Reproductive and sexual health is fundamental to human health and wellbeing. Around the world, reproductive and sexual health is influenced by everything from regressive policy changes, gender inequality, and access to education, to extreme weather events and humanitarian crises. Join us to carry out high-quality policy-relevant research, critically review existing evidence, and examine this vital area of health across the entire lifespan.
We’re one of the few universities in Europe offering a MSc course that specialises in providing a non-clinical foundation in reproductive and sexual health research. Running since 1998, our programme is well established and internationally recognised for high-quality graduates who work at leading organisations across the world.
You’ll network with experts at the forefront of the field who carry out groundbreaking research in key areas including sexual behaviour, control of STIs, and reproductive rights and justice. We also have researchers exploring contraception and abortion access, as well as maternal, perinatal, and newborn health. This team deliver the course alongside insightful guest lectures from International Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes UK.
This programme is recognised by the ESRC as providing high quality research training and a small number of ESRC scholarships are available to UK or EU residents. These are advertised each year with the LSHTM scholarships information.
What you will learn
- Discover evidence-based approaches to researching reproductive and sexual health issues
- Learn how to apply research approaches to inform development, health and social welfare programmes
- Untangle the socio-cultural, political and ethical issues surrounding reproductive and sexual health
- Develop your research skills by gaining expertise in research study design, data collection and analysis, critical evaluation, and application of research findings
- Use methods from a range of public health disciplines to address research questions in reproductive and sexual health
The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.
Being able to attain the highest possible level of reproductive and sexual health is recognised as a human right. To address public health challenges in this area, we need to understand the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health while carrying out high-quality research and critically appraising existing evidence.
Studying with us, you’ll learn how to answer emerging questions about the potential of using technology to improve sexual health and the impact of humanitarian crises. We’ll also explore the effectiveness of health policy and programmes in enhancing reproductive and sexual health and rights. This programme focuses on middle- and low-income settings but we also provide excellent training in the principles and methods of research for high-income countries.
To make the course relevant to your career and ambitions, you’ll have the freedom to explore different topics. Current Issues in Maternal and Perinatal Health, Family Planning Programmes, and Control of STIs are just a few examples of optional modules you can choose from. Through your module choices, you’ll also be able to decide whether you develop your quantitative or qualitative skills (or a mixture of both).
You’ll apply everything you’ve learned to a research project in a subject area of your choice. Past students have looked at how people make choices around the use of contraceptive methods, the promotion of breastfeeding in the UK, the impact of the COVID lockdowns on access to abortion services in Nepal, and the relationship between intimate partner violence and sexually transmitted infections.
Who is it for?
Perhaps you’re a midwife, nurse or doctor involved in delivering reproductive and sexual health services. Or you may be a professional working in government, an NGO or a charity. You might have just finished your undergraduate degree and are keen to gain specialist knowledge and skills related to reproductive and sexual health research. We also welcome students intercalating study to help you go beyond what you’ll cover in your medical degree on this topic.
You’ll be the perfect fit for this course if you’re driven to improve sexual and reproductive health, whether you’ll be carrying out research yourself or weighing up whether evidence is reliable and if you can use it to inform decision-making, policy and practice.
Some graduates continue to carry out research, whether in academia, government, or for an NGO, charity, or private company. Others go on to focus on policy and programme development and implementation. Those with clinical training may return to their prior roles to apply their new expertise to their research and practice.
You’ll find students from this course working in international organisations like the UN, the World Health Organization, and UNAIDs, along with other NGOs and charities, the NHS, as well as various government departments across the world.
One year full-time; part-time or split-study over two years. Ways to study explained.
Find out about intercalating this course.
Reproductive & Sexual Health Research
Watch Joy Lawn, Director of the MARCH Centre, and students talk about the programme.
"I have always been passionate about the expansion of sexual & reproductive health and rights in low- and middle-income countries. I wanted to develop the necessary research skills to carry out independent research and evaluation of interventions."
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 and how the module is assessed.
- Structure of the year
Term 1 (September - December) consists of ten teaching weeks for AB1 slot modules, plus one Reading Week* in the middle of the term. Followed by the Winter break.
Term 2 (January - March) consists of a further ten weeks of teaching for C and D slot modules, plus a Reading Week in the middle of the term. C modules are taught in five half-week blocks before Reading Week. D modules are taught in five half-week blocks after Reading Week. Followed by the Spring break.
Term 3 (April - September) consists of five weeks of teaching for E slot modules, taught in half-week blocks, and the project report.
*Reading Week is a week during term where no formal teaching takes place. It is a time for private study, preparing for assessments or attending study/computer skills workshops. There are two Reading Weeks at LSHTM: one in November and the other in February.
- Term 1
Students take the following compulsory AB1 modules:
- Basic Epidemiology or Extended Epidemiology
- Foundations in Reproductive Health
- Principles of Social Research
- Statistics for Epidemiology & Population Health
- Health Policy, Process & Power or Introduction to Health Economics or Population Studies
- Terms 2 and 3
Students take a total of five study modules, one from each timetable slot (C1, C2, D1, D2, E). The list below shows recommended or compulsory modules. There are other optional modules which may be taken only after consultation with the Programme Directors.
- Research Design & Analysis
- Family Planning Programmes
- Population, Poverty and Environment
- Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Current Issues in Maternal & Perinatal Health
- Evaluation of Public Health Interventions
- Social Epidemiology
- Sexual Health (compulsory)
- Analysing Survey & Population Data
- Project report
During the summer months (July-August), students complete a research project. Acceptable types of project are: data analysis; a project proposal; an original literature or policy review. Students normally remain in London for the preparation of their project report. Exceptionally, and only if appropriate, part of the project period may be spent away from LSHTM, whether in the UK or abroad. Arrangements for this must be discussed and agreed with the Programme Director.
Please note: Should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access laboratories in order to complete your project, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original time frame. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year.
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.
In order to be admitted to an LSHTM master's degree programme, an applicant must:
- hold either a first degree at Second Class Honours (2:2) standard in a relevant discipline, or a degree in medicine recognised by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for the purposes of practising medicine in the UK, or another degree of equivalent standard awarded by an overseas institution recognised by UK ENIC or the GMC.
- hold a professional qualification appropriate to the programme of study to be followed obtained by written examinations and judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
- have relevant professional experience or training which is judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
If you have not previously studied in the UK, you can check our guide to international equivalent qualifications for our master's degrees.
Additional requirements for the MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research are:
- evidence of numeracy skills
Relevant subjects for the MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research include sciences (e.g. biology, medicine, nursing, midwifery) or social sciences (e.g. anthropology, demography, development, economics, geography, human rights, international relations, politics, sociology).
Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirement, but who have relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B
Please see our English language requirements for more information.
You will need the equivalent of a bachelor's degree to undertake an MSc. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical degree. More information on intercalating an MSc at LSHTM.
Access and widening participation
At LSHTM we are committed to ensuring that excellent students feel encouraged to apply for a course of study with us. We have introduced an innovative contextual admissions system that is designed to support those students who have faced the greatest barriers to their learning. More information on widening participation at LSHTM.
*Mobile users, scroll right to view fees
Early application fee reduction for UK MSc Students 2024-25
Apply early and lock-in lower fees. If you are a student from the UK (and have a home fee status), you will be eligible to receive a 5% reduction in your tuition fee if you submit your application by Friday 5 April 2024 and subsequently register onto one of our in-person MSc programmes (some exclusions apply, see detailed terms and conditions).
You must be applying for full-time study on a programme starting in September 2024; be funding your fees yourself; and be a new applicant.
If you meet the above criteria and submit your application by the deadline, you will automatically receive the tuition fee discount.
Graduates go into public health and reproductive health programmes, evaluation of family planning programmes, research for governmental and non-governmental agencies and university teaching.
Below you will find just a few of the positions and organisations that our graduates from this course have entered:
- Example job titles:
Chlamydia Screening Assistant
Clinical Research Co-Ordinator
Emergency Response Co-Ordinator
HIV Prevention and Surveillance Scientist
Senior Lecturer in Medicine
Women's Protection and Empowerment Co-Ordinator (Syria)
Public Involvement Adviser
- Example organisations:
Public Health England
Save the Children
Terrence Higgins Trust
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Applications should be made online and will only be considered once you have provided all required information and supporting documentation.
Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.
You can apply for up to two master's programmes. Make sure to list them by order of preference as consideration will be given to your top choice first.
All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure availability of a place and a timely decision on their application. This is particularly important for applicants with sponsorship deadlines.
We strongly advise that you apply early as popular programmes will close earlier than the stated deadline if they become full.
The final closing dates for all taught Master’s applications for entry in the 2024/25 academic year is:
- Sunday 21 July 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all students requiring a Student visa
- Sunday 1 September 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all UK, Irish and non-Student visa students
Applicants will be required to meet the conditions of their offer and provide all necessary documents by the date of their Offer of Admission.
A standard non-refundable application fee of £50 applies to all taught Master’s degree programmes and is payable upon application submission. Income generated from the application fee is shared between scholarships and student hardship fund.
Tuition fee deposit
Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admission and pay the £500 deposit within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined. The deposit is deductible from tuition fees upon full registration with LSHTM.