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Masters Public Health (Distance Learning)


Public Health (Distance Learning) - Programme Specification

This course is accredited by the Agency for Accreditation of Public Health Education in the European Region (APHEA) which is the accreditation body of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).


The MSc in Public Health provides the knowledge and skills necessary to address diverse global public health issues. The course covers promoting health and prevention of diseases; the provision and evaluation of treatment and care; and the investigation and control of environmental threats to health. The emphasis is on the use, development and evaluation of conceptual models, methods of analysis, and practical, effective interventions.

Courses draw on a wide range of health and social science disciplines. They are interactive, using exercises that build on the personal experience of participants. Students can choose a more general course or specialise in one of the following four areas:

  • Public Health (General)
  • Public Health (Environment and Health)
  • Public Health (Health Promotion)
  • Public Health (Health Services Management)

Applicants come from diverse backgrounds. Many are health professionals working at a service or policy level, while others wish to obtain public health skills that they can apply to their work in development, community services, government, research or teaching.

Course objectives

  • the knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of populations, communities and disadvantaged groups
  • the ability to apply the core disciplines of public health (statistics, epidemiology, health economics and social research) to real world health problems
  • a deeper understanding of public health issues and an academic qualification that will enhance your career development in health-related fields

For a more detailed breakdown of how elements of the courses support and achieve learning objectives see the Programme Specification (PDF)


Nkhafwire Mkandawire MSc Public Health

  • a web-based learning environment (including web conferencing, allowing you to engage in academic discussions with tutors and fellow students)
  • personalised feedback from teaching staff and advice on assignments
  • communicate with other distance learning students, either individually or through learning support groups.

Course summary

  You study Study period Cost (2015-16)
MSc EITHER 14 modules OR 11 modules plus a project report 2-5 years £11,770
Postgraduate Diploma 10 modules 2-5 years £9,300
Postgraduate Certificate 6 modules 1-5 years £6,850
Individual modules Studying individual modules is an ideal option if you wish to update your professional knowledge or sample the programme. The fee per individual module (core PHM1 modules) is £1,140 but for elective modules it is £1,710.

Course Structure

Postgraduate Certificate: 6 modules (4 compulsory core modules + 2 further PHM1 modules)

Postgraduate Diploma: 10 modules (4 compulsory core modules + 2 further PHM1 modules + 4 elective modules)

MSc: 14 modules OR 11 modules and a project report (4 compulsory core modules + 1 stream-specific PHM1 module + 1 further PHM1 module + 1 stream-specific PHM2 module + EITHER 7 elective modules OR 4 elective modules and a project report)

For the Diploma: At least 2 modules must be taken from the selection group PHM2. The remaining modules can be chosen from the selection groups listed below.

For the MSc: At least 4 of the elective modules must be taken from the selection group PHM2 (including the stream-specific compulsory module). The remainder can be chosen from the selection groups listed below.

The Postgraduate Certificate

The Certificate comprises the four core modules which are also common to the Diploma and MSc courses:  

All students take two additional PHM1 modules, selected from:

The Postgraduate Diploma

To complete the Postgraduate Diploma, four elective modules (in addition to the four core modules and two further modules) must be studied. At least two of these (three are recommended) must be taken from the PHM2 list below.

The Masters Degree (MSc)

Students registered for the General stream must select eight modules from the list below OR complete five from the list (of which at least four must be PHM2 modules) and a final year project.

Students registered for a specialised stream (Health Promotion, Environment and Health or Health Services Management) must select seven modules from the list below in addition to the stream-specific compulsory PHM2 module OR complete four from the list (of which at least three must be PHM2 modules), the stream-specific compulsory PHM2 module, and a final year project.

Note that restrictions and pre-requisites may apply to some of the modules below. Not all modules will be available every year.

Project Report

All MSc students have the option to apply to undertake a project report specific to their chosen stream, which is equivalent to three module credits.

Combining DL studies with studies at the School - "blended learning" study

After successful completion of a minimum number of core modules, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc students may also be eligible for the 'blended learning option', which allows for the study of up to two modules only (from a restricted list) at LSHTM in London during the Spring or Summer terms in place of distance learning modules. Please note that these options, and the dates when the modules are held at the School, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all DL students in July each year. The fee for attending LSHTM in-house modules is payable directly to LSHTM, not to the University of London International Programmes, and is in addition to the distance learning course fees.

Method of assessment

All distance learning modules are assessed by means of a two-hour unseen written examination (with 15 minutes planning/reading time at the start of the examination).

PHM2 modules and elective modules from the other distance learning courses - EPM2, IDM2, IDM3 and IDM5 modules - are assessed partly by the two-hour unseen written examination (70%) and partly by an assessed assignment (30%), submitted electronically to the School by a set deadline.

Examinations take place once a year in June (please note: it is not possible to hold examinations at other times of year). These are normally held in a student’s country of residence: please click here to view details of the examination centres available. They are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. Students taking distance learning examinations will need to pay a fee to their local examination centre. Please note that if you fail an examination at the first entry you will be allowed one further attempt, if you have failed the module overall.

Credits awarded

Credits will be awarded for all elements successfully completed: 10 credits for each PHM1 module; 15 credits for PHM elective modules; and 45 credits for the project option. To successfully pass an award, the following credits must be gained:

Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits
Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
MSc – 180 credits

How you study

You study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines), using the comprehensive study materials provided, with learning support from our academic staff. The academic year runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, during which time tutorial support is available. Students carrying out projects are assigned personal supervisors to support their project work throughout the summer. Deadlines for submission of coursework vary per course but are usually in March, May, August and September.

Study materials

You receive your study materials after you register. Study materials may include Subject guides, Readers, Textbooks, CD-ROMs/additional computer software (e.g. Stata), Past examination papers and Examiners’ reports, and Handbooks. You also have access to the school’s online library resources.

Academic Requirements

A second class honours degree or the equivalent, in a subject appropriate to the course, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London; and a minimum of one year's relevant work experience.

Students who do not satisfy the above requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the School on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

Applicants who do not satisfy the above requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the University on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

Language Requirements

For awards at FHEQ level 7, students must provide satisfactory evidence showing that they have passed within the previous three years a test of proficiency in English at the following minimum level:

  • TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 in the computerised test) and a minimum of 5 in the TWE, or
  • A British Council (IELTS) overall score of 7 or over with a minimum of 7 in the written sub-test, or
  • TOEFL iBT with a minimum overall score of 100 including a minimum score of 24 in the test of written English taken within the last 3 years.

Where an applicant does not meet the prescribed English language proficiency requirements but believes they can demonstrate the requisite proficiency for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Computer Requirements

Online access and general computer requirements:

As one of our students, you need to have regular access to a computer and the internet. This may be for accessing the Student Portal, downloading course materials from the Virtual Learning Environment, and accessing resources from the Online Library. You will also need to have access to appropriate software, for example, a PDF reader and suitable hardware capacity on your computer e.g. for document storage. Additional requirements include that you have JavaScript and cookies enabled to access particular online systems such as the Student Portal.

Supported Browsers include:

  • Internet Explorer 7+
  • Firefox 5+
  • Chrome 13+ (recommended)

Screen resolution (recommended)
1024 x 768 or greater

Application for Study by Distance Learning

The School's distance learning courses are run in collaboration with the University of London International Programmes. For the distance learning courses applications must be made online to the University of London International Programmes.

Need help with completing your application online? Please check the "How to Apply" section of the University of London website.

If you have any enquiries, please submit your questions online to the University of London  International Programmes. Alternatively, please contact:

The Information Centre, University of London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London, 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8360/8361/8362
Fax: +44 (0)20 7862 8358

Summary of key dates

 Application deadline

10 August

 Registration deadline

30 September

 Start of the course


 Examinations (take place the following year after  registration)




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