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MSc Public Health for Development (pre-course info)

General welcome

We are delighted to welcome you to LSHTM and to the MSc Public Health for Development. We hope that you will find the year at both enjoyable and educationally enriching and we will do all we can to enhance your experience with us. We wish you all the best as you prepare to come to London, and look forward to getting to know you over the coming year. Please get in touch with any one of us should you have specific queries or concerns, and do continue to send all official correspondence related to the programme to the Registry. 

Programme Directors: Daniel Chandramohan; Sandra Mounier-Jack; Krystyna Makowiecka
Programme Administrator: Nora Mingle

Welcome week

• MSc Public Health for Development welcome week timetable 2019 (pdf)
• Welcome week timetable (all programmes) (pdf)
• Welcome week marketplace guide (pdf)

• International Students’ Induction & Reception: taking place on Monday, 4-6.30pm, and featuring talks on Tier 4 Visa terms and conditions, and healthcare and banking in the UK. This event is strongly recommended for Tier 4 Visa students, and may be of interest to other international students.

• Student Welcome Party: celebrate your first week at LSHTM with your new friends, live music and light refreshments on Friday, 5-8pm in the lower ground floor.

• Accommodation helpdesk: if you are still looking for accommodation, visit the helpdesk in our Keppel Street building, where former students are on hand to guide you in your search. Open daily 12-5pm Monday 23 to Friday 27 September.

• Bank letters: bank letters will be available 11am-4pm on Wednesday and 10am-4pm Thursday & Friday in the Library. From Monday 30 September they will be available from the Student Hub. You will need to provide the name and address of the bank where you intend to open your account. Visit our banking pages for details of banks with branches near LSHTM.

• Council tax letters: council tax exemption certificates can be obtained from the Student Hub from Wednesday 25 September onwards.

There is a one week orientation period at the start of the academic year. We will inform you about the structure of the year ahead, including academic teaching units, the MSc dissertation and course assessment. You will also meet fellow students, the Programme Directors and other members of staff involved in MSc Public Health for Development. We encourage part-time students to attend as much as you can to learn about the structure of your two years of study.

The welcome week is busy so you should sort out practical arrangements about living in London beforehand. Please make every effort to arrange your accommodation before arrival, and certainly before the start of term. Your study programme is very intensive and at that stage it will be difficult to search for lodgings between teaching sessions. In addition, choice will be much more limited once term has started.

Welcome week retreat

On Thursday and Friday of welcome week we will go on a one-night retreat. We will travel by coach to on the morning of Thursday 26th September and return in the afternoon of Friday 27th September. On the retreat there will be additional programme briefing and social activities including a walk in the beautiful countryside and by the sea.  Transport, meals and accommodation will be provided. This visit is only for staff and students and it is important that those who need to make arrangements to cover commitments such as childcare over that period do so. All the MSc Public Health for Development students, Programme Directors and some other members of staff will be present. 

Term 1

Below is a draft outline of the teaching structure for the first term. If you are a part time student you should contact one of us so we can plan your two-year programme together. 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09.30 - 12.30 Public Health for Development seminar series Extended Epidemiology Extended Epidemiology   Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health
14.00 - 17.00 Introduction to Health Economics Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health Health Policy, Process & Power Principles of Social Research  
17.15 - 18.15 Global Health Lecture Series        

In the first term, full-time students take the five discipline-based modules, while part-time students choose two or three for the first year of study.

In addition, we hold a student-led seminar series in which each student contributes by presenting on their public health experience. The purpose is to stimulate peer-to-peer learning, to give you an opportunity to inform fellow-students of your professional experience and expertise and to reflect on your experience in light of the material you are studying such as health policy or epidemiology. The exact format of the seminar series will be discussed during welcome week. Part-time students can attend the series in the first or second year, or both.

Examples of seminar presentations in the previous years have included: access to essential drugs in developing countries; community volunteers for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa; management of a cholera outbreak in an open war context; response to Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The format will be a short conference-style presentation followed by reflection and discussion.

In the middle of Term 1 is a reading week with no formal teaching, but short courses run by LSHTM will take place and you are encouraged to sign up for those.

Half way through Term 1 you make your module choices. The Programme Directors and your personal tutor will guide you and there is a module fair where you can speak with the module organisers to help you sculpt a programme which serves your career, academic and personal aspirations.

Please note that the teaching is intensive and does not allow for outside commitments. It is also LSHTM policy that students will not normally be permitted to do paid work for more than six hours a week.

Terms 2 and 3

Full-time students will study two modules during the first half of Term 2 and two during the second half. Part-time students will study one module during the first half of Term 2 and one during the second half. Some modules run on Monday-Wednesday lunchtime and others Wednesday afternoon-Friday. Please see the course web pages for the suite of modules you can choose from.

After Easter, the recommended module is Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries. Part-time students take this module in their second year.

During Term 2 you also work with your personal tutor on developing ideas for your research project. Most work on the project takes place after the exams in Term 3.

Summer project

Each student submits a project report of between 7,000 and 10,000 words on a subject related to public health in developing countries. By February you should have developed your ideas for your summer project. The work starts in earnest after the June examinations and the submission deadline is around the first week of September. Most part-time students work on their report in their second year of study but you could think about subjects and research questions at any time.

The dissertation addresses a research question relevant to public health in low- or middle-income countries and involves one of the following: data collection (qualitative or quantitative) and analysis; secondary analysis of a relevant dataset; a literature review; a policy report; a protocol including study design for a research project.

The project is based on independent work in an area of your choice and is intended to give you an opportunity to specialise in one field. Most students on this course provide their own topic, sometimes based on data or other information drawn from their professional background. Occasionally members of staff have data sets to analyse and write up or ideas which they would like pursued and which can form the basis of a project.

- Zimbabwe's first Ponseti Clubfoot Clinic based at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare: a review of the initial two years of the programme.
- A randomised controlled trial to determine the efficacy of Directly Observed Therapy to improve longterm adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in symptomatic HIV-1 infected patients in Hlabisa District, South Africa. 3
- Factors affecting male uptake of community-based HIV counselling and testing in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.
- Community midwifery programmes in fragile and conflict-affected countries: a review of approaches from recruitment to retention.
- Anthropological reflections on ’safe and dignified burials' in Sierra Leone during the West Africa Ebola epidemic.
- Evaluating the sustainability of tippy taps and moringa oleifera seeds in improving drinking water quality in rural Tanzania.
- The effect of rapid diagnostic tests on antibiotic prescribing practices: a secondary analysis of data from a randomised effectiveness trial in Afghanistan.
- Health needs of elderly affected by humanitarian crises in low and middle income countries - a systematic review.

Many students develop an area of interest during the MSc, but some arrive with an idea in mind. If you would like to pursue a subject based on your own materials, you should bring relevant information such as reports, data, or other material that you think might be useful.

Preparing for the programme

It is best to get used to academic activities before you arrive, especially if you have been out of education for some time. The programme is very intensive and if you can, you should brush up on your academic skills. The Open University has have developed good study skills materials which are available.

The compulsory Term 1 modules in Statistics and Epidemiology assume that you have a grasp of arithmetic and algebraic operations. If you have any doubts about your skills and would like to refresh them, sign up to the Khan Academy (make sure you click on Adult Learner when you register) or to Mathtutor and spend time brushing up on these skills.

Tutors on your Term 1 modules assume that you can read, write, understand and express yourself in English comfortably and that you have an ease with mathematic operations. Maths refresher sessions (shared with other MSc programmes) will be offered during the first term. During welcome week, you can take a self-assessment exercise which will indicate whether you might benefit from attending any of the sessions. You will also have access to Academic English support sessions.

Recommended reading

It’s worth getting used to reading academic texts before you arrive. These may be academic journals or books. A short list of useful texts is attached. You don’t need to read these beforehand, and please don’t worry if you can’t get hold of them or do not have much time for reading in advance. For each course of study during the MSc, you will be given notes prepared by LSHTM's lecturers. This material covers the course content, or indicates when additional reading is required.

Background Reading

If you have time to do some background reading, we recommend that you look at academic journals which are available online:

Bulletin of the WHO
- The Lancet (particularly The Lancet Global Health)
- Social Science and Medicine
- Health Policy and Planning
- Tropical Medicine and International Health
- PLOS Medicine

The following books are useful for your Term 1 modules: Health Policy, Epidemiology, Statistics, Health Economics and Social Sciences. It is not essential that you read these in advance. Please don’t worry if you can’t get hold of them before the start of the MSc as we have copies in the library.

a) Health Policy: Kent Buse, Nicholas Mays, Gill Walt (2012) Making Health Policy. McGraw-Hill Education

b) Epidemiology: Leon Gordis. Epidemiology. 5th Edition WB Saunders Company, 2014

c) Statistics: Kirkwood B. Sterne J. Essential Medical Statistics. 2nd Edition Blackwell Scientific 2003.

d) Health Economics: Guinness, L. & Wiseman, V. Introduction to health economics. 2nd ed. 2011, McGraw Hill

e) Social Science Methods: Durand, M. and Chantler. Principles of Social Research. McGraw-Hill Education, 2014

Programme handbook

MSc Public Health for Development Handbook 2019-20 (pdf)

Page last updated September 2019