Master of Public Health

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  • Objectives
    On completion of the Master of Public Health, graduates will be able to: * Identify the scope, role and functions of public health in relation to the health system, other sectors and to society * Understand health system structures * Develop a broad understanding of the determinants of, and influences on, the health status of populations * Identify the political and institutional context of population health * Be familiar with the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services * Understand the drivers of health system change including regulatory systems, public health and other health networks, and other institutional and political influences * Identify the role of cultural, social, and behavioural factors in determining the delivery of public health services * Critically reflect on their own social, cultural and professional standpoint and the implications for their own public health practice in relation to other social groups * Understand statistical inference, precision and the principles of hypothesis testing * Develop skills in data presentation * Understand the methods of qualitative inquiry * Understand the basic principles and concepts of descriptive epidemiology * Understand the principles of disease causation including the contribution of the biological, environmental, behavioural, social and cultural determinants of health * Understand methods and theories for the prevention and control of disease * Understand the principles of health promotion for an individual, community or organisation * Identify and apply appropriate methods to interpret evidence for policy, programming, evaluation and management. * Have the capacity to set priorities and develop policy * Apply the principles and processes of program planning and management * Apply the principles of health promotion using theory and evidence to develop implement and evaluate health promotion strategies * Understand the principles of advocacy, lobbying, and capacity building to develop intersectoral public health action * Be able to develop and adapt approaches to problems that take into account the cultural, physical and socio-economic aspects of gender, social, religious, geographical and ethnic (particularly Aboriginal) health issues * Have the capacity to develop critical and supportive professional relationships to enable reflexivity in own and others public health practice with diverse social groups.
  • Entry requirements
    * Those seeking a career in public health, traditionally from clinical backgrounds, but increasingly from other health backgrounds, laboratory or basic sciences, or the social sciences. * Students require a non-health related degree (or equivalent) and a minimum of two year's relevant work experience or a health related degree with no health related experience.
  • Academic title
    Master of Public Health
  • Course description

    All students MUST complete a minimum of FOUR Victorian Consortium of Public Health Subjects (400 level) which must include the two CORE subjects 505-101 Statistics and 505-102 Epidemiology. However, students intending to specialise in Epidemiology and Biostatistics should take 505-969 Epidemiology and Analytic Methods 1 and 505-970 Epidemiology and Analytic Methods 2 in place of 505-101 and 505-102 to ensure they have the computer skills to articulate with advanced elective subjects in this stream. 505-969 and 505-970 are not Consortium subjects but have been approved as appropriate alerternatives for the Epidemioloy and Biostatistics stream only.

    Subject     Semester     Credit Points

    505-102  Epidemiology
    The aim of this unit is to provide students with basic quantitative skills necessary for the practice of general public health and to enable students to critically evaluate the published epidemiological literature. The unit provides an introduction t...     Semester 1     12.50

    505-101  Statistics
    This unit aims to introduce students to basic statistical concepts and methods.     Semester 1     12.50

    505-111  Principles & Practice of Public Health
    This unit provides students with an integrated overview of the ways in which different theories and disciplinary perspectives have informed public health principles and practices both in the past and present. The unit provides the foundations for a c...     Semester 1     12.50

    505-113  Public Health Policy
    In this unit, students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to participate competently in the development, implementation and analysis of health policy at a level appropriate to a generalist public health practitioner. This unit is taugh...     Semester 1     12.50

    505-110  Health Promotion
    This unit aims to provide an understanding of health promotion concepts and approaches as they relate to contemporary health issues in Australia and internationally. The unit is designed to assist students to: appreciate the key developments in Austr...     Semester 2     12.50

    505-109  Social & Cultural Perspec in Public Hlth
    In this unit, students explore the multi-disciplinary partnerships between public health and the social science disciplines including sociology and anthropology with particular attention to the ways in which cultural beliefs and practices shape popul...     Semester 2     12.50

    505-112  Environmental Influences on Health
    To give students an understanding of the principles and techniques of hazard identification and risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication; and to illustrate these principles by providing examples of how chemical, physical and biologica...     Semester 2     12.50

    505-100  Health Economics & Program Evaluation
    This subject provides an introduction to the disciplines of health economics and program evaluation and provides students with the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the contribution that health economics and program evaluation make to the pra...     Semester 2     12.50


    Students must take at least six 12.5 point elective subjects (75 points) at 500 level, in addition to the research report (25 points), to ensure they complete 100 points at Masters level to meet the University’s Masters requirements. Choices must be approved by the MPH course coordinator.

    Group 1 subjects are generally taught by the Melbourne School of Population Health and in limited instances by other departments. Please note that not all Group 1 subjects appear in the MPH Course Plans that follow. Students are advised to discuss their possible elective options with their Course/Stream Coordinator before making a final decision.


    Group 2 subjects are taught by departments external to the School of Population Health either within the University of Melbourne, or at another university. You may elect to take UP TO TWO Group 2 Elective Subjects.

    Approval to enrol in Group 2 subjects taught outside the University of Melbourne (Cross Institutional) must be gained from the Course Coordinator via a Complementary Course application form which can be obtained from the School of Population Health office and a form from the other Institution. For further advice regarding the academic level of Group 2 subjects, contact the MPH Administrator or MPH Course Coordinator.

    Please note that not all Group 2 subjects that can be taken appear in the MPH Course Plans that follow. Students are advised to discuss their possible elective options with their Course/Stream Coordinator before making a final decision.


    The research project is compulsory and allows students to consolidate their MPH studies in a particular discipline(s). Some research projects have pre-requisites and/or recommended subjects to help guide course planning. These subjects are offered in two consecutive semesters i.e. Semester 1 and 2 or 2 and 1. All students should consult with the MPH coordinator early in their enrolment to identify possible research project topics and supervisors. Students must complete ONE of the following:

    Subject     Semester     Credit Points

    505-925  Research Project in Epidemiology/Biostat
    To develop a question in epidemiology which can be answered through the scientific method and to attempt to answer the question either by a critical review of the published and unpublished literature or by a meta-analysis of the published and unpubli...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-906  Research Project in Health Economics
    To develop a research question in Health Economics/Economic Evaluation and to adopt appropriate research methods to answer this question. The research report will normally include one or a number of the following components: critical appraisal of the...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-905  Research Project in Health Program Evaln
    The Research Project must be in an area of relevance to health program evaluation, and the topic must be approved by the student's supervisor(s). The research project may be: the development of an evaluation plan or protocol; the analysis of exi...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-903  Research Project in International Health
    To develop and address a research question in an area of International Public Health which can be answered by a critical review of the published and unpublished literature, by the analysis of an existing data set or the development of a research prot...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    585-600  Research Project in Primary Health Care
    No description available     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-919  Research Project in Social Health
    The research project must be in the area of social health and the topic must be approved by the nominated supervisor. Under normal circumstances, the project will involve: a) a conceptual or theoretical analysis of a given topic in social health; or ...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-980  Research Project in Sexual Health
    The Research Project must be in an area of relevance to sexual health and the topic approved by the student's supervisor. The research project may include quantitative and/or qualitative research. It should include a literature review and may in...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25

    505-947  Research Project in Women's Health
    The Research Project must be in an area of relevance to women´s health and the topic approved by the student's supervisor. The research project may be a conceptual or theoretical analysis, and may include quantitative and/or qualitative res...     Semester 1, Semester 2     25


    International Students from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds are encouraged to enrol in the following Group 2 subject (400 level) offered jointly by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Centre for Communication Skills and English Language Studies:

    Subject     Semester     Credit Points
    175-501  Presenting Academic Discourse
    This subject aims to develop the advanced language required for successful postgraduate study in English. In this subject students will develop critical approaches to researching, reading and writing. They will also develop the ability to plan and pr...     Semester 1, Semester 2     12.50

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