Thinking about studying MSc Global Public Health?  Habibat Kawu is a current student on this course and shares her insights and experiences.

If you are considering applying for MSc Global Public Health, a number of thoughts must be racing through your mind at the moment, and I am writing to share my experience and a few suggestions with you. I am currently studying a MSc in Global Public Health myself as a part of the first cohort of students to study the program at University of Essex.

A common misconception about masters in global public health is that it is purely biological science, you know studying diseases and their spread, but it is way more than that. I, like many others, expected this before I started the program and to be honest, I was a little confused initially about what I was being taught but one thing is that I was not disappointed. The programme enlightened me on a whole different world and perspective to health, to public health. For example, I got to learn not just about different health issues but importantly how actions and policies at individual and society levels may affect the spread and management of the issues. Similarly, I was scared I wouldn’t really follow as the course seemed social science based whilst my background is in microbiology but with the help and patience of my lecturers and the assistance provided by the university, I got on very well.

Be prepared to do a lot of group work. This was a bit challenging for me in the beginning as my class was very diverse culturally and educational background wise, but I soon got used to it and found it extremely beneficial. It is a core attribute of a global public health practitioner to be able to work efficiently in teams regardless of individual differences. My best moment must be during one of the modules “innovating for health policies and systems” where we had a simulated policy dialogue, and I was the facilitator for my group. It boosted my confidence, gave hands on experience to the practical side of the module.

The university offers quite a wide array of support to students, should you need any. From a well-equipped library and competent librarians to help you with your research work, to a properly established and efficiently run SU to provide support for any issue including accommodation, mental health, to the ever willing to work lecturers in this module, you definitely have it all. The fact that there is always support available in relation to every part of your stay at Essex made me feel very settled and helped me better achieve my goals here. Take advantage of the support available, seek help whenever you need it, you do not have to try to figure everything out on your own.

I advise you to read as much as you can. I do not mean just your academic books but generally. It is important to stay up to date on news around the world especially regarding public health. 

Maximize your use of all social media platforms, especially twitter because many important people in global health practice and academics share opinions that are very good to learn from. It may also be beneficial to get familiar with WHO (World Health Organization) website as they have a lot of databases that will be used during your study, get familiar will civil societies related to public health and follow news about united nations (UN) and recent global developments.

This course is very eye opening and gives you an entirely new or improved perspective to the world, imbibes in you a sense of purpose to make a good change. I am happy to tell you that you are considering a really interesting program that prepares you to make meaningful contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of people around the world.

I wish you all the best.