Public Health MPhil/PhD/MD

Major code: HPMR/HPPR


About us

Department of Public Health and Policy

Research in this Department focuses on services and systems for health and wellbeing operating at the community and population levels. It therefore covers healthy members of the public as well as patients, seeking to understand how to improve the systems that society needs to put in place to promote, sustain and protect health, prevent disease and care for the sick.

The twin research aims are:

To increase understanding of the pathways leading from society to good/ill-health and from ill-health to social and economic consequences, especially concerning the generation of inequalities in health and in access to health services.

To assess the impact of interventions at the community and population levels to reduce the identified inequalities in health and in health services and to promote health and wellbeing.

Four current research themes addressing these aims are:

Identifying and improving equitable access to effective preventive and curative services;

Improving public-professional engagement processes;

Understanding pathways to and from inequalities in health, including the differential social and economic impact of ill-health across society;

Evaluating complex interventions to tackle wider social determinants of health and wellbeing – including innovative evidence synthesis methods. 

Institute of Psychology, Health and Society

The Institute of Psychology, Health and Society conducts world-leading research into the effectiveness of health services, the social origins of health and social inequalities in healthcare, mental health and well-being, including the evaluation of a wide range of psychosocial interventions and therapies and conduct internationally acclaimed research into many aspects of psychology and human behaviour, including perception, language development, pain, addiction, appetite, and offending behaviour. We work collaboratively; the Institute employs academic GPs, public health professionals, psychologists from a range of professional backgrounds, psychiatrists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and social scientists. Our research groups work with colleagues from hugely diverse backgrounds; from academic colleagues from many Universities across the world, with industrial partners, with the NHS and other healthcare providers, politicians and political administrators, the police and partners across civil society.

We work across the world - from investigating respiratory disease in central America, through promoting the psychological well-being of young mothers in the middle east to studying attitudes towards epilepsy in Asia - and across widely different aspects of human behaviour - from innovative therapies for many different psychological problems, managing substance use and obesity, through helping people return to work after periods of ill-health and innovative food policies through to the policing of terrorist incidents. In all these areas, our work is characterised by a focus on research excellence and by attention to the real world impact of our scholarship. In addition to our large and active programme of postgraduate research, we contribute substantially to undergraduate teaching in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and many of us provide clinical services through local NHS Trusts.

Professor Margaret Whitehead

Studying for a postgraduate degree in the internationally renowned Department of Public Health and Policy will provide students with an opportunity to study many areas within the field of Public Health and in particular the social determinants of health, health inequalities and how they can be addressed. Staff in the Department are at the forefront of research so students will benefit from studying in a dynamic, research rich environment.