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Public Health (MPH) Part-time

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.

The Master of 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 students 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.

Part-time students take the core modules (normally held every Wednesday) in year one and specialty modules in year two (normally held on Thursdays and Fridays depending on the subject). To gain the Master’s qualification, all students then undertake a dissertation on a suitable public health topic.

Distinctive features

  •  Multi-disciplinary and trans-professional in both its content and the students it attracts. The programme is the product of a collaboration between academic partners and the NHS including the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, Public Health Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and the University of South Wales.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration2 years
Other ways to study this course

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, 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.

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

All students must register initially for the MPH.

The part-time MPH lasts for a total of 27 months, and consists of two stages – “stage T” (taught stage) and “stage R” (research dissertation stage):

Stage T (taught stage)
This stage lasts for 21 months, and consists of six 20-credit modules, totalling 120 credits, at Level 7. 

You will study four core modules and then choose two specialty modules.

Stage R (research dissertation stage)
This stage lasts for a further six 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.

For part-time students, the total normal duration to complete the full MPH programme is 27 months (stages T and R), from the date of initial registration.

You may exit after stage T with a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), if you have gained at least 120 credits, only where this includes the award of credit for all ‘required’ modules.

If you have not obtained 120 credits, but have gained at least 60 credits, you may exit after stage T with a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), only where this includes the award of credit for three out of four of the ‘required’ modules.

Your dissertation, which will normally be of not more than 16,000 words and supported by such other material as may be considered appropriate to the subject, will embody the results of your period of project work. The subject of each student’s dissertation will be approved by the Chair of the Board of Studies concerned or his/her nominee.

The dissertation is worth 60 credits and is weighted 50% for the purpose of calculating the final mark:

Stage Weighting

  • Taught modules 50%.
  • Dissertation 50%.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

Module titleModule codeCredits
Statistical MethodologyMET21220 credits
Basic EpidemiologyMET41320 credits
Applied EpidemiologyMET41420 credits
Health Economics, Policy and PlanningMET41520 credits

Year two

Module titleModule codeCredits
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.

How will I be taught?

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

Statistical methodology is taught alongside Stata, a software package used to compute statistics. This enables participants 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.

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.

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 supported?

The course is delivered via Cardiff University's virtual learning environment (VLE), Learning Central, which will be the prime delivery mechanism for all your course materials and learning contents.  Submission of formal assessments will also be conducted via Learning Central. 

There is an emphasis on supporting students with independent learning in a research-led environment, acquiring high quality practical skills and the development of innovative ideas.

All students are allocated a personal tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who they can contact to discuss progress and for advice and guidance as needed.


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.

How will I be assessed?

Knowledge and understanding is assessed summatively through tutor assessed essays, project reports, poster presentations, oral class presentations and unseen examinations. The assessment for core modules consists of an unseen examination (contributing 50% of module mark) and a module assignment (contributing 50% of final mark). The specialty modules are assessed by written assignments and oral presentations. There are no unseen examinations for the speciality modules.

The MPH dissertation stage will be wholly assessed based on the final dissertation. Expectations for the format, submission and marking of the dissertation will follow the current Senate Assessment Regulations, supplemented where appropriate with additional requirements of the Programme/School/College and any specific requirements arising from the nature of the project undertaken.

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.

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.

'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

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

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

EU students entering in 2019/20 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. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

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

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.