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Our Public Health degree will enable you to develop and apply cutting-edge, evidence-based knowledge and skills in the healthcare sector. 

  • Taught as an online distance learning programme, allowing you to study at your own pace
  • The degree covers a broad range of Public Health related topics and provides key competencies in Leadership and Management, which are highly valued in the ever-changing healthcare sector
  • Learn from academics involved in national and international research activities, ranging from collaborations with WHO to key Public Health stakeholders such as NHS and the Office of the National Statistics

Why study Public Health (Distance Learning)?

Public Health England (PHE) professionals and scientists have played a critical role in international efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the worldwide prevalence of communicable (infectious) and non-communicable (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic lung diseases and mental health) diseases - as well as the existence of health inequalities - highlight the need for health promotion and protection of population health.

Due to these challenges, there is an increased need for more qualified public health specialists in developed and developing societies, who will be responsible for improving public health.

This Public Health postgraduate degree is an interdisciplinary vocational course that aims to produce skilled graduates who are capable of addressing societal problems, empowering communities, nurturing their empathy for others and making a positive contribution to society.

Whether you’re a graduate of a medical or non-medical qualification, this innovative online degree will help you to develop skills that can be applied in various public health jobs and pursue a professional career in the fields of public and global health.

The MSc Public Health degree is suitable for anyone with a professional background who is looking to progress in their career. This includes clinical backgrounds such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, professions allied to medicine as well as non-clinical backgrounds with a first degree in a subject relevant to public health (usually a health science or environmental degree).

Why St Mary's?

We are proud to offer a distance learning Public Health Master’s degree with a strong focus on issues that impact population health and healthcare systems. We take a multidisciplinary approach that covers:

  • Environmental health
  • Disease prevention
  • Biostatistics
  • Psychology
  • Epidemiology
  • Health economics
  • Global health
  • Bioethics /medical ethics
  • Development and implementation of public health policies
  • Sociology
  • Human trafficking and violence
  • Leadership and management

By covering these subjects you’ll be equipped with all the skills needed to be highly employable in the global healthcare landscape.

The flexible format of being an online degree allows you to study when and where it suits you. This will help you to balance your studies with any existing work or personal commitments.

You’ll be learning from research-active academics who are involved in national and international research activities. This includes collaborations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and key Public Health stakeholders such as NHS, Whitehall and Westminster and the Office of the National Statistics.

Staff are also heavily engaged with the voluntary sector through research, governance and campaigning work. They actively contribute to policy development and sit on a number of advisory groups.

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Course lead

Dr Eirini Kelaiditi
Course Lead - Public Health (Distance Learning) MSc, PGDip, PGCert

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

A 2:2 (or above) UK bachelor’s degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a subject such as health promotion, public health, allied health, health-related studies (e.g. psychology, nutrition), social sciences, biosciences, sport science, and environmental health.

Additional requirement information

You will also need access to computer equipment that meets our minimum technology specifications.

Relevant credits, such as credits at an appropriate level and in an appropriate subject, earned in another institution or in other institutions, in the European Union or elsewhere, may merit exemption from a proportion of the degree. The maximum number of credits for which exemption that may be given are as follows:

  • Postgraduate Diploma: up to 40 credits
  • Master's degree: up to 60 credits

Students who are given entry with advanced standing to a Master’s programme may be exempted from taught elements only. Applications based on credits achieved from study or learning achieved elsewhere will be considered on a case-by-case basis at Programme level and by the Head of Registry.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

International students and those with no previous formal qualifications, will be required to have at least 2-year experience in a relevant health field, supported by appropriate references and subject to an interview (via Skype/Zoom/Teams).

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Course content

International students and students with no previous formal qualifications will be required to complete a short online bridging course (free of charge). The course will be available from August and open until registration for the new academic year. The bridging course will provide a foundation to academic skills and basic statistical and analytical skills.

As part of the bridging course students will have to complete short assessments on academic skills (writing and referencing) and statistics (MCQs). A minimum score of 40% in each assessment is required for successful enrolment to the degree.


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Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only created demand for Public Health professionals, but also highlighted the wider role of public health.

Those with a public health degree will be able to pursue a career in a variety of settings, including but not limited to:

  • National, state, and local government
  • National and local health agencies/authorities and departments
  • Non-profit organisations
  • Private health-based organisations and foundations

There are six main areas of work within public health, all of which can be people-focused, strategic or administrative:

  1. Improving people’s health
  2. Protecting people’s health
  3. Working with population data
  4. Teaching research
  5. Maintaining and raising standards
  6. Leadership, planning and management

The MSc Public Health can also feed in the NHS Public Health Consultant and Specialist Training Programme.

Public health jobs

Some examples of job roles and areas of work for graduates of Public Health (Distance Learning) include:

  • Teaching and/or research
  • Communicable and non-communicable disease control
  • Communications and social marketing
  • Community development consultant in public health
  • Dental public health
  • Emergency planning
  • Environmental health
  • Epidemiologist
  • NHS practice facilitator
  • Health promotion/health improvement officer
  • Population healthcare manager
  • Health and wellbeing improvement coordinator
  • Information management and technology management lead for health intelligence function
  • Prescribing and medicine management
  • Public health analyst
  • Public health education
  • Public health intelligence specialist
  • Public health leadership
  • Public health nutrition screening
  • Specialist community public health nursing
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How the degree is taught

Teaching and assessment

The programme is delivered in a full-time (1 year) and part-time (2-3 years) distance learning format through our bespoke online learning platform.

The programme utilises a variety of teaching and assessments methods to enable you to learn from practical and theoretical perspectives. These include:

  • pre-recorded lectures
  • discussion forums
  • poster design and presentations
  • journal clubs
  • quizzes
  • collaborative group tasks
  • case studies

We will also organise an online induction in September to welcome and prepare you for the course.

In addition, we will allocate a personal tutor to guide you academically and provide support throughout your studies with us.


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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

September 2023

  • Home: £10,500
  • International: £10,500

The tuition fees listed are for the duration of the course. Students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree. Please see clause 5.15.2 of the Tuition Fee Regulations for further information.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


Government-funded loans of over £11,000 are available to many Home postgraduate students.

Home and International students may also be eligible for external sources of funding. 

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

For more information, please look at our postgraduate funding page.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please see our additional costs webpage

Further information

Related postgraduate programmes