M.Sc. Global Health & Public Policy

The University of Edinburgh

Application deadline: 17th July 2015
Tuition fee:
  • £ 7,800 / Year (EEA)
  • £ 15,850 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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

While its definition remains contested, global health entails:
  • recognition that the social determinants of health transcend national borders;
  • extending beyond international health's traditional focus on infectious diseases and maternal and child health;
  • a concern to promote health equity within and between countries;
  • the increased significance of non-state actors in health governance; and
  • a focus on the health risks and opportunities associated with globalization.

Such an ambitious agenda requires a new approach to the analysis and teaching of population health, and an interdisciplinary perspective that combines and enhances the contributions of medical and social sciences.

Situated within the Global Public Health Unit, this programme therefore offers innovative research-led teaching that draws on academic expertise from disciplines including public health, political science, social policy, economics, medicine, epidemiology, geography and anthropology. Our location within the Graduate 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. Close teaching and research links with the University's outstanding medical college means that our students learn alongside colleagues from Public Health Sciences, and can access its training courses.

This programme is designed to equip students for key roles in public health research, policy and advocacy by combining training in key concepts and core skills with critical analysis of key questions confronting global health:

  • How has globalization exacerbated inequalities within and between countries?
  • Can the World Health Organization fulfil its mandate to act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work?
  • What new forms of global health governance are required to counter transborder health risks?
  • To what extent do trade agreements undermine the scope for effective public health policy?
  • How can the health impacts of transnational corporations be effectively regulated in a global economy?
  • How have global health partnerships like the Global Fund or GAVI and philanthropic initiatives like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reshaped public health and health policy in developing countries?
Finding answers to such questions is critical to the future of global health policy and practice.


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 10 credit 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 Globalisation and public health core course (10 credits) and 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

  • Population Health and Health Policy (20 credits)
  • Health Systems Analysis (20 credits)
  • Globalisation and public health (10 credits)
  • Introduction to epidemiology for public policy (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Medical Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Health Promotion (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Statistics (10 credits)
Specialist courses (min. 40 credits)

Semester 2

  • Global Politics of Public Health (20 credits)
  • Health systems: Strengthening and reform (20 credits)
  • Social Determinants of Health and Public Policy (20 credits)

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.

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.


The academic entry requirement is a UK Bachelor Honours degree with at least 2:1 or its international equivalent.

An official transcript and certificate (if the degree has been awarded) is required upon application. References are not required upon initial application but may be requested at a later stage in the application process.

Where work experience is taken into consideration, an up-to-date CV and work reference is required.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 7
CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IELTS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

200 (Grade A)
TOEFL iBT® test: 100

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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