MSc Public Health (pre-course info)

Welcome Week

Welcome Week timetable

Welcome Week will introduce you to studying at LSHTM. We will provide introductions to ourselves and to each other, and lots of information about the School, the MSc Public Health programme and various learning and study skills sessions. You will be assigned to one of five tutor groups, each led by a Programme Director (PD) who is responsible for oversight of your Programme.

You will also be allocated a personal tutor, a friendly academic who you can discuss your module options and progress with. To facilitate the allocations of both Pentacells and tutors, please complete the online student profile at your earliest convenience but before you register in September. You will meet your personal tutor in Welcome Week and throughout your studies.

We strongly recommend that new half-time students make arrangements to participate in as much of Welcome Week as possible, although we recognise that you may have restrictions on your time.

By the end of Welcome Week we hope that you will be settled at LSHTM and feel prepared and excited for the year ahead.


When you arrive at LSHTM, your Programme Director will invite you to participate in a Pentacell, an activity that strengthens the School community, increases our wellbeing and forwards our goal of improving global health. The idea is deceptively simple – five students meet weekly for five weeks and listen to each other’s ideas and perspectives. It’s not compulsory but is strongly recommended by our School's Director, Liam Smeeth, Programme Directors, Student Support Services and former students.

Feedback from previous students:

“It was nice to be able to connect with people on my programme that I wouldn't necessarily have spoken to otherwise and it was a good way to make friends at the beginning.”

“Our Pentacell group chose not always to follow the exact guidelines for each session, and instead focused more on getting to know members of our programme better. I enjoyed the Pentacell experience we had, as it helped develop interpersonal relationships with those on my programme.”

“It gave me an opportunity to meet people on my programme. It also helped me develop interpersonal skills.” 

“Very pleasant experience especially for me as an international student who moved to the UK for the 1st time.”

Overview of the MSc

Term 1 consists of ten teaching weeks plus one week in the middle of the term when there is no formal teaching (reading week). Reading week is a time for private study and will also include a module fair which will help you decide which modules to take in Terms 2 & 3.

Term 2 consists of a further ten weeks of teaching plus a reading week in the middle of the term.

Term 3 commences after the Easter break and comprises of five weeks of teaching (which takes place during the second half of the week) and the summer project.

During term time there will be other sessions you will need to attend such as tutor group meetings, Pentacell, and meetings with your personal tutor.

Term 1 and choosing a stream

Within MSc Public Health you follow one of six streams:

The MSc programme is organised on a modular basis and all students take 11 modules overall. Each stream has a menu of compulsory and elective modules.

Full-time and split-study students are required to take six modules in Term 1; half-time students usually take three Term 1 modules in their first year and three in their second year. Four of these modules, the ‘common core’, are compulsory for all students:

You will need to choose the fifth and sixth modules that you wish to take in Term 1. You can choose from:

* Students on the Health Services Management stream must take either Health Policy Process and Power and/or Health Services

You need to consider carefully which modules you choose as these choices will determine which streams are open to you. For example, if you take Health Economics and Health Policy, Process and Power as your elective fifth and sixth modules then you can follow the Public Health (General), Health Economics or Health Services Management streams. If you take Health Economics and Health Services you will have the option of taking any one of four streams: Public Health (General); Health Economics; Health Services Management, or Health Services Research. In addition, some modules in Term 1 need to be taken as a prerequisite for taking more advanced modules in Terms 2 and 3.

The final choice of stream is made in the middle of Term 1, when you select your Terms 2 & 3 modules. Remember the modules you choose in Term 1 will restrict your choice of stream.

More information will be provided in the run up to welcome week to help you with your module choices and the options available to you, and during welcome week you will have the opportunity to discuss this with your Programme Directors and your Personal Tutor. Additional information is also available on the MSc Public Health pages.

Sample Term 1 timetable:

AM/PM Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
AM Basic Statistics for PHP* Basic Epidemiology* Environment, Health & Sustainable Developmentb Foundations for Health Promotiond Health Servicesc,e
PM Introduction to Health Economicsa Issues in Public Health* Health Policy, Process & Powerc Principles of Social Research*  

* Compulsory modules
a Compulsory for Health Economics stream
b Compulsory for Environment & Health stream
c Alternate compulsory modules for Health Services Management stream
d Compulsory for Health Promotion stream
e Compulsory for Health Services Research

Half-time students: which days do I attend?

We recognise that half-time students may have work commitments, and you may need to inform your employer which days you will need to participate in seminars and other individual and group activities.This will depend on the modules you elect to take over the two years of study.

Term 1

i) There are a number of options available to you. Some half-time students elect to take three ‘common core’ modules in the first year of study. For example, if you decide to take Basic StatisticsIssues in Public Health and Basic Epidemiology then you would need to make arrangements to participate on Monday and Tuesday mornings, as well as Tuesday afternoons for the whole of the term.

ii) You may select a different combination of modules in Term 1, and this might necessitate participating in morning and/or afternoon sessions for three days per week for the whole of the term.

iii) We recommend that you take at least two of the ‘common core’ modules in the first year of study, but the choice is yours. It is also important to remember that modules in Terms 2 and 3 often build on those in Term 1. For example, if in Year 1 you wish to take the more advanced Epidemiological Modules offered in Terms 2 and 3 you will need to have taken Basic Epidemiology in Term 1 Year 1.

Terms 2 and 3

The Timetable for Terms 2 and 3 is different in structure from Term 1. Essentially the week is divided into two time periods – 9:30 Monday to 12:30 on Wednesday (the C1 and D1 timetable slots) and 14:00 Wednesday to 17:00 on Friday (the C2 and D2 timetable slots). Teaching in Terms 3 takes place in the latter half of the week.

A typical C1 Module will have a time slot that runs from Monday morning to Wednesday lunchtime. The amount of time spent viewing lectures, attending seminars and undertaking private study will vary between modules. For example, some C1 modules may have a lecture and group work session on Monday and Tuesday morning, with Monday and Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday morning devoted to group work or private study.

Students also have the option of taking up to two Term 2 modules via distance learning as this might give you a little more flexibility as long as they are not compulsory for your stream.

All half-time students are encouraged to begin working on their summer project proposal in the first year of study.

Note: As a half-time student one of the most important things to recognise is that you are expected to commit between 15 and 20 hours per week to the MSc. This time will comprise of lectures, seminars, group work, and private study. You are strongly advised to only take the half-time option if you can commit this much time to your studies. If you have any specific questions before the start of term, please feel free to contact us at

Split-study students

Split-study students attend the School full-time in Term 1 and can then take their ‘split’ at an appropriate point any time after that. You will return at the same point one year later to complete the MSc programme full-time. (For example, you may complete the first term, decide to take the split at Christmas and then return at the beginning of Term 2 the following academic year to complete the rest of the programme. Or you may complete Term 1 and the first half of Term 2, then return the following academic year to take the rest of Term 2, Term 3 and complete the summer project.)

Information for returning part-time students

We look forward to seeing you in September for your second year of study. You are welcome to attend as much or little of the Welcome Week as you wish. New students greatly appreciate meeting second year students at the tutor group meeting during Welcome Week.

When you return in September, you will be registered for the same stream as in your first year and you will have the same personal tutor. During the coming academic year you will need to ensure you complete all the compulsory teaching modules. You will also need to set aside time for your summer project, especially if you did not submit your LEO form during your first year. Should you not be able to return in September as planned, please let us know as soon as possible.

If you need any assistance or information before term starts, please get in touch with your personal tutor, Programme Director, Programme Administrator or the half-time student advisor.

Reading list

You are not required to have read any particular books before the MSc begins. However, you may wish to read around subjects that you are unfamiliar with. Below is a selection of texts which may provide you with useful background reading before the programme starts.

In each section, the books listed provide a basic introduction to the subject area. If you are new to a particular subject area, e.g. economics, you may benefit from reading an introductory text from the recommended list. Although these are not necessarily books that will form the basis of teaching during the MSc, we hope you find the list a useful resource throughout the year. Most of the books are in the School library and should be available in major bookshops. Some are also available to download for Kindle and other e-readers.

You may also find the books in the Understanding Public Health Series written by LSHTM Staff helpful. You will be able to access many of these books online from the library once you arrive [e-Library OPAC] Library Catalogue at LSHTM.

1. General background reading

Rose G. 1998. The Strategy of Preventive Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Guest C, Ricciardi W, Kawachi I, Lang I (eds). 2013. Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gillam S, Yates J, Badrinath P. 2012. Essential Public Health: Theory and Practice 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press.

2. Basic Epidemiology

Webb P., Bain C., and Pirozzo S. Essential Epidemiology: An Introduction for Students and Health Professionals. Cambridge University Press. [2nd,  3rd, or 4th edition]

3. Basic Statistics

Petrie A, and Sabin C. 2009. Medical Statistics at a Glance 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell

Petrie A, and Sabin C. 2013. Medical Statistics at a Glance Workbook. Wiley-Blackwell.

Kirkwood B and Sterne J. 2003. Essentials of Medical Statistics 2nd edition. Blackwell.

4. Health Promotion

Green J, Cross R, Woodall J and Tones K. 2019. Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies 4th edition. Sage.

Cragg L, Davies M and Macdowall W (eds). 2013. Health Promotion Theory (Understanding Public Health) 2nd Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Nutland W and Cragg L (eds). 2015. Health Promotion Practice (Understanding Public Health) 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

5. Health Economics

Guinness, L and Wiseman, V. 2011. Introduction to Health Economics (Understanding Public Health). 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

6. Health Services

Cochrane A L. Effectiveness and efficiency. BMJ and NPHT 1972 (reprinted 1989), Cambridge University Press.

7. Health Services Management

Minzberg, H (2017) Managing the Myths of Health Care. Berrett-Koehle.

Girei E (2017) Decolonising management knowledge: A reflexive journey as practitioner and researcher in UgandaManagement Learning, 48(4), 453-470.

8. Health Policy, Process & Power

Buse K, Mays N and Walt G. 2012. Making Health Policy (Understanding Public Health) 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

9. Principles of Social Research

Durand, M. A. and Chantler T. 2014. Principles of Social Research, McGraw-Hill Education.

10. Issues in Public Health

Sim F and McKee M (eds). 2011. Issues in Public Health (Understanding Public Health) 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

11. Environment and Health

Hutchinson E and  Kovats S (2016) Environment, Health and Sustainable Development. 2nd edition. Eds.. Open University Press.

Frumkin H, (ed) (2016) Environmental health: from global to local. 3rd Edition.  Jossey-Bass. 2016.

Further information

After you register you will be given a welcome pack that will include the programme handbook. This contains comprehensive information about LSHTM and MSc Public Health. In the meantime, if you have any specific queries, please email us at

We look forward to meeting you in September.

Jennifer Gosling, Shakoor Hajat, Ford Hickson, Wendy Macdowall, Dalya Marks & Peter Weatherburn

Programme Directors

Page last updated September 2023