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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Public Health

BSMS > Postgraduate > Public Health

Public Health

Key facts

MSc, PGDip, PGCert

Full-time: 1 year 

Part-time: Flexible (2-year minimum) 

Eligible applicants: UK, international

Due to visa restrictions, international students requiring a student visa (including EU/EEA who require a student visa) are eligible to apply for BSMS full-time Masters courses only. Part-time Masters courses, all PGDip and all PGCert courses are open to UK and Irish students and international students (including EU/EEA) who have an alternative visa/immigration permission to stay in the UK (such as settled/pre-settled status, Tier 2/work visa, indefinite leave to remain etc). 

Location: University of Brighton, Falmer campus

Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Public Health: Dr Marija Pantelic
Read Dr Marija Pantelic's profile here >

Deputy Course Leader and Public Health Lecturer: Dr Tilly Paz 
Read Dr Tilly Paz's profile here >

Dissertation Leader and Public Health Lecturer: Dr Gemma Archer
Read Dr Gemma Archer’s profile here > 

Course Co-Ordinator: Elizabeth Morris
Read Elizabeth Morris' profile here >

This course is validated by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. Applications for 2024/25 entry are now open.

apply for the public health course here >


Get in touch

For an informal and friendly chat about the course options, please contact Dr Tilly Paz:

Watch our Public Health video below to find out more about the course from current students.

Why us?

illustrated image showing a green circle containing a person alongside virus cells

Focus on experiential learning and practical public health skills

A purple graphic with a white circle and a paper on top of a laptop

Tailored support for students to generate high impact research and publications

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Opportunities to work directly with community and public health organisations

The MSc in Public Health provides a solid foundation for public health research and practice, empowering graduates to lead and innovate in a variety of public, NGO and international settings.  Our students collaborate with external partners to address real-world challenges and opportunities as part of their assignments and research. We equip students and professionals with essential Public Health skills and competencies, many of which are highly sought after by employers, including:

  • Informing public health policy and practice
  • Creating a population health needs assessment
  • Drafting a funding application
  • Designing an intervention, with a special focus on public participation methods
  • Designing a professional evaluation plan
  • Analysing quantitative data with statistical packages
  • Designing, analysing, interpreting, and evaluating epidemiological studies
  • Negotiating research ethics and governance procedures
  • Publishing your scientific findings in high-impact academic journals
  • Presenting at public health conferences

We have a strong focus on experiential learning and practical skills and offer exciting opportunities for students to collaborate directly with local and international community and public health organisations throughout the MSc. Our immersive learning approach – with each module delivered within an intensive full-time week of lectures – allows students to apply learning within their ongoing professional work, placements or extracurricular activities. 

Our lecturers are not just academics; they bring decades of experience from the frontlines of public health practice, research and advocacy. Our students include primary care and public health practitioners, specialist community public health nurses, health promotion specialists, community development workers, environmental health officers and managers in the NHS and local authorities. Together, our course team and students form a dynamic MSc with interactive lectures, interdisciplinary group work and real-world dissertation projects. 

We believe that our student cohort is greater than the sum of individual students, which is why we invest in building a strong community at the start of the academic year. Our induction day might surprise you. Once enrolled, you will be invited to spend a few hours in a mix of social/professional activities that truly ignite the cohort's community building. We take account of different learning styles and we do not push students to socialise, yet the opportunity is there and the feedback tells us that it is much needed.

We are grateful to work with valued partners in experiential learning and research. Partners include:

  • Public Health England
  • UK Health and Security Agency
  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • NHS England
  • University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Medway Council
  • Citizens Advice
  • University of Oxford
  • Pandemic Sciences Institute
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • University College London
  • Global Network of People Living with HIV
  • Global Network of Young People Living with HIV

What our students say

"Extremely engaging, nuanced and critical study of a wide range of public health topics. Appreciate the mixed-methods of presenting information (through lectures, skills workshops, roleplay, panels)"

"Modules had great presenters, great study material, wonderful exercises, fantastic participation from all students, and last but not least, great lecturers!"

"I have enjoyed [Principles and Practice of Public Health] SO much, the lecturers fostered a challenging, dynamic yet supportive learning environment. I can’t thank you enough for the experience you’ve given us all this week!"

"It was great. Having studied a previous masters degree, this was by far the most thought out and prepared module I have done - everything had a purpose and was communicated - no fillers! The resources provided are exceptional thanks!"

"Cannot recommend enough. Lecturers are enthusiastic and hard working. They challenged critical thinking and deliver excellently."

student talking at a workshop

Key areas of study

  • Principles and practice of public health 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Research methods and critical appraisal 
  • Essential statistics in health and medical care 
  • Health protection 
  • Global burden of disease 
  • Nutrition in public health 
  • Economic evaluation of health 
  • Population mental health
  • Social determinants of health

Innovative teaching and assessment methods

Interactive lectures are delivered by academics, practitioners and advocates from the frontlines of public health.  

Each module is delivered within an intensive immersive week, with ‘breaks’ between modules during which time students focus on seminars, tutorials, assignments, research and extracurricular activities. This structure also works very well for part time, working students. 

You will be assessed through a portfolio of projects that aim to enhance your employability and practical skills. Assessments include a health needs assessment, funding proposals, public health intervention design and evaluation plan, and poster presentations.

BSMS student Harriet Sharp discusses her experiences as a hard of hearing student and shares her latest assignment for her MSc in Public Health which looks at the impact of Covid-19 on the deaf community. Watch Harriet Sharp’s 'Ted Talk' below.



Our graduates are currently working in Local Authorities, Public Health England, Health Education England, national and international universities and in a range of national and international public and non-governmental organisations. 

We work closely with leading figures in Public Health to develop employment support and employability workshops. These workshops have been finetuned following student feedback to ensure they are relevant and impactful. The skills gained through these workshops and work opportunities that arise fit both local and overseas students, leading the way to new connections and targeted individual support to secure good jobs.

Up-to-date public health skills are at the core of our planning, and some of our core modules are unique in the tailored way they support the acquisition of these skills. For example, our first core module teaches sought after Public Health skills, which are then assessed in a multi-modal portfolio of work.

In September 2023 we opened our new Evaluation Clinic - VALU. This is a unique extracurricular activity where students get the opportunity to work alongside professionals from academia, NHS, local government and a national charities to evaluate an existing Public Health intervention.   

Students learn about the theory and concepts of evaluation, work in small groups to evaluate sections of the work on their own (supported by professionals), and gain a variety of valuable employability skills in the field. At the end of the course, students are awarded a certificate of completion which can be added to their CV in addition to the MSc in Public Health. 

Course structure

PGCert in Public Health

  • Principles and Practice of Public Health (20 credits)
  • Epidemiology (20 credits) 


  • One other module from the core or optional list (20 credits)

PGDip in Public Health

  • Principles and Practice of Public Health (20 credits)
  • Research Methods and Critical Appraisal (20 credits)
  • Epidemiology (20 credits)
  • Essential Statistics for Health and Medical Research (20 credits) 


  • Two modules from the optional module list (20 + 20 credits)

MSc in Public Health

  • PGDip essential modules


  • Two or three optional modules from the list below (20+20 / 20+20+20 credits), depending on the dissertation choice


MSc students will be able to choose between a classic dissertation pathway and a publication pathway. The classic dissertation consists of 12k words and a poster. The dissertation-by-publication consists of 8k words, where up to 5k words are formatted as a manuscript for submission to a specific academic journal.

  • Classic Dissertation (60 credits) - in which case 2 optional modules are available.


  • Dissertation-by-publication (40 credits) - in which case 3 optional modules are available.

Optional module list

  • Economic Evaluation in Healthcare (20 credits)
  • Global Burden and Management of Disease (20 credits)
  • Health Protection (20 credits)
  • Leadership and Change Management in Clinical Services (20 credits)
  • Nutrition in Public Health (20 credits)*
  • Population Mental Health (20 credits)* 

*Modules run in alternate years and are subject to numbers. Population Mental Health will run next in the academic year 2024/25. Nutrition in Public Health will run next in the academic year 2025/26. 


Student publications and conference abstracts

Chepkemoi S, Nyikavaranda P, Semrau M, Archer G, Pantelic M. Resilience resources for mental health among people living with HIV: a mixed-method systematic review. AIDS Care. 2024; doi:10.1080/09540121.2024.2303613.

Holland D, White LCJ, Pantelic M, Llewellyn C. The experiences of transgender and nonbinary adults in primary care: A systematic review. Eur J Gen Pract. 2024;30(1):1-15. doi:10.1080/13814788.2023.2001345

Holland D, White LCJ, Pantelic M, Llewellyn C. The Role(s) Transgender Adults Want General Practice to Have in Their Healthcare: A Qualitative Study in Southeast England. Bull Appl Transgender Stud. 2023;2(3-4):175-194. doi:10.57814/w0e6-xy86

Pantelic M, Coombes Z, Barnard P, Hartshorn J, Caswell G, Sharma A, Whitbread J, Nyikavaranda P, Llewellyn C. “HIV has taught us that you can survive anything”: findings from auto-ethnographic video diaries exploring resilience among people living with HIV during the Covid pandemic in five countries. AIDS Care. 2023;doi:10.1080/09540121.2023.2206606.

Paudyal P, Purkait N, Fey J. Mental health resilience among refugees and asylum seekers: a systematic review. Eur J Public Health. 2023 Oct;33(Suppl_5):1628. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckad160.1628

Paudyal P, Mais E, Cooper M. Complementary and alternative therapies for PTSD in refugees and asylum seekers: a systematic review. Eur J Public Health. 2023 Oct;33(Suppl_5):929. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckad160.929

Quin M, Carmichael L, Hopper C. Implementing Health Impact Assessment policy on infrastructure development in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Cities & Health. 2023;7(3):303-311. doi:10.1080/23748834.2022.2148843.

Paudyal P, Skinner E, Majeed-Hajaj S, et al. COVID-19 health information needs of older adults from ethnic minority groups in the UK: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2022;12:e059844. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059844.

Harrington S, Sornalingam S, Evenden R, Singh N, Paudyal P. Barriers to primary care access for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK: a systematic review. Eur J Public Health. 2022;32(Suppl_3):509. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckac131.509.

Evenden R, Singh N, Sornalingam S, Harrington S, Paudyal P. Language barriers for primary care access in Europe: a systematic review. Eur J Public Health. 2022;32(Suppl_3):724. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckac129.724.

Paudyal P, Tattan M, Cooper M. Qualitative study on mental health and well-being of Syrian refugees and their coping mechanisms towards integration in the UK. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e046065. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046065.

Williams J, Williams C. Responsibility for vitamin D supplementation of elderly care home residents in England: falling through the gap between medicine and food. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2020;12(3):256-262. doi:10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000118.

Matizanadzo J, Paudyal P. The delivery of obesity interventions to children and adolescents with physical disabilities: a systematic review. J Public Health. 2021. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdab096.

Dagens A, Sigfrid L, Cai E, Lipsworth S, Cheng V, Librarian HE, et al. Scope, quality, and inclusivity of clinical guidelines produced early in the covid-19 pandemic: rapid review. BMJ. 2020;369:m1936. doi:10.1136/bmj.m1936.

Weitzel E, Hopper C, Herridge D. Adolescent Gangs: Substance Misuse and Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences. 2020 Sep.

Ford E, Kazempour Y, Cooper MJF, Katikireddi SV, Boyd A. Media content analysis of general practitioners' reactions to expressed in the media: what lessons can be learned for future NHS data-sharing initiatives? BMJ Open. 2020 Sep 10;10(9):e038006. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038006.

Himsworth C, Paudyal P, Sargeant C. Risk factors for unplanned hospital admission in a specialist homeless general practice population – the relationship with tri-morbidity. Br J Gen Pract. 2020 May; bjgp20X710141. doi:10.3399/bjgp20X710141.

Cross H, Llewellyn C. A decline in patient disclosure of heterosexuality in the English general practice patient survey: a longitudinal analysis of cross-sectional data. Fam Pract. 2020 Apr; cmaa033.

Maskell K, McDonald P, Paudyal P. The usefulness of health education materials in GP waiting rooms: cross-sectional study. Br J Gen Pract. 2018;68:e869-e876.

Paudyal P, Tunprasert D. Impact of migration on health and wellbeing of left-behind families: a systematic review. Eur J Public Health. 2018. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cky213.354.

Paudyal P, Patel P, Gilchrist K. Health and wellbeing of young migrants: an analysis of school survey data in South East England. Eur J Public Health. 2018. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cky213.564.

Thompson A, Paudyal P. Sugar reduction during alcohol recovery: a qualitative study with service users and staff members of a service provider. Lancet. 2018;392:S57. 


We know that students are sometimes nervous about this part of the degree and we look after you every step of the way. Our process is soft and personal, and we provide lots of guidance on topic choice, supervisors, on-going projects that you can join, and dedicated workshops to enhance your skills. 

Students who do not have a dissertation topic in mind are welcome to join existing research projects run by our faculty or external partners either in the UK or abroad. We will help you find the right fit for you based on your interest and career goals.  

Crucially, we offer dedicated support for our students to publish their work in leading public health journals and to present at conferences should they wish to do so.


Entry requirements

Applications for academic year 2024-2025 are now open. We welcome applications from all candidates who are intending to work in public health or related fields, as well as professionals who are in a position to deliver improvements in population health. Some of our students come straight from undergraduate studies, whilst others have extensive work experience. 

Applicants should have achieved a first or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent in any Public Health-related subject. 


Evidence of at least five years of work experience in an environment related to public health. Applicants must demonstrate a capacity to study at Masters level. 


Successful completion of at least three years of basic medical science at a UK medical school (having gained at least 360 credits) with a guaranteed place to continue medical studies on completion of the MSc.  

Personal Statement

Applicants are required to submit a personal statement no more than 4,000 characters or 47 lines in length outlining why they are the ideal candidate for this course. Please adhere to the length and guidelines specified on the University Admissions page here. For further advice on how to write a strong personal statement for postgraduate studies, we recommend watching the below video from the University of Brighton's Careers Development Team.

Watch the video here >

English language requirements

For international students an IELTS score of 7 or above is required, with no less than 6.5 in each section, and no less than 7 for writing.

Fees and funding

The fees listed are the overall costs for full-time courses taken in the academic year 2024/25. Where courses are taken part-time over more than one academic year, fees are usually charged pro-rata for the modules taken during each academic year.  

With effect from 2021/22 onwards, EU nationals starting new postgraduate courses will pay international fees and will not be eligible for student funding from the UK government. However, there are exceptions to this for Irish nationals and EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. For the latest information, please see If you do not have settled status in the UK and require a work visa, then you will be fee assessed as Overseas and will therefore be subject to the International fee rate.

Find out more about fees and funding >


All BSMS students on Masters courses accredited jointly by the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton are eligible to apply for University of Sussex postgraduate scholarships in 2024/25. 

Read more about fees and funding >