Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences>Courses>Applied Public Health - MSc/PgD/PgC

Applied Public Health Masters - MSc/PgD/PgC

The MSc Applied Public Health places a strong focus on health equity and social justice at local and global levels. Our aim is to develop reflective public health practitioners who apply a systematic and practical understanding of public health to improve and protect the health & well-being of the individuals, groups and communities that they work with. We will support you to develop and use a combination of leadership, innovation and technical skills to advocate for, influence and implement changes in policy and practice to reduce or eliminate unjust, preventable differences in health, and promote sustainable development.

The programme in Applied Public Health is aimed at anyone with an interest in improving the full range of social, economic and environmental determinants of health: for example, people working in public health, education, health promotion, housing, transport, leisure, environmental health, community development, health & wellbeing partnerships, planning, social services, school nursing, and health visiting (not an exhaustive list!). We welcome applicants from all sectors: public, private and the voluntary & independent sector. During your studies you will investigate public health issues and case studies from around the world, as well as Wales and in the UK.

Features of the programme:

Linked to professional standards:  the programme is designed to meet UK and international public health competency frameworks, including UK Public Health Skills & Knowledge Framework and the UK Public Health Practitioner Standards. We use many international case studies in our teaching, as well as examples from the UK.

Real-world application: The programme is devised to enable you to apply your knowledge to real-world situations. Assessments often designed to allow you to apply public health skills to the issues that you are currently facing in your own practice, or that you are most interested in investigating. We provide personalised academic and professional support, helping you to apply and develop your public health skills in your current and future practice.

Assessment strategy focused on public health skills: our assessments are designed to address the main programme outcomes, enabling you to develop, integrate and demonstrate your public health skills across the programme. We use a wide range of assessment types, including reports, presentations, multiple-choice assessments, interviews and observed practice scenarios. There are no unseen written examinations. The programme contains an integrating 'Public Health Skills Assessment' at the end of the taught modules.

Work-based learning opportunity: you can elect to complete the portfolio assessment of the Health Equity Interventions module by undertaking work-based learning. This may be through your existing employment or activities, or by arranging a specific experience with a relevant employer. Please note that we are not able to guarantee a work-based learning opportunity for students, and the programme does not contain a formal placement or internship.

This degree will undergo a periodic review in 2023/4 to ensure the course content is and remains current. Should any changes to course content be made as a result of the review, all applicants will be informed once changes are confirmed.

​Course Content​​

The MSc in Applied Public Health is a Masters programme but it has exit points at both postgraduate certificate & diploma level. The programme is available on a full-time (over 20 months) and part-time (over 3 years) basis; you can also apply to study individual modules on a CPD basis. (contact the programme leader for more details)

Full-time students study all taught modules in year 1, then progress to the Research Project. Year of study for part-time students is indicated below:

For the Postgraduate Certificate, you'll complete the following modules:

  • Principles of Public Health & Epidemiology (20 credits, taught Oct-Nov – year 1 of the part-time route) – understand core concepts and principles of public health and epidemiology, analysing and interpreting complex data and information on population health, well-being and inequities, and providing informed advice about the impacts of policies and interventions on the determinants of health and health inequities.
  • Advocacy & Partnership for Well-being (20 credits, taught Dec-Feb – year 1 of the part-time route) – build and sustain partnerships, working in political, democratic and organisational systems to advocate for action to improve health, promote sustainable development and reduce inequities
  • Health Protection (20 credits, taught Mar-May – year 1 of the part-time route) – protect the public from environmental hazards and communicable disease, addressing inequities in risk exposure and outcomes

For the Postgraduate Diploma, you'll undertake the above, plus the following modules:

  • Applied Research Methods and Design (20 credits, taught Oct-Jan – year 2 of the part-time route) – develop your research skills, apply principles of evidence-based practice and design robust research projects
  • Health Equity Interventions (40 credits, taught Oct-May – year 2 of the part-time route) – apply relevant intervention frameworks and models of change to design, plan and implement interventions to improve health, promote sustainable development and reduce inequities

To obtain the MSc, you will also complete:

  • Research Project (60 credits, year 2 of the full-time route, year 3 of the part-time route) – design, plan, undertake and present research relevant to public health and professional practice.  You will  begin planning your project on completion of Applied Research Methods and Design (March of year 1 for full-time students, March of year 2 for part-time students)

Learning & Teaching​

Course Delivery:
We use a blended learning approach to deliver our programme – a combination of in-person classroom activities on campus (whole-class lectures and small group seminars) and online educational activities to provide further support and structure for your independent study between lectures. Students complete the online activities during their own time – typically this involves completing an activity in preparation for a subsequent on-campus seminar session.

We aim to deliver all on-campus sessions between 2.00pm and 6.00pm to facilitate part-time students to balance study with work commitments. Part-time students will only be expected to attend on-campus 1 afternoon per week. For 2023-24, we anticipate that these days will be Tuesday for year 1 part-time students, and Wednesday for year 2 part-time students, and will confirm this as soon as timetable arrangements have been finalised.

Module-specific arrangements:

  • The Applied Research Methods and Design module is delivered using a blended approach, with core materials via interactive e-learning, supported by on-campus programme-specific seminars.
  • The Health Protection module includes an assessment day, which typically takes place in late April/early May (9am-4pm).
  • The Health Equity Interventions module contains the ‘Public Health Skills Assessment’ which typically takes place over the course of a day in May.
  • The Research Project module is supported by research project workshops, small group support and individual supervision sessions. These usually begin in March/April to support you with work on your research proposal (year 1 of study for full-time students, year 2 of study for part-time students). Workshop support then continues into the following academic year to support you with implementation of your project and dissemination of the findings. The final project is usually submitted in the Spring term of year 2 for full-time students, year 3 for part-time students. Precise deadlines for all assessments are communicated at the start of each academic year.

Induction and Introduction to Academic Skills:
As part of an extended programme induction, we invite students to complete a programme of academic skills sessions at the start of the programme. Designed to help develop academic skills and improve confidence and ability to study at Masters level, the sessions are an invaluable tool for both those returning to academia, and those who have entered via the professional experience route. This academic practice programme is delivered through interactive e-lessons, supported by live sessions with lecturers from the programme team where you can discuss key principles, ask questions, and develop your academic skills.

Engagement with the academic practice sessions is normally compulsory for:

  • All international students
  • Students who do not have a degree, or who have not previously studied at university
  • Students whose previous degree qualification is over 5 years old

For all other students, the sessions are optional – but engagement with the materials is strongly recommended.

The sessions work towards submission of a practice assignment in early October, which facilitates the provision of formative feedback and informs ongoing personal tutoring and personal development planning. All students are required to complete the practice assignment.

Learning & Teaching Activities:
We place a strong emphasis on applying theoretical frameworks to real problems and situations. 

Taught sessions:
Our approach to face-to-face teaching uses extensive interaction and discussion with students. Sessions introduce and explore key principles and concepts, applying them to various practical scenarios and circumstances, including examples from your own practice and experiences. Our lecturing team blend academic and research expertise in public health with professional public health experience, enabling us to explain how we have successfully implemented theoretical principles in our own public health practice.

Online materials:
Face-to-face sessions are supplemented by structured e-learning and guided study materials, provided to enable you to build deeper understanding of the topic, practice certain key skills related to the module learning outcomes, and to prepare for subsequent face-to-face sessions (including 'flipped classroom' approaches where appropriate).

Independent learning:
At postgraduate level you are expected to undertake significant independent study under the guidance of academic staff. Each module is supported by a contemporary reading list - wherever possible, using materials that are available to facilitate flexible approaches to study. You will be expected to read widely; in particular studying how the core principles are applied in practice in different contexts and areas of practice. Such reading and study, in addition to structured face-to-face and e-learning activities, will prepare you to successfully complete summative assessment tasks.

Contact Time and Self-Directed Learning:
The direct contact time between student and tutor varies from module to module. Generally, unless otherwise stated on the module guide, 20 credit modules will include up to 24 hours contact time, plus structured tasks to support self-directed learning and assessment preparation. In addition to direct contact time, you are generally expected to undertake a further 3-4 hours of self-directed learning for every 1 hour of contact time.

You can access programme material both on and off campus via Moodle, the University's virtual learning environment. This includes access to lecture presentations, recommended and required reading, group forums, e-portfolios and a range of other learning and teaching resources specific to the modules and programme. We use Panopto, our lecture capture system, for all lecture sessions to enable you to return and re-visit discussions. We also provide video explanations of assessment tasks.

Personal Tutors & Professional Development:
In addition to a general open door policy, we encourage you to meet with academic staff regularly throughout the programme to discuss feedback on assignments and the development of academic skills. You'll be an allocated a Personal Tutor at the beginning of the programme, who you can work with to develop your academic skills and consider how you can integrate your learning experiences with your own professional development needs and aspirations.


We set assessment tasks that encourage you to select specific topics of study that are relevant to your interests and practice. Our focus is on assessment tasks that enable you to demonstrate and integrate knowledge and skills from across the programme.

Some assessment tasks build on activities undertaken earlier in the programme. For example, in Principles of Public Health & Epidemiology you'll review the potential health impacts of a particular policy decision or public health intervention. In Advocacy and Partnership for Wellbeing, you'll review then continue to explore the same issue and consider the opportunities for community development and partnership working to protect and promote public health.

In Health Protection, you'll undertake an observed scenario assessment, working in teams to respond to a developing health protection incident. This enables us to assess your understanding of key theories and principles whilst bringing in some of the tensions and realities that you will potentially face in public health practice. Then you'll complete a short reflection piece considering how you reacted under pressure giving you space to contemplate how you would react in a real incident.

The programme contains an integrating 'viva voce' oral assessment at the conclusion of the taught modules. This Public Health Skills Assessment is located in the Health Equity Interventions module, and provides a holistic assessment of public health knowledge and skills. Tasks in this assessment will enable you to demonstrate how you have integrated the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired over the course of the programme.

To reflect the applied nature of study, the programme contains no unseen written examinations. 

Employability & Careers​

The promotion, protection and improvement of public health are key objectives for the Welsh Government, UK Government and internationally in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The MSc in Applied Public Health has been designed to meet and align with the requirements of UK and international public health competency frameworks and professional standards, including:

  • UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework
  • UK Public Health Practitioner Standards
  • International Union for Health Promotion and Education – Competencies for Health Promotion
  • Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation – Curriculum for Masters-level public health programmes

The programme provides the underpinning knowledge to enable you to pursue UK Public Health Practitioner registration (which requires completion of an assessed portfolio through a recognised development scheme, such as that operated by Public Health Wales. Find out more about practitioner registration at the UK Public Health Register website. Three members of the programme team are UKPHR portfolio assessors, giving us an excellent understanding of the knowledge and skills you need for successful practice. If you'd like to find out more about career development opportunities in public health, we strongly recommend the Health Careers website

Your aspirations for professional development will be discussed during induction. Support and guidance will then be tailored throughout the programme to ensure that you are best able to fulfil your chosen professional development needs.  Part of the Public Health Skills Assessment will include delivery of a presentation reflecting on the development of your public health skills over the course of your studies and experiences, including identification of potential career development goals/opportunities, and actions they intend to take to achieve these. Throughout the programme, you will be able to work with your personal tutor to reflect on your skill development, career objectives, etc. which will support you to prepare and deliver this presentation, and plan and progress your public health career.

An opportunity for work-based learning is provided within the Health Equity Interventions module. You have the opportunity to fulfil the Portfolio assessment of this module by completing a work-based learning project where you investigate a public health issue and work to develop an intervention to promote public health and reduce health inequalities. This could be undertaken within an existing professional role, or via a specific opportunity arranged with a relevant organisation. Alternatively, you can fulfil the same assessment working in team with other students, working on a scenario-based public health intervention project.

Graduates from the programme have progressed to advanced positions in their chosen specialist career areas. Examples of roles our graduates have attained include:

  • Public Health Fellow (American India Association) and Project Manager, Tata Steel Rural Development Society
  • Senior Public Health Practitioner, Public Health Wales
  • Environmental Health Team Leader, Welsh local authority
  • Program Manager, Maternal and Child Health, Pakistan non-profit organisation
  • Data and Information Officer, research funding organisation
  • Programme Manager at Public Health Wales
  • Transfer Co-ordinator at Springer Nature, India
  • Digital Inclusion Officer at Cardiff Council
  • Project Manager, e-learning at Diabetes UK
  • Professional Lead Podiatrist at Cwm Taf University Health Board
  • Junior Research Fellow at Public Health Foundation of India
  • Programme Support Officer at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
  • Research Assistant at Public Health Wales
  • Project Co-ordinator at Gofal Cymru

Graduates have also progressed to further study on research degrees leading to MPhil and PhD qualifications.

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

You'll normally be expected to hold an initial degree in a discipline relating to health or the determinants of health. This covers a wide range of subjects such as health professions (e.g. medicine, nursing, allied health professions, environmental health), social sciences (e.g. sociology, psychology, geography) and other professional backgrounds such as education, sport development, social work, housing, planning, etc. (not an exclusive list).

However, you can also be eligible if you have other qualifications of an appropriate level, particularly if they are able to demonstrate significant experience in a relevant setting. If you think this might apply to your situation, please contact the programme leader for an informal discussion.

If you're applying directly following completion of a Bachelor degree, we'll generally expect you to hold at least a 2:1 classification – to ensure that you are equipped for the step up to study at Masters level. However, we consider each application on its own merits depending on the undergraduate subject of study and other factors such as relevant experience (paid or voluntary).

Selection Procedure:
You will need to meet the admissions criteria as explained above. Selection is initially by way of an application form, personal statement and appropriate references, although you may be interviewed. We encourage potential applicants to contact the programme leader for an informal discussion about the programme, to help inform your application.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.5 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made direct to the university via our self-service system. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

The Recognition of Prior Learning process can be used to give you credit and recognition for your existing experience and qualifications – so if you have extensive experience related to the learning outcomes of any of the modules in the programme, please get in touch so that we can discuss your situation and advise you about the options. 

If you are interested in using credit from another institution, or have obtained qualifications and/or experience to study for a course at Cardiff Met, you can find further information on this as well as information on how to apply on the RPL page.

Additional Information

Tuition Fees and Financial Support:
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to

CPD basis
All taught modules within the programme can also be studied individually on a CPD basis – contact the programme leader for further details.

20% Alumni Discount:
The Cardiff Metropolitan University Alumni Discount is a 20 per cent reduction in tuition fees for Cardiff Met Alumni enrolling on taught postgraduate courses.
See if you are eligible.

Welsh Postgraduate Taught Master's Incentivisation Bursary 

This bursary is available to UK/EU students ordinarily resident in Wales, who are studying STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) subjects, including the MSc in Applied Public Health. The award is not applicable to PgC and PgD courses, you must be enrolled on the full MSc. The STEMM bursary provides a £2000 reduction in course tuition fees for those who are eligible. Please be aware that we are still waiting for Welsh Government to confirm funding for this scheme for 2021/22. See our Postgraduate Bursaries & Scholarships page for more details.

Part-time fees:

Part-time fees are charged per single module at the rate specified in the University’s published tuition fees for the relevant academic year. Most part-time students complete 60 credits per academic year.

If you require further guidance to obtain a true costing please clarify this by contacting the Programme Director directly.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the programme leader, Alastair Tomlinson:
Tel: 029 2020 1528

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences

Course Length:
Please note this course is a minimum of two years. You may exit after the PgC or PgD if you wish. Study periods for UK/EU/International students are detailed below:

UK / EU Students​​​:
Full-time – 2 years, one year taught (PgD) and one year supervised research project (MSc)
Part-time – 3 years, two years taught (PgC year 1, PgD year 2) and one year supervised research project (MSc)

International Students:
One year taught plus one year supervised research project to be completed within the UK (or overseas). (Visas will normally be issued for 22 months. Degree awards will be ratified in June/July of the second academic year of the programme.)

CPD basis
All taught modules within the programme can also be studied individually on a CPD basis – contact the programme leader for further details. 

Course Disclaimer
We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary.

Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

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