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Public health is the art and science of improving health through the organised efforts of society.

Learn how to carry out your own rapid health needs assessment and impact public health for the better. Gain a population-based perspective on health, illness and disease.

You’ll learn from some of the country’s leading public health scientists and researchers, based in our award-winning Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS).

Access their skills and teaching online, wherever you are in the world, on a flexible online course you can fit around full-time work.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards a range of postgraduate qualifications, including our online Master of Public Health and Masters in Clinical Nutrition.

What will I study?

You’ll cover the three major areas of public health:

  • Healthcare evaluation
  • Health protection
  • Health promotion

Within these, you’ll cover the core concepts of public health, including identifying populations at risk, monitoring public health, the burden of ill-health, effective intervention and health inequalities.

You’ll learn about the practical application of numerical ways of thinking about the health of populations. You’ll study health needs assessments and how they can be used to improve the health of a population in the context of its political, economic and social circumstances.

You’ll select a health needs assessment topic and carry out your own rapid health needs assessment, with step-by-step guidance from some of the best experts in this field.

By the end of this course, you will…

  • Understand the relevance and contributions of health protection, health promotion and healthcare provision towards improving population health.
  • Know how to locate, utilise, interpret and present data obtained from the major sources of information available to assess population health.
  • Be able to integrate numerical data within the context of a health needs assessment, as a rational approach to improving public health.
  • Understand how to carry out a rapid health needs assessment and be able to make recommendations to improve public health based on the best evidence available.
  • Be able to communicate public health-related information effectively to a range of audiences in support of improving the health of a population.

Why study Public Health online with Aberdeen?

How will I study?

Our Public Health in Action course is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can access our expertise wherever you are in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • recorded sessions
  • videos
  • discussion boards with classmates and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

This course is taught at Masters level by clinical academics and public health practitioners from NHS Grampian.

Your course coordinator

Where will this take me?

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards further study, including our online:

MSc Clinical Nutrition (180 credits)

  • Available to study to Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) and Postgraduate Diploma level (120 credits).

Master of Public Health (MPH) (180 credits)

  • Also available on campus.

Further short courses

We have a range of online Health short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Am I ready?

This course includes many of the same learning outcomes as our on-campus Health Needs Assessment short course. We do not recommend studying both. If progressing to a related Masters, credits will only count from one of these courses, not both.

Entry guidance

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
28 September 2020