Classroom Component


The classroom (academic) component is divided into modules. Successful completion of a module leads to the awarding of a certain number of credits. A module is defined as an independent unit of learning that has its own objectives, learning materials and methods, and its own assessment.

For entry into certain modules, other modules must have been successfully completed. This requirement is listed on the timetable and our web page. If you are in doubt, contact the module presenter or Student Administration.

The completion of the MPH core modules in your track is generally required for entry into any non-core module in that track.

Components of the MPH programme
The following table lists the five components of the MPH programme with the number of credits awarded for the different components.

MPH Component Credits
1 Core (fundamental) modules 65
2 Compulsory track modules 70
3 Elective track modules 10
4 Research Report or draft research article 60
5 TNM 800 module (basic research methods) 5
Total 210

1. MPH core/fundamental modules (65 credits)
These modules provide an overview of the essential disciplines of health systems and public health. They are compulsory for all MPH residents. The modules cover the scope of public health in an introductory manner. Most core modules are also the first modules of a track, and these modules must be completed successfully before residents will be allowed to enter more advanced modules.

The core modules are scheduled in the first six months so that residents who wish to write their core exams in June can be accommodated. Although it is preferable that residents complete the core modules before proceeding to more advanced modules, it is not essential. Residents who have decided on their track may choose to pursue their track modules before completing their core modules.

The following core / fundamental modules are compulsory. The following table lists the courses. Courses will be conducted at either NICD or UP depending upon whether it is required for the MPH or the fellowship programme.

Code Module Name/Subject Covered Credits Setting
BOS 870 Biostatistics 1 (Week 1) *
Introduction to Biostatistics; Measures of Frequency; Measures of Central Tendency; Normal Distribution; Confidence Intervals; Probability; Rate Adjustment;

Biostatistics 1 (Week 2) *
Significance Testing, Statistical Inference; Non-parametric Tests; Correlation and Regression Analysis; Sampling10UPCDC 870Introduction to Disease Prevention and Control
Introduction to Public Health; Burden of Disease Measurements; Role of the Laboratory in Public Health; Reproducibility and Validity; Ethics5UPDEG 870Principles of Demography 
Introduction to Demography5UPEHM 870Basis of Environmental Health 
Basis of Environmental Health5UPHCM 870Introduction to Health Management (Week 1) *
Financial Management; Project Management for the Public Health Professional; Total Quality Management; Strategic Planning

Introduction to Health Management (Week 2) *
Team Building, Supervisory Skills, Time Management, Interpersonal Skills; Leadership; Marketing; Conflict Resolution;10UPHME 870Introduction to Health Measurement (Week 1) * 
Introduction to Epidemiology; History and Description of Field Epidemiology; Public Health Literature Review; Descriptive Study Design; Framing the Problem; Descriptive Data Analysis; Data Management and Editing;

Introduction to Health Measurement (Week 2) *
Analytic Study Design; Introduction to Sampling; Measures of Association and Impact; Causation10NICD*HET 870Public Health Ethics and Human Rights 5UPHMS 871Scientific Writing5NICD PHM 870Learning in Public Health 
Orientation to SAFELTP & UP5UPSCM 870Social  determinants of health and Primary Health Care5UPTotal 65

2. Compulsory and elective modules (80 credits)
Modules are grouped into areas of concentration, each of which forms the basis for a specialisation within the MPH degree programme, referred to as an area of concentration or track. Some modules may be compulsory for students following one track, but elective for students taking a different track. Within each track there is a progression both in terms of complexity and content. For this reason some modules have prerequisites that must have been completed before these modules can be undertaken. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that these prerequisites have been met before enrolling for a module.

Compulsory Track Modules

Course name Subjects Covered Setting
Disease Surveillance Introduction to Surveillance, Prioritization of Disease; Surveillance System Development; Public Health Response; Data Analysis and Interpretation NICD
Health Data Management Data Management NICD
Principles of Communicable Disease Control Epidemiology and Control of Communicable Disease NICD
Outbreak Investigation and Control Outbreak Investigations; The Roles of the Laboratory in the Field, Specimen Management in the Field NICD
Analytic Epidemiology Stratified Analysis; Matching Case-Control Studies; Effect Modification; Analysing Cross-Sectional Studies; Advanced Tables, Charts, and Graphs NICD
Scientific writing Scientific Writing; Field Reports; Internal Written Communications; External Written Communications; Poster Presentations, Epidemiologic Bulletins, Briefing Statements; Oral Presentations; NICD

Elective Track Modules

Course name Subjects Covered Setting
Principles of Chronic Disease Epidemiology Epidemiology of Injury and Non-Communicable Disease UP
Principles of Infectious Disease Epidemiology Epidemiology of infectious diseases, Introduction to Infectious disease modelling, Control of infectious diseases UP
Economic Evaluation of Disease Control Interventions Public Health Economics; Prevention Effectiveness UP

Limitations on the choice of modules include the following:

  • Any variation on the package of modules taken must have the approval of the Academic Programme Committee.
  • In some cases, the successful completion of previous modules is an entry requirement for the next module.
  • Some modules may not be available every year because of staff limitations, or may not be possible because of too few, or too many, enrolments.

4. MPH research paper or draft article (60 credits)
Research paper
The research report contributes 60 credits to the total credit requirement. This is equivalent to 600 “notional hours”, or ten to twelve weeks of full-time work (which includes all work related to the research report). The expected outcome of the MPH research report is that residents must be able to identify and investigate health and health system problems in a comprehensive manner, and that they should be able to formulate appropriate interventions. Note: The research component needs to be passed independently of other course work and, like any other module, should be enrolled for in the year in which residents plan to start with the research protocol. Residents are cautioned against embarking on a project that is too ambitious, as all research work must be completed within the maximum study period of two years.

Draft article

MPH residents may hand in a draft article in lieu of a research paper. It must be written in the format of an identified peer reviewed journal.

5. TNM 800 module (basic research methods)
All MPH residents are required to take a basic research methods course before conducting the research project.