Public Health

Part-time study available
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Public Health at Salford


Gain a public health qualification that explores the social determinants of health


Learn the skills which match the Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (2013)


Develop a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to public health

Course Summary

On this course, you'll receive instruction in core public health skills including epidemiology, statistics and research methods. As well as giving you the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of a range of topics; evidence-based public health; contemporary global public health issues, and work, health and wellbeing. The focus of the curriculum is on the social determinants of health (which makes it unique among the other Greater Manchester universities).

This course aligns to the 9 key competencies of the UK Faculty of Public Health Curriculum. In this regard, the course will equip you with the core skills you'll need to to effectively interpret and understand key areas of health research and how this can be used to inform and drive policy. You'll also learn how to use this insight to inform and drive public health.

During your time with us, you can tap into the expertise and skills of our partners, who include external public health practitioners and research staff from across the University. Whilst the programme does not include a placement, or work experience, students have the opportunity to work on external or internal applied research projects as part of their dissertation.

One of our strengths is the small class size (typically less than 30 students per year) which enables close liaison between students and the leading research staff who will be teaching and mentoring students.

The University of Salford’s School of Health Sciences is an institutional member of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

Watch our video

International Student Georgia talks about studying for MSc Public Health at the University of Salford.

Course Details

The MSc Public Health adopts a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach, focusing on the social determinants of health.

The taught modules will give you core public health and epidemiology knowledge and skills, research methods and quantitative analysis skills, and give a focus on health inequality and the social determinants of health. You will also be exposed to a range of important issues that are recurrent in public health practice both nationally and globally.

This course runs full-time over one year or three years part-time, giving you the chance to exit with the following awards:


  • Postgraduate Diploma: four modules over eight months
  • Masters: four modules plus a dissertation over one year
  • There is no option to complete the PgCert on a full-time basis


  • Postgraduate Certificate: two modules over eight months
  • Postgraduate Diploma: four modules over two years
  • Masters: four plus a dissertation over three years The taught component of this course consists of predominantly 30 credit modules.


Core Modules (Taught in semester 1 or 2)

You will gain advanced knowledge of the principles of epidemiology and statistics in public health along with how to design a simple epidemiological study and understand the key concepts of study protocol. You will develop the capability to thoroughly and critically assess health status, health needs and analyse the biopsychosocial factors that determine a person's health.
In this module you will learn about contemporary issues and debates in research, the nature, role and context of research in health and social care and the theoretical issues and approaches to research. You will master developing research questions and hypotheses, search for evidence and information and form a critical review of existing research.
You will develop an understanding of the key determinants of health and an awareness of the social context of public health and the importance of using the current best evidence in making decisions in the areas of health protection, disease prevention, health maintenance and promotion.

Optional module - Semester 2

This module aims to provide a blend of understanding between global public health issues and also how aspects of the 21st century are impacting these both in relation to what the current issues are and also in terms of how we are intervening and monitoring issues. In this module you will develop an understanding of the key issues and challenges for global public health in the 21st century. You will also develop an understanding of public health systems, policies and practice globally. With it increasing use and influence you will also learn about the use of digital and media technology within a global public health context.
You will develop an understanding of approaches to improving workplace health, including the role of policy in workplace health and wellbeing. You will also gain an awareness of the key challenges workplaces face in the 21st century in relation to health and wellbeing (e.g. technology, measuring and improving health and wellbeing, psychological wellbeing). This module aims to take a global, national and local perspective to work, health and wellbeing.

Semester 3

Students will have the opportunity to choose a dissertation topic of their choice, with tutorial assistance from the public health team. This will enable you to tailor your own research to your own needs. This dissertation will allow you will allow you to showcase critical knowledge and application of research/inquiry methods, critical knowledge of salient professional and clinical organisational issues and other issues relating to your practice. You will need to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of research/inquiry techniques applicable to your area of practice to enhance research and advance scholarship.

Part-time Structure

Year 1, Semester 1 & 2

Epidemiology and Statistics for Public Health (30 credits)

Evidence-Based Public Health (30 credits)

Year 2, Semesters 1 & 2

Research Methods Applied to Public Health (30 credits)

Choose either of the following 30 credits modules:

Contemporary Global Public Health (30 credits)

Work, Health and Wellbeing (30 credits)

Year 3

Dissertation module (60 credits)

Entry Requirements

An Honours degree – normally 2.2 or above, preferably in a health related subject.
An equivalent academic or professional qualification from the UK or elsewhere.

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English - IELTS 6.5 band score or above are proof of this. If your current English language qualification is below this level, you may be able to take one of the many pre-sessional English courses.

Suitable For

This course is suitable for should you want to develop an understanding of public health problems and intelligently appraise the debates over contemporary public health issues.

Applicant profile

We are looking for applicants who are passionate about working towards improving public health and reducing health inequalities.



To accommodate different learning styles and prior student experiences, a combination of teaching and learning strategies are used throughout the course. These include:course comprises a structured teaching programme within which a variety of teaching methods will be used, to include lectures, case studies, individual and group work, independent learning, student led presentations/discussions, seminars.

  • Lectures
  • Case studies
  • Individual and groups work
  • Independent learning
  • Student led presentations/discussions
  • Seminars

You will also have access to the University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, where you can tap into online resources including discussion boards and wikis.


Assessment will be based on a variety of strategies to include:

  • Written assessments
  • Examinations
  • Project reports
  • Oral presentations
  • Research project/dissertation

Postgraduate Staff Profile

The Public Health team comprise:
•   Professor Eileen Fairhurst
•   Dr. Margaret Coffey
•   Professor Penny Cook
•   Dr. Anna Cooper (Programme Leader)
Dr Margaret Coffey
Dr. Margaret Coffey is a Reader in Public Health and the programme leader. She has a first class degree in Health (2000) and a PhD (2004) titled ‘Stress in the Workplace – An Action Research Case Study of Social Services’.
Margaret’s research focuses on two distinct but interrelated areas: work based health and wellbeing, and health improvement in deprived populations, for which work, or lack of work, are key determinants of health. The unifying theme of her research is the desire to identify the underlying determinants of issues such as: stress, absenteeism and ill health in order to inform the development of specific solutions in a participatory way.
Margaret’s expertise in research is evidenced by an Emerald Literary Award won in 2010 in respect of the ‘Outstanding Paper Award’ for the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, for the paper – ‘Designing a Stress Management Intervention in Social Services’ - Coffey M., Dugdill L., & Tattersall A., (2009). More recently, in 2011, the 'Working Well Team' (Christine Parker, Tamara Brown, Lindsey Dugdill and Margaret Coffey, Vicki Dickens, Teresa Barrett and  Krista  Hopkinson)  won a Chartered  Society  of Physiotherapists Award for Research & Practice.
More individual profiles of these staff can be found at:
Associated Honorary Staff

  • Professor Mike Kelly – Director, Unit of Public Health, National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence
  • David Herne – Director for Public Health, Salford City Council
  • Mel Sirotkin – Public Health England Centre Director for Cheshire and Merseyside
  • Siobhan Farmer – Consultant in Public Health, Salford City Council
  • Dr. Basem Khalil, Department of Peadiatric Surgery, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
  • Nick Cavill – Public Health Research Consultant, Cavill Associates
  • Deborah Blackburn – Strategic lead for Business, Salford City Council
  • Ian Ashworth – Consultant in Public Health, Salford City Council


Professionals who wish to develop the skills and knowledge to take a lead role in areas such as prevention, promotion, protection and international health.

Career Prospects

With this qualification, you'll be well placed to apply for public health roles in local or national government health departments. The range of jobs varies widely, and can include health promotion, health policy development, research or health advocacy.

Full time students on this course can apply for student membership with The Royal Society of Public Health. Upon completion of the course students are eligible to apply for a fellowship membership with The Royal Society of Public Health.   

Links with Industry

Lecturers on the MSc Public Health have close links with a range of national and international agencies and community partnership, most through research, with an ‘applied’ focus. Examples of these links include: The World Health Organisation’s Collaborating centre for Research in Oral Health in Deprived Communities; The Royal Society for Public Health; The NHS; Department of Health; Strategic Health Authority; and The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The benefits of these links to students include: research informed teaching; a strong applied focus to the programme; the opportunity to engage with key public health professionals and practitioners; and access to an exciting seminar series, including speakers of international renown.

Further Study

An option for further study includes undertaking a research degree for which the University of Salford has an international reputation for using innovation and creativity to find solutions to ‘real-world’ problems see Postgraduate Research at Salford.

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Part-timeHome/EU: £2,750 (for year one)
Full-time International£13,300
Full-time PgDip£5,500

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section