Postgraduate study

Public Health (part-time) (Online Learning) MPH, PgDip, PgCert

Awards: MPH, PgDip, PgCert

Study modes: Flexible


Online learning

Funding opportunities

I'm able to get a much better understanding of the research landscape in a global context as well as a Canadian context. It's also really flexible - I find that the online aspect really gives you the opportunity to work at the same time as studying.

Bronte Patterson Master of Public Health (MPH) online graduate 2019
Bronte Patterson               Master of Public Health (MPH) online graduate 2019

The Master of Public Health (MPH) online programme is based on a longstanding tradition of academic teaching and research in public health at the University of Edinburgh.

Public health is about preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the efforts of society.

Who this programme is for

Whether you are already a working professional in this area, or new to the subject, this Master of Public Health (MPH) is the ideal programme for those wishing to address today's problems in public health.

Our MPH programme provides you with an understanding of how different scientific disciplines can be used to investigate and then develop the best professional practice in epidemiology, public health and the social science of health.

The programme is designed to provide an entry point to either the public health profession or public health research for those new to the subject, but also to provide sufficient depth for the benefit of existing public health professionals.

The range of elective courses reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the subject.


Postgraduate training in public health has been offered continuously at the University in one form or another since 1875, when a new postgraduate science degree, aimed at those wanting to be Medical Officers of Health, was introduced.

Since the first Chair of Public Health was established in 1898 and the opening of the Usher Institute of Public Health in 1902, the University has engaged in research covering:

  • epidemiology
  • environmental health
  • infectious diseases
  • medical statistics
  • social sciences in health and health care


The part-time online Master of Public Health has successfully achieved 'Full Accreditation' with Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA).

APHEA represent the five leading associations of public health in the European Region and is committed to assuring and improving the quality of educational activities throughout the European Region and the globe.

Why APHEA accreditation is important?

Accreditation is aimed at supporting the continued improvement of education and training for public health workforces throughout the world by providing an international and transparent quality recognition.

According to APHEA it:

  • contributes to the development, transparency and convergence of Public Health education
  • provides an added sector-based value to national quality assurance and accreditation
  • recognises a school's quality beyond the borders of its home country, allowing for transferability of qualifications and potentially providing graduates with better opportunities for employment internationally
  • increases attractiveness to national as well as foreign students
  • improves the quality of the Public Health workforce and its competitiveness globally

  • Find out more about APHEA

Online learning is a way to study for an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus.

It is aimed at those who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside work or other commitments.

Online programmes are of equal value to on-campus programmes. The only difference is the way the course is delivered.

Our online learning platform enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or work place.

As an online student you have access to the University's excellent resources and you become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

The MPH (online) programme is entirely online with a study commitment of approximately 10-15 hours per week.

You will study alongside and share your knowledge and experience with students from around the world through active discussion boards, blogs, group work and videos.

The programme is flexible and there are no specific times you need to attend class. It is designed to complement the work commitments and diverse geographical locations of our students.

Assessments and evaluation

Evaluation of the programme is through a mixture of coursework and online participation.

The programme has a variety of types of assessments, including essays, online activities, blogs, group work and tests.

The assessments are designed to fit with the learning outcomes of each course.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

You can study to Masters, Diploma, or Certificate level.

All students follow the same five compulsory Year One Certificate-level courses, which provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of public health. In Year Two (Diploma level), students will take three compulsory courses and choose three elective courses to explore areas of interest in more depth and to tailor the programme to their own learning needs and career goals.

If you complete the Diploma level and are eligible to progress to Year Three (Masters level), you can choose either to do:

  • a dissertation project (if agreed by the programme directors), worth 60 credits, or
  • a compulsory 20 credit individual project, Integrating Public Health Practice, plus 40 credits of elective courses from the list below.

The course list below shows courses which we expect to run within the programme, but there may be some changes to the curriculum.

The taught course available include the following:

Compulsory courses

  • Introduction to Public Health (10 credits)
  • Epidemiology for Public Health Practice (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Health Promotion (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Epidemiology and Statistics (20 credits)
  • Public Policy for Health (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (10 credits)
  • Systematic Reviews (10 credits)
  • Research Design for Public and Global Health (10 credits)

*(Revised 1 February 2023 to update compulsory courses)

Elective courses

  • Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Societies, Reproduction and Health (10 credits)
  • Leadership and Management in Public Health (10 credits)
  • Intermediate Epidemiology (10 credits) (Offered by MSc Epidemiology)
  • Governance and Financial Management for Public Health Projects (10 credits)
  • Public Health Approaches to Declining Health, Dying and Bereavement (10 credits)
  • Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in a Global Context (10 credits)
  • Noncommunicable Diseases in a Global Context (10 credits)
  • Data Analysis for Epidemiology (10 credits)
  • Qualitative interviewing and data analysis for public health (10 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Health Economics (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Global Mental Health (10 credits)
  • Statistical Modelling for Epidemiology (10 credits) (Offered by MSc Epidemiology)
  • Innovative Approaches to Health Challenges across Disciplines (10 credits) (Offered jointly by online MPH and Vet School)
  • Migration and Health (10 credits) (Offered jointly by online MPH and Global Health Challenges)

(Revised 1 February 2023 to update elective courses)

Although we endeavour to provide a wide range of optional courses to choose from, these can be subject to change or cancellation at short notice.

Places on optional courses can be limited, due to course capacity and timetabling constraints. It may not be possible to guarantee every offer holder their top choice of optional courses.

Some courses can be studied as stand-alone short courses.

Contact the programme team for further information about this option:

Semester dates for the academic year

These are key dates in the academic year, which may vary slightly from year to year. For your programme these are currently:

  • Welcome Week: September 2023
  • Term 1: September 2023
  • Term 2: January 2024
  • Term 3: April 2024

The Master of Public Health (online) programme aims to equip students with evidence-based conceptual and practical tools, to take a critical interdisciplinary approach to public health challenges.

The programme will equip you with an extensive Public Health knowledge which will improve employment prospects in the evolving public health arena.

Students have found excellent opportunities in government, health department, research, policy-making, NGO, charity and international settings.

The Masters can also offer a good basis for further study in the form of a PhD or Professional Doctorate.

Overall, my experience on the MPH has transformed me. The programme has helped me acquire solid technical skills while also teaching me to combine the 'theoretical' with the 'practical', all of which I have applied directly in my work. I recommend this programme wholeheartedly.

Deepika, Public Health Analyst US, CDC

Thanks to the MPH, I have a much deeper understanding of evidence-based medicine and what goes on behind the scenes in the formulation of clinical practice and other guidelines. Secondly, I no longer hold the notion that the non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic is due to random bad individual choices; the social determinants of health and the role of the environment in health related decisions are concepts that are now ingrained in my thinking, and which I keep in mind when interacting with patients.

Rukayya, Internal Medicine Resident (Physician), Nigeria

The MPH at the University of Edinburgh has been a great experience. I would highly recommend the programme to everybody interested in practice-orientated modules and high flexibility for arranging studies and professional life. The support from tutors and peers facilitated by a user-friendly online platform is excellent.

Tobias, Public Health Consultant, Germany

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent in medicine, nursing, social science, science, biomedicine, or other related discipline.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 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 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Additional programme costs

You are responsible for meeting your computing costs and any research costs.

Tuition fees

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

We are offering 10 awards covering tuition fees. These scholarships will be awarded to outstanding candidates who are citizens of and resident in low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries. Successful applicants will benefit from the University’s Global Academy network.

The University of Edinburgh offers a small number of scholarships to outstanding candidates. These are very competitive. We publish data on the success rate for scholarship applications to help you understand the level of demand.

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:

  • Usher Institute of Population Health & Informatics
  • Old Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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

Further information

  • Usher Institute of Population Health & Informatics
  • Old Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG