSc Online.

MPH Research Project

The final part of an MPH is a public health project. This work can take various forms, depending on the student’s interests and career goals. The MPH research project allows students the opportunity to delve into a specific area of public health and make a meaningful contribution to the field.

This work involves research skills and research methods, drawing meaningful conclusions and proposing evidence-based health improvement recommendations to demonstrate they have a critical understanding of the subject matter.

Example project titles and public health research covered in the final project.

  • Exploring the Impact of Community-Based Interventions on Childhood Obesity Rates in Urban Areas: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”
  • “Assessing the Effectiveness of Tobacco Control Policies in Reducing Smoking Rates among Adolescents: A Comparative Study of UK and European Countries”
  • “Examining the Socioeconomic Determinants of Health Inequalities in Urban Communities: A Mixed-Methods Approach”
  • “Evaluating the Implementation and Impact of School-Based Mental Health Programs on Student Well-being: A Case Study of Secondary Schools in London”
  • “Investigating the Role of Social Media in Shaping Sexual Health Behaviors among Young Adults: A Quantitative Analysis of Online Health Campaigns and User Engagement


MPH Entry Requirements

Each university sets its own admission requirements, and the grades required for undergraduate study and levels of work experience will vary between institutions.
Most Uk universities offering an MPH will look for the following.

  • 2:1 or above in a relevant undergraduate degree, such as medicine, health sciences, biological sciences or environmental sciences.
  • Relevant work experience
  • IELTS 6.5 or above for non-native speakers


In addition to the above, applicants are normally required to include the following in their application.

  • An up-to-date CV
  • A personal statement
  • Two professional or academic references


Applicants with solid work experience and career exposure may gain admission to an MPH with an undergraduate degree below 2:1. If you are unsure if you qualify, we recommend contacting the university admissions team to review your background.

Online MPH Time Commitments

A full-time MPH can be completed in 12 months. However, most professionals taking an online MPH are balancing existing work and family commitments and completing the master’s degree over 2 to 5 years.

Broadly speaking, you will need to be able to dedicate around 10 to 15 hours a week to study when looking at completing a master’s degree part-time over two years. Again we recommend asking the admissions teams about the time commitment when you are applying.

Online Master of Public Health Fees

An Online MPH from a UK university can cost between £7,000 to £15,000, depending on the university. Some universities offer lower tuition fees for international students from specific regions taking an MPH. Brunel University Online is one of them.

If you are a UK resident, you can access a UK government-funded Master’s Loan. Unlike an undergraduate student loan, you can use a master’s loan for tuition fees and living costs while studying. We have more details on our Master’s Loan information page.


What Qualification Is MPH?

A Master of Public Health (MPH) is a taught postgraduate degree which provides an advanced level of learning that equips graduates for strategic roles in public health. It is a multidisciplinary course open to medical and non-medical graduates. An MPH aims to equip professionals to work in roles to increase health, quality of life and life expectancy.

What Career Can I Do with a Master’s in Public Health?

Public Health offers a broad range of careers and specialisations. From analysing, interpreting and communicating data about public health to health visitors and community specialists, directly impacting health and well-being.

Example job titles that MPH graduates can go on to achieve.

  • Director of Public Health
  • Environmental Health Professional
  • Health Trainer
  • Health Visitor
  • Occupational Health Nurse
  • Public Health Academic
  • Public Health Consultants and Specialists
  • Public Health Knowledge and Intelligence
  • Professional


What Can I Do with a Master’s in Public Health UK?

Graduates with an MPH can find roles in the following sectors.

The Public Sector– the NHS, Education, Th Civil Service and local government.

The Private Sector– Consultancy firms and larger organisations dealing with worker and environmental safety.

The Third Sector– Woking with charities, non-governmental organisations, and social enterprises in both the developed and developing world.

What Is the Difference Between an MPH and an MSC in Public Health UK?

An MSc in Public Health is a research degree designed to prepare graduates for careers in academia and research. They have a focus on quantitative and qualitative research methods. A Master of Public Health (MPH) is a professional degree that aims to equip graduates for roles in the public health sector.

What IELTS Score Is Required for MPH in the UK?

An MPH is a postgraduate qualification and requires an advanced level of English. Most universities ask for a minimum IELTS of 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each section, reading, writing, speaking and listening, to gain admission.

Be aware that some universities may ask for higher IELTS scores, and it is always best to ask the admission team about the entry requirements once you have narrowed down your choice of programmes so you can prepare accordingly.

What Do You Need for a Master’s in Public Health in the UK?

Generally, most UK universities look for an undergraduate degree at 2:1 or above. In addition, courses will look for relevant work experience and in some cases, applicants can be considered where they have strong work experience but do not hold a degree at 2:1.

Some universities will ask for a minimum maths level at GCSE or A level. Each university sets its own entry requirements, so we recommend contacting the universities and getting their feedback if you are unsure if you are a suitable candidate for an MPH.

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