Public Health by Distance Learning

(Certificate, Diploma and MSc)

Overview - Public Health by Distance Learning

In these rapidly changing times, preventing disease, improving our health, and reducing health inequality will depend on a broad range of people and expertise.  The Public Health distance learning programme reflects this, offering an unparalleled number of specialised modules, designed to help you become a catalyst for change in your area of interest.

As this is a flexible online degree, you can study when and where it suits you. Learning at your own pace, you’ll be able to balance your studies with existing work or personal commitments. If you’re a PGDip or MSc student, you’ll have the opportunity to apply to study one or two modules at the LSHTM.

Each module is supported by materials designed to enable you to meet the intended learning outcomes for the module. Our study forums and webinars provide a space for you to ask questions and engage in discussion with teaching staff and other students.

What you will learn

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the wider determinants of health and the breadth of factors that contribute to global health.
  • Develop critical thinking skills to confidently analyse evidence, question assumptions, and shape innovative approaches.
  • Learn how to systematically approach problems and navigate through possible solutions and theories with confidence.
  • If taking the MSc, you will have the option to follow the General Stream or to focus on the area that matters most to you and your career plan and follow the Environment & Health, Health Economics, Health Promotion, or Health Services Management stream.

The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.

As a distance learning student at LSHTM, you’ll join a global community of students from diverse geographical, academic and professional backgrounds. The discussion forums and webinars linked to each module, and the informal discussion forums in the online ‘student café’ provide a space for you to connect with other students and the teaching team. All of this will enrich your learning experience and help you get the most out of the programme.

Who is it for?

This course meets a wide variety of professional and academic needs.

Perhaps you’re already working in public health and need to strengthen your epidemiology skills to get to the next stage of your career. Maybe you’ve been working in an underfunded health service and want to move into policy where you can drive important changes. Or maybe you’ve witnessed the rise in preventable illnesses and you’re keen to move to an influential position where you can serve the population more effectively. 

This programme is open to a wide range of graduates, with at least one year's relevant work experience. We encourage you to use insights from your own experience to tailor the course to meet your career goals.

Whichever specialism you choose, you’ll graduate with an award that’s internationally recognised as a qualification of excellence in the area of public and global health.


CourseYou studyStudy period
Master'sEither 14 modules or 11 modules plus a project report2-5 years
Postgraduate Diploma10 modules2-5 years
Postgraduate Certificate6 modules1-5 years
Individual modulesStudying individual modules is an ideal option if you wish to update your professional knowledge or sample the programme.

Related courses

This programme is also available as a one-year intensive master's with our MSc Public Health.

Public Health by Distance Learning


Watch Programme Directors Ros Plowman and Marcus Keogh-Brown talk about the programme.

Anita Kabarambi
Anita Kabarambi, Uganda

"LSHTM is one of the world-leading institutions in training public health specialists and my dream had always been to study there. My favourite aspect of the programme was the flexibility for someone like me in full-time employment."

Structure - Public Health by Distance Learning

The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study, what materials are provided and how the module is assessed.

Programme structure
  • Postgraduate Certificate: 6 modules (4 compulsory core PHM1 + 2 further core PHM1 modules)
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 10 modules (4 compulsory core PHM1 + 2 further core PHM1 + 4 elective modules)*
  • Master’s Degree: 11 modules plus a project report OR 14 modules:
    • General, Environment & Health, Health Promotion or Health Services Management streams: 
      • 4 compulsory core PHM1 modules  
      • 1 stream-specific PHM1 module
      • 1 further core PHM1 module
      • 1 stream-specific PHM2 module 
      • 7 elective modules (at least three from the PHM2 selection group) or 4 elective modules (at least 1 from the PHM2 selection group) plus a project report
    • Health Economics stream:
      • 4 compulsory core PHM1 modules
      • 2 further core PHM1 modules
      • 2 stream-specific PHM2 modules  
      • 6 elective modules (at least two from the PHM2 selection group) or 3 elective modules plus a project report

*For the PG Diploma elective modules, at least two modules must be taken from the PHM2 selection group.

†Students on the MSc General stream take an additional PHM2 elective module in place of a stream-specific PHM2 module.

It is possible to register for the PG Certificate in the first instance then, on successful completion of the compulsory and further core modules, extend your registration to the PG Diploma or MSc. Students who enter the MSc via this route should ensure that their PHM1 module studies include any compulsory stream-specific modules for the MSc stream they plan to complete.

The majority of modules listed below are also available to study as individual modules.

Core PHM1 modules (PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc)

PHM1 compulsory core modules (PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc - all streams)  

  • PHM101 Basic Epidemiology  
  • PHM102 Basic Statistics for Public Health and Policy  
  • PHM103 Introduction to Health Economics  
  • PHM104 Principles of Social Research  

PHM1 further core modules (PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc)  

  • PHM105 Issues in Public Health (*Gen)  
  • PHM106 Environment, Health & Sustainable Development (*E&H)  
  • PHM107 Foundations for Health Promotion (*HP)  
  • PHM108 Health Services (*HSM)  
  • PHM109 Health Policy, Process & Power   

*Compulsory module for indicated stream:

  • E&H - Environment & Health stream
  • HE - Health Economics stream
  • HP - Health Promotion stream
  • HSM - Health Services Management stream
  • Gen - General stream
PHM2 and elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)

PHM2 elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)  

  • PHM201 Health Decision Science   
  • PHM203 Economic Analysis for Health Policy (*HE)  
  • PHM204 Economic Evaluation (*HE)  
  • PHM205 Environmental Epidemiology   
  • PHM206 Environmental Health Policy (*E&H)  
  • PHM207 Health Care Evaluation   
  • PHM209 Globalisation & Health   
  • PHM210 Managing Health Services   
  • PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health   
  • PHM212 Organisational Management (*HSM)  
  • PHM213 Principles and Practice of Health Promotion (*HP)  
  • PHM214 Conflict and Health   
  • PHM215 History and Health   
  • PHM216 Sexual Health   
  • PHM218 Applied Communicable Disease Control   
  • PHM219 Evaluation of Public Health Interventions  

Other elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)  

  • EPM202 Statistical Methods in Epidemiology  
  • GHM201 Health Systems  
  • GHM202 Global Mental Health  
  • IDM201 Bacterial Infections  
  • IDM202 Nutrition and Infection  
  • IDM203 Parasitology  
  • IDM205 Healthcare-associated Infection  
  • IDM213 Immunology of Infection and Vaccines  
  • IDM215 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene  
  • IDM301 Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases  
  • IDM501 HIV  
  • IDM502 Tuberculosis  
  • IDM503 Malaria  
  • PHM305 Project Report (MSc only)

*Compulsory module for indicated stream:

  • E&H - Environment & Health stream
  • HE - Health Economics stream
  • HP - Health Promotion stream
  • HSM - Health Services Management stream
  • Gen - General stream
Project report (MSc only)

All MSc students have the option to apply to undertake a project report (PHM305), which is equivalent to three elective 15 credit modules.

Methods of assessment

Assessment varies from module to module. It may include a single assignment or examination or a combination of these and other assessment formats. Details are given in the module specifications.

Examinations take place once a year in June.

Credit awarded

Credits will be awarded for all elements successfully completed: 10 credits for each PHM1 module; 15 credits for PHM2 and elective modules; and 45 credits for the project option (MSc only). To successfully pass an award, the following credits must be gained:

  • Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
  • Master's – 180 credits
Blended learning: taking modules in London

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 LSHTM, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all distance learning students in July each year.

Changes to the course

Changes to the programme

LSHTM will seek to deliver this programme in accordance with the description set out on this programme page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for LSHTM to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

How you study
How you study - Public Health by Distance Learning

Study materials

Learning is via directed self-study against a set of learning objectives for each module. A digital Guide to Studying each module is provided for all PHM modules, together with access to a range of study resources, discussion forums and online webinar discussion sessions via LSHTM’s virtual learning environment, Moodle.

Details of the study materials for each module can be found in the module specifications. Materials and resources provided vary by module and may include: 

  • Reading list detailing essential and additional reading, with links to papers/book chapters
  • A digital textbook and/or materials with focused reading and learning activities
  • Live/recorded lectures
  • Live webinars which are recording and subsequently made available on Moodle
  • Practical exercises
  • Interactive quizzes

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in module-specific discussions on Moodle, and to make use of LSHTM’s online library resources. 

Module tutors provide feedback for all students via the online discussion forums and offer individual feedback on submitted assignments. Tutorial support is available from the beginning of October through to the end of May. 

Note: the majority of the study materials will be made available in digital format via Moodle. If the module includes a textbook that is not available in e-format, a hard copy will be sent.

Flexible study

We know that if you have a full-time job, family or other commitments, and wish to study at a distance, you will have many calls on your time. The course allows you to study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines) using the comprehensive study materials provided, with support available from academic staff. You have between 1-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Certificate, and between 2-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc. 

The study year for most modules runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams. Tutorial support is available throughout this time. Students carrying out projects are assigned personal supervisors to support their project work which is carried out in their final year.

Fees & funding
Fees and funding - Public Health by Distance Learning

The fees below refer to the 2024/25 academic year. Fees are subject to annual review and may be paid in one of two ways:

Either: on initial registration, a single payment covering the programme registration fee and all module fees for the duration of the programme

Postgraduate Diploma£13,960
Postgraduate Certificate£10,310
Application feenone

Or: pay the initial programme registration fee, plus the fee for each module you are taking in the first year. Then, in subsequent years, you pay the fee for each new module you take.

Initial registration fee£1,610
Fee per core module£1,420
Fee per advanced/ elective module£890
Fee for final project£2,740
Application fee none
Assessment resit fee£260

Individual modules (taken on a stand-alone basis with no registration fee)

Fee per core module£1,790
Fee per advanced/ elective module£2,620
Application feenone
Assessment resit fee£260

Blended learning fees (for distance learning students attending modules in London)

Fee per LSHTM module, in addition to whole of MSc fee paid in full£1,110
Fee per LSHTM module, if programme is paid via annual instalments£2,150

How to pay

All fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP) directly to the University of London. The University of London accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order 

Further details are given on the University of London website

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University of London, you should also budget for the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary. MSc students who are carrying out a project may also need to budget for travel expenses or consumables, depending on the type of project undertaken.

Entry requirements
Entry requirements - Public Health by distance learning

Academic requirements

All applicants are required to have:

  • a minimum of one year's relevant work experience; and
  • a first or 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.

Qualifications from around the world are accepted; for further guidance please see University of London's qualifications for entrance. Students who do not satisfy the entrance requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of LSHTM on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

English language requirements - distance learning

English language requirements

You need a high standard of English to study this programme. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • IELTS7.0 overall, with 6.5 in the written test and 5.5 in listening, reading and speaking.
  • TOEFL iBT100 overall, with 24+ in writing, 23+ in speaking, 22+ in reading and 21+ in listening.
  • Pearson Test (Academic)68 overall, with 62+ in writing and 59+ in listening, reading and speaking.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English185 overall, with 176+ in writing and 169+ in listening.
  • Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 130.

Alternatively, you may satisfy the language requirements if you have at least 18 months of education or work experience conducted in English.

If you do not meet these requirements but believe you can meet the standard, the University of London may also consider your application.

Computer programmes - Public Health by distance learning

Computer requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification:

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents/files of at least 50 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader

Some of the CD-ROMs and software provided for use with Epidemiology modules may not be fully compatible with Apple Mac computers.

*Full mobile access is not available for all programmes

How to apply
How to apply - Public Health by Distance Learning

Our distance learning programmes are run in collaboration with the University of London, a federation of 18 independent member institutions and universities, of which the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is one.

Please choose which qualification you would like to apply for. The link will take you directly to the University of London application portal.

  • MSc Public Health
    Gain the MSc Public Health by completing either 14 modules, or 11 modules plus a project report.
  • PGDip Public Health
    Gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health by completing ten modules.
  • PGCert Public Health
    Gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health by completing six modules.
  • Individual modules
    Study individual courses from the Public Health programme.
Application process/deadlines - DL programmes
Application process

1. Submit your application to University of London. Please read the Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) before you complete your application.

2. Submit your documentary evidence. This can be done online when submitting your application or at a later stage. You will be required to submit personal identification, educational certificates, transcripts, English language proficiency evidence, references and CV (see Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) for further details).

3. University of London will notify you of whether or not you have been accepted. This usually happens within five working days. You will be sent a student reference number by email in case you need to contact University of London about your application.

4. If you are made an offer, you will receive an email with instructions for completing your online registration (usually from May/June). You will have until the registration deadline to accept your offer and pay your initial fees.

5. Begin your studies. You will be given access to LSHTM's online learning site (Moodle) at the beginning of October. If you have registered for a module which provides hard copy study materials, these will be sent to your correspondence address. Clinical Trials modules are delivered solely online via Moodle.

Important: you are welcome to submit your application even if you are yet to sit an exam or you are awaiting results. University of London can begin to process your application without all the evidence, although a final decision will be made once all the necessary documentation has been received. If you are unsure as to whether or not you meet our entry requirements, University of London might be able to advise you on this before you submit your online application.

Key dates
MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert and individual modulesDeadline
Application deadline20 September 2024
Registration deadline (new students)4 October 2024
Programme starts1 October 2024
Who to contact

If you have any questions before submitting your application, you can contact:

Academic queries (LSHTM)

Email for queries about programme content, modules or assessments.

Contact the Study team for general enquiries.

Admissions queries (University of London)

Send a message to University of London for queries about how to apply, documentary evidence or entry requirements, or call +44 (0)20 7862 8360