Public Health Research

Examine aspects of research in public health including priority setting, literature reviewing, planning and designing research, public health data, and engaging policy, practice, and the public to ensure research has an impact.

Apply now

Key facts

  • Module codeNURP023
  • 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 draws on a science base this is multidisciplinary, relying on knowledge from diverse fields such as medicine, epidemiology, sociology, psychology, criminology, education and economics.

In this module, you will develop your confidence in understanding, interpreting and communicating public health research findings, and in thinking critically about the impact of those findings. You’ll also be able to recognise the features, characteristics and elements of good quality public health research. This will help you to be able to plan or commission research that will inform public health policy or practice.

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) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 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.


By the completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  • LO1: Explain public health research to non-specialised audiences
  • LO2: Describe and critically evaluate the potential uses and value of public health research
  • LO3: Critically compare the methods commonly used in public health research and their suitability to respond to different public health issues
  • LO4: Discuss and critically evaluate the ethical issues facing public health research
  • LO5: Critically appraise the ‘impact agenda’ in research and its potential influence on how public health research is done

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 through Canvas that include a range of audio, visual and written materials, with additional links to ‘deep-dive’ into specific topics.

In this module, you will learn about the importance of research in public health; what good quality public health research looks like; and the variety of research that is conducted to inform public health policy and practice. The module will cover topics on study design, stakeholder engagement, critical thinking and bias, theories, hypotheses and models, research ethics, and research impact. Content is illustrated through numerous and diverse examples of research conducted by members of the Faculty, presented as ‘case studies’. You will also explore key research designs such as trials, action research and implementation science, in depth.

Indicative content:

  • Public health research priorities
  • Literature reviews/evidence syntheses
  • Appraisal tools for evaluating public health research
  • Key stages in the planning and design of public health research
  • Managing ethical research
  • Data for public health research
  • From research to impact

Delivery and assessment

The module consists of 10 units across 12 weeks. In each unit, you will explore a different topic through pre-recorded lectures, reading and discussion boards. There will also a be live webinar for each unit, to look back over the previous week’s material and discuss any questions that have emerged.

There is a single written assessment for this module, which must be passed with at least 50% to pass the module. 

Module coordinator

Dr Erica Gadsby


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 makes them attractive to other employers e.g:

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