Public Health MPH

Public health aims to promote health, prevent disease, reduce inequalities in health, and prolong life. The population perspective of public health ensures that its practitioners are well placed to improve health wherever they are. Our Master of Public Health degree reflects the multidisciplinary nature of public health through its flexible and innovative curriculum. Our programme enjoys strong links with the NHS, its public health practitioners and other regional and national bodies, ensuring student access to some of the country's leading authorities in public health.

Key facts

  • MPH: 12 months full-time; 24, 36 or 48 months part-time
  • PgDip 9 months full-time; 21 or 33 months part-time
  • PgCert 5 months full-time; 10 months part-time
  • Contact: 

Why this programme

  • The University of Glasgow has provided education in public health since 1839 and has offered a diploma in public health since the early 20th century. The Master of Public Health (MPH) programme has been offered here since 1981.
  • The Master of Public Health programme is taught by academics and practitioners from a wide variety of organisations and disciplines including; Health Protection Scotland, environmental health, environmental protection, public health medicine, health economics and business/management.
  • The programme is multidiscplinary in focus attracting students with undergraduate degrees in nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other health related specialisms.
  • Public health has a central role in guiding health care practice, influencing health policy, protecting the public, and improving population health. If you work or intend to work in an organisation which has public health responsibilities or aims to improve population health then this Master of Public Health Degree will be suited to you.
  • Public Health at the University was among the earliest academic fields to move towards a multidisciplinary range of programmes involving staff from a number of areas. Current disciplines represented include: Health promotion, health protection, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, statistics, and health economics.
  • Public health practitioners are employed in health services, academia, national and local government, the voluntary sector, as well as in international humanitarian relief. The MPH degree is recognised in most countries as an essential qualification for a career in public health.

Programme structure

You will attend interactive lectures, seminars and individual tutorials and take part in project and team work.

Core courses

  • Principles of public health
  • Introduction to statistical methods
  • Introduction to epidemiology

Optional courses (three courses chosen)

  • Communicable diseases
  • Environmental health
  • Further epidemiology and statistics
  • Globalisation and public health
  • Health economics
  • Health promotion: principles and practice
  • Managing healthcare organisations
  • Oral health (this course is offered every second year)
  • Psychosocial approaches to public health
  • Qualitative research methods.
  • Research methods

If you are studying for the MPH, you will also undertake a research project of 15,000–20,000 words and your project studies here will incorporate a series of research methods lectures.

Core and optional courses

Core Courses (semester one)

Principles of Public Health
Aims: The course aims to provide a foundation in public health for students.  It will introduce the fundamental concepts of health and illness and the factors that influence health in different settings.

Introduction to Statistical Methods 
1. To introduce fundamental concepts in biostatistics, especially uncertainty, variation, estimation and comparison.
2. To examine statistical issues in study design.
3. To introduce the most commonly used methods of analysis of data.
4. To give students a framework for critically reading published papers.
5. To give students experience of carrying out standard statistical analysis of small data sets using a computer.

Introduction to Epidemiology
Aims: To introduce students to the epidemiological approaches that are used to understand the health of populations.

Research methods
(for MPH students there are no credits or fee attached to this course as it is part of the Project; for PGDip. PGCert and CPD students it is a 20 credit course) 
Aims: To introduce students to a range of data gathering techniques, methodologies and principles, and to explore the strengths and weakness of different approaches.

Research Project (semesters one, two and three)
Aims: On successful completion of the MPH project students will be able to apply knowledge of research methods to design, develop and autonomously carry out a research project relevant to public health.

Optional Courses (choose three)

Communicable Diseases 
Aims: To review the threats to Public Health from communicable disease and appraise the tools available to respond to these.

Environmental Health
Aims: To evaluate the role of the physical environment in determining health status and perpetuating inequalities in human health.

Further Epidemiology and Statistics  
To build on the concepts and methods introduced in the Introduction to Statistical Methods course and the Introduction to Epidemiology course.
To introduce students to the application of more advanced but commonly used methods of analysis of data; to give students practical experience of the application of these methods to the analysis of data using a suitable statistical computing package (currently STATA).
To demonstrate the application of epidemiological principles and interpret the rationale for and results of statistical analyses applied to specific areas, including: cardiovascular disease, cancer, psychiatric disorder. 

Globalisation and Public Health 
Aims: The course aims to provide an overall view of globalisation and its impact on public health. It will examine major themes within the globalisation debate, looking at a number of global challenges and their overall impact on health and the burden of disease. 

Health Economics (online course) 
Aims: This course aims to provide students with a basic understanding of health economics, its value and limitations.  The course presents the principles of health economics and the techniques of economic appraisal.

Health Promotion: Principles and Practice
Aims: To introduce students to the theoretical approaches and practice of health promotion. This includes the planning and evaluation of health promotion programmes at local, regional and national levels.

Managing Health Care Organisations 
Aims: To provide an overview of the role of management in the context of health care services generally, and public health in particular.

Oral health
Aims: This course aims to equip students to critically analyse the principles and current practice of dental public health and to examine the distribution of oral disease and related inequalities in considering oral health need and planning to address inequalities.

Psychosocial Approaches to Public Health 
Aims: To explore the main psychological and sociological concepts of direct relevance to public health.

Globalisation and Public Health 
Aims: The course aims to provide an overall view of globalisation and its impact on public health. It will examine major themes within the globalisation debate, looking at a number of global challenges and their overall impact on health and the burden of disease. 

Qualitative Research Methods
Aims: To enable students' developed understanding and acquisition of principal skills in relation to qualitative research methods relevant to public health practice.

Continuing Professional Development

 Our taught courses are available to take on an individual basis for continuing professional development purposes by those who meet the MPH entry requirements.

MPH Dissertation knowledge exchange

Socioeconomic status important in explaining stroke in Scotland: Elaine Tod

In her 2016 Master of Public Health dissertation study, Elaine aimed to describe the extent to which the burden of stroke in Scotland would be reduced if exposure to a range of causally linked, modifiable risk factors, was reduced to an optimum exposure distribution. Elaine's study used pooled cohort study data created through follow up for health outcomes (hospital admissions and death records) of eight waves of Scottish Health Survey respondents.

Overall, the results suggest that socio-economic disadvantage is an important explanatory factor for the burden of stroke in Scotland. Of the indicators measured, low education explained the largest proportion of incident strokes after adjustment for confounding (38.8%, 95% CI 26.0% to 49.4%) followed by area deprivation, as measured by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) (34.9%, 95% CI 26.4% to 42.4%), occupational social class (30.3%, 95% CI 19.4% to 39.8%) and area deprivation, as measured by the Carstairs Index (23.5%, 95% CI 14.4% to 31.7%).

Of the behavioural and physiological risk factors included in this study, cigarette smoking explained the greatest proportion of strokes after adjustment for confounding at 25.6% (95% CI 17.9% to 32.6%), followed by high systolic blood pressure at 31.3% (95% CI 21.1% to 40.1%) then high BMI at 19.2% (95% CI 5.2% to 31.3%). Elaine's results suggest that the greatest public health gains from reducing morbidity and mortality from stroke are to be made from prioritising interventions that target socio-economic deprivation.

Cultural and religious factors pose barriers to physical activity for BME community members: Nkechinyere Akwu-Ude

In 2016 Nkechinyere Akwu-Ude studied the views and experiences of participants and walk leaders of community walking groups for BME women. Two community walking groups were studied using two participant observations, three focus group interviews, and two individual interviews. The main motivators to physical activity reported by participants were the perceived health benefits and enjoyment; while barriers included cultural and religious factors such as lack of women-only activities, language, sportswear and lack of motivation. Observation of the walking sessions revealed social interaction to be a significant component of walking groups which were women-only and reported to be culturally appropriate.

Survey finds 42% of hospital consultants and GPs believe clinical guidelines reduce autonomy: 2016 MPH graduate

This project sought to investigate if and how the wide range of clinical guidelines available to clinicians in NHSScotland affects their perception of personal responsibility and autonomy for their  patient treatment and 106 medical practitioners completed the survey (response rate = 13%). Of respondents, 42.8% agreed that guidelines reduce clinical autonomy.

There were significant differences between GPs & hospital consultants on the following survey items:                                

1. “For patients with multiple morbidities I am confident that I can identify the key recommendations for my patient from the various single-condition guidelines available” (21.4% and 48.5% of GPs and hospital consultants, respectively; p=0.014);                                                                                               

2. “There are multiple competing guidelines in my area of practice” (85.7% and 54.6% of GPs and hospital consultants, respectively; p=0.004);                                                                                               

3. “Where several sources of guidance exist for a given therapeutic area, I am confident that I can identify the key recommendations for my patient” (39.3% and 75.4% of GPs and hospital consultants, respectively; p=0.001).

Clinicians reported that they have a responsibility to keep informed of latest evidence-based practices and to use these when appropriate. Of equal importance is the autonomy to deviate from a guideline if the clinician has good reason to consider this to be in the best interests of patients. This can be particularly challenging in the management of patients with multiple morbidities.

Musculoskeletal and mental health problems associated with reduced likelihood of return to work: Shanley Smith

In 2015 MPH student Ms. Shanley Smith conducted a secondary data analysis project on Sickness Absence (SA) in the health care sector for her MPH dissertation. The study aimed to analyse one source of sickness absence data for all healthcare employees of one Health Board in Scotland and discuss the impact MSK and MH problems have on SA duration.

She found that compared to staff absent due to all other SA causes (N=37,144), those absent due to MSK (N=6,163) and MH (N=2,718) problems were significantly less likely to return to work. Compared to staff absent due to lower back pain, staff absent with hip, knee, lower limb, shoulder, upper limb, and all other MSK conditions were significantly less likely to return to work although staff absent with neck problems (N=468) were significantly more likely to return to work. Survival analysis and cox regression of the MSK and MH sub-categories by socio-demographic conditions showed that the most influential socio-economic variables significantly affecting the likelihood of return to work were age, gender, and job category.

E-cigarette users believe that e-cigarettes can cause addition and that liquids should be regulated: Ouza Kwanashie

In December 2015 Ouza Kwanashie graduated from our MPH programme following her dissertation submission on the exploration of relationship between e-cigarette use and tobacco smoking.

The study aimed to explore the perceptions and experiences of e-cigarette users in Glasgow on the relationship between e-cigarette smoking and tobacco smoking particularly the possibility that e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to tobacco smoking. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 e-cigarette users recruited in e-cigarette shops in Glasgow.

Ouza found that most participants perceived e-cigarettes positively and thought they were safer than tobacco cigarettes. Most had been previously heavy smokers who managed to reduce significantly or quit tobacco cigarette use using e-cigarettes. Some participants felt (and had experienced) that e-cigarettes are an effective cessation tool or safer and cheaper alternative. Others felt that it could cause nicotine addiction that could lead to tobacco smoking, and renormalise smoking behaviours. Most were against banning e-cigarettes indoors, taxing them or restricting to adult buyers but they agreed that refills should be regulated and made to meet a standard specification.

Review shows radial access reduced access site complications and door-to-balloon time in primary PCI for ST-elevation MI in elderly patients: 2015 MPH graduate

The systematic review and meta-analysis included studies comparing radial with femoral access for primary PCI in elderly patients ≥75 years with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Main outcomes: in-hospital mortality, out-of-hospital mortality, access site complication, and door-to-balloon time all assessed at the longest available follow-up. Ten studies - a total of 3820 elderly STEMI patients - met inclusion criteria.

Compared to femoral access, radial access significantly reduced access site complications (odds ratio (OR): 0.20, 95% confidence interval (CI):0.09 to 0.43) and door-to-balloon time (standardized mean difference (SMD):-0.19, 95%CI: -0.33 to -0.05). Both in-hospital and out-of hospital mortality were comparable (OR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.27 to 2.52) and (OR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.30 to 1.15) respectively. Radial access for primary PCI in elderly patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction should be recommended for elderly patients ≥ 75 years with STEMI.


What our students say

"The campus is beautiful, the school is well-known and respected, the programme I was interested in was offered within a timeframe that worked for me, Scotland is an amazing place to live."

Kaley Ketchum
Master of Public Health 2015

"The quality of teaching and the attention of the teaching staff was awesome."

Kwanashie Ouza Jummai
Master of Public Health 2015

What are the three things that you have enjoyed most about your time here?
"Made many new friends. Exposure of opportunities. Improved knowledge and skills."

Fiona MacFarlane, HNS Health Promotion Officer (Oral Health and Nutrition)
Master of Public Health 2011

"It's a new system of studying... my experience in a nutshell is great!"

Mustafa Hasin
Master of Public Health 2011

"Here there is communication between academic staff and students and that's really good. You don't attend a lecture and reproduced it, in some way you make it your own and it makes you much more proud."

William Tigbe
Master of Public Health 2010

Why did you chosse your course?
"To obtain the qualification in PUblic Health to make an addition to my existing degree (MBBS). Public Health affects masses, it's a great honour and gift from God to help the people who are present and will be here in future."

Oono Inalegwu
Master of Public Health 2010

Career prospects

Career opportunities include: lecturer, health development manager, public health advisor, health programme specialists, epidemiologist, medical practitioner positions in public health, clinical university teacher, research positions.

Entry requirements

A relevant first degree, at least at 2:1 honours level, or equivalent in addition to a minimum of six months work experience in public health or health care. Exceptionally, if a first degree is not relevant then a professional qualification and experience in the practice of public health for at least two years at a professional level is required.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£21000


Home and EU
Full time fee£4833
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£14000


Home and EU
Full time fee£2417
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£7000

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


International applicants (from beyond the EU) are requested to pay a deposit of £1000 when an offer is made.

Deposits terms & conditions

The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programmes and who require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University in order that they can apply for a student visa. This is required where the programme is competitive and the deposit is required in order to demonstrate your commitment to attend the programme should you meet all the conditions of your offer.

If you are made an offer for this programme the University will write to you and request a deposit with information on how to pay your deposit and the deadline for making the deposit payment. Please note that if you are unable to pay a deposit because you are planning to fund your studies through an official financial sponsor then you should upload a copy of your scholarship application or award letter to your application by the deadline date.

The following guidelines will apply in determining whether or not a deposit will be refunded. Where the deposit is refunded, a 10% handling fee will be deducted.

Deposits WILL be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Where the University is unable to offer you a place.
  2. Where the applicant has personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or other family situations that has prevented them coming to the UK. Medical or other proof may be requested.
  3. Applicant can prove that they have applied for a visa to attend the University of Glasgow, but the VISA has been refused. The applicant must have shown ‘real intent' to study at the University of Glasgow but has been unable to obtain their visa.
  4. Applicant does not meet his / her conditions of offer: this may be academic or language test requirements. Satisfactory evidence must be uploaded to the student’s online application to prove that they have not met the conditions of their offer (note that applicants who do not meet the language condition of their offer must show reasonable attempt to meet this, i.e. they must provide a language test which was taken after the date that the deposit was paid).

Deposits WILL NOT be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Applicant decides to go to another institution.
  2. Applicant cannot be released from work to study at the University of Glasgow.
  3. Applicant does not send completed documentation as requested in the condition of the offer: this may be required in order to prove that the offer has not been met for academic or language test conditions - failure to respond to requests for this information will result in no refund.
  4. Applicant has not secured funding to attend the University of Glasgow: this may be as a result of not being successful in applications for scholarships, OR simply not having sufficient funds in bank at time of visa application. This condition will apply unless it can be proven that there are clear mitigating circumstances which have significantly changed the applicant’s position since the time of application.
  5. Applicant has decided to defer – in this situation the University will retain the deposit and credit it against the applicant’s account for securing their place for the following year of entry. 

Refund requests must be made within 60 days of the programme start date stated on your offer letter: requests made after this date will be subject to discretion.

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MPH. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Postgraduate Admissions
Marketing, Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

You will be required to attend induction and introductory teaching sessions the week before courses begin

Apply now

For information on our online Public Health programmes, click the following link: Public Health