Career development

The programme will equip you with extensive public health knowledge and skills, which will enhance your employment prospects in the evolving public health arena.

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 noncommunicable 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.

Internal Medicine resident (physician), Nigeria

What does public health encompass?

Public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts of society. It draws on a wide range of different disciplines, from epidemiology and statistics, to sociology, policy and health economics.

Our Master of Public Health (MPH) programmes combine a history of excellence in public health research and training, with innovative new approaches to tackling public health issues in our globalised, 21st century world. Our students have participated in a range of initiatives including NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE) and Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews (UNCOVER).

Link to NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Link to Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews (UNCOVER)

I embarked on the MPH (Online) course because my career to date and academic qualifications concerned the care of individual patients. Having been appointed to a role where I would develop, implement and evaluate new services, I was keen to develop my knowledge and skills in population health. The online MPH course enabled me to study alongside my full time work commitments, indeed they complimented one another. The SLICC option in Year 3 meant that I could put into practice my prior 2 years learning. Since graduating, I have developed new public health services, collaborated on one public health research project and been PI on another. Completing the MPH was a significant achievement for me and has been rewarding professionally and personally.

Stephen McBurney
Associate Director of Pharmacy (Primary Care, Community and Mental Health), NHS Lothian

What job opportunities are available with a public health degree?

Public health touches on almost every aspect of modern life, and graduates may find they have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings. A career after completing the MPH degree may involve the following:

  • Public/Government sector: Jobs include health department management and administration, epidemiology, public/health policy, public practitioner/nursing or disaster preparedness.
  • Non-profit: Jobs in this setting often focus on a particular population, such as reproductive/maternal health, migrants/refugees, minorities or address specific health disparities. There are also many public health related opportunities in the international development sector.
  • Academic: The MPH can also offer a good basis for further study in the form of a PhD or Professional Doctorate. Public health professionals working in academia typically focus on research and teaching.
  • Private: Within the private sector, jobs may be available at pharmaceutical manufacturers, private health care facilities, and insurance companies. Another option for private employment is consulting work performed on a contract basis.

Four years ago, I was a communicable disease consultant with the government and decided to embark on the journey to obtain a Master of Public Health. Through the University of Edinburgh MPH program and with the preparation of a policy brief dissertation, I gained the knowledge, skills, and tools to discover and critically evaluate local and global evidence while searching for solutions to significant population health issues. Identifying and using newfound resources taught me to trust the learning process. In addition, this program provided the confidence, motivation, and ability to switch careers from government to education. I currently teach and mentor nursing students in a baccalaureate nursing program, providing them with the skills to learn and deliver evidence-based care.

Deidre Falck MPH, BN, RN
Instructor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Northwest Territories, Canada

Other ways we support your career development

As a University of Edinburgh student, you will have access to the University’s careers service which provides a wide range of support around careers information, education, advice, and guidance. You will have the opportunity to learn practical skills on everything ranging from how to find job opportunities, to how to write a CV and cover letter through online resources, including personalised, one-to-one support.

Link to Careers Service

Our MPH programme also runs an annual career event with guest speakers and/or alumni to highlight opportunities after graduation.

Graduates of our programme also have the opportunity to join the Usher Masters Alumni (UMA) network, which is a collaboration between students, staff, and alumni. The network is designed to build both ‘real world’ skills and life-long relationships to give students an edge in their future endeavours.