University of Edinburgh

School of Social and Political Sciences

MSc Global Health and Public Policy


Old College

South Bridge

Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9YL

United Kingdom

Program Information

Degrees Offered:


Format: Campus

Program Description:

This programme is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to gain key roles in public health research, policy and advocacy.  You will receive training in key concepts and you will develop core skills by critically analysing 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?

Situated within the prestigious Global Public Health Research Unit, this programme 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.

Why study this programme?
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.
Finding answers to such questions is critical to the future of global health policy and practice. If you are interested in contributing to this process this programme is for you.

Programme Structure
The Master Global Health and Public Policy has been designed to be accessible to students from diverse national and disciplinary backgrounds and this is reflected in its structure.
Before progressing to the dissertation stage, students on all four programmes will be required to acquire a total of 120 credits across three categories of taught courses:

• Core skills and key concepts - minimum of 40 credits from the following courses:
o Population health and health policy (20 credits)
o Health systems analysis (20 credits)
o Globalisation and public health (10 credits)
o Introduction to epidemiology for public policy (10 credits)
o Introduction to medical anthropology (10 credits)

• Specialist courses – minimum of 40 credits from the following 20 credit courses:
o Global politics of public health (20 credits) - mandatory for MSc global health and public policy
o Health Systems: Strengthening and Reform (20 credits) - strongly recommended for MSc health systems and public policy
o Social determinants of health and public policy (20 credits) - mandatory for MSc health inequalities and public policy
o Infectious Disease and Global Governance (20 credits)

• Elective courses
Subject to courses taken in the above categories, and with the approval of the programme director, students may acquire up to 20 credits from courses offered within the Graduate School of Social and Political Studies, Centre for Population Health Sciences, or more widely within the University.  Selection of courses must always be made in consultation with your Programme Director.


Fully accredited by The University of Edinburgh

International Student Requirements:

For students whose first language is not English, detailed information about required English language qualifications can be found on our website. Our website will also inform you which international qualifications meet our general entry requirements.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: No

International Financial Aid: No

Classification: Higher Education Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: Midsize City

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