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Study public health at the University of Sydney

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  • Top-ranked in public health

    The University is ranked third in Australia and 35th in the world for public health in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

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Overview

In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in Semester 1, 2021.

This course will be available to study remotely for students commencing in Semester 1, 2021. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely.

Note: The University intends to offer as many units of study as possible in a remote as well as face-to-face learning method of delivery in Semester 1, 2021 and subject to ongoing border closures and public health orders impacting attendance on campus, in Semester 2, 2021. However, some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely. 

About this course

The Master of Public Health focuses on the prevention of illness and promotion of health.

Learning opportunities are aimed at developing the essential knowledge and skills required for practitioners in public health - including the effective management of community health problems to improve conditions and outcomes.

Why study public health with us?

  • 100% online course delivery - this course is offered through our interactive online learning environment, giving you the flexibility to tailor your study schedule around your lifestyle. We also offer full-time and part-time options, allowing you to decide your study load. A face-to-face learning option will be available when on-campus study is permitted once more. 

  • Specialise in your chosen field –  the 1.5-year Master of Public Health will provide you the time needed to build competency and gain skills from a wide range of public health electives, allowing you specialise in an area that interests you and boosts your career prospects. You will be able to choose your elective units from within one of four specialisations:
    • chronic disease prevention
    • communicable disease control
    • health promotion and advocacy
    • research methods.
  • Apply public health principles - newly designed core units and electives will provide you with the skills needed to translate evidence and decisions into policy and practice at a national, regional and community level.

  • Research training – our Research Project capstone will equip you with the critical thinking skills and research training necessary to prepare you for a higher research degree.

  • First-class teaching – this course is taught by highly experienced academic staff who are active within the public health community and work closely with organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Department of Health and Cancer Australia.

  • Make a real difference – you will be involved in teams and projects that are making a real difference to the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and populations.
  • Diverse placement opportunities – you will have the opportunity to undertake a diverse range of professional placements and apply knowledge learnt in class to real-world projects with location-based organisations. Our students have completed placements with a range of organisations including NSW Environmental Health, NSW Cancer Council, NSW Health Protection unit, Safe Work Australia and the Heart Foundation.

Who should study this course?

Medical and non-medical graduates who are passionate about working to see improvements in community health programs through strategy and management.

Find out what we look for in a Public Health applicant.

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for this course for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSP places are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

Scholarships

We’ve relaunched our scholarships program and offer a variety of postgraduate coursework scholarships for both domestic and international students.

Criteria, eligibility and application deadlines vary. Check the scholarships website or contact the school directly for more information.

We’ve relaunched our scholarships program and offer a variety of postgraduate coursework scholarships for both domestic and international students.

Criteria, eligibility and application deadlines vary. Check the scholarships website or contact the school directly for more information.


How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 11 February of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

There are a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) available for students commencing their degree in Semester 1. Therefore, only Semester 1 applications received by 1 December of the previous year will be considered for a CSP. 

Please submit your CV with relevant public health work experience and your academic transcript, as these are used to rank candidates. If you do not submit these documents then we cannot assess your eligibility.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 30 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March) and Semester 2 (August)

Course structure

View the public health course structure diagram (PDF, 70KB).

What you'll study

The core units of the Master of Public Health will provide basic health knowledge and skills in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Public Health, Qualitative Health Research, Health Promotion and Public Health Ethics. 

In the elective unit component of the program, you will undertake a minimum of 18cp of PUBH electives and a maximum of 12cp of non PUBH elective units.

You will be able to choose your elective units from within one of 4 specialisations:

  • Chronic Disease Prevention
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Health Promotion and Advocacy
  • Research Methods

Or you may prefer to complete a generalist degree and select elective units from across the specialisation groups.

Most elective units will initially be offered in semester two of each year, and many are also available in online mode.

Download our sample course diagram to learn more about what you will study as part of this degree.

View the public health course structure diagram (PDF, 70KB)

Units of Study

Admission criteria

The Master of Public Health requires an undergraduate degree in public health, medicine, medical science, nursing, allied health (including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, optometry), dentistry, veterinary science, education, communication and journalism, science, arts, psychology, social science, political science, policy analysis, government, international relations, engineering, architecture, mathematics, law, economics, commerce, business, accounting or marketing for admission.

In exceptional circumstances the Dean may admit applicants without these qualifications who, in the opinion of the School, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

 

Commonwealth Supported Places

There are a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) available for students commencing their degree in Semester 1. Therefore, only Semester 1 applications received by 1 December of the previous year will be considered for a CSP. 

Please submit your CV with relevant public health work experience and your academic transcript, as these are used to rank candidates. If you do not submit these documents then we cannot assess your eligibility.

Future study options

Outstanding graduates may be eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in the courses of Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy offered by Sydney School of Public Health. A research degree provides students with the opportunity to prepare a substantial piece of work which represents a significant contribution in a particular field of study; and to gain transferable skills in general research methodology. Sydney School of Public Health is affiliated with over 40 independent medical research institutes aimed at achieving medical firsts in specialist areas of health and medicine. It provides an outstanding environment for postgraduate research. Sydney School of Public Health research activities consistently attract high levels of funding from the Commonwealth and state governments, overseas funding agencies and other public and private sources.

Career Pathways

The Master of Public Health leads to hands on careers in public health, such as working with people in the field, as well as research-oriented jobs which involve conducting studies and examining overall health trends.

Careers in public health include working as a public health officer in government health departments; health education/promotion officer; clinical research manager; health information manager or health project manager.

Our Head of School outlines some of the career opportunities that exist for our graduates.

Dr Vandana Joshi

Graduate Profile

Vandana Joshi

Chief of Health, Nutrition and WASH, UNICEF

In 2000, Vandana was working with tuberculosis patients in Kashmir. In 2005, she was a team leader providing care in the tsunami-affected Andaman and Nicobar islands. In 2009, she was in Sudan establishing community based screening for severely malnourished children. In 2014, she was part of the Ebola response team in Sierra Leone and today she is in Bhutan, working to make it the first country in the region to have zero mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Read Vandana's story

Kathryn Joannides

Graduate Profile

Kathryn Joannides

Health Economics and Social Policy Consultant, Deloitte 

"The Master of Public Health offers great flexible study options which have enabled me to continue living and working interstate whilst completing my degree.

It's really rewarding to know you can have a positive impact on people's lives. I am doing that by implementing policies that are evidence based, and an effective and efficient use of public funds."

Watch Kathryn's video

News_

6 reasons to study public health

Why you should study public health at the University of Sydney

Learn the knowledge and skills to effectively plan and manage health programs, prevent illness and promote health and make a positive impact on the health of communities in Australia and around the world.

Start your journey at the University of Sydney

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.