Postgraduate Course

MSc Global Public Health

MSc Global Public Health


The details
Global Public Health
January 2025
1 year
Colchester Campus

Society the world over is faced with mounting public health challenges, from pandemics to forced displacement, to rapidly depleting planetary resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the complex links between population health, and the wider economic, social, political, environmental, and commercial determinants that shape human and planetary health in the globalised world we inhabit. Our MSc Global Public Health will challenge you to investigate these intersecting issues, critically appraise health and public policies, and engage in innovative research to drive forward change that contributes to a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy future.

Globally, most nations have committed to the international human rights framework and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda pledge to “leave no one behind”. However, progress on these promises requires an understanding of the root causes of mounting global inequity as well as the role intersecting crises play in driving increased inequity and distracting from the necessity of structural reform. Developing a deeper understanding of interlinkages will help you develop a foundation from which you'll explore the increasingly political role of multinational corporations and other powerful actors (such as charitable foundations) in influencing global and national decision-making. This course will equip you with the academic knowledge and skillset to analyse the impact of structural forms of discrimination including racism and colonialism, both in the UK and internationally, so that you can contribute to addressing the roots of the ensuing social injustice this discrimination perpetuates.

Through a combination of interactive lectures and intensive seminars with practitioners and leading experts, this course will help you develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of:

  • what factors determine our health;
  • what drives decision-making and priority setting in global health?
  • who governs health, how (i.e. policies and mechanisms) and with what effects at individual, societal, national, and global levels;
  • how people, illnesses, and drugs/ therapies travel in a globalised world? How these movements relate to the movement of capital and trade?
  • how wider inequalities (based on class, gender, sexuality among others) and systems of oppression interact to shape people's life chances and ability to thrive?
  • And importantly, what skills, approaches, interventions, actions can help resist the detrimental forces that undermine health and well-being and realise the promises of “health for all” and “leave no one behind” to achieve fairer, equitable, and healthier societies?

You'll benefit from the opportunity to pursue this course through one of two specialist pathways. Each pathway will share some core modules but allow flexibility for you to select modules that are in line with your interests and employment. You can either opt to follow our ‘Policy and Systems' pathway which has been designed with an emphasis on preparing you for entering the workforce with strong evidence-based research and planning skills, or our ‘Intersectional Inequalities and Determinants' pathway which will advance your interdisciplinary skills in examining and tackling inequalities in the distribution of determinants of health and diseases.

The School of Health and Social Care is proud to work closely with our Service User Reference Group (SURG). SURG is made up of service users, carers, and volunteers who generously share their first-hand experiences of health and social care. We work collaboratively with SURG to design our courses to ensure that we truly are putting the needs of patients and clients at the heart of what we do. SURG are involved as part of our course application processes and often form part of our interview panels. This helps us to be confident that we are selecting the right applicants for the course and their future careers. SURG members also support the delivery of our teaching sessions and research activity, which means you'll benefit from an insight into their lived experiences of living with a diagnosis, health condition, or circumstance. You'll find that not only does your clinical knowledge expand, but your empathy, compassion and ability to advocate develops also.

Why we're great.
  • You'll gain practical knowledge and transferable research and evaluation skills necessary for pursuing a career in public health policy and practice.
  • You'll enhance your research skills by applying theoretical and methodological learnings to real life public health challenges.
  • You'll develop the analytical and methodological skills necessary for applying an innovative intersectional lens to examine policy and health inequalities.

Our expert staff

Essex is home to wide-ranging methodological, disciplinary, and subject area expertise. The degree will be located in the Interdisciplinary Research and Practice Division within the School of Health and Social Care. It will draw on eminent scholars from diverse subject areas within the School and across, including the renowned Human Rights Centre, the Law Faculty, and the ISER institute. You will also benefit from the dynamic networks of academic, policy, and practitioner communities that our staff work closely with, in the UK, Europe, and internationally.

Equality, social justice, and social activism are part of the DNA of the School of Health and Social Care here at the University of Essex. The course both builds on and extends these values offering distinct opportunities to contribute to these goals.

Dr Valentina Iemmi and Dr Alex Kaley direct our MSc Global Public Health programme. Dr Alex Kaley directs our January start cohorts, and Dr Valentina Iemmi directs our October start cohorts.

Valentina's research focuses on global mental health policy. Her work investigates governance, analysing why and how global actors support mental health worldwide and how they can improve their collective responses. She uses innovative and rigorous multi-methods at global level, primarily qualitative (interviews and documentary analyses) and also quantitative (country-level panel data linkage and analyses). She uses multi-disciplinary approaches, primarily health policy and international relations, and also psychology, public policy, and economics. Her most recent work explored a particular group of actors in the global mental health system: external actors investing in mental health in low- and middle-income countries. She is currently examining the global mental health governance structure and the prioritisation of mental health at global level.

Alex is a qualitative researcher with research interests in the health and social inequalities experienced by disabled people – as well as innovations in health and social care to address these inequalities. Recent work is examining the intersections of disability and gender, and reproductive health and rights. In exploring these issues, Alex has developed expertise in the use of creative and participatory methodologies to elicit the views and experiences of people who may be considered marginalised or whose narratives often go unheard. She is particularly interested in developing innovative and creative methods to elicit ‘unspeakable' health experiences – including for people who are nonverbal, or for those seeking to explore or describe a particular experience or life event that is difficult to express in words.

This programme was established by Professor Kapilashrami, an Interdisciplinary social scientist of international repute with expertise in health policy and systems research, and a particular interest in the interface between equity, rights, and social justice. Professor Kapilashrami has longstanding experience in the academia and working with civil society and policy makers. Her current work focuses on advancing intersectionality, conceptually and empirically, to examine and address health inequalities and structural determinants of health (including migration).

Dr Valentina Iemmi and Dr Alex Kaley will be joined by other leading experts in the University (including Professor Anuj Kapilashrami, Professor Reza Majdzadeh, Dr Sarita Panday , Dr Milagros Ruiz , Professor Ewen Speed, Professor Fay Crawford, Professor Andrew Bateman) and beyond with speakers representing diverse sectors and geographies.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Social Care is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend campus.

We offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives, and other research materials.

Your future

This course will prepare you to evaluate and support the development and implementation of evidence-informed and rights-oriented local, national and global public health policies and programmes. It, therefore, is likely to be of interest to you if you are already working in or are keen to develop a career in: public health policy and practice; the health and social care sector; the humanitarian sector; the development sector, and academia.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a medical, health, social care or social sciences discipline.

Applicants with a 3rd class degree, or a 2:2 degree in any other discipline, will be considered where they can demonstrate at least 1 year's relevant experience in the field of health policy and systems, or in the development sector working on health and care issues, or in a healthcare setting. This will be assessed based on information provided at the application stage (for example, in a CV, reference, or other proofs of employment).

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Graduate Admissions team at to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained


Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.


Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms


Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation

This module provides you with a range of techniques for collecting, analysing and interpreting data. It combines a theoretical and a practical approach to enable you to understand the collection and analysis process. At the end of the module, you will be able to design and pilot data collection instruments, conduct quantitative and qualitative data analysis using appropriate computer software, and interpret statistical and qualitative research findings. Find out more about this module at

View Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation on our Module Directory


Literature Review and Critical Appraisal

This module provides you with an advanced understanding of the research study designs commonly used in health research. It combines a theoretical and a practical approach to enable you to search for, obtain, and understand the research literature, and provides you with the critical skills to analyse and synthesize material into a literature review.

View Literature Review and Critical Appraisal on our Module Directory


Introduction to Global Health

The global health priorities established in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have helped bring the importance of global health governance to the fore of global health scholarship. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on global public health governance, exposing the systemic weaknesses in the global health architecture and demonstrating how power and resource imbalances impact on global health policy, global health equity and population health. The global health landscape is shaped by centuries old interactions and structures. The past few decades have brought dramatic change shaped by cross-border flows of capital, ideas, technology intermediated through the complex interaction between global, national and local actors and institutions. This module provides an introduction to the fundamentals of global public health governance by focusing on health-related issues that transcend national boundaries and the differential impacts of globalization on health. It introduces essential concepts from the social sciences, including political science, sociology and law. It includes critical scholarship on interactions between global and local actors to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for critically exploring key questions including who governs global health, which states, institutions and other entities finances global health, who sets priorities for global health and who is accountable for delivering on global health commitments. It provides an introduction to understanding the diverse social, economic and political forces which shape how and why some important health related challenges are addressed through global health policies, including the SDGs, and others are not.

View Introduction to Global Health on our Module Directory


Social Determinants of Health

The module will introduce you to the skills required for ethical practice in the context of safeguarding and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults. The module also aims to introduce you to the skills related to legislation and regulation including advocacy and legal research skills. You will have the opportunity to explore the process of ethical decision-making alongside students and tutors from the Law Clinic. Law, and Health and Social Care staff will be making use of the giving voice to values approach which focuses on empowering decision making for transformational leadership.

View Social Determinants of Health on our Module Directory


Global Health Epidemiology

This module introduces you to epidemiology as an essential science of global public health. It will contribute to your understanding of the fundamental importance of studying the determinants and distribution of disease frequency in human populations throughout the world to address global health issues. This module also challenges you to explore how and why evidence and data play a crucial role in informing public health policy, strategy, leadership, service provision and coordination of action for health. It examines the different ways in which data can be collected, analysed, and interpreted so you are better equipped to critique research and unpack hidden bias. The module will also help you to develop an understanding of which research methods are most appropriate for addressing specific research questions and global health issues by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data. Finally, it will guide you to develop the skills to assess the most suitable research methods for a given research question, understanding that the data collected has implications for the type of analysis that can be carried out and the types of question that can be answered with that data.

View Global Health Epidemiology on our Module Directory


HS856-7-SU or HS959-7-SU


Option(s) from list


Global Public Health Research Dissertation



This final module consolidates your learning and equips you to take your career forward with a range of skills and knowledge relevant to your professional practice. It is an opportunity to undertake an independent research project relevant to your field of practice. You will formulate a research question, plan and carry out the project, analyse and write up the results. You can undertake primary or secondary research, or audit/service evaluation or a library based critical literature review research project. If you are undertaking the MSc in Health Research you will undertake a primary or secondary research project, engaging with empirical data.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory


On this programme students can expect to have approximately 12-14 hours of taught hours per week across all three times. In term 1 teaching takes place three days per week, with two days dedicated to independent study, but this can vary. In term 2 students have the opportunity to undertake some optional modules, some of which are taught intensively during a whole week Monday-Friday. In the third term, there are fewer contact hours as students are expected to be working on their dissertation.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we'll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply' information.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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