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MSc Dental Public Health (MDPH) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Our web-based Master of Dental Public Health (MDPH) course is designed for students who want to improve oral health for whole populations.

You will collaborate online with colleagues from across the world to explore practical, evidence-based approaches to care, prevention and planning services. No prior detailed knowledge of dentistry, the NHS or service planning is assumed.

The course is recognised for higher training in the specialty and confers eligibility to sit the Diploma in Dental Public Health examination of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (DDPHRCS). This grounding in methodology is also great preparation for a PhD.

Our students come from a range of occupations, including clinicians, managers, commissioners, providers or researchers. Our tutors will work with you to apply what you learn within your own context and healthcare system.


We aim to enable you to:

  • critically assess evidence that underlies oral health practice;
  • use a population approach to health issues;
  • demonstrate skills that contribute to public health policy-making and service planning;
  • demonstrate the skills necessary to research and answer population health questions;
  • take an international perspective on population health.

Special features

Connect with students from around the world

This course runs alongside the Master of Public Health (MPH) course at Manchester. There are currently around 200 students from 24 countries enrolled across both courses.

Teaching and learning

Course delivery

The primary method of course delivery is via the internet, using technology that allows tutors to encourage active communication and discussion between participants on the course. This enables you to learn through easy access to a wealth of web-based materials and published articles, both from the course tutors and other students. A few course units do require some face to face contact and it will be clear which course units have this requirement.

Residential course 

A two-day residential is held jointly with the MPH course at The University of Manchester at the beginning of the course. It is designed to give everyone the necessary technical training and general orientation of materials that you will use throughout the course. You are encouraged to attend the residential, but it is not compulsory, as the same induction material is available online.

Coursework and assessment

Unit assessments

The assessment of each course unit is by written assignment rather than exams. Typically, assessment of each unit would involve a mid-semester and end-of-semester assignment. The word count of the assignments is typically 1,000 and 4,000 respectively.

Additionally, some assessment may be made of your contribution to online discussion.


MDPH students will work with a supervisor on a project tailored to your own interests.  The MDPH dissertation report is worth 60 credits and will be between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length.

There are five options for dissertation work:

  • research grant proposal
  • quantitative research report
  • structured literature review
  • academic public health report
  • qualitative/ theoretical study.

Course unit details

You should expect to spend, on average, approximately 10-15 hours a week for each course unit studied.

Part-time students usually enrol on a minimum of one course unit per semester, so that the coursework is completed within four years. However, the course can be taken at your own pace, provided it is completed within five years.

Part-time students are advised to take at least two core units in the first year of the course, one in each semester.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Biostatistics DENT70001 15 Mandatory
Dissertation - Master in Dental Public Health DENT76060 60 Mandatory
Oral Health & Disease in Populations DENT76061 15 Mandatory
Implementing Strategy in Dental Services DENT76072 15 Mandatory
Evidence Based Practice POPH60041 15 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Epidemiology POPH60991 15 Mandatory
Research Methods DENT61010 15 Optional
Health Promotion Theory & Methods POPH60021 15 Optional
Engaging the Hard to Reach for Health Gain POPH60062 15 Optional
Working with Communities POPH60072 15 Optional
Health Economics POPH60091 15 Optional
Health Economics POPH60092 15 Optional
Applied Epidemiology POPH60112 15 Optional
Practical Statistics for Population Health (formerly Biostatistics) POPH60982 15 Optional
Communicable Disease Control POPH62051 15 Optional
Health Systems Challenges in Low and Middle Income Countries POPH62212 15 Optional
Global Health into the 21st Century POPH62311 15 Optional
Global Women's Public Health POPH62411 15 Optional
Primary Health Care POPH63111 15 Optional
Qualitative Research Methods POPH63121 15 Optional
Emergency Planning, Response & Resilience POPH64132 15 Optional
Implementation Sciences POPH64551 15 Optional
Health Services Management POPH64662 15 Optional
Intercultural Public Health POPH64772 15 Optional
Arts and Public Health POPH65011 15 Optional
Digital Public Health POPH65022 15 Optional
Climate Change and Health POPH65042 15 Optional
Introduction to Health Policy POPH65052 15 Optional
Infection Prevention & Control POPH65552 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 29 course units

Additional fee information

Most course units use entirely online material rather than a textbook. Some course units may require a textbook costing £30-£50.

Other additional costs include communication costs for email, internet access and telephone when studying at home.

Costs may also be incurred for travel, subsistence and accommodation charges during the following optional events or units:

  • the residential course for first year students;
  • the Promoting Health and Wellbeing in Practice blended learning unit;
  • the Intercultural Public Health blended learning unit;
  • the UK Leadership and Public Health Strategy blended learning unit;
  • the Emergency Humanitarian Assistance blended learning unit.


The course materials will link you to key journal articles, e-books and other online resources.

The facilities and support of the University of Manchester library will be available to you as a distance learner to enable you to search, retrieve and make sense of the quality sources around the topics studied.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

CPD opportunities

We offer units from this MDPH as standalone courses for continuing professional development (CPD). Please contact us for more information.