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Postgraduate study
Nursing & Health

Public Health (DrPH) Doctor of

Public health is rapidly becoming one of the most recognised areas to focus attention on in terms of improving health and quality of life of populations. The need to expand and develop the public health workforce locally, nationally and internationally is well established.


Course overview

This course offers enhanced opportunities for students wishing to pursue studies in the academic and applied world of public health. The University is keen to share its vision by reaching out to students worldwide – either as attendees or distance learners with full support and interactive resources with experienced team members. Whether studying for career development part time or full time, or from a specific professional interest in the discipline, the course offers a distinguished broader-based learning programme aligned with the growing worldwide interest in public health development. As population structures continue to become dominated by ageing populations, rates of chronic illness increase, emergency of complicated infectious diseases (such as Ebola, Zika, HIV), and health and social care budget cuts, there has never been greater emphasis on preventing disease and improving public health and wellbeing. There is an increasing urge to move from viewing health concerns through lenses of biomedical models to biopsychosocial models. This demonstrates the need to develop more intricate multidisciplinary approaches that blend medical, allied health, nursing professionals, psychologists and sociologists working together to improve health and quality of life of populations – an initiative that requires effective leadership.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) cultivates effective leadership skills among current and future leaders in public health practice enabling you to develop advanced knowledge and competency in translating current best evidence into public health practice. You develop advanced critical thinking, administrative and problem-solving skills relevant for a dynamic contemporary public health practice environment. You develop a unique ability to analyse and understand the complex global public health issues, and provide sustainable evidence based solutions for improved health outcomes. The DrPH also enables you to become a fully independent public health researcher able to take the lead on your own learning and research. You have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside experienced and prolific researchers in public health, supporting you to engage in public health research, and to develop a record of wide dissemination and publication – important aspects in your career progression towards achieving a consultant position. The tutors on your programme are all specialists in their areas with much expertise and skill in their disciplines.

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Course details

The DrPH programme is made up of a taught part and a research part. The research component carries a total of 300 credits. You undertake a public health research project and produce a robust thesis that is defended through a viva voce examination.

You can study this programme full-time or part-time. It’s also available on attendance and distance modes of learning. The DrPH provides a smooth academic and/or career progression from the MPH/MSc Public Health.

Course structure

Core modules

Developing Contemporary and Novel Research

Build your skills and knowledge in research methods and project management. You focus on extending your understanding of theoretical paradigms underpinning research, advanced project management, data collection and analysis, research ethics and governance, applying these to your specific professional practice or discipline.

Project Focused Negotiated Learning

You study a topic in your specific area of practice, critically evaluating relevant theory and research and linking to practice. The content of this module is negotiated by you and your supervising tutor at the start of the semester. Support is provided to you through the virtual learning environment.

Public Health Doctoral Research Project

Strategies for Dissemination

You explore different ways of communicating research to a variety of audiences. You also develop skills to disseminate knowledge through a range of activities, such as writing for publication, presenting at conferences and writing blogs.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The learning and teaching methods throughout the entire programme focus on developing independent learning skills that you need to succeed on the programme and to accomplish a key component of the programme, which is the final Public Health Doctoral Research Project. The specific strategies therefore have a heavy focus on student-led learning and aim to foster your abilities to engage in a critical discussion of the content being delivered and to apply core knowledge and concepts to develop your own understanding of the complex issues in public health and research practice. The programme can be undertaken either by attending taught classes or as distance learning through the TU online virtual learning environment.

Attendance learning
You learn through a variety of teaching methods, including seminars, IT practical sessions, guided independent study, tutorial support and supervision. Within seminars the focus is on student-led debate and discussion to challenge you to develop your ability to think critically and to support you in developing the skills to defend your standpoint on issues relevant to your research and practice development. Students on the attendance mode are encouraged to embrace e-learning through using the virtual learning environment (VLE) which is used as a repository for learning materials including pre-reading materials, guided independent study and extra reading after sessions. Learning is supported through the use of the student cohort community (SCC) which is a student-led, peer-support mechanism based on the principles of action learning. The SCC aims to enhance retention and progression through peer support and provides a mechanism for staff and students to work in partnership to enhance student learning.

Distance learning
If you are undertaking the course through distance learning, teaching methods include use of the VLE where written learning materials, narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, interactive structured learning materials and activities are put. As a distance learning student you are encouraged to participate in a range of discussion forums using VLE platforms such as the discussion board, wikis and blogs. More support for distance learners has been built into all modules to ensure parity in the learning experience between distance learners and attending students. Learning is supported through the use of the online learners’ community café which is a peer support mechanism for distance learners. You are required to contribute to the topical discussions using online platforms on the VLE, for example the discussion board, wikkis, blogs.

Flexible learning
Flexible learning is available for attendance students and includes a mix of both attendance and distance learning. You have a choice regarding the sessions to attend and those to learn at a distance.

How you are assessed

The assessment methods guide you towards developing the academic skills necessary for studying at doctoral level and to achieve the learning outcomes of the programme.

A variety of assessment methods are used on the programme. Formative assessment is used in a number of modules to support your learning and provide you with the opportunity for feedback on your academic skills and the development of your academic writing and referencing skills before you attempt the summative assessment.

Summative assessment methods utilise a range of approaches such as written reports, written research proposals, essays, journal article for publication, a thesis for the research project and a viva voce examination. The range of approaches used enable you to develop your theoretical knowledge, research skills and key transferable skills including written and verbal communication, IT and numerical skills; relevant for public health professional practice and research.


Entry requirements

The admission criteria to the DrPH programme is:
• you must have completed the equivalent of 120 Level 7 (L7) credits, relevant to public health: this can be from a postgraduate diploma or master’s or MPhil course normally within the last five years
• applicants who completed a postgraduate diploma or master’s qualification outside of five years will normally need to demonstrate currency of the qualification through two years professional experience in a relevant field supported by an employer’s letter confirming the applicant uses the learning regularly in practice, or provide modules of equivalent learning
• all applicants, both UK-based and international, at the point of application, must provide a short proposal including the area they wish to explore for their doctoral work and proposed methodology
• an interview to explore your expectations and appropriateness for the course, and supervision requirements which will take place through the use of digital platforms for international students
• applicants whose first language is not English will need to satisfy the English language requirements which are a minimum overall score of 6.5 IELTS and 5.5 in each band
• you will enrol onto the course with Advanced Standing through the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning procedures (RPL) or through an approved articulation
• other University standard entry criteria apply.

Find out more about RPL.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Work placement

Career opportunities

This programme supports you to leave university well prepared to lead public health teams, initiatives and projects both in the UK and internationally and assists you as a public health professional to prepare for management and leadership roles reflected in the contemporary public health workforce needs. The Doctor of Public Health is highly recognised by all public health professional bodies and key international and UK public health employers place high regard in a candidate with the qualification.


Information for international applicants


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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,100 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: 4-5 years
  • Attendance: Attendance and distance learning
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

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Apply now (full-time)



2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£3,050 a year

More details about our fees

  • Length: 5-6 years
  • Attendance: Attendance and distance learning
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply now (part-time)

Apply now (part-time)

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