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Postgraduate study
  • International students: Due to high volumes, any international applications received after 25 June can't be considered for September 2021 entry. You are welcome to apply for the next available intake (details below).

Course overview

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.

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. A number of external experts may also contribute to modules including health protection experts from Public Health England, environmental health experts from the local authority, public health commissioners from a range of backgrounds and emergency planning officers who run a simulated public health event for students.

Where you study

The attendance mode of the programme is delivered at Teesside University main campus in Middlesbrough. The programme is also available by distance learning, allowing you the flexibility to study anywhere at your convenience.


Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

The DrPH programme is made up of a taught part and a research part. The taught component consists of six Level 7 modules totalling 120 credits and three Level 8 modules totalling 120 credits. 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, distance learning and flexible modes of learning. The DrPH provides a smooth academic and/or career progression from the MSc Public Health (MPH). If you hold 120 Level 7 credits relevant to public health, you can apply to join the shorter route of the DrPH (3 years full-time or 4 years part-time).

The programme incorporates an optional placement, which you can undertake within public health practice settings to enable you to integrate real practical experience with theoretical knowledge. This enables you to gain a holistic understanding of the issues and complexities within contemporary public health practice.

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project

You consolidate your learning experiences throughout the programme through the development of a self-initiated advanced independent research project. You act independently and with originality to implement a public health research project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or enhancing understanding at the forefront of a specific area of public health practice. You are allocated a supervisory team to guide you through the research project. At the end of the module you produce a thesis (60,000 words) and defend it through a viva voce examination. You are given adequate support relating to independent learning, working with supervisors, preparing a robust thesis and preparing for viva voce examination.

Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project Preparation and Management

You build advanced skills and knowledge in research methods and project management, in order to complete a methodologically sound proposal and ethical approval application, which forms the basis for your advanced independent public health research project. The key focus includes advanced understanding of theoretical paradigms underpinning research, advanced project design and management, data collection and analysis, and research ethics and governance with an emphasis on the application to public health practice. Specific areas include:

• debating philosophical paradigms underpinnings of research and the importance of research in public health practice
• developing a theoretical stand-point on a chosen topic relevant to public health practice
• designing rigorous independent public health research projects and questions
• managing research ethics and governance issues in developing a public health research proposal
• applying quantitative and qualitative designs to public health practice
• advanced quantitative measurement and qualitative approaches
• advanced analysis of qualitative and quantitative data relevant to public health practice
• management of data and decision making processes in situations of missing data
• conducting high quality systematic literature reviews to evaluate specific research questions within public health practice
• advanced critical appraisal of qualitative and quantitative research evidence
• advanced research project management in public health practice
• developing funding bids for public health interventions
• resources planning and management in public health research.

Data Analysis Methods

This module provides you with an understanding of both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis employed in public health research. The content covers both theoretical and practical aspects of data analysis, ranging from basic exploratory analysis to more complex multi-variable analysis.


You explore the role of epidemiology in the understanding of health and disease, policy development and service provision. The module includes an introduction to the basic principles of epidemiology and the most commonly used research methods. Emphasis is placed on the strengths and weaknesses of various study designs with regard to confounding, bias and validity. You review measures of disease occurrence, and sources of routinely collected data. Key concepts in epidemiological methodology are explored, and you develop skills in the evaluation of epidemiological research.

International Public Health

You examine the key public health principles and factors that contribute to an international public health discipline and develop a good understanding of the public health spectrum. These key principles include an in-depth examination of global health, exploring health and health inequalities globally, taking into account international health systems and economies as well as the key public health principles such as health protection, disease notification, collaborative working and management of major public health incidents nationally and globally. Specific areas covered include:
• globalisation and the impact on international public health policy
• communication in public health
• principles of global health
• cultures and society
• health protection
• overview of molecular biology of disease
• environmental health
• health economics.

Leadership and Management in Public Health

You are provided with a detailed understanding of the role of public health leadership and management in improving population and community health. You critically explore key strategic drivers, collaborative working for health and wellbeing outcomes; as well as critical professional reflection and ethical conduct in leadership. You are supported in cultivating leadership and management skills and knowledge. This module is ideal for those who are existing, emerging leaders or aspire to be future leaders in public health, as well as those working in a health and social care context or those wanting to gain knowledge and understanding of the role of leadership and the strategic challenges related to public health practice. Specific areas covered include:
• types of leadership: styles and theory
• resource allocation in health care
• using health data to inform strategic direction
• use of an ethical framework in decision making/priority setting
• evaluating public health interventions
• organisational culture
• public health law
• how to use reflection for continued professional development
• report writing.

Promoting Scholarship in Public Health by Writing for Publication

This module equips you with the skills to disseminate knowledge through publication, with focus on writing and submitting an article to a peer-reviewed journal. You develop key skills including clarifying appropriate knowledge for dissemination, understanding impact factors, preparing a journal article for publication, and negotiating the journal submission process. Specific areas include:

• identifying appropriate knowledge for dissemination
• research reporting standards
• devising a coherent dissemination strategy
• preparing a conference abstract
• identifying an appropriate peer-reviewed journal
• author guidelines for journal submissions
• authorship and effective argumentation
• writing for publication
• refworks
• editorial processes
• addressing reviewer comments
authorship(s) and intellectual property.

Public Health in Context

This module is designed to enable you to develop a comprehensive understanding of the context of public health. It is aimed at students who have a role or partial role in public health, or are wishing to move into the field.

Public Health Project Specific Negotiated Learning Module

You are offered the opportunity to explore a negotiated topic in a specific area of public health practice and study it in depth, critically evaluating relevant theory and research and linking such theory to public health practice. The module content results from the negotiated learning contract drawn up by you and the allocated supervising tutor at the beginning of the semester. Support is provided on the process of negotiating a learning contract using the virtual learning environment (VLE) e-learning@tees. Examples of specific areas include:

• infectious/communicable diseases management
- classification, trends, morbidity, mortality
- responding to emerging infectious disease outbreak, for example Ebola and Zika
- disease containment strategies
• emergency planning and response management
- disaster preparedness
- disaster communication and situational awareness
- radiation emergency management
• environmental health
• public health nutrition
• obesity (trends, aetiology, determinants, weight management)
• biology of disease and immunity
- bacteria (typhoid, cholera, staph aureus)
- virus (HIV, rubella, rabies, Ebola)
- vector borne diseases
- vaccinations (active, passive, role, barriers management)
- human system immune response
• non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer)
• mental health
• evidence based public health.


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 Advanced Independent Public Health 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, as distance learning or through a mixture of both attendance and distance learning.

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. Through use of Panopto software you are able to join live sessions at a distance if you wish. Panopto software is the University’s platform that supports distance learning – it has a webcast live feature which allows users at a distance to attend sessions synchronously. 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 includes a mix of both attendance and distance learning and 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, statistical analysis, written research proposals, oral and written exam, essays, action plan write up, case study write up, defended poster, 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:

  • an equivalent of a UK honours degree (2.2 and above) in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in a relevant subject
  • applicants with 120 Level 7 credits relevant to public health can apply to join the shorter route of the course (3 years full-time or 4 years part-time).
  • 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.
  • 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

You have the opportunity to undertake an optional fellowship placement in semester 3 of the first year (full-time) or second year (part-time). The placement is in a public health practice setting, for example at the Department of Public Health in Middlesbrough, or the World Health Organization. The placement activities are wide ranging including working with a team of experts to implement and evaluate public health interventions in communities. You are expected to develop a reflective portfolio to evidence your learning on the placement.

The programme addresses core public health competencies outlined by the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health. Successful completion of the programme should enable you to successfully pass Part A Faculty of Public Health examinations.

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


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,100 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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

Apply online (full-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students



2021/22 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 online (part-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students


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