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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Structure and Courses

The MSc in Global Health and Public Policy is offered as a one year full-time or two year part-time programme. The MSc provides a thorough training in the analysis of health inequalities and the social determinants of health, and incorporates substantial flexibility for students to develop an individual programme of study consistent with personal background and future objectives.

The programme is structured around three main components comprising two semesters of taught courses and a dissertation project. Semester 1 consists of courses designed to equip students with core skills and to introduce key concepts. These prepare students to undertake the more detailed analyses offered by our specialist courses and by a diverse range of electives from across the university during Semester 2. Students are required to successfully complete 120 credits of coursework to proceed to the dissertation, the final and often the most rewarding stage of the programme.

All students on this programme take the specialist course in Global Politics of Public Health (20 credits). The programme is delivered in conjunction with other taught MSc programmes offered by the Global Public Health Unit, with students linked across these programmes to create a vibrant and cohesive cohort.

Core concepts and key skills (total 60 credits)

Semester 1

Specialist courses (min. 40 credits)

Semester 2

Elective courses

Elective courses may be selected from across the wider University, including those offered in other parts of the Graduate School of Social and Political Science and through the Centre for Population Health Sciences. You can find brief details of some popular electives in our programme handbook.


Once students successfully complete the taught courses, they proceed to the dissertation component of the MSc. The dissertation offers students the chance to explore in depth a topic of their choosing relevant to health systems, under the supervision of an academic member of staff. Students can choose a project suggested by staff, which often gives an opportunity to contribute to ongoing programmes of research within GPHU, or they may propose a topic independently. We recognise the different purposes that dissertations can serve and offer a range of projects (literature reviews, policy reports, original research projects) to enable you to make the most of this opportunity. This is a chance to develop a detailed analysis of a health systems issue that fascinates you, and offers good preparation for further academic study and/or employment.

We offer two routes to complete a dissertation: Standard route, as described above, and the Work Based Placement programme. In recognition of the value of practical, real world experience, we offer students the opportunity to apply for a work based placement with an international health or development organisation. Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs and charities, social enterprises, think-tanks, campaign groups and government bodies. We offer placements in the UK and Internationally, which you can use as the basis for dissertation research projects. 

You can find full official details of the current structure of the programme via its Degree Programme Table.

Part-time students

Substantial flexibility is afforded within part time study to enable students to fit participating in the programme alongside work or personal commitments. One popular route is for students to take 80 credits worth of courses in their first year and 40 credits in their second, allowing for the dissertation component to be started as early as April or May of the first year. Please feel free to contact the programme director - Dr. Anuj Kapilashrami - to discuss options for structuring your studies (

Signpost health centre