MPH Occupational Health

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Critical Review - Master of Public Health

Unit code POPH63150
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Critical Review enables students to conduct a detailed critical reflection and evidence based review relating to a public health question or topic. It shares some similarities to the preliminary sections of a dissertation, but with a smaller word count (5000-7000 words). This option is particularly attractive to students wanting to benefit from completing more course units, followed by a smaller written piece of work, rather than a larger dissertation. Students will use their own topic of interest relating to a public health problem to develop their critical review, which will still be embedded within a research framework. They will have an allocated supervisor to guide and develop their academic work for the critical review. This provides opportunities for students to benefit from more experienced academics. 


Students are able to use their own public health interests and questions, as a focus for their critical review. These ideas often arise as students work through any combination of taught units. Students have up to a full academic year to develop and submit their completed critical review. Fulltime students will start working on this alongside their 10 taught units, and part-time students are recommended to start their critical review after completing at least 8 of the required 10 course units.This will reduce the workload on parttime students, enabling them to dedicate adequate time to the taught component of the programme, and then their critical review. There are five dates across the academic year for students to register the title of their critical review, following which they will be linked with an academic supervisor. 


To develop skills in applying a critical evidence based approach to review a public health question or problem, identified by the student and communicate this in a written report.

Learning outcomes

Category of outcome Students should be able to:
A. Knowledge and understanding A1 Describe a specific context, setting and/or problem and establish a coherent research-related question that forms the foundation of the written critical review
B. Intellectual skills B1 Construct a meaningful synthesis and critical interpretation of existing information 
C. Practical skills

C1 Apply appropriate methodology to obtain the existing information to address the aims of the critical review

C2 Use a justified methodology to synthesise the information obtained and summarise in a meaningful format

    D. Transferable skills and personal qualities D1 Demonstrate the ability to be a reflective and self-directed learner, to accomplish written academic work



The critical review will adopt a systematic approach to identify relevant literature, and critique the quality and relevance of this to help inform the original knowledge gap. This usually pays particular attention to the context/setting within which the original research question was based.  Examples of how this might be actioned include focusing on a particular intervention; on the epidemiology; or on a geographical/locality context of a public health issue/problem.

Teaching and learning methods

Students will be expected to become self-directed learners, and take responsibility for their studies in relation to the dissertation. The supervisor will guide and support their learning development, and be able to signpost students to resources and literature as particular questions/topics arise.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Project management
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Assessment Task Length Weighting within unit
Critical Review 5000-7000 words 100%


Feedback methods

Over the period of study, students will receive feedback and suggestions as part of their supervision. Formal feedback will be given once the final mark has been approved through the University processes. It will include marks allocated to different learning objectives, as on the marking template in the dissertation handbook/resources, and general feedback about the style and presentation. 

Recommended reading

Students are guided to the My Learning Essentials offered through the University Library. These online resources include topics such as literature searching, writing skills, and others of relevance to the generic skills across a dissertation.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 300

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Jones Unit coordinator
Roger Harrison Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact one of the course unit leaders, Roger Harrison ( or Andy Jones ( If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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