skip to content

Graduate Admissions

In view of the COVID-19 public health emergency we may need to make changes to the course details outlined on these pages. Offers holders will be notified of changes. Please see this page for further information.

Course closed:

Public Health is no longer accepting new applications.

This intensive full-time course is designed to provide successful students with the necessary theoretical knowledge and skills which, when combined with appropriate further experience, will enable them to make a professional contribution to public health research or practice. Approximately two-thirds of the curriculum is shared with the MPhil in Epidemiology, providing students with a full understanding of a key science underpinning public health practice.  The course draws on local strengths in quantitative methods and their application to the solution of public health problems. It covers most of the curriculum for the UK Faculty of Health Part A examination. Throughout the course, students are able to draw on the research expertise within the Institute of Public Health and wider expertise in the University. The course is open to medical and non-medical graduates and is aimed at the following groups:

  • Graduate students who wish to pursue a career in public health research
  • Graduate students with practical experience in a health field, who wish to have a career in public health practice
  • Speciality registrars and speciality trainees in public health who have not yet completed the Faculty of Public Health's Part A MFPH examination
  • Public health professionals who wish to gain a fuller understanding of aetiologic and applied epidemiology and other disciplines at the foundation of public health practice, and their application to the solution of public health problems

A variety of teaching and learning methods are used during the course including lectures, practical exercises, one-to-one supervisions and self-directed learning. The level moves from basic to advanced within the three terms.

The MPhil in Public Health's main aims are:

  •  to provide course participants with the necessary theoretical knowledge, which when combined with appropriate practical experience, can serve as a foundation for a career as a public health professional in either a service or an academic setting;
  • to give students with relevant experience at a first-degree level the opportunity to carry out focused research in the discipline under close supervision; and
  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course participants should:

  • have a sound understanding of basic epidemiological theory and be able to apply it in a practical setting;
  • be able to identify, synthesise and criticise relevant published research literature;
  • have the necessary skills to be able to analyse public health problems including:
    • selection of appropriate measures to describe the health status of populations and groups;
    • selection of appropriate measures by which to compare and rank public health problems;
    • the quantitative attribution of public health problems to their modifiable (putative) causes;
    • assessment of the potential benefit from the modification of causal exposures; and
    • quantifying the uncertainty of quantities of public health interest.
  • have developed a critical approach to the evaluation of their own and others' research and analytic work;
  • understand the sociological perspective on the experience of health and illness and of the evolution and functioning of health and medical institutions;
  • understand the methods needed to control environmental and communicable hazards;
  • understand the principles involved in the design and conduct of health promotion programmes;
  • understand the principles involved in the management of health service organisations and in planning the future development of health services;
  • understand the principles involved in the economic assessment of health and of services for its protection and restoration; and
  • understand the main legal and ethical principles relevant to public health work.


Students currently studying for the MPhil in Public Health in the Department, who wish to continue to a PhD, are required to achieve a minimum mark of 70 per cent.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

10 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Public Health and Primary Care


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
March 31, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2019