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Responding to Public Health Challenges

This module is a Masters (SCQF Level 11) module and is part of our MSc Health Studies programme.


There have been significant improvements in international health status in terms of the major diseases of cancer, heart disease and stroke.  These improvements however, have not been experienced by everyone.  Unacceptable inequalities in health still exist across societal groups (EU Commission, 2014; Kiloran et al, 2006; Scottish Government, 2018a), with some developed countries experiencing notable differences in life expectancy between poor and affluent areas of as much as 17 years (OECD, 2018; Sim, 2011). 

This module will explore the policy context and its intended impact (Scottish Government, 2018a; WHO, 2010), developed across sectors to address, improve health and tackle health inequalities (Walker & John, 2012; WHO, 2012).  It will allow an insight into some of the measures used in determining trends and patterns in population health, including epidemiology and health statistics, as well as a number of contemporary approaches in addressing health concerns (Douglas, 2010). 

Students will be introduced to public health theory and practice, and work towards adopting a systematic approach to developing health improvement interventions using the processes underpinned by public health and health promotion specialists.  Students will also explore the methods by which these interventions can be planned, managed and evaluated, in order to develop the maximum impact and benefit for organisations and stakeholders. 

This module is a Masters (SCQF Level 11) module and is part of our MSc Health Studies programme and upon successful completion, delegates will be awarded 20 credits.  

More information about the full programme can be found here.


Key topics

  • Determinants of health
  • Health inequalities and equity
  • Policy context; public and social policy
  • Epidemiology
  • Health needs assessment
  • Health improvement; policy, methodologies, models (e.g Beattie's, Downie, Fyffe & Tannahill, Precede-Proceed, Transtheoretical model) and initiatives.
  • Cultural competence 


Delivery and assessment 

This module will be delivered online through a combination of self-paced study and live sessions with University of the West of Scotland (UWS) teaching staff.  Course materials will be accessible via our virtual learning environment and the course content will also be accessible online for a short time after the module has been delivered, allowing delegates to revisit aspects of teaching.  A detailed timetable for the module will be available prior to course commencement. 

Delegates are required to complete assessments at the end of the module to demonstrate their knowledge.  Further information about the assessment methods and deadlines will be given to students soon after teaching begins. 



Our course is aimed at health professional graduates or those with substantial professional experience at a senior level. We welcome applications from wide range of backgrounds including (but not limited to) nursing, midwifery, health improvement, ambulance service, social work, allied health professionals e.g. dieticians, occupational therapists, podiatrists and third sector professionals.

Delegates will ideally have an Ordinary bachelor's degree or demonstrate relevant senior management experience in a health-related area.  In addition, delegates must have the English language and literary skills as per university guidelines or Nursing and Midwifery guidelines* (IELTS score of 7.0 or above) for work-based modules.



This course may be available on a fully funded basis to some delegates through the Upskilling Fund.  Further details, including eligibility criteria, are available under Funding Support

If you have any questions, please contact us at

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