MSc Global Health / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The tutors are very approachable and are also very open and responsive to feedback.

My course has students from all over the world, and the experience we have between us is rich and diverse, making for some very interesting discussions and peer learning.

Rubina / Graduate
The MSc Global Health at Manchester was originally developed in collaboration with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to fit the needs of global health practitioners in the humanitarian sector. Now aimed at both those new to the humanitarian health field and professionals who want to expand their knowledge and skills, our course offers a practical means of study.

You will explore issues related to the worldwide improvement of health, the reduction of disparities, and protection against global health threats that disregard national borders, particularly in contexts of conflict and disasters. The course is unique in its interdisciplinary approach, bringing together the study of humanitarian studies, disaster studies, emergency medicine, community health, and the anthropology of health and illness. It also offers students the opportunity to select from three distinct pathways within the Global Health programme, with specialities in emergency response, humanitarian response, or disaster management.

You will have access to leading multidisciplinary academics and practitioners. For example, we have a close working relationship with the charity UK-Med, which trains and deploys medical teams to sudden onset disasters and complex emergencies.


After Years 1 and 2, you should be able to show a critical understanding of:

• Key issues and debates related to the practices of global health programming. You will show familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of policies at international and national levels;

• The range of social science topics which influence global health (including political, historical, and anthropological understandings). You will become familiar with the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of these disciplines;

• The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of global health, including economics, governance structures and institutions, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic NGOs and other civil institutions;

• International, national and local approaches to global health, including an awareness of the advantages, problems and critiques associated with 'bottom up' approaches;

• The range of research methodologies associated with global health research;

• The development of a range of academic and professional/transferrable skills through both independent and group-based work.

After Year 3, you should also be able to:

• Demonstrate your capacity for self-managed learning through planning and conducting research on a topic related to your studies;

• Develop your knowledge of a relevant body of literature, understanding of relevant theoretical perspectives and skills of critical reasoning;

• Seek new research findings which, in some cases, add to the existing body of knowledge on a particular subject area;

• Engage in a limited programme of primary data collection or to reinterpret material already available in the public domain;

• Develop knowledge of, and competence in, an appropriate range of research methods, including the development of research hypotheses, an appreciation of the research methodology and analytical techniques to be utilised, the undertaking of a specific research study, the synthesis and evaluation of findings, and a clear statement of conclusions and recommendations;

• Develop writing, presentation and bibliographic skills, which involves the planning and management of a long document.

Special features

Online course delivery

You will be able to engage fully with the course content and other students via lectures, discussion boards, group work, online chat, question and answer sessions with the tutor, and peer-to-peer feedback and assessment.


You can study for a MSc Global Health or graduate with a specialisation in MSc Global Health (Emergency Response); MSc Global Health (Humanitarian Response) or MSc Global Health (Disaster Management).

Teaching and learning

The course will begin with an online induction session that explains how the course will progress and how you can fully engage with the curriculum and online classroom environment.

Academic and pastoral support will be offered online by the programme director, course leaders and teaching staff, who will be responsible for monitoring progression through the course. A designated programme administrator will be responsible for dealing with day-to-day enquiries.The course is designed for part-time students and lasts for three years in total. You will study four course units in each of Years 1 and 2. Each of the units comprises ten weeks of teaching followed by one week of assessment. You will complete each unit in turn before progressing to the next. The format is designed to be adaptable to the needs of professional students and provides opportunity for reflection between units.

Additionally, you will also complete a research methods course in each year (offered between January and June) to provide methodological knowledge needed to complete your course work and dissertation. Year 3 comprises the dissertation for the MSc award. Students will submit a research proposal and be allocated a dissertation supervisor. You will then be guided through key milestones in the completion of your dissertation.

The MSc Global Health has been designed to recreate a classroom learning environment in an online format. You will be able to engage fully with the course content and peers via recorded lectures, discussion boards, group work, online chat, question and answer sessions with your tutor, and peer-to-peer feedback and assessment.

Coursework and assessment

All assessment will take place online. Each of the units in Years 1 and 2 will conclude with a selection of assessments, including multiple choice tests, essays, group assignments such as wikis, and prose-based assessments.

All units include academic contributions to the discussion forums as part of the overall assessment process for each unit (10%). For these contributions, each student is expected to contribute a weekly written academic piece expressing a view or perspective upon a question raised by the tutor/convenor in relation to the week's topic and materials. Engagement on the discussion boards is required throughout the course.

You will also receive formative feedback and guidance throughout the course, which will enable you to progress and develop your confidence and analytical skills.

You will study four course units in each of Years 1 and 2. Year 3 comprises the dissertation for the MSc award.

Course unit details

You will study four course units in each of Years 1 and 2. Each of the four units comprises eight weeks of teaching followed by one week of assessment.

Year 3 comprises the dissertation for the MSc award.

You will receive 60 credits for the successful completion of each year of the course, totalling 180 credits for the MSc award.

Core Units:

Emergency Humanitarian Assistance: The provision of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to populations in need is a complex area of research, constantly evolving and challenged in different ways with each location and crisis. With a multitude of factors impacting upon the size, scale and form of the response, this module will explore the core elements of a response.

Health Systems: We will examine some of the key building blocks of a good health system as well as the international agendas that frame health system strengthening. It will also explore how a crisis, such as an outbreak or a conflict, impacts health systems and healthcare provision.

Community Approaches to Health: This module introduces students to the theory and practice of community medicine to understand how practitioners can work with communities in order to change health outcomes. It examine various issues from psycho-social care, behaviour change, aging, HIV, nutrition, breast feeding to immunisation.

Research Paradigms and Processes: This module offers an introduction to the theoretical and philosophical foundations of research and knowledge production. It explores the underlying principles of both quantitative and qualitative research, their methodological foundations and provides an understanding of the decision-making process involved in designing and answering research questions.

Applied Research Methods: The module is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles and practical techniques involved in conducting applied research following on from the more theoretical Research Paradigms and Processes module.

Dissertation: All students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will support you throughout the year. Formal dissertation supervision sessions will be arranged, which may be conducted via video conference (MS Teams or Zoom), phone or email, depending upon your personal preference and the facilities available to you. All assessment will take place online. You will submit your dissertation at the end of your final academic year.

Students can also choose three additional 15 credit course units from the list below. To graduate with a pathway specialisation, all optional units need to be from the same pathway and the dissertation needs to be linked to a related topic.

Course unit list

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

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
Dissertation (MSc Global Health) HCRI70000 60 Mandatory
Community Approaches to Health HCRI71000 15 Mandatory
Ethics, Human Rights and Health HCRI72000 15 Mandatory
Health Systems HCRI74000 15 Mandatory
Diseases and Trauma in Developing Countries HCRI75000 15 Mandatory
Management and Leadership in Health and Humanitarianism HCRI76000 15 Mandatory
Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience HCRI77000 15 Mandatory
Research Methods in Global Health HCRI78000 15 Mandatory
Disaster Preparedness HCRI79000 15 Mandatory

Course collaborators

The idea for this course was co-developed with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond to the needs of medical humanitarians. 

What our students say

You can read blog posts by and profiles of HCRI students on the  Manchester Calling  blog.

Disability support

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