School of Social and Political Science

MSc Global Health Policy (Online Learning)

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Applications for September 2022 entry have now closed.  Applications for the next intake usually open in October.

This programme provides students with the skills they need to play a leading role in the formulation of health policies at the national and transnational levels

The programme situates health, health inequalities and health policy in a global context, examining the extent to which health and its determinants are shaped by social, economic and political processes and the impacts on health policy of multiple factors.


With its multidisciplinary approach and online distance learning delivery,this programme will provide you with a flexible and focused examination of health, health inequalities and health policy in a global context.

Whether you’re from a health or social science background, you’ll develop a critical awareness of the role of the state, the commercial sector, civil society and international organisations in health policy and global governance, and an understanding of the challenges confronting policymakers in addressing health and reducing health inequalities.


The programme is available on a part-time basis over three years.

The programme’s flexible structure allows you to balance your studies with your other commitments. For example, you can either condense courses into two semesters, or spread a lighter workload across three semesters.

Qualification breakdown

For the MSc, you take one compulsory course, choose from a predefined list of core-elective courses and select freely from a pool of elective courses. All students are required to undertake the final year dissertation course.

You can exit the programme at any stage with the qualification that you have earned, which is determined by the number of credits successfully achieved at the required level.

If you complete 60 credits (including among them the compulsory Public Health and Health Policy course), you will be eligible for a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Health Policy.

If you complete 120 credits (including among them the compulsory Public Health and Health Policy course and the stated core electives), you will be eligible for a Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Policy.

An MSc will be awarded to If you fulfil the requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma and complete the compulsory dissertation course. Graduates receive identical degree certificates to that of on-campus students. Degree certificates do not state that the programme is delivered online.

Career opportunities

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
  • 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.

Online learning

Courses are delivered through:

  • short lecture videos
  • core texts
  • podcasts
  • instructor-moderated discussion forums

There are weekly readings and students engage with the material through online asynchronous discussion boards as well online activities that include writing blogs, producing policy briefs, creating mind maps and academic posters, and writing a group wiki.

Additional question-and-answer sessions also take place through live seminars, which are recorded for students not able to participate at the time.

Studying online at Edinburgh

More information on Postgraduate online learning

How to apply

Apply for September 2021 entry

Tuition fees

Award Title Duration Study mode  
MSc   3 Years Part-time Tuition fees


Undergraduate contact

The School of Social and Political Science sits within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  All enquiries and applications relating to undergraduate admissions to the School are handled by our College. Please contact:

CAHSS Undergraduate Admissions
University of Edinburgh
57 George Square
Edinburgh, EH8 9JX

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565