Programme Specifications

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1 Programme Specifications MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN PUBLIC HEALTH 1 Awarding body University of Cambridge 2 Teaching institution Department of Public Health & Primary Care 3 Accreditation details None 4 Name of final award Master of Philosophy 5 Programme title Master of Philosophy in PUBLIC HEALTH 6 JACS code(s) B130, B910, C110 7 Relevant QAA benchmark statement(s) None 8 Qualifications framework level 7 (Masters) 9 Date specification was produced June 2015 Educational aims of the programme This full-time course is designed to provide successful students with the necessary theoretical knowledge and skills which, when combined with appropriate further experience, will enable them to make a professional contribution to public health. Approximately twothirds of the curriculum is shared with the MPhil in Epidemiology. The course draws on local strengths in quantitative methods and their application to the solution of public health problems. It covers most of the curriculum for the UK Faculty of Health Part A examination. Throughout the course students are able to draw on the research expertise within the Institute of Public Health and wider expertise in the University. The MPhil in Public Health is offered by the Department of Public Health & Primary Care as a full-time period of research training and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge. Its main aims are: to provide course participants with the necessary theoretical knowledge, which when combined with appropriate practical experience, can serve as a foundation for a career as a public health professional in either a service or an academic setting; to give students with relevant experience at first-degree level the opportunity to carry out focused research in the discipline under close supervision; and to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests. In comparison with other established programmes in the UK it includes a substantial emphasis on quantitative approaches to the assessment of public health problems. The curriculum of this programme is broadly consistent with the curricula recommended by the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians. Learning outcomes By the end of the course participants should: 1. Have an sound understanding of basic epidemiological theory and be able to apply it in a practical setting 2. Be able to identify, synthesis and criticise relevant published research literature 3. Have the necessary skills to be able to analyse public health problems including:

2 i. selection of appropriate measures to describe the health status of populations and groups ii. selection of appropriate measures by which to compare and rank public health problems iii. the quantitative attribution of public health problems to their modifiable (putative) causes iv. assessment of the potential benefit from the modification of causal exposures v. quantifying the uncertainty of quantities of public health interest 4. Have developed a critical approach to the evaluation of their own and others research and analytic work 5. Understand the sociological perspective on the experience of health and illness and of the evolution and functioning of medical institutions 6. Understand the methods needed to control environmental and communicable hazards 7. Understand the principles involved in the design and conduct of health promotion programmes 8. Understand the principles involved in the management of health service organizations and in planning the future development of health services 9. Understand the principles involved in the economic assessment of health and of services for its protection and restoration 10. Understand the main legal and ethical principles relevant to public health work. Ability to: 1. Plan, conduct and report a programme of original research in public health disciplines. 2. Formulate and test hypotheses; 3. Conduct appropriate analyses of (straightforward) data generated by standard epidemiological study designs (not extending to complex data from complex study designs); 4. Standardise rates and derive life table measures from raw data. 5. Design an investigation of a putative communicable disease outbreak or chemical or biological incident; 6. Critically appraise research reports in public health disciplines; 7. Conduct computerised literature searches, cite literature appropriately and describe how publication bias can be evaluated; 8. Present quantitative evidence clearly and accurately and describe methods used to produce quantitative summaries of published evidence (meta-analyses); 9. Integrate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of sources in written and spoken presentations; 10. Use computational and presentation tools appropriately; 11. Describe the role of qualitative evidence in public health disciplines; 12. Derive appropriate measures for comparing health levels in populations (summary measures of population health); 13. Describe and comment critically on methods used to estimates disease burdens attributable to specific kinds of disease (and injury) and to their underlying causes; 14. Work as a member of an interdisciplinary team in analysing public health questions and in formulating responses; 15. Engage appropriately with public expectations and with those of public representatives and officials in responding to public health issues. Teaching and learning methods A combination of lectures, class exercises and an individual research project. Page 2 of 5

3 Throughout the course students are encouraged to undertake independent reading both to supplement and consolidate the formal course content and to broaden their individual knowledge of the subject. Programme structure Term One: 1. Basic epidemiological principles 2. classical epidemiological literature 3. biostatistical methods 4. study design and conduct 5. computing, including management of databases and software for data analysis. Terms Two and Three: Students undertake a series of modules in specialist areas of epidemiology. These modules draw heavily on the current research programmes within the Institute. Examples of the Epidemiology modules offered include, but are not limited to: 1. Study design 2. Communicable disease 3. Genetic epidemiology 4. Environmental epidemiology 5. Chronic disease epidemiology 6. Nutrition and physical activity 7. Clinical trials 8. Psychiatric epidemiology In addition, there is a parallel series of dedicated public health modules covering: Social sciences Management Health protection Health promotion Public health assessment Ethics and law Health economics Thesis: In Term Three, students must prepare a 20,000-word thesis based on an individual piece of research, usually within the overall programme of the Institute of Public Health. Assessment methods The scheme of examination for the one-year MPhil in Public Health shall consist of: (a) a thesis not exceeding 20,000 words in length, including footnotes, but excluding tables,appendices, and bibliography, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculties of Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; (b) two written papers, of 3 hours in length, each of which may cover all the areas of study prescribed in the syllabus; Page 3 of 5

4 (c) two essays, each not exceeding 3,000 words in length, on subjects approved by the Degree Committee The examination shall include an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls, and, at the discretion of the Examiners, on any other component of the examination submitted by the candidate; save that the Examiners may, at their discretion, waive the requirement for an oral examination. Mark Allocation for the Examination Component 1 (2 essays, in-course assessment) 20% Component 2 written examination 30% Component 3 thesis 50% Viva n/a The required level for a Pass mark for each component and overall is 60%. A Distinction will be awarded to candidates who achieve greater or equal to 75% in (a) the exams AND (b) the thesis AND (c) overall. Criteria for recommending the degree In order to pass the degree a candidate must: 1) achieve 60% or more overall, 2) with not less than 55% in each component. A candidate who achieves less than 60% overall, or who achieves 60% overall but fails (attains less than 55%) any component, will be examined in a viva. If such a candidate satisfies the examiners in a viva that he or she should pass the degree overall, he or she will be allowed the minimum mark(s) in the component(s) under consideration required to satisfy the two conditions above. The Examiners shall provide a full report to the Degree Committee of the grounds on which they recommend the candidate the degree. Any such candidate who does not so satisfy the examiners in a viva shall fail the degree. There are no resits for the MPhil degree; the only allowance for re-examination in the case of failure is under Regulation 12 of the General Regulations for the Admission of Graduate Students. Student Support All students are members of a College as well as the Department and have access to learning support from both College and University. Each student on the MPhil is allocated a Departmental supervisor to support them throughout the course. Specialist supervisors are also available to support the students in the preparation of their dissertations. Students are also allocated a student mentor (usually a PhD student) and can seek support from the MPhil Course Coordinator. There is a course handbook as well as web-based information. Library facilities are available both at the School of Clinical Medicine and at the Colleges. Students regularly complete course evaluation forms providing feedback on the quality of teaching provided. This feedback is reviewed and acted on by the Course Management Committee and by teaching staff. A student representative sits on the Course Management Committee and participates in the review and revision of the course. Graduate employability and career destinations Page 4 of 5

5 The MPhil provides core training in research methods relevant to public health. Each year a number of students on the course continue their studies at the Department to PhD level with a view to continuing an academic career. Others have a background in medicine (or are part way through medical training) and use the knowledge and skills gained to support their future medical careers. Others find employment in a variety of areas including organizations involved in public health work such as the WHO and the pharmaceutical industry. The Careers Service maintains links with relevant employers and takes into account employer needs and opinions in the services which is provides for students. The Careers Service also allocates a Careers Adviser to each College, faculty and department to act as a point of contact. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this programme specification. At the time of publication, the programme specification has been approved by the relevant Faculty Board (or equivalent). Programme specifications are reviewed annually, however, during the course of the academical year, any approved changes to the programme will be communicated to enrolled students through notification or publication in the Reporter. The relevant faculty or department will endeavour to update the programme specification accordingly, and prior to the start of the next academical year. Further information about specifications and an archive of programme specifications for all awards of the University is available online at: Page 5 of 5

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