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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Population Health Sciences is no longer accepting new applications.


The course of study for the MPhil consists of an intensive programme of  eleven taught modules and a dissertation. All students take five core modules, attending up to 24 hours of class over 4 days each week in term 1. Candidates then follow a pathway of at least six additional modules in pursuit of one of the named themes (Epidemiology, Global Health, Health Data Science, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, Primary Care Research), or select freely from the full list of student-selected modules (although their choice may be constrained by dependencies, pre-requisites and timetabling). Additional modules typically involve 24 hours of class time spread over 2 weeks. Students also begin work on their dissertations during term 2, increasing focus on the dissertations in term 3.

A variety of teaching methods are employed, including lectures, and a range of individual and group exercises, such as problem-solving activities, group discussions, presentations, and practicals with various data sets and computational tools.

Some modules may opt for a flipped or blended learning approach, in which students will be expected to engage with material ahead of class, in preparation for engaging in practical activities and discussions in class.

Students are expected to engage in a substantial amount of additional study time per module, to be spent on activities that include reading, assignments and course supervisions. 

Detailed information on all aspects of the MPhil in Population Health Science is shown on our website.

One to one supervision

Students are members of a small course supervision group under the guidance of a Course Supervisor; these supervisions form an integral part of student learning throughout the year. Dissertation Supervisors support student work on dissertations. College graduate tutors provide personal mentoring and pastoral support.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

The supervisor will provide written feedback to the student each term with progress reports submitted online. The feedback will relate to the progress the student has made and include a specific comment on their research project. This will be discussed with the student in advance of the submission of the report to the University.

Seminars & classes

Students attend classes for all modules. These classes take a variety of formats, including lectures, practicals and small group work. Students are also encouraged to attend the Bradford Hill series of seminars, the Strangeways Seminar Series, the MRC Epidemiology Unit Seminars and they can also attend seminars held by the wider University.


These form part of the general teaching for the course.


These form part of the general teaching for the course.

Small group teaching

These form part of the general teaching for the course.

Journal clubs

A student-led journal club meets as regularly as students organise.

Literature Reviews

These form part of the coursework.

Posters and Presentations

These form part of the coursework and assessment in several modules.


Students receive regular support, guidance and feedback on their general progress and on module assignments within their course supervision group throughout the year.

Students receive feedback on formative assignments (those that help students develop their skills but which do not contribute to the degree or module outcome) and summative module assessments (those that do contribute formally to the degree and module outcome). 

Students also receive regular informal feedback from teachers and classmates during practicals, group work, and class discussions and activities.

Students receive guidance on their choice of dissertation topic within their course supervision group and then regular support, guidance and feedback on their dissertations from their dissertation supervisors and within their course supervision group.

Students provide feedback after each module throughout the academic year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.


Thesis / Dissertation

A dissertation not exceeding 15,000 words in length including footnotes, but excluding tables, appendices, and bibliography, is required and is completed by the end of July.

The dissertation is usually on a topic of the candidate’s choice, selected from a list of topics provided by (or negotiated with) available supervisors. You do not need to decide on a dissertation topic or find a supervisor prior to starting the course.

The examination shall include an oral examination on the dissertation and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls and on the other work submitted by the candidate; save that the Examiners may, at their discretion, waive the requirement for an oral examination.


Each module shall be examined by assignments of 1,500 words, or assignments deemed their equivalent. Assessment types may include quizzes, presentations, reports, short projects, essays and a variety of tasks that reflect authentic practice in the field. While most assessments will be based on individual work, some will include group work.

Written examination

There will be no written examinations, except where an examination is deemed the appropriate form of assessment for a particular module.

Practical assessment

Some module assessments may include presentations or posters.


Some modules may include formative assessments (which do not contribute to the degree or module outcome).

Key Information

10 months full-time

22 months part-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Public Health and Primary Care This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
March 28, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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