Health Promotion and Public Health - PgCert, PgDip, MSc

2024/25 Part-time Postgraduate course


Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Nursing and Paramedic Science


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2024


Developing the knowledge, skills and expertise for effective public health practice in a changing world.


The PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Health Promotion and Public Health attracts students from a wide range of disciplines and from different nationalities. We pride ourselves on our student centred and inclusive approach encouraging peer learning and active engagement at all levels of the course. Whether you are contemplating a career within the expanding field of health promotion and public health or want to take your career to the next level, the PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Health Promotion and Public Health will enhance your prospects. On completion of the MSc there will be the potential for you to be able to apply to become a registered public health and/or health promotion practitioner.

Extensive links between employers and academic staff attempt to ensure that the course content is relevant to contemporary public health practice.

The option to study full-time or part-time gives you the flexibility to fit your studies around your personal and professional commitments. Modules can be taken as ‘stand-alone’ modules. The modules include a combination of face to face teaching and online resources and forums, facilitating a range of learning styles and approaches. We aim to create a supportive learning environment to enable you to develop your knowledge, skills and practice.

The part time MSc is typically completed in three academic years with taught classes in the first two years and a guided dissertation module in the third year.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


The course is structured around four taught modules and the completion of a MSc Project.

The modular structure of the course is designed to:

  • Address the emerging needs and global public health challenges to protect and improve the health and well-being of communities and populations
  • Effectively influence public health practice through the analysis and design of evidence-based, culturally and contextually relevant interventions
  • Deliver strategic contributions through critical analysis and assessment of current and emerging discourses within health promotion and public health
  • Support innovative approaches to change through transferable project management skills with strong theoretical foundations
  • Shape future policies and practice through the dissemination of crucial information to a wide range of stakeholders
  • Incorporate work-based learning through placement in a public health setting to enable practitioners to develop skills and competencies in practical situations within the field of public health. However, as the impact of COVID 19 is still being felt across the areas of public health this opportunity to engage in a work-based placement may not be possible and alternative options will be made available.



You must complete the module Principles, Skills and Information Systems for Health Promotion and Public Health (30 credits) and one other module (30 credits). The other module you select will determine if the PGCert can be completed in two semesters (September to June) or across two years. Attendance will vary depending on modules studied.


You must compete all four modules (30 credits each) which are taught across two academic years (September to June). Attendance will vary depending on modules studied.


The MSc Project (60 credits) provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of public health in-depth. There are no taught classes for the MSc. You will complete the MSc Project module in one academic year. You will be allocated an academic supervisor who will support and guide you through your dissertation.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and learning will take place in a supportive environment where the ethos is one of respect and valuing the views of all. Particular attention is placed on relating teaching and learning to different current global public health issues and real-world scenarios, and your ability to be able to critically appraise ideas, practices and literature.

You will learn through a combination of information received from online and face to face lectures, tutorials, seminars and self-directed learning. To accommodate different learning styles and to enhance learning and enable you to learn in a way that portrays public health practice, different teaching strategies will be employed such as participatory group work, discussions and debate, visualisation, comparing and contrasting, unfolding case studies, class quizzes, and multimedia presentations. Blackboard Learn, the University's virtual learning environment, gives you flexible online access to course materials, reading lists and other resources relevant to your course.

There is a strong emphasis on student participation in all modules. University study requires you to take responsibility for your own learning. A self-directed approach to learning is essential to achieve the aims of the course and to allow you to apply the concepts and principles and expand on the knowledge you gain in the classroom. Independent literature searching and reading are a vital and indispensable element of learning.

The course has a variety of types of assessments, including, essays, class test, critical reflection, video presentation, annotated bibliography, policy brief, business case and learning journal. Assessments are designed to fit with the learning outcomes of each module and are designed to permit you to apply the concepts and principles delivered in the teaching environment to your specific area of interest. At the beginning of each module you will be given details of the assessment, together with the marking scheme and submission dates.

In preparation for summative assessments each of the modules also have formative assessments which include a range of tasks that are designed to help you recognise if you are meeting the intended learning outcomes for the module and identify what areas of learning require further work. These also allow lecturers to identify whether you need additional support with your studies. Formative assessments do not count towards final marks or grading.

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.

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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Principles, Skills and Information Systems for Health Promotion and Public Health

Year: 1

This module provides the basis for the study of health promotion and public health. The concept of health is examined in-depth. The influence of regional, national and global social determinants on the health and well-being of populations and on health inequalities is explored in detail. Students are enabled to gain a thorough appreciation of the role of theories, approaches and models in informing health promotion and public health practice. Students are provided with a wide-ranging overview of regional, national and international public health surveillance and information systems and how collected data are used to identify the need for interventions and measuring the effects of interventions. In addition, focusing on recognised competency frameworks, students are introduced to key skills and standards required for public health practice. Assessment is by coursework.

Epidemiology and Policy for Public Health

Year: 1

This module will develop the capacity and capability of students to use demographic statistics and epidemiological data and analysis to improve the health of the public. Through the assessment framework students are enabled to apply their learning to specific chronic diseases within population groups. This module covers a spectrum of key skills and qualities to enable students to identify and address health inequalities and health and wellbeing and to effectively assess the impact of policies on health and inequalities. Assessment is by class test and coursework.

Year two

Project Planning and Public Health Practice

Year: 2

This online module will systematically take students through the planning cycle and equip them with the knowledge and skills to be able to plan and manage a multi-stakeholder public health focused project from needs assessment through to culmination. A work-based learning component is included to enable students to consolidate learning by linking theory and policies to practice and provide students with the opportunity to observe and understand the skills and competencies necessary to work within the field of public health. Assessment is by coursework.

Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care

Year: 2

This 30-credit module is compulsory for the student to achieve their MSc award. This module builds upon previous study of research methods and enables students to develop and apply theoretical and scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills, extending their understanding of the philosophical and practical aspects of research, service evaluation and project development initiative. Students are required to write an identified research question relevant to research, service evaluation or a project development initiative. This module is assessed by 100% coursework.

Year three

MSc Project

Year: 3

This is a required component of a programme leading to the MSc. The student completes, under supervision, a proposal with successful submission to appropriate ethics committee(s), and if appropriate, Research Governance committee(s), and completes an evidence-based project, which makes a contribution to the knowledge base for public health practice and/or policy. Assessment is by coursework.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements


Normally, a degree in a health related topic from an institution approved by the University. This can include a broad range of topics including public health, health promotion and education, dietetics, environmental health, sports or health sciences as well as bio-medical sciences and nursing. Applicants without a health related degree but with experience in public health, health promotion or wider health roles will also be considered.


Candidates will normally progress from the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Promotion and Public Health. Candidates who hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Promotion, Public Health, Population Health or a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing from Ulster or equivalent from another University, with a mark profile equivalent to that required of Postgraduate Diplomas in Health Promotion and Public Health of Ulster, as evidenced by a transcript, may be admitted directly to the MSc phase of the course.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Students who obtain an overall average of at least 50% in the Postgraduate Certificate may progress to the Postgraduate Diploma.

Students who obtain an overall average of at least 50% in the Postgraduate Diploma may progress to the MSc.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Health promotion and public health are no longer viewed as the responsibility of only those working in health but are recognised as critical across the inter-diciplinary workforce. This course will prepare you for a public health career in a broad range of policy, practice or academic settings. Students have obtained employment in statutory, voluntary, charity, private and community organisations as well as in government and academic institutions. Specific roles have included:

  • Community Health Development Practitioner
  • Health Promotion Practitioner
  • Scientific Advisor for Dietary Health
  • Smoking Cessation Officer
  • Home Safety Officer
  • Lecturer
  • Senior Health Protection Nurse
  • Health and Wellbeing Officer
  • Health Advisor
  • Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Policy Advisor

Some students have also progressed to doctoral study.

Work placement / study abroad

To help you gain an insight into health promotion in a public health setting the module in semester 2 Year 2 has a work-based learning component. The purpose of this placement is to allow you to consolidate your learning by linking theory to practice and provide you with the opportunity to observe and understand the skills and competencies necessary to work within the field of public health. You will be provided with support to arrange your placement.


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2024/25, the following fees apply:

Credit Points NI/ROI/GB Cost International Cost*
5 £194.45 £474.70
10 £388.90 £949.40
15 £583.35 £1,424.10
20 £777.80 £1,898.80
30 £1,166.70 £2,848.20
60 £2,333.40£5,696.40
120 £4,666.80£11,392.80
180 £7000.20£17,089.20

NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

*International student access to courses is subject to meeting visa requirements. More information can be found in the Visas and Immigration section.

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Masters), please note that the price displayed is for the complete Masters programme.

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis.

Find out more about postgraduate fees

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The Association of Health Services Managers award is awarded to the student who obtains the highest mark in the Project Planning and Management for Public Health Practice module.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
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"... the Health Promotion and Public Health Masters programme provided me with both the theoretical underpinnings and hands-on skills I now use every day in my role as a Public Health professional. I have no doubt that my success is a reflection of the programme staff and their commitment to student understanding and development".

"Completing the MSc in Health Promotion and Public Health provided me with an invaluable qualification within my pharmacy career but ignited a love of research which I have since pursued ... I would strongly recommend the MSc Health Promotion and Public Health to anyone, including those from multi-disciplinary backgrounds ..."

"As a part-time MSc Health Promotion and Public Health student I found the postgraduate experience a positive one which has enhanced my knowledge, skills and experience in the area of health promotion and public health ... which have been invaluable to me as a mental health nurse".