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 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. The programme retains an international focus, addressing public health issues faced around the world, as well as in Wales and 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. We are currently applying for accreditation with two international public health organisations: the International Union of Health Promotion & Education, and the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation.

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

Assessment strategy focused on public health skills: our assessments are designed to address the main programme outcomes, enabling students to develop, integrate and demonstrate their public health skills across the programme. We use a wide range of assessment types, including reports, presentations, 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: students 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.

​Course Content​​

The course is designed as a Masters programme but it has exit points at both postgraduate certificate & diploma level. The programme is available on a full-time (20 months years) and part-time (3 years) basis; you can also apply to study individual modules on a CPD basis. 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:

  • Public Health Principles (20 credits, taught Oct-Nov – year 1 of the part-time route) – understand the core concepts and principles of public health and sustainable development, interpret indicators of population health and well-being, and assess the impact of action to address inequities in health
  • 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 Nov-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 modules, 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.  Students begin planning their projects on completion of Applied Research Methods and Design (February of year 1 for full-time students, February of year 2 for part-time students)

Learning & Teaching​

Course Delivery:
Attendance for taught modules is usually one evening per week (part time) or two evenings per week (full time). Year 1 part-time modules are taught on Tuesdays from 4-7pm. Year 2 part-time modules are taught on Thursdays from 4-7pm. We also set formative tasks, structured reading and e-learning materials to provide further support and guidance for your independent study between lectures.

SHS7000 Applied Research Methods and Design is delivered using a blended learning approach – core content is provided through interactive e-learning, supported by face-to-face pathway-specific sessions. These will take place on alternate Thursdays in Term 1, from 2-4pm.

In 2019-20, the APH7008 Health Protection module will be taught via three 2-day short courses spread through the academic year (November, February, March), plus an assessment day in April/May.

During your dissertation studies, you will attend research project workshops and be allocated individual supervision time. These usually begin in February (of the 2nd year of study for part-time students).

Induction and Introduction to Academic Skills:
Our induction process this year will take place on Tuesday 17th September. As part of an extended programme induction, we invite students to complete a week of academic skills sessions prior to starting lectures. These sessions will take place in the first week of term (week beginning 23rd September). 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.

Sessions run during the first teaching week of the academic year (typically the last week of September). The sessions are 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 attendance 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:
The teaching and learning strategy for the programme places a strong emphasis on application of theoretical frameworks to real problems and situations, and allows for substantial student input and discussion. During the programme you will engage with a variety of learning & teaching activities, including:

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 students' own practice and experiences. The programme 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 materials, provided to enable students 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:
Students are expected to undertake significant independent study under the guidance of academic staff. Each module is supported by a contemporary reading list, using materials that are available online wherever possible to facilitate flexible approaches to study. Students are expected to read widely and in particular around how the core principles are being 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 students to undertake 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.

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.


Throughout the programme, the assessment tasks we set will encourage you to select specific topics of study that are relevant to your interests and practice. Whilst individual assessments occur within modules, we also use assessments 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 Public Health Principles students review the potential health impacts of a particular policy decision or public health intervention. In Advocacy and Partnership for Wellbeing, students then continue to explore the same issue and consider the opportunities for advocacy, community development and partnership working to maximise potential health benefits and mitigate negative impacts.

In Health Protection, students 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. The subsequent reflection piece enables students to consider how they reacted under pressure and provides them with space to contemplate how they 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. Students will attend 4 different 'stations' at which they will undertake tasks that enable them to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired over the course of the programme.

To reflect the applied nature of study, the programme contains no unseen written examinations. Instead, teaching and assessment will focus on case studies, exercises & scenarios reflecting contemporary issues in public health practice, often located within your own professional experience and environment. Examples of assessment tasks include reports, briefing papers, oral presentations, interviews, observed practice scenarios, research papers and posters.

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. Our programme 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.

Your aspirations for professional development will be discussed during the induction to the programme. 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, students will be able to work with their personal tutor to reflect on their skill development, career objectives, etc. which will support them to prepare and deliver this presentation.

An opportunity for work-based learning is provided within the APH7014 Health Equity Interventions module. Students have the opportunity to fulfil the Portfolio assessment of this module by completing a work-based learning project where they investigate a public health issue and work in collaboration with others 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.

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.

If you'd like to find out more about career development opportunities in public health, we strongly recommend the Health Careers website.

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).

If your first language is not English, you must normally be able to demonstrate, on entry, English Language proficiency at or equivalent to an IELTS score of at least 6.0 overall, with no sub score lower than 5.5.

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 6.0 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

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

25% Alumni Discount:
The Cardiff Metropolitan University Alumni Discount is a 25 per cent reduction in tuition fees for Cardiff Met Alumni enrolling on taught postgraduate courses. 
See if you are eligible.

Part-time fees:
Charges are per Single Module unless specified:
Undergraduate = 10 Credits; Postgraduate = 20 Credits

Generally we find most students will complete 60 credits per year for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate study; 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

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 (PgC & PgD) and one year supervised research project (MSc)
Part-time – 3 years, two years taught (PgC & PgD) and one year supervised research project (MSc)

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

Modules from this programme can also be studied within the MSc Advanced Practice framework, enabling you to combine traditional taught modules with work-based learning. See MSc Advanced Practice for further details.

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 the June of the second academic year of the programme.) 

More About the Course
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