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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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Programme Delivery

Our online MSc Global Health Policy is delivered entirely online and offers an opportunity for those either already working in or with a passion for global health to access online our expertise in global health.

Taught by staff from our Global Health Policy Unit (GHPU) which is a unique, cross-disciplinary team of researchers and lecturers who are committed to addressing the major global health policy challenges facing countries of all income-levels. 

Teaching approach

The teaching method will vary across courses but in all cases the teaching is divided into themed weeks. For any given week, you will watch a pre-recorded lecture, read a set of specifically chosen literature, undertake some form of activity or exercise, interact with your peers and engage with the instructor-moderated discussion forum. Activities include writing blogs, producing policy briefs, creating mind maps and academic posters, and writing group wikis. Each course has a dedicated academic lecturer and you can expect to receive regular communication from them, interaction with them via the live seminars, and feedback on your work.

Welcome week / Induction to online learning

Each year, prior to your first semester, we run a comprehensive induction programme – an online-equivalent to our on-campus ‘welcome week’. We run practical / logistical sessions on setting up your university accounts (for the Library and so on), ensuring you have your computer setup to be able to engage in your seminars, and becoming familiar with the learning technologies used on our courses. We also run welcome sessions where you can meet the staff, introduce yourself to your peers and ask any questions that you have. We also use the induction programme to familiarise you with resources – such as technical support guides, library guides, and programme handbooks – and introduce you to the various career development, health and wellbeing, and academic support services that the University provides. In sum, by the end of induction week, we aim to make you comfortable and confident and ready to start your studies!

The induction week programme involves a number of live virtual sessions – for instance to meet the teaching staff – but can be engaged with at a time that suits you, at any point during the week. All materials are made available from the beginning of the week, along with a programme guide which walks you through what you need to do to prepare for your studies, and the live sessions are recorded and posted online for you to watch at your leisure.

Discussion forums and live virtual seminars

Courses are taught through a combination of discussion forums and live virtual seminars. The former are hosted on our e-learning platform. Here students engage with the relevant readings and tasks for that particular week, posting their thoughts and engaging in discussion with their peers and the instructor, who guides and moderates the forum. For the live virtual seminars we use Blackboard Collaborate, a system which gives you audio and video connection to the instructor and your peers, and enables you to share and work, in real time, on files, presentations and applications. Many aspects of the traditional classroom are recreated virtually, for example the tutor uses a virtual whiteboard and you can even raise your hand to ask a question. Virtual seminars are recorded so that you can always watch again or catch up if you weren’t able to attend.

Contact with the teaching team

The course convenor will be engaging in the debates on the discussion forum, providing guidance and feedback and leading live seminars in Blackboard Collaborate.

Additional contact with course tutors is available via multiple channels: you can arrange a Skype call, meet in the virtual classroom, exchange emails or schedule a phone call.

You will also have an allocated Personal Tutor (which may or may not be your Programme Director). Their role is to:

  • Provide you with academic and pastoral support
  • Advise you about your choice of courses
  • Support you as you plan your programme of study
  • Help you address personal problems affecting your academic work.

How much time do you need to commit to your studies?

We expect that part-time students will study for approximately 12-15 hours a week on each option or core course. This time will be spent reading, writing and attending seminars. This may vary week by week depending on the assessment. We endeavour to spread assessments across courses so as to even out workload but there may be some points in the semester (towards the end of each course, for example) where you will spend more time working on assessment tasks.

You can be flexible as to when and where you study. All core resources are available online and all you need to study is a computer with an internet connection. Many of our students work full-time and fit the study hours around their working patterns.

Due to the University's Attendance and Engagement regulations students are required to engage with any course they are registered on at least once in any week during semester time. This may take the form of posting on the discussion forum, taking part in the live seminar or emailing the course convenor.

Technical requirements

In order to study on the programme you will require a reasonably up-to-date computer (either PC or Mac) and a reliable broadband internet connection which allows video streaming.

You will need access to a computer, the internet and a fully up-to-date web browser.

Most materials on the course are delivered online and an up-to-date web browser is a must. We suggest either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

As a student of the University of Edinburgh you will be entitled to a free copy of Microsoft Office which you can use to write longer pieces of work such as essays.

You will also need to have a headset with microphone (or equivalent equipment, e.g. a modern laptop with in-built microphone and speakers) to participate in live seminars. You will also be able to join the live seminars on mobile devices using dedicated apps so even when you’re on the go, you can still take part in the discussion.

Personal and professional development

Our students come from a diverse range of professional, personal, disciplinary and geographical backgrounds. Many use our MSc as an investment to develop their careers or to move into a more policy-focused role, though the programme also has an academic orientation and is therefore good preparation for further research at the PhD level. The programme aims to equip students for senior roles in national, regional or global health organisations, research institutions, non-governmental organisations and private sector consultancies. On graduating, you will have the skills you need to help these organisations respond to a range of key global issues, from the emergence of new pandemics and antibiotic resistance, to the role of private actors in strengthening healthcare systems, to the challenge of regulating multinational corporations as part of efforts to combat non-communicable diseases. 

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