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Public Health (MPH)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

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Why study this course

Video for Masters in Public Health

The Master’s in Public Health programme is multi-disciplinary and trans-professional in both its content and the students it generally attracts. The MPH has been run successfully in Cardiff since 1989 and has a national and international reputation.

COVID19 UPDATE The mode of delivery for this programme (2020/1 entry) has been altered due to the COVID19 pandemic. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff, we have taken the decision to convert the first term of this programme to fully online distance learning. We will review the pandemic situation constantly and make an informed decision about whether the second term will also be delivered online or face to face as soon as we are able to. If you have any questions at all, please contact the Postgraduate Medical Admissions Office at

The Master's in Public Health (MPH) course aims to deliver high quality, integrated, multi-disciplinary learning for leadership and problem-solving across the broad field of public health. 

It is a required course for public health trainees in Wales preparing for the examination for membership of the Faculty of Public Health, for whom a supplementary course is available.

The course aims to provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Quantitatively and qualitatively assess the population’s health and health needs, including the determinants and status of health and well-being and development of effective action.
  • Critically assess the evidence relating to the effectiveness of health and healthcare interventions, programmes and services.
  • Promote the health of populations by influencing lifestyle and socio-economic, physical and cultural environment through methods of health promotion, including health education.
  • Protect the public’s health from communicable and environmental hazards.
  • Collect, generate, synthesise, appraise, analyse, interpret and communicate intelligence that measures the health status, risks, needs and health outcomes of defined populations.

Full-time students take core and specialty modules concurrently. To gain the Master’s qualification, all students then undertake a dissertation on a suitable public health topic.

Distinctive features

  • The course is multi-disciplinary and trans-professional in both its content and the students it attracts
  • Taught by world-class experts in a collaboration between academic partners and the NHS including two World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centres, the Schools of Medicine and Social Science at Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Swansea University, Public Health Wales NHS Trust, and Public Health England
  • Cardiff University’s position within the heart of the Welsh capital provides students with outstanding access to public bodies including the Welsh Assembly Government, NHS Trusts and Public Health Wales. In Cardiff, all of the elements of Public Health are working together in one place, providing students on this course the unique opportunity to form part of this dynamic collaboration by undertaking projects with supervisors across public health research and practice
  • The MPH has been run successfully in Cardiff since 1989 and has a national and international reputation. The course is designed to fit closely with the syllabus of the UK Faculty of Public Health and to take account of the changing nature of public health practice globally
'I have learned so much about the different areas of public health from the team associated with this programme. The Team’s tireless pursuit of academic excellence and professional insight were a source of constant encouragement and strong motivation for me to achieve this Masters. I’ve returned to India with increased knowledge and priceless suggestions. I am extremely grateful for their unrelenting support and guidance throughout'
Pooja Public Health (MPH). Graduated July 2016

We're committed to delivering programmes that are innovative and relevant, providing the best learning outcomes and career prospects for our students. In light of this, we're currently reviewing some elements of this programme. As such, the details shown are subject to change and indicative only. You can still apply now. We'll update this page and contact all offer holders when the review is complete to confirm any changes.

Where you'll study

School of Medicine

We are of the largest medical schools in UK, committed to the pursuit of improved human health through education and research.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2068 7214
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

The course is suitable for those from a wide range of health backgrounds, including dentistry, environmental health, health information, health planning, health promotion, health service evaluation, health service management, social work, medicine, veterinary medicine, nutrition, and nursing.

In addition to satisfying the Cardiff University General Entrance Requirements, including English Language requirements, applicants will normally possess an initial degree in Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health or other related field or a cognate subject, awarded by a recognised Institution, at 2:1 level or higher.

Non-graduates may also be accepted provided the applicant is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Head of School or nominee that they have held, for a minimum period of two years, a position of responsibility relevant to the programme.

Typical IELTS offer: An overall IELTS score of 6.5,(with at least 5.5 in all other sub-scores)

All applications will be considered on an individual basis by the selection committee. Overseas applications should be received in good time before the start of the programme, preferably by June. UK-based applicants may be invited to attend for an informal discussion.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The full-time MPH lasts for a total of 50 weeks, and consists of two stages – “stage T” (taught stage) and “stage R” (research dissertation stage):a taught stage and a research dissertation stage.

Taught stage
This stage lasts for approximately nine months, and consists of six 20-credit modules, totalling 120 credits, at Level 7.

You will study four core modules plus choose two specialty modules.

You may exit after this stage with a Postgraduate Certificate if you have gained at least 60 credits, only where this includes the award of credit for three out of four of the required modules.

You may exit after this stage with a Postgraduate Diploma if you have gained at least 120 credits, only where this includes the award of credit for all required modules.

Research Dissertation stage
This stage lasts for a further three months, and includes a dissertation of 60 credits at Level 7, to achieve a combined total of 180 credits at Level 7 to complete the MPH programme.


The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Statistical MethodologyMET21220 credits
Basic EpidemiologyMET41320 credits
Applied EpidemiologyMET41420 credits
Health Economics, Policy and PlanningMET41520 credits
Dissertation: Public HealthMET05860 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Health ImprovementMET21320 credits
Health ProtectionMET21420 credits
Global HealthMET41020 credits
Leadership and Management in HealthMET41620 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Each module involves face-to-face lectures, followed by a small group teaching exercises or practical sessions. Several are supported by online learning materials.

Statistical methodology is taught alongside Stata, a software package used to compute statistics. This enables you to learn theoretical concepts and their application.

The communication of ideas and team work are an integral part of all modules, and form a part of the formative assessments in all modules. Promotion of basic IT skills is integrated into modules and learning technology support is available to those who need it.

Each module has its own learning outcomes. These outcomes are achieved through such means as recommended reading texts, self-directed learning and self-assessed tasks, formative and summative assignments and the final dissertation.

Studies at MPH dissertation level will largely consist of guided independent study and research, making use of the extensive learning and research facilities available. A project supervisor will be allocated to support and advise you on researching and writing up your specific dissertation topic. A formative module on Research Methods will be delivered online via Cardiff University’s online learning platform, Learning Central.

How will I be assessed?


Knowledge and understanding is assessed through:

  • Group wikis (formative & summative)
  • Online quiz (formative)
  • Group oral presentations (formative & summative)
  • Peer review (formative & summative)
  • Individual written assignments (formative & summative)
  • Personal reflective notes on what students learned and how they will apply learning to practice (formative & summative)

There are no unseen examinations.

The dissertation stage will be assessed based on an oral presentation (summative – 20%) and written report (summative – 80%). Your dissertation will embody the results of your period of project work.

How will I be supported?

We place an emphasis on supporting students with independent learning in a research- and service-informed environment, acquiring high quality practical skills and the development of innovative ideas.

You will be allocated a personal tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who you can contact to discuss progress and for advice and guidance as needed. 


Feedback is provided throughout the modules via formative exercises and class interaction. Formative assessment is through practical exercises and class presentations and written feedback is provided. Feedback is also provided on summative assessments, and where appropriate through on-line discussion boards and simulation exercises.

Formative feedback will be communicated through electronic and written means in a timely manner. Summative feedback on assessment will be delivered within the timeframe set by the University.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in this Master’s level course, you will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of skills and abilities you can apply to any professional setting. In addition to greater conceptual understanding of current knowledge, issues and methods, you will have the opportunity to practise and develop abilities in critical analysis, the application of evidence based medicine and in dealing with complex issues systematically and creatively. 

Your studies should also help you develop your problem-solving and decision-making abilities by enabling you to utilise evidence effectively and communicate important concepts to colleagues and others. Through the research focused elements you will have the opportunity to develop and enhance skills in aspects such as literature review, critical evaluation, research design, research methodologies, data collection, data analysis and research ethics.

After fully engaging in the taught stage of the course, you should be able to:

  • Apply the principles, theory, philosophy and practice of public health in your field of professional responsibility
  • Understand the important historical and cultural contexts determining the public’s health to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of different courses of intervention
  • Use a knowledge of the critical issues at stake in modern public health to appraise the effect of interventions on different social groups
  • Critically assess research and be able to evaluate its relevance for public health
  • Synthesise and evaluate primary and secondary data
  • Achieve on a personal basis high quality public health practical skills
  • Design, use and analyse different public health techniques
  • Sustain a critical argument, both in writing and through presentation
  • Write for different public health stakeholders
  • Keep clear and accurate records
  • Listen effectively and communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral, written and practical means
  • Work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • Use IT, e.g. the internet, databases, spreadsheets, word processing, Computer Aided Design packages

After fully engaging in the MPH dissertation stage, you should be able to:

  • Use acquired knowledge and understanding, and specific research skills, to initiate and plan your own research project on an agreed body of relatively advanced independent research that must be closely related to public health
  • Apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of public health to the analysis of a defined and relevant public health issue.
  • Plan and evaluate an independent research project
  • Evaluate and apply different interpretations of events and issues relating to public health
  • Develop with confidence and competence a research design and strategy, working hypothesis, and methodology in public health and carry out research, including data collection and analysis
  • Sustain a coherent argument that engages with the existing knowledge in the chosen area of study, exercise critical judgement on the information and arguments that they offer, and complete a well-structured and clearly-presented Master’s dissertation

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

EU students entering in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. The Welsh Government has not yet confirmed fees and funding for EU students starting in 2021/22. We will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will need a reliable computer with high speed internet access (and up-to-date virus and malware protection) and appropriate software. 

Career prospects

MPH graduates can choose to enter the workforce, either in the public health or healthcare sector, or indeed apply public health principles in any other sector (e.g., housing, engineering, urban design, architecture, computer science, business, entrepreneurship, law, or journalism). Graduates may also apply for further training in research (e.g., PhD) or practice (e.g., fellowships, specialist training, etc).

The course helps students in their preparation for the UK Faculty of Public Health Part A examinations, enabling graduates to pursue professional careers in public health as well as a wide range of other careers, including postgraduate research.

This Masters programme enables you to demonstrate you are taking the opportunity to develop your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and in dealing with complex issues. The programme is not a substitute for a formal specialty training programme but studying at this level should help successful students demonstrate numerous academic skills that should be highly regarded in relation to their career development and progression. In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in relation to the application of evidence-based medicine and the potential enhancement of services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in relation to taking on greater responsibilities or perhaps seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.

"Studying the Master of Public Health (MPH) course at Cardiff University provided me with invaluable knowledge and skills when it came to applying for Public Health Specialty Training. I recently secured a place to start the specialty training, and I'm certain that having already commenced study of the MPH made the difference between being successful or not."

Oliver Williams, MPH student (enrolled 2018)

‘With a background in Environmental Geoscience I had a lot to learn about Public Health. However, with the enthusiasm and supportiveness of staff and public health experts, I completed the MPH feeling proud of what I had achieved. The comprehensive nature of the taught modules provided a detailed grounding, enabling me to apply and explore the wider context based on this knowledge. The culmination of my studies was the dissertation, where I had the opportunity to analyse raw data from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), to explore risk factors in severity and death from Hepatitis E in refugee camps in South Sudan. Upon completion of my MPH, I was motivated to continue my Public Health research and took up a PhD studentship at the University of Birmingham, with the objective to inform health interventions for indoor air pollution in Urban Rwanda. The skills and knowledge gained from the MPH have been invaluable during my first months of my PhD, enabling me write a paper for publication using pilot data.’

Katherine Woolley, MPH 2017-18


Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


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