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Learning objectives of the course

The MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to design, conduct and analyse research studies in population health.

At the end of the course, students should have the knowledge and skills required to:

  • Understand the global burden and major determinants of disease;
  • Describe and discuss the role and contribution of epidemiology to health;
  • Critically appraise, analyse and interpret epidemiological studies;
  • Select, devise and develop appropriate study designs for epidemiological research;
  • Conduct appropriate statistical analyses of epidemiological and health-related data.

 course structure

Michaelmas Term 

The first term will consist of core topics that form the foundation of learning. Core modules include: 

The first term has a high number of contact hours through lectures, seminars and tutorials. The term will also include the first formative assessments of the course.  

Hilary Term 

During the second term, in addition to some continued core content, students can select 4 of the following 8 options for further study: 

This term will also continue teaching of the core modules, include formative assessments, and the first summative assessments of the course. Students will also work on their project proposals for their placements. 

Trinity Term 

The third term will involve a twelve-week research placement that leads to a dissertation. This is a substantial piece of work. The purpose of the placement is to develop and deepen an appreciation and understanding of concepts and skills learnt during the course, and to apply them to a real world situation through independent study. The majority of past students have completed their placements in the UK (mostly in Oxford), however, a small number of overseas placements are available. 

Examples of MSc dissertation titles: 

  • Characterising the determinants of multidrug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asia: A retrospective analysis of 2,000 P. falciparum genome sequences  
  • Hospital admissions and costs in relation to body mass index in the UK Biobank study  
  • Height and coronary heart disease incidence and mortality in the Million Women Study  
  • Cardiovascular risk factors and Parkinson’s disease in 0.5 million participants in the China Kadoorie Biobank  
  • Associations of cardiovascular risk factors with frailty: a cross-sectional analysis of the TILDA study on aging  
  • Dietary prebiotic intake and colorectal cancer risk in the EPIC-Oxford cohort  
  • The burden, treatment, control and consequences of hypertension in Cuba  
  • Family income, maternal depression and child socioemotional behaviour: longitudinal findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study  
  • Does being born a few weeks early affect a child's risk of asthma at the ages of 7 and 11?  
  • Effects of blood pressure lowering drugs for prevention of death and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  

TEACHING STYLES

Teaching is delivered during the first two terms (October to March) and for up to two weeks in the third term (April/May) through a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, student presentations, self-directed learning and independent study. All students are allocated to a tutor group of five to six students, and will meet with either their epidemiology or statistics tutor approximately four to five times for tutor-led activities.

In addition to the 13 assessed modules, a number of masterclasses, skills sessions, and journal clubs are organised throughout the course.  

The taught element is followed by examinations, after which students undertake a research placement leading to a dissertation.


The course is reviewed annually and is subject to minor changes in response to feedback and evaluation.