Masters in Public Health

Programme Leaders: Amanda Mason-Jones, Ian Watt


The intersecting influences of financial volatility, food insecurities and climate change mean that more than ever before, public health is a global issue. Public health concerns continue to include social inequality, economic and environmental changes, political challenges, and issues of human rights. The Masters in Public Health (MPH) course at York offers the chance for students to get a solid grounding in this field through training in public health history and practice, epidemiology, and research methods. At the same time, this education will enable them to understand and  incorporate a wider global vision of public health. The optional modules allow students the choice of focussing on research methodologies, economics, social science in relation to health, global public health, and health policy.

The MPH is run in association with the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) and is a member of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

Who is the course for?

The public health training offered at York is suitable for students from a wide variety of disciplines who plan to work as public health practitioners, to become researchers, to work in governmental or non-governmental organisations, to go on to study medicine or to pursue PhD studies. The course also provides a solid foundation for those planning to take the membership examination of the Faculty of Public Health.


The MPH training involves a one-year full-time or two-year part-time Masters programme (180 credits), with the option to exit from the course with a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health after successful completion of the taught modules (120 and 60 credits respectively). The aim of the programme is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to become effective public health professionals in either the UK or international settings, including in low and middle-income countries.

The course is modular and provides a range of compulsory and optional modules that will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills by improving their understanding of:

  • research methods applicable to population-based research
  • the impact of major communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • effective methods of disease prevention
  • health inequalities and the context in which they occur
  • public health practice and policy
  • the theory and practice of health promotion
  • ethics and human rights in health practice
  • leadership and management skills.


Compulsory modules, (70 credits in total) include:

Optional modules, (50 further credits) can be chosen from the modules below:

The dissertation (60 credits) enables students to do an in-depth piece of work using a systematic review, an extended literature review or an analysis of primary or secondary data in an area of interest to them. The purpose of the dissertation is to facilitate the application of learning from the taught and optional modules and the development of skills for independent research and dissemination. 


Our course management team is made up of a group of experts who not only provide a strategic overview to keep the course relevant, current and challenging but who also actively engage in world class research.

Dr Amanda Mason-Jones (Programme Lead) and Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health has a background in public health and epidemiology and health services research and has worked for many years in South Africa. She leads the postgraduate Global Public Health module. Her research focus is child and adolescent public health and particulary risk, resilience and the influence of environmental factors in the health and well-being of young people. She holds honorary positions at Adolescent Health Research Unit at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch.

Professor Ian Watt’s research interests are in communication in healthcare, patient safety and evidence-based healthcare. As well as working at the University, Ian also works one day a week in clinical practice as a general practitioner, and is an honorary consultant in public health. In the past he has worked in India and Nepal and was a trustee of an NGO which supported skills transfer projects in South Asia and East Africa. 

Professor Kate Pickett trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. She is currently Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences, University of York. Kate was an UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-12, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of The Spirit Level chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman, winner of Publication of the Year by the Political Studies Association and translated into 23 languages. She is a co-founder and director of The Equality Trust.

Dr Kamran Siddiqi's interets lie in improving lung health. He has a background in both chest medicine and public health. Kamran has worked in the UK, Latin America and South Asia. He uses evaluative research designs to study tobacco cessation, smoking prevention and harm reduction. He also acts as an advisor on the NICE public health guidance committee and on a national research committee. 

Dr Steven Oliver's research interests are in the aetiology, management and outcome of cancer. He works in collaboration with the Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry to deliver their role as national lead for haematological cancers. He is a member of the Centre for Health and Population Sciences (CHAPS) within the Hull York Medical School and also works with colleagues in the Supportive care, Early Diagnosis and Advanced disease (SEDA) research group in Hull on a programme of work on inequalities in cancer care and outcomes, and end of life care.

Dr Tracy Lightfoot’s research interests are in cancer epidemiology, particularly haematological malignancy and childhood cancer. She has close links with the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in France where she holds a Senior Visiting Scientist Award. 

Dr Rob Newton is currently on a three-year secondment at the MRC-Uganda Unit for Research on AIDS, based in Entebbe, Uganda. He is currently developing a programme of work on the growing problem of non-communicable diseases (primarily cancer and cardio-vascular disease) in Africa.


We are currently offering a funded scholarship for a Master in Public Health. Click on the link for further details.

A number of funded places are available for staff working within the region of Yorkshire and the Humber, on the Masters in Public Health.

For available studentships visit our masters studentships webpage.

For information on fees visit graduate course fees.

Contact Student Information Service on 01904 321321 or email for further information.

Possible Scholarships


You should normally be a graduate with a 2:1 degree or higher, or equivalent from an overseas university, and be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary knowledge of and interest in a relevant area of public health.  Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and we follow the University’s Equal Opportunities policy.  

The Department of Health Sciences minimum English language requirement is IELTS: 7.0. You can, however, receive a conditional offer with a 6.5 in writing provided you complete the University of York's higher level pre-sessional course which runs for eight weeks. On successful completion, you can then progress to your programme within Health Sciences.  

Click here for further details of the University of York's English language requirements.

To apply for the course visit our how to apply, fees, funding and studentships page or click on the button below.

Apply now button


What do graduates of the programme do once they have completed the course?

This depends largely on what you have done before. However we have students that have gone into public health roles in the NHS or local authorities in the UK, government hospitals and health organisations worldwide, non governmental organisations, have started their own business or some have gone on to study medicine or to do a PhD.

I need to do the MPH part-time because of work commitments is this possible?

Yes it is possible but it’s important to ensure that you make time to study as well as to attend lectures. Otherwise this can be a challenging route as work often takes priority.

What does timetable look like for part-time students?

Part-time students start the course by attending on Tuesdays in the first year and Thursdays in the second year. They will do their compulsory modules (Epidemiology, Research Methods) in year 1 and Public Health Foundations and Practice and Infection and Disease in year 2. They will have to choose optional modules either on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. This will mean that they will have to do at least one term on a Wednesday in year 1 or 2.

When do lectures take place?

Teaching takes place generally over three days for full-time students (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We start at 9am and end usually at 4pm. You can see this year’s timetable on the MPH webpage which will give you an idea of where the modules fit in.

What are the entry requirements?

We normally ask for a 2.1 in your first degree or equivalent. We also require a level of English language ability that will ensure that you are able to write at masters’ level (IELTS overall score of 7, with no lower than 6.5 in any domain). You can find the language requirements link here

I’m currently a medical student is it possible to ‘intercalate’ and do the MPH?

Yes this is possible and a popular route for many medical students.

I work for the NHS/local authority currently is funding available for people like me?

Yes, you can speak with your manager about the possibility of doing the programme and we can also direct you to our business development manager Sasha Singh who can discuss this with you further.

Watch our short video of student experiences from the 2014/15 intake.