Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Global Health Policy MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Over the course of the last decade, global health has received dramatically increased attention, both as an emergent academic discipline and in terms of heightened policy salience.

This has become particularly emphasised in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasingly dramatic impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

Global health concerns have become a central component of foreign and security policy and of development and human rights agendas, and have reshaped debates regarding the social impacts of global economic and environmental change.

Finding answers to the key questions confronting global health policy and practice is vital.

This programme explores issues ranging from the impact of globalisation and the complex relationships between health objectives and the trade policies of leading states, to health systems reform in diverse contexts. Through this programme you’ll learn to understand, critically appraise and apply key concepts and theories within policy studies, public health, and the wider social sciences.

Why Edinburgh?

Situated within the Global Health Policy Unit, this programme offers innovative research-led teaching that draws on academic expertise from disciplines including:

  • social policy
  • public health
  • political science
  • economics
  • medicine
  • sociology
  • geography
  • anthropology

Our location within the School of Social and Political Science gives students access to an academically challenging but friendly and supportive environment and to diverse postgraduate courses offered in one of Europe’s leading centres of social science research.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy.

The MSc in Global Health Policy is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme.

You will complete two compulsory courses and a number of option courses.

From May to August you will complete either a placement-based project or a standard research dissertation.

The aim of the placement-based dissertation is to provide students with the opportunity to work on their dissertation within the context of a workplace of their choosing, which could be within a public sector, a voluntary, a charitable or a private organisation, subject to requirements and the approval of the Programme Director.

Upon completion of this programme, you will be able to understand, critically appraise and apply key concepts and theories within policy studies, international political economy and public health science with specific reference to:

  • social and economic determinants of population health status
  • public health policy norms
  • research methods
  • processes and institutions of public policy-making

You will also develop the skills to:

  • apply social science perspectives to public health questions
  • assess the changing context of health policy formulation
  • analyse diverse source materials and apply these to public health questions
  • articulate your own conception of core challenges confronting public health
  • engage in public health advocacy
  • work across disciplinary boundaries

This highly regarded qualification will improve your chances of securing rewarding roles.

Recent graduates have taken up employment and research positions with NGOs, health agencies, government departments and international organisations.

We have structured the programme to enable the option to undertake a placement during your dissertation, which can provide valuable professional experience and contacts.

The transferable skills you gain from the programme in areas such as communication, critical thinking and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your eventual career.

A number of our students, particularly from social science backgrounds, use this programme to prepare for applications to medical school, law school and PhD programmes.

Our programmes are also recognised for training purposes by the UK Faculty of Public Health, and a number of practising doctors undertake study with us.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

If you are also applying for funding then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD