Why study public health with us

A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is internationally recognised as essential for professional advancement in the fields of public and global health

Our Master of Public Health (MPH) programmes are based on a longstanding tradition of academic teaching and research in public health at the University of Edinburgh.

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 Public Health Department in 1902, the University has engaged in research covering epidemiology, environmental health, infectious diseases, medical statistics and social sciences in health and health care.

In 2015 we saw the opening of the new Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics and the launch of the new Master of Public Health online programme, as well as the continuation of the longstanding on-campus programme. The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics is part of the Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences (MGPHS), which belongs to the Edinburgh Medical School, which sits within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) at the University of Edinburgh.

Link to Usher Institute

Link to MGPHS Deanery

Link to Edinburgh Medical School

Link to CMVM

Our programmes aim to equip students with evidence-based conceptual and practical tools, to take an applied interdisciplinary approach to public health challenges and are 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.

At the University of Edinburgh we believe in working together to support the creation, the dissemination and the translation of public health knowledge across a global community of health practitioners, trainers, researchers and policy makers. 

Collectively, you bring a broad range of knowledge, skills and experiences that we hope you will share with your fellow students during your studies.  In doing so, you will contribute to strengthening the links between the many different disciplines working towards improving public health in a global context.

World class institution

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 and health economics. Our 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.

World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre

We are part of the Centre for Population Health Science, which has recently been designated the World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre for Population Health Research and Training.

Multi-disciplinary expertise

We provide postgraduate training across a broad range of public health disciplines. Academics from medical, biomedical, public health, social science, policy and international development backgrounds at the University and beyond contribute to the development and delivery of our programmes.


We have two Master of Public Health programmes, one on campus, and one online.

The full-time programme is on campus only and the online programme is part-time only. The two degrees are of equal academic value and standard, and the content of both MPH programmes are very similar: 

Both versions of the programme combine a set of compulsory core courses with elective courses that allow you to focus on areas relevant to your work and professional interests.

Excellent study resources and support

Whether you decide to study full time or part time, you will have access to superb study resources and support options. Your Programme Directors and course tutors are available to discuss academic matters. For online students, discussions take place via online discussion boards, email or video call.

We also have a first class library and electronic library, serving both on-campus and online students. The University's Institute of Academic Development offers online courses and resources to help you improve skills such as academic writing, time management and critical thinking. Our Information Skills Helpline offers IT support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Link to weblist of A-Z student support services

Student Advisor

Our current students can also contact our Student Advisor if they have questions about study interruptions, special circumstances, extensions advice and application guidance, or need support for mental and physical wellbeing and registering with the Disability and Learning support service. You will be connected to our Student Advisor once you've matriculated. You can also ask them about short/long term laptop loans, registering with a GP, accommodation, Council Tax exemption and any other advice you need to help facilitate your study with us.

Student representation

Effective student representation is a vital part of our teaching and learning to enhance the student experience. A programme student representative will be elected and will communicate regularly with teaching programme about any student concerns. A staff student liaison committee (SSLC) will be held each semester to discuss student feedback. The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss issues and good practice, but also to review feedback and work with students to monitor and improve the programme delivery and teaching content, as required. The student will set the agenda and chair the SSLC meetings.  

Link to find out how you can get involved

Usher Institute postgraduate e-journal club

The Usher postgraduate hub is launching a student-led online journal club for all students across all online programmes. The e-journal club will be an opportunity to consider and critique academic studies from a range of different academic disciplines (public health, family medicine, clinical trials, global health and data science). You will be able to access this resource when you become a student on our programme. 

After you graduate

Near the time of your graduation, you will be invited to join the Usher Institute Masters Alumni (UMA) network that seeks to explore a new way of engaging alumni that extends and champions the notion of life-long learning through collaboration between alumni, current students and staff. The UMA network hosts joint student, staff, and alumni events aimed at transferable ‘real world’ skills, such as dissertation publication workshops, soft skills on topics such as defeating imposter syndrome, and more.

Link to read more about the UMA network

Transferable skills

Master of Public Health is internationally recognised as essential for professional advancement in the fields of public and global health. Our MPH programmes will prepare you for careers as global or public health researchers or practitioners, working in the public and NGO sectors, universities and international institutions. As well as acquiring technical skills in a wide range of public health-related disciplines, you will develop collaborative team working, communication and research skills.

Link to read why The University of Edinburgh is a good option

Link to student testimonials about studying online at CMVM

Global Health Academy

Our MPH programmes are affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy.

Link to Global Health Academy