Master of Public Health

Course 244CW (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 020358D
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Melissa Russell


Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic (MEGA) Epidemiology
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 0736


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824

Course Overview:

The Master of Public Health offers students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge required for a career in public health practice. Within the course students are exposed to the core foundations of public health theory and practice and also have the opportunity to specialise in the advanced public health training streams offered through the University of Melbourne. The Master of Public Health programs at the University of Melbourne are delivered by academic staff with extensive experience and depth of knowledge, who are leaders in their chosen fields of public health.

The Master of Public Health has three components:

  1. The core component includes up to six subjects that provide students with a rigorous, multidisciplinary foundation in public health theory and practice, that is essential to all aspects of public health practice;
  2. The specialist component offers students the opportunity to focus on one or more key fields in public health and gain the skills and knowledge required for practice in the area. Specialisations are offered in the fields of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Gender and Women’s Health, Global Health, Health Program Evaluation, Health Economics and Economic Evaluation, Indigenous Health, Primary Care, Sexual Health and Social Health; and
  3. The capstone experience offers students the opportunity to consolidate their specialist training and apply the knowledge gained in the course to real world scenarios resulting in effective outcomes. Students may apply to undertake a Research Project with an expert in their field; a Professional Practice placement with a recognised agency, institution or community organisation concerned with health; or further elective subjects.

The Master of Public Health is designed to produce outstanding graduates with a comprehensive understanding of the multidisciplinary foundations of public health; advanced theoretical knowledge and practical skills aligned with their future aspirations within the field; and attitudes towards knowledge and its application, which are in keeping with the values articulated in the University's graduate attributes.

Upon completion of the Master of Public Health, graduates will be able to:

  • Describe and appraise public health systems, structures and policies in Australia and other countries, and be able to distinguish a population-based approach from individual based approaches;
  • Plan strategies to prevent disease and injury and to protect and improve health (i.e. health promotion, immunisation, screening, legislation, policy, and community development);
  • Assess the health status of communities and evaluate intervention processes and outcomes using appropriate analytic methods;
  • Describe and appraise global public health systems, structures and policies in Australia and overseas;
  • Articulate the ways in which age, gender, ethnicity and Indigenous status, society, culture, geography, the environment and socio-economic status influence health and public health practice;
  • Critically appraise social science and epidemiological evidence; and
  • Apply effective leadership and management principles to public health practice.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

200 Point Program: SIX core subjects and TEN elective subjects or EIGHT elective subjects and either a Research Project or Professional Practice unit of 25 points
175 Point Program: SIX core subjects and EIGHT elective subjects or SIX elective subjects and either a Research Project or Professional Practice unit of 25 points
150 Point Program: FIVE core subjects and SEVEN elective subjects or FIVE elective subjects and either a Research Project or Professional Practice unit of 25 points



Following are recommended subject combinations for specialisations within the MPH. These are guides and are not prescriptive, however students should check to see if specific research projects have set prerequisite subjects. Students may obtain assistance in putting together their own interdisciplinary course plans from the course coordinator during organised enrolment sessions at the beginning of each year, or by appointment throughout the year.

Subject Options:


Students granted 50 Points Advanced Standing (150 point program) are exempt from Foundations of Public Health. All other students must complete Foundations of Public Health unless granted an exemption by the course coordinator. Students granted exemption must complete one extra elective subject in lieu of Foundations of Public Health.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 1


The MPH is flexible and does not have fixed streams. Students may tailor subject choices to suit their interests, provided they meet course requirements. All elective subjects offered in the MPH are listed below:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 1
Not offered in 2012
Not offered in 2012

International Students from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds are encouraged to enrol in this subject offered jointly by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Centre for Communication Skills and English Language Studies:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2


Students may apply to undertake either a 25 point supervised Research Project in their chosen field of specialisation or a 25 point supervised Professional Practice unit. Students have the option of applying to enrol in a year-long research project or a semester-long research project. Students enrolling in the year long project MUST complete the project in two semesters consecutively.

Students who wish to enter the program mid-year should be aware that options with regard to undertaking a research project may be limited.

Students should be aware that they must complete a 25 point research project in order for the MPH to provide an entry pathway to the MPhil or PhD program.

Note: Research project prerequisites will be revised to reflect the new core curriculum, however this will not be done until 2012; this will allow continuing students to be able to enrol in a research project as per the current arrangements. Note that very few students start the research project in their first year.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2


Upon successful completion of SIX core subjects (or FIVE core subjects and an additional elective if an exemption is granted for Foundations of Public Health) and TWO elective subjects, students may exit the program with a Postgraduate Diploma of Public Health.

Entry Requirements:

1. The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue the course successfully using the following criteria:

  • an undergraduate degree in any discipline, or equivalent; OR
  • at least 200 points of tertiary study in any discipline and at least five years of documented relevant health‐related work experience.

2. The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and call for referee reports and employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above. Note: Successful applicants with (i) an appropriate health professional degree, or (ii) an undergraduate degree and a minimum of two years of documented health related work experience may be granted 25 points of advanced standing. Successful applicants with an undergraduate degree and a minimum of two years of
documented public health related work experience may be granted 50 points of advanced standing.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.

Graduate Attributes:

The Melbourne Experience enables our graduates to become:

Academically excellent:

  • have a strong sense of intellectual integrity and the ethics of scholarship
  • have in-depth knowledge of their specialist discipline(s)
  • reach a high level of achievement in writing, generic research activities, problem-solving and communication
  • be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning
  • be adept at learning in a range of ways, including through information and communication technologies

Knowledgeable across disciplines:

  • examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of disciplines
  • expand their analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences in diverse subjects
  • have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront unfamiliar problems
  • have a set of flexible and transferable skills for different types of employment

Leaders in communities:

  • initiate and implement constructive change in their communities, including professions and workplaces
  • have excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills, including an awareness of personal strengths and limitations
  • mentor future generations of learners
  • engage in meaningful public discourse, with a profound awareness of community needs

Attuned to cultural diversity:

  • value different cultures
  • be well-informed citizens able to contribute to their communities wherever they choose to live and work
  • have an understanding of the social and cultural diversity in our community
  • respect indigenous knowledge, cultures and values

Active global citizens:

  • accept social and civic responsibilities
  • be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment
  • have a broad global understanding, with a high regard for human rights, equity and ethics

Generic Skills:

The Master of Public Health will allow students to develop skills in:

  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Working with others and in teams
  • Initiative, autonomy and organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Oral communication
  • Finding, evaluating and using relevant information
  • Written communication
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Persuasion and argumentation
  • Using computers and statistical software
Links to further information:

Mid-year entry is available, however students applying for mid-year entry who wish to study full-time should be aware that four semesters of enrolment will be required to complete the Course. That is, even if a student is granted 50 Points Advanced Standing, it would not be possible to complete the course in three semesters of full-time study.

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