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Masters Public Health for Development (formerly Public Health in Developing Countries) MSc

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.

This course is now closed for applications.  
Applications for 2016-17 will open in November 2015.

The course

Students develop Public Health research skills including strong level statistics and epidemiology, and build on these to tailor a course to suit their professional needs relevant to low- and middle-income countries. In the summer, students undertake a supervised research project which focuses on a Public Health question in a low- or middle-income country.

This course is aimed at those who have at least two years’ experience of working in Public Health or related teaching or research, in a low-or middle-income country and wish to hone their critical professional skills. We make the most of this bank of professional experience by building in peer-to-peer learning through a student seminar series.

APHEA logo

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).


"I am a medical doctor from Nigeria with some experience working in implementing HIV projects in my country.  My decision to study at the School was based on the reputation of the School as a world-class leader the field of public health. Choosing this course was an easy choice for me as I live and work in a developing country so the choice of a course specifically tailored to meet my interests was great." Annette Imohe, Nigeria

The aim of the programme is consistent with the School’s mission to improve health worldwide. By the end of the programme, students will able to:

  • apply research skills in core public health disciplines to examine a range of public health questions in low- and middle-income countries;
  • evaluate and apply specialist knowledge of areas relevant to public health in low- and middle-income countries;
  • make critical use of research skills to evaluate, interpret and present evidence in public health.
  • identify and assess public health problems in developing countries and evaluate actions designed to improve public health;
  • design and evaluate public health strategies to improve health in low- and middle-income countries

For a comprehensive summary of the key elements of the degree, including educational aims and intended learning outcomes, plus details on programme structure, assessment requirements, student support and more, please check the programme specification.


In term 1 students take five compulsory modules to develop research skills in Epidemiology, Statistics, Social Research; Health Economics and Health Policy. These are assessed formatively during the course of the term and based on a final exam in the summer.

Students take five modules in terms 2 and 3, working with personal tutors to identify a pathway through the course which best serves their career.  They may choose to develop research skills in statistics and epidemiology, qualitative methods, health policy or health economics. They may also choose to develop a specialist public health focus such as: Vector control; Maternal and newborn health, Sexual and reproductive health or Water, sanitation.

Most PHDC students take the unifying module Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries in Term 3. This module builds on the learning from Terms 1 and 2 so students apply public health disciplines to review evidence, produce policy recommendations, develop strategic public health programme plans and conduct strategic reviews.



All students take two examinations in the summer, one to assess understanding of the material covered in Term 1 and the other to assess their overall understanding of Public Health in Developing Countries.

Summer Projects

Students draw on all their academic skills by undertaking a summer project on a subject of importance to public health in a low- or middle-income country. 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.

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 should be made online. 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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