Postgraduate Taught

MSc Global Health

Do you want to make a difference to the health of people in low-resource settings? Are you looking for a qualification that will enable you to work at a senior level in health policy and practice in the UK or abroad, particularly in low and middle income settings? Our flexible and highly respected range of global health courses could be the perfect stepping stone for your career.

The Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) at QMU is a unique academic institution. We offer a range of postgraduate courses aimed specifically at those who wish to work in health policy and practice, particularly in low and middle income settings. Our courses put a strong focus on the social aspects of health and on health systems strengthening from a community-based perspective. They will equip you to assist in improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world, whether that be overseas or locally in Scotland.

MSc Global Health through the tropEd network

Why QMU?

  • If you want to make a difference in the world of global health, a qualification from QMU can be a major turning point in your career. You will develop a strong understanding of current global health and development issues and will equip yourself with the tools you need to forge positive change locally, nationally or internationally.
  • You will learn from experienced figures in the field and make connections that could last your whole working life. At IGHD we work directly with ministries of health, international and national organisations and local communities to develop real solutions to health and development problems.
  • We are on a compassion mission. Our work at IGHD addresses the health and wellbeing of those in greatest need, whether that be vulnerable populations in Scotland or those living in low or middle income countries.  
  • Our teaching and research expertise spans multiple aspects of global health and development. These range from health financing, support to fragile and conflict-affected settings, to refugee integration and child protection. 

Course overview

If you want to take a broad approach to your learning, you can enrol on our MSc Global Health. This approach offers you a thorough grounding in this multidisciplinary field and you can later decide to specialise your studies if you wish. If you wish to develop a set of
relevant practical skills that can be applied to global health programming and Interventions, you can enrol on our new MSc Applied Global Health. This degree will give you the skills and competencies you need to promote health of populations through contextually appropriate health policies, services and interventions.

Alternatively, you can choose a more focused pathway at the outset, with either our MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health or MSc Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. You can also choose to study for one of our PgCert qualifications such as in Health Interventions in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings or Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. These can be a good option if you have time, work or
other commitments that would conflict with studying for a full Master’s. We have deliberately designed our courses to be as flexible as possible, so you can apply for the course that best suits your career needs and later revise your choice before progressing to the dissertation stage (this is subject to you having studied the appropriate modules).

MSc Global Health

Global health is increasingly being focused on as a major driver of development, international co-operation and diplomacy, not only during outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it not only a very interesting field of study, but also an incredibly important one regardless of the setting you will work in.

How can societies implement more effective intervention strategies? Who is responsible for initiating and then delivering the strategy in a low income setting? The answers to most of the important questions in this field are complex and your studies will prepare you to answer them through a multidisciplinary approach. This is about gaining a truly global perspective on the state of people’s health, and enhancing
your knowledge through a systematic examination of health problems and their determinants.

This course will be relevant to you if you are working, or planning to work, in enhancing population health in low income settings or middle or low income countries, be this within governmental (e.g. ministries of health), nongovernmental or intergovernmental organisations (e.g. WHO or UN agencies).

It will equip you to work effectively at a senior level to promote the health and social wellbeing of populations, through the development of effective and responsive health systems. It will orient you onto issues on which Institute staff are recognised to have made world-leading research contributions, such as health systems strengthening in fragile and conflict-affected states, or mental health and psychosocial support for vulnerable populations.

Participants are typically drawn from a broad range of backgrounds, including physicians, nurses, allied health professions, development and humanitarian workers, as well as health ministry and NGO employees.


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit-bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)


Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching is comprised of a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises and projects. Assessment is continuous and incorporates assignments, action plans, projects and presentations.

For your dissertation projects, you can chose to do a desk study involving a literature review or conduct primary data collection in collaboration with national or international organisations working in health and development.


Teaching hours and attendance

Your exact attendance requirements at QMU will depend on the module you are studying and whether you are studying full-time or part-time. In addition, for each module students spend approximately 10-12 hours of each week on preparatory class work independently and with colleagues, including readings and exercises available on dedicated web-based learning platforms.

Links with industry/ professional bodies

Our work with a number of internationally recognised organisations and professional bodies helps shape the content of our courses. We have links with various bodies, including the following:

At QMU we host the NIHR Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility (RUHF).


Class sizes

We expect approximately 10-15 students to enrol for this course each year.


Students study core modules totalling 60 credits:

  • Global Public Health and Social Policy
  • Health Systems Services and Communities
  • Global Health Research

A further 60 credits are then selected from the broad range of modules available within the Institute or from other QMU courses and external universities, including tropEd modules.

IGHD modules include:

  • Programme Evaluation in Global Health and Development
  • Health Systems in Fragile Settings
  • Project Design and Management
  • Psychosocial Interventions for Displaced Populations
  • Research Proposal Writing
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Global Approaches to Gender Health
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • And a range of other elective classes available subject to student demand.

Other QMU and external university modules relate to leadership, research, and advocacy and specialised fields of study such as nutrition and epidemiology.

For the MSc award the culmination of your study will be the completion of a dissertation involving desk study or fieldwork on an approved topic related to global health (60 credits).

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (Dec 2020) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Single modules for CPD

A variety of modules can be studied for CPD, for example:

Contact IGHD for more information.


Our courses have been helping people successfully advance their careers in global health for many years. Former IGHD students work in a variety of settings where a social development understanding informs approaches to health.

Examples of positions filled by IGHD graduates include:

  • Health Advisor for Save the Children UK
  • Senior Co-ordinator for International Operations with Partners in Health
  • Policy Development Officer in the Scottish NGO sector
  • Public Health Policy Workers for First Nation’s communities in Canada
  • Humanitarian worker with Islamic Relief

Others have taken internships with organisations such as the WHO on graduation, while others have progressed to doctoral studies.

As a graduate of the MSc Global Health, you will be well equipped for employment as a global health practitioner, senior health manager or policy maker working in, or advising in regard to low-and middle-income settings.

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent from a relevant subject area (arts, humanities, health or social sciences). Students without an honours degree may be considered if they have other relevant qualifications and/or appropriate work experience.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.0 with no individual component score less than 5.5. 


Application deadline

There is no formal deadline, but you should be aware of the time requirements of visa applications, which vary by country. We do not accept applications where the candidate will not be able to arrive on the term start date, but if the application otherwise meets our criteria, will recommend a start at the next available course start date (January or September).

More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or Carola Eyber, Programme Leader on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.


International applicants may apply for a competitive Commonwealth Scholarship.

Fees and transitionary scholarships for postgraduate EU students in 21/22 and 22/23

As part of our management of the Brexit transition, for many of our courses, including this one, we have introduced an EU transitional scholarship for EU full-time postgraduate students commencing their studies on campus in academic years 2021/22 and 2022/23. This provides a 40% discount on international tuition fees. The scholarship is available to EU students for whom the international fee rate applies and covers the courses marked with a # in the Postgraduate Fees – Full-Time Study section of our Fees page. This transitional scholarship is not applicable to students from the Republic of Ireland, who will continue to be eligible for the home fee rate.

Course Overview

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 – 7 years
Start Date
September 2021
January 2022
Study Abroad
The Institute for Global Health and Development
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies


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