Skip to main content

Public Health


School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Psychology and Public Health

Start Date(s): September


MSc (one year full-time or three years part-time)
PgDip (eight months full-time or two years part-time)
PgCert (nine months part-time)

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,560

International - £13,860

In Brief:

  • 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
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

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 and 21st Century Global Public Health Challenges. 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 and Society is an institutional member of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

"Studying Public Health at the University of Salford has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. After moving continents, from a third world to a first, I thought adaptation would be close to impossible. I managed to integrate quickly with the help of my tutors who were passionate about both the improvement of students and their work."

Rufaro Zipora Jaricha

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.                  
This module will help you to develop the academic skills you will utilise throughout the course, together with providing you with a deeper understanding of research and how it applies to public health. Undertaking this module will help you to develop the personal and professional skills needed for study and your future careers and provide you with practical examples of innovative research projects, both external and internal. This non-credit bearing module is highly recommended for all students on the programme and is compulsory for international students on a Tier 4 visa.                  
This module will allow you to increase critical awareness of the key global public health challenges for the 21st Century and develop a critical understanding of approaches to improving global public health, including the role of systems, policy and practice, and the use of digital and media technology.            

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)            

21st Century Global Public Health Challenges (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 of Prior Learning (APL)

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.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,260 per 30 credit module
Full-time International£13,860

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


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.

Teaching is over 10.5 hours per week across two days.


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:

  • Dr. Margaret Coffey
  • Professor Penny Cook
  • Dr. Anna Cooper-Ryan (Programme Leader)
  • Alex Clarke-Cornwell

Dr Margaret Coffey
Dr. Margaret Coffey is a Reader in Public Health. 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

“I enjoyed my course a lot. It was really a fun. I am very glad to have met brilliant and friendly staff and colleagues. I would definitely recommend the University to anyone who is interested in studying Public Health."

Waafa Almulla


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.

"MSc Public Health at the University of Salford was challenging yet very enjoyable and enlightening. Coming from a medical background, the most important take home for me was gaining a broadened view of health through learning about the social determinants of health and how important they are."

Miriam Bamidele

Not the course you're looking for?

If this course isn't for you then please retry our course finder below.


Visit our A-Z list of courses.

A-Z courses