MSc Occupational Hygiene

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Public Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH60001
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is designed to provide a broad introduction for those students unfamiliar with the discipline of public health. This introduction to public health will provide the firm grounding in the core concepts and principles of public health needed to get the most out of the other MPH course units.


This unit aims to:

  • Provide an introduction to the academic theory and principles of health promotion and health protection.  
  • Provide an introduction to the core principles of public health practice
  • Present opportunities to apply the core principles in real world scenarios

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, successful students will be able to:

  • Explore the concepts and definitions of health and wellbeing 
  • Examine the concept of bias and how this influences the interpretation of evidence
  • Discuss the determinants of health and the reasons for health inequalities 
  • Analyse and compare approaches that can be used with the aim of improving health and wellbeing of the population
  • Discuss the principles of health protection including communicable disease control
  • Evaluate health protection approaches for different settings and situations
  • Communicate effectively to support evidence based approaches for improving health and wellbeing
  • Use modern digital tools and online platforms to develop and deliver effective health communications
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the principles of health and wellbeing, health promotion and health protection to propose potential approaches for a range of public health problems 
  • Develop a critically reflective approach to learning


  • Concepts of culture, health and wellbeing
  • Concepts of evidence and bias
  • Introduction to health promotion
  • Health and health inequalities
  • Approaches to health promotion
  • Introduction to communicable disease control
  • Disease agents and routes of transmission
  • Principles of control measures for communicable disease
  • Vaccination and vaccine hesitancy

Teaching and learning methods

This course involves working through the online course content, linked references and other online sources of information. You will be encouraged to use self-reflection to help you think about the ideas presented and take part in discussion board and other group activities. You should work through the unit in a logical sequence. The calendar in Blackboard will guide you as to what you should be doing and when. It is essential you follow this guidance so that you are doing the same topic at the same time as your fellow students. The course relies on group activities throughout and supports students with effective group working and project management approaches.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will analyse the academic debates about definitions of health and wellbeing and medical versus social models and evaluate their impact on the practice of public health
Students will work in groups to identify new opportunities, generate solutions, make improvements and to think creatively and enterprisingly in order to appreciate the feasible methods that can be applied to public health practice
Problem solving
Students will need to evaluate current practice to demonstrate the ability to apply a logical approach to be able to apply their understanding to the assessment of need of any given population and evaluation of any given public health intervention
Written communication
Students will need to be able to communicate their arguments coherently in the assessment questions demonstrating literacy and a strong command of the English language

Assessment methods

Group Project

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised tutor feedback within 20 working days for their group project.

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit.

Recommended reading

There is no set textbook.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
John Owen Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, John Owen, via email at If you have any other queries, please contact the programmes team at

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