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Masters Public Health in Developing Countries MSc

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).

APHEA logoApplications for this course for 2014/15 are now closed.

About the course

This course aims to equip students with skills needed to appreciate and analyse public health problems in low- and middle-income countries, and to design and evaluate actions to improve public health. Students develop core Public Health research skills in Term 1 and go on to sculpt a course to suit their professional needs.

Students on this course have substantial experience of planning or implementing public health programmes, of teaching or research in low-income countries.

We build on this experience throughout the year and emphasise the importance research and evidence in Public Health. We adopt a peer-to-peer learning approach through student-led seminars and study groups and organise two retreats to develop a strong group identify.

Graduates from this course work in global health, health service management, in health programmes in low-income countries, in international and national NGOs, and in research.

In addition to MSc Public Health in Developing Countries, other MSc courses at the School may be relevant and applicants should review the relevant pages of this website: 1) MSc Public Health - for those with an interest in public health in mainly high- and middle-income countries; 2) MSc Control of Infectious Diseases - for those with a particular interest in infectious disease control; and 3) MSc Epidemiology - for those with a special interest in epidemiology.

Course Prize

The Okeke Prize & William Simpson Prize is awarded to the best student on the course. This prize combines a gift from Dr E D Okeke, a former student from Nigeria in 1964, with money raised in 1937 to the memory of Sir William Ritchie Simpson, visiting lecturer in hygiene 1898-1923 and director of tropical hygiene at the Ross Institute from 1924 until his death in 1931.


By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in the core public health disciplines - epidemiology, statistics, social sciences, health policy and health economics;
  • demonstrate specialised knowledge and skills in other areas relevant to public health from a wide range of options (e.g. designing disease control programmes in developing countries, medical anthropology, epidemiology and control of malaria, safe motherhood and perinatal health);
  • apply these skills to identify and assess public health problems in developing countries and evaluate actions designed to improve public health;
  • formulate public health strategies and approaches to public health problems appropriate to a given culture and environment;
  • apply appropriate research skills for evaluation and use of research findings.

Programme specifications - This links to a document showing which elements of the Course support and achieve each objective.

Residential Field Trip

During the orientation period at the start of Term 1 students and staff go on a retreat outside London. Students learn about each other's professional background, experience and interests, prepare for the peer-led student seminar series, develop a sense of group coherence and spend some social time together.

There is a second retreat after the June examinations. Students, course directors and personal tutors relax, look back over the year and complete a course evaluation.

Course Duration

Full-time for one year, or part-time or split study over two years. Part-time students are expected to attend the School at least two days each week and should discuss this with the Course Director if offered a place.

Alternatively, students taking the course by split study over two years attend full-time for part of Year 1, and then undertake the remainder of their course in Year 2. The split can occur anytime between the Christmas break and the end of the formal teaching in May, by prior arrangement with the Course Director. Paper 1 may be taken at the end of Year 1 or at the end of Year 2. Paper 2 must be taken at the end of Year 2. Interested applicants should indicate their choice on the application form.

* Split study fees are charged in the same way as the fees for part-time students. The tuition fees for part-time students are for each year of study. Please note that fees are subject to an increase each year. Students attend the field trip in their first year and pay the relevant field trip fee. They are not expected to attend the field trip in the second year and as a result do not pay the field trip fee in the second year.

" With its reputation as one of the best school of public health in the world, the decision to come to LSHTM was easy. That was probably one of the best decisions I had made in my professional life. Sunil George from India studied for the MSc Public Health in Developing Countries - Full profile

There is an initial, compulsory, one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the School, sessions on key computing and study skills and also a two-day residential field trip. After the orientation period, students take a series of compulsory modules and can choose from additional recommended modules.

Compulsory: Extended Epidemiology; Health Policy, Process and Power; Introduction to Health Economics; Principles of Social Research; Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health; Introductory lectures on Public Health in Developing Countries (PHDC) and PHDC Student Seminars.

Recommended: Public Health Lecture Series.

Terms 2 and 3

Students take five study modules, one from each timetable slot (Slot 1, Slot 2 etc.). The options are given below:

Slot 1: Designing Disease Control Programmes in Developing Countries; Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco; Economic Evaluation; Epidemiology & Control of Malaria; Health Care Evaluation; Health Promotion Approaches and Methods; Maternal & Child Nutrition; Research Design & Analysis; Sociological Approaches to Health; Study Design: Writing a Study Proposal

Slot 2: Conflict and Health; Design & Analysis of Epidemiological Studies; Family Planning Programmes; Health Systems; History & Health; Population, Poverty and Environment; Qualitative Methodologies; Statistical Methods in Epidemiology

Slot 3: Applied Communicable Disease Control; Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections; Current Issues in Safe Motherhood & Perinatal Health; Economic Analysis for Health Policy; Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases; Medical Anthropology and Public Health; Nutrition in Emergencies; Organisational Management; Social Epidemiology; Spatial Epidemiology in Public Health; Tropical Environmental Health

Slot 4: Design & Evaluation of Mental Health Programmes; Environmental Epidemiology; Epidemiology & Control of Communicable Diseases; Ethics, Public Health & Human Rights; Evaluation of Public Health Interventions; Global Disability and Health; Globalisation & Health; Reviewing the Literature; Sexual Health

Slot 5: Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries (highly recommended)

Further details for the course modules can be found here.

Project Report

Students complete a research project and prepare a written report on an approved subject of their choice. This may entail analysis of work done by the participant before the course, writing a proposal for a study to be carried out on completion of the course, or a critical review of the literature on a relevant subject. Fieldwork may also be undertaken as the basis for this report. Students undertaking projects overseas may require additional funding to cover costs and this must be obtained by the student concerned. The project completion date is late August or early September.

There are three components of the assessment for the MSc: examinations, module assessments and a summer project.

1. Examinations (60 credits)

In term 1 students take five compulsory modules. Students' understanding of the material is assessed in the summer examinations in Paper 1. The term 1 modules are also assessed formatively during the course of the term and feedback is given to students so they can learn from their work. The marks for formative assessment do not contribute to the students final mark for the MSc.

All students on MSc PHDC also sit Paper 2 which brings together material from all the taught modules and examines students' overall understanding of Public Health in Developing Countries.

2. Module Assessment (75 credits)

In terms 2 and 3 students take five modules. The assessment of each module is designed by the module organiser and varies between modules. It may be writing a research proposal, investigating a disease outbreak, an MCQ, designing an academic poster and analysing a dataset. 

 3. Summer Projects (45 credits)

Each student is required to complete a summer project of up to 10,000 words. The project can take the form of a literature review, analysis of a dataset, a policy report or a study protocol. The project is an independent piece of work, but students have contact with their supervisors who guide them in this work and can review each chapter of the project once only.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must normally satisfy the School's general entrance requirements and additional programme specific entrance requirements to be considered for admission. Applications must be submitted in accordance with the procedures and deadlines given in the web-based or printed prospectus.  

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration is at least a second-class Honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or a registerable qualification in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies appropriate to the programme.

Applications with an appropriate technical qualification, or equivalent qualification and experience from overseas, are also welcomed.

Additionally for the MSc Public Health in Developing Countries successful candidates are expected to have lived in a developing country and worked in activities related to public health for a minimum of two years.

Any prospective student who does not meet the above minimum entry requirement, but who has relevant professional experience, may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.

Application for London-based Study

Applications for this course for 2014/15 are now closed.

Paper application forms are available upon request and will normally incur an administration fee of £50. You must send a copy of the personal details and photograph page of your passport with all paper applications. Your application will not be considered until you have provided the above documents. 

Masters Courses

Applicants wishing to be considered for School scholarships should apply as early as possible. Deadlines for scholarship applications appear on the Masters Funding webpage. Course applications will be considered until all places on the course have been filled. Notification of when a course is closed will appear on the relevant course webpage.All applicants should be able to start the course on the first day of the academic year.

All Masters courses are offered on a part-time basis over two years. Students interested in part-time study should contact the appropriate Course Organiser, via the Registry, to discuss course requirements and likely timetables, and should read the Masters degree information.

There are two ways of undertaking part-time study:

1) attending part-time throughout the two years: Students need to be available for up to four or five half days every week for 27 weeks per year. Evidence may be required to prove that applicants are able to commit this minimum period of time to their study

2) attending full-time for modules in the first two terms in Year 1 (September-March), and undertaking third term modules, exams and project in Year 2 (April - September). Such an option may be attractive to applicants who are unable to be released from employment for a continuous twelve-month period. This option is called split study.

All courses last one year for full-time study or two years for part-time study.

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