Postgraduate Taught

MSc Global Health

Do you want to make a difference to the health of people in developing countries? Are you looking for a qualification that will enable you to work at a senior level in health policy and practice in the UK or abroad, particularly in low and middle income settings? Our flexible and highly respected range of global health courses could be the perfect stepping stone for your career.

The Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) at QMU is a unique academic institution. We offer a range of postgraduate courses aimed specifically at those who wish to work in health policy and practice, particularly in low and middle income settings. Our courses put a strong focus on the social aspects of health and on health systems strengthening from a people’s perspective. They will equip you to assist in improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world, whether that be overseas or locally in Scotland.

MSc Global Health through TropEd.

Postgraduate programmes in the Institute of Global Health and Development inductions will commence w/b 21st September, with teaching on those programmes beginning on 28th September.

Why QMU?

  • If you want to make a difference in the world of global health, a qualification from QMU can be a major turning point in your career. You will develop a strong understanding of current global health and development issues and will equip yourself with the tools you need to forge positive change locally, nationally or internationally.
  • You will learn from experienced figures in the field and make connections that could last your whole working life. At IGHD we work directly with ministries of health, international and national organisations and local communities to develop real solutions to health and development problems.
  • We are on a compassion mission. Our work at IGHD addresses the health and wellbeing of those in greatest need, whether that be vulnerable populations in Scotland or those living in low or middle income countries.  
  • Our teaching and research expertise spans multiple aspects of global health and development. These range from health financing, and support to fragile and conflict -affected settings, to refugee integration and child protection. 

Course overview

If you want to take a broad approach to your learning, you can enrol on our MSc Global Health. This approach offers you a thorough grounding in this multidisciplinary field and you can later decide to specialise your studies if you wish.

Alternatively you can choose a more focused pathway at the outset, with either our MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health or MSc Social Development and Health. You can also choose to study for one of our two PgCert qualifications in Applied Social Development and Health in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States. These can be a good option if you have time, work or other commitments that would conflict with studying for a full master’s.

We have deliberately designed our courses to be as flexible as possible, so you can apply for the course which best suits your career needs and later revise your choice before progressing to the dissertation stage (this is subject to you having studied the appropriate modules).

MSc Global Health

Global health is increasingly being focused on as a major driver of development, international co-operation and diplomacy, not only during outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it not only a very interesting field of study, but also an incredibly important one regardless of what setting you will work in.

How can societies implement more effective intervention strategies? Who is responsible for initiating and then delivering the strategy in a low income setting? The answers to most of the important questions in this field are complex and your studies will prepare you to answer them through a multidisciplinary approach. This is about gaining a truly global perspective on the state of people’s health, and enhancing your knowledge through a systematic examination of health problems and their determinants.

This course will be relevant to you if you are working, or planning to work, in enhancing population health in low income settings or middle or low income countries, be this within governmental (e.g. ministry of health), non-governmental or intergovernmental organisations (e.g. WHO or UN agencies). It will equip you to work effectively at a senior level to promote the health and social wellbeing of populations through the development of effective and responsive health systems. It will orient you to issues on which Institute staff are recognised to have made world-leading research contributions, such as supporting health systems strengthening in fragile and conflict-affected states, and mental health and psychosocial support for vulnerable populations. Participants are typically drawn from a broad range of backgrounds, including physicians, nurses, allied health professions, development and humanitarian workers as well as health ministry and NGO employees.













To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules in the following ‘Exit awards’ section. The MSc Global Health programme comprises three core modules (20-credit each) which are taught face-to-face in Edinburgh in the first semester, which runs from September to December. During the second semester (January-May), students can choose four elective modules (15-credit each) which are delivered fully online or through blended learning. Finally, during Semester 3, students will prepare and submit a dissertation on a global health topic (60-credit).

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

You can opt to study for the full MSc (120-credit modules and dissertation), a PgDip (120-credit modules), or a PgCert (a selection of modules worth 60 credits). You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for continuing professional development (CPD). On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching is comprised of a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises and projects. Assessment is continuous and incorporates assignments, action plans, projects and examinations. For their dissertation projects, students can chose to collect desk-based studies or conduct primary data collection in collaboration with national or international organisations working in health and development.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module which you study will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Some modules during the second semester are offered fully online or through blended learning which require you to be on campus only for a certain amount of time. Your exact attendance requirements at QMU will depend on which module you are studying and whether you are studying full or part time. Modules typically run over four to five weeks and involve two to three sessions of two-three hours in class each week. In addition, for each module students spend around 10-12 hours of each week on preparatory class work independently and with colleagues, including readings and exercises available on dedicated web-based learning platforms. 

Links with industry/ professional bodies

Our work with a number of internationally recognised organisations and professional bodies helps shape the content of our courses. We have links with Health Systems Global, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network (, Scottish International Development Alliance, Development Studies Association, Scottish Government, and Scottish Refugee Council, to name but a few. At QMU we host the NIHR Research Unit on Health in Situations of Fragility (RUHF).

Class sizes

Normally, there are around fifteen to twenty students undertaking the modules each year. 


Students study core modules totalling 60 credits:

  • Global Public Health and Social Policy
  • Health Systems Services and Communities
  • Global Health Research

A further 60 credits are then selected from the broad range of classes available within the Institute or from other QMU courses and TropEd Modules. Examples of IGHD elective modules (subject to availability) include:

  • Community-based psychosocial support
  • Forced Displacement & Integration: Theory, Policy & Practice
  • Global approaches to Gender Health
  • Health Systems in Fragile Settings
  • Programme Evaluation in Global Health and Development
  • Project Design and Management
  • Psychosocial Interventions
  • Research Proposal Writing
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health

Other QMU and external university modules relating to leadership, research, advocacy and specialised fields of study such as nutrition and epidemiology may be available.

For the MSc award you will then complete a dissertation on an approved topic related to global health and development (60 credits).

The modules listed are subject to change. In the event that modules do need to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to the students. Please check this site or contact IGHD for any updates.

Single modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact IGHD for more information.


Our courses have been helping people successfully advance their careers in global health for many years. Former IGHD students work in a variety of settings where a social development understanding informs approaches to health. Examples of positions filled by IGHD graduates include: Health Advisor for Save the Children UK, Senior Co-ordinator for International Operations with Partners in Health, Policy Development Officer in the Scottish NGO sector, Public Health Policy Workers for First Nation’s communities in Canada, humanitarian worker with Islamic Relief. Others have taken internships with organizations such as the WHO on graduation, while others have progressed to doctoral studies.

As a graduate of the MSc Global Health you will be well equipped for employment as a global health practitioner, senior health manager or policy maker working in, or advising in regard to low-and middle-income settings.

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent from a relevant subject area (arts, humanities, health or social sciences). Students without an honours degree may be considered if they have other relevant qualifications and/or appropriate work experience. 

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.0 and no individual component score below 5.5. 

Application deadline

There is no formal deadline, but you should be aware of the time requirements of visa applications which vary by country. We do not accept applications where the candidate will not be able to arrive on the term start date, but if the application otherwise meets our criteria, will recommend a start at the next available course start date (January or September). 

More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or Contact IGHD on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.


International applicants may apply for a competitive Commonwealth Scholarship.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).


Course Overview

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 – 7 years
Start Date
September 2020
January 2021
Study Abroad
The Institute for Global Health and Development
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies


Engage with the Team

A Student Story (see bottom of page for more)

Zubir Shams - MSc Global Health “The MSc Global Health is a much needed degree for any professional who wants to build a career in the health development sector, both in and beyond their own country. I was drawn to the key aspect of this course, which focuses on health systems management globally, particularly in fragile and post-conflict areas." Red my story