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

Learn to carry out your own rapid health needs assessment and impact public health for the better. Our online public health course will give you a population-based perspective on health, illness and disease.

You’ll benefit from the knowledge and expertise of 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, with flexible study hours to suit you.

What will I study?

You will 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.

This course illustrates the practical application of numerical ways of thinking about the health of a population. You’ll get to grips with health needs assessments and how these can be used to improve the health of a population in the context of its political, economic and social circumstances.

You’ll also get to 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 12-week public health course is delivered entirely online. You can access our expertise wherever you are in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our Masters in Public Health, this course is taught at Masters level by clinical academics and public health practitioners from NHS Grampian.

Your course is delivered through MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It’s designed specifically for online learners and features a range of resources, including:

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

Where will this take me?

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

See our full range of postgraduate Health degrees.

Further learning

Public Health in Action is one of a suite of Health short courses that we offer online. These can be used to build up credits towards higher qualifications.

Find out more about credits.


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

Your course coordinator

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
14 September 2020