Public Health Policy

Develop an understanding of public health policy, including how it is made, what it entails, who is involved, and its underpinning theories.

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Key facts

  • Module codeNURP024
  • Start date 2 Jun 2025
  • Application deadline19 May 2025
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF 20
  • SCQF level Level 11
  • Fees £1,225
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery online


Public health policy has a crucial role to play in helping improve the general health and well-being of a population. In this module, you will learn about public health policy, how it is made, what it entails, the actors involved, and underpinning theories. Examples will be given of the types of policies used to tackle a range of public health problems, and the challenges presented by the industries of unhealthy commodities.

The module is suitable for anyone with an interest in public health. Teaching is delivered by multiple academics working in public health, with at least one presenter attending a one-hour webinar each week alongside the module co-ordinator.


Flexible learning

This short course forms part of the MPH Public Health (Online). You can study other stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses from this degree:

If you’re interested in studying more than one module from this course, please email our Admissions team at to discuss your course of study.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2:1 preferred) or equivalent in any subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 56 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.


The key aims within the module are to:

  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of key theories of policy-making and their relevance to public health progress.
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of a range of population-level public health policy interventions and the evidence base underpinning them.
  • Encourage a critical engagement with the ethics and politics of public health policy, including arguments for and against stricter regulation of markets or behaviours.
  • Facilitate critical examination of the activities of commercial actors, advocates and other vested interests in exacerbating or helping tackle non-communicable diseases.
  • Examine successful strategies to achieving policy change to improve public health.

The learning outcomes (LOs) for the module are:

  • LO1: Critically apply policy-making theory to support the promotion of effective, evidence-based public health policies.
  • LO2: Synthesise and critique the evidence for population-level interventions to address public health harms.
  • LO3: Critically analyse how commercial agents and other vested interests can influence the development, adoption or implementation of public health policies.
  • LO4: Critically appraise and present viable strategies for successful public health policy change at local and national level.

Structure and content

The module is delivered online so you can study at times which suit you. No campus attendance is required. There are real-time online teaching sessions but these are optional and recorded so can be listened to later. You will be expected to participate in online discussions/problem-solving sessions. Students access electronic learning resources such as podcasts.

You will explore:

  • The definition and scope of public health policy.
  • Theories of policy change relevant to public health policy.
  • Debates on the ethics and politics of public health policy.
  • The role of commercial actors, advocates and other vested interests influencing public health policy.
  • Examples of policy interventions aimed at addressing a range of public health problems (including tobacco, alcohol, diet, pollution and drugs).

The module is suitable for anyone with an interest in public health. Teaching is delivered by specialist academics working in public health research, and includes both guest lectures and input (e.g. podcasts) from external experts.

Delivery and assessment

The module will be delivered digitally, using a range of online resources, including: videos, podcasts, webinars, online discussion boards and slide shows. The module coordinator has previously held senior leadership roles in NGOs with a national and global remit and acted as a policy advisor to the UK Government on public health policy.

There is a single assessment for this module, with two components: a short video and a policy delivery plan. You must pass with an overall mark of 50% or higher to pass the module.

Module coordinator

Dr James Nicholls


The module will help you develop an understanding of current public health priorities and areas of work which will be directly applicable to the working environment, either within policy, practice or research settings. The majority of our students are already working in health or social care prior to commencement and remain employed throughout the duration of their studies. Our students develop a wide range of transferable skills during their study that make them attractive to other employers e.g:

  • team working
  • IT skills
  • literature searching
  • critical appraisal
  • presentation skills
  • writing and data analysis.

What next?

Contact us

If you have any questions about entry requirements for our continuing professional development and short courses, contact our Admissions team.

For all other questions, please use our enquiry form.