MSc Health Policy

MSc Health Policy

About the Programme

The GHPU taught Master’s programme in Health Policy is an exciting and innovative one-year MSc programme that explores critical health policy developments around the world, with a focus on the role of both state and non-state actors in reducing health disparities and improving health system efficiency, equity, and quality.

Click here for the Degree Programme Timetable (full-time).

Click here for the Degree Programme Timetable (part-time).

Programme Aims and Objectives

All nations – high-income and low- and middle-income nations alike - struggle to find the most effective strategies for preventing disease, ensuring efficient and high quality health care, and reducing health inequalities, all in the context of limited resources. The challenges faced extend beyond the traditional domain of the health sector, requiring engagement with economic and social policy and a range of non-state actors including third sector organisations, commercial interests and international agencies.

This MSc is designed to develop students’ capacity to address these critical health policy challenges. Within the programme you can choose to follow a broad Health Policy stream, or to specialise by pursuing either a Health Systems stream or a Health Inequalities stream.

The Health Systems stream is ideal for those seeking to work in healthcare policy, planning, delivery, or management, in either the public or private sector. In this stream, you will receive specialised training in models of health care financing, purchasing, and delivery, equipping you with the skills necessary to work at a senior level with key healthcare decision makers and analysts.

  • The Health Systems stream is designed to develop students’ capacity to evaluate health systems and policies in any country in the world.

The Health Inequalities stream is ideal for those seeking to engage with health disparities both between and within countries, particularly those relating to inequities in social structures and power. In this stream, you will explore evidence and policy responses to health inequalities across a range of axes, including class/socioeconomic position, ethnicity/race, and gender, and will consider how health and its determinants are shaped by a variety of influences including social and economic policies, commercial power and political conflict.

  • The Health Inequalities stream is designed to develop students’ understanding of the social determinants of health, and of key conceptual and methodological challenges in analysing health and social position.

This stream is particularly suited to those interested in working in policy, advocacy and research settings with a focus on health equity.

You may also elect to follow a broad policy stream within the MSc Health Policy, rather than specialising in health systems or health inequalities. This broad stream allows greater flexibility in course selection and is a good fit for individuals wanting to work in public policy, advocacy or research.

  • The broad policy stream equips students with an understanding of how health policy fits within broader approaches to social and economic policy.


Regardless of which stream you choose to pursue, the MSc has two components, a taught component involving lectures and coursework, and a dissertation component, in which students carry out a piece of independent research, either in conjunction with GHPU staff (a standard dissertation), or in conjunction with GPHU staff and an external organisation as part of a work-based placement (a work-based project dissertation). The dissertation is a unique and exciting opportunity to undertake an extended piece of scholarship in an area of specific interest to you.

Studying with GHPU

The MSc Health Policy programme is situated within the Global Health Policy Unit, which is located in University’s School of Social and Political Science. This reflects our programme’s reach across traditional boundaries, linking policy analysis, public health, social policy, economics, sociology, medicine and epidemiology. As such, the programme offers the benefit of a more interdisciplinary orientation and a greater emphasis on policy than would, for example, a master’s of public health (MPH) programme. Moreover, the MSc Health Policy programme offers innovative research-led teaching that draws on academic expertise from a variety of disciplines, while also benefitting from close links with the Centre for Population Health Sciences in the University's medical college.

Future Careers

The MSc Health Policy is designed for individuals interested in a wide range of health- and policy-related careers, including roles in government and international agencies, health advocacy, healthcare administration, healthcare delivery, consultancies, the commercial sector, and health-related research.

Our students come from a wide variety of countries at all levels of economic development and from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, with many using the MSc as an investment to develop their careers or to move into a more policy-focused role. While the programme has a strong policy emphasis, it also includes an academic orientation, and is therefore good preparation for further research at the PhD level.

Contact Us

If you would like to apply to the MSc in Health Policy, or you are interested in finding out more, we invite you to get in touch with us.

  • For queries relating to entry requirements, programme fees and funding, or the application process, please contact the SPS Admissions Office:
  • For queries relating to the aims and objectives of the programme, specific courses available, and other programme content-related questions, please contact the Programme Director, Emily Adrion, Lecturer, Global Health Policy:

How to Apply

Apply to this Programme through the Degree Finder, following this link.

Fees and Scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

Bologna Compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Master’s programmes, this degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.

Chevening Scholarships for International Students

Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The programme makes awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK. The programme provides full or part funding for full-time courses at postgraduate level, normally a one-year Master’s degree, in any subject and at any UK university.