Programme: MPublic Health Public Health

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Code Faculty
10256501 Faculty of Health Sciences
Credits Duration
Duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 200

Programme information

The MPH programme comprises the following three components:

•     Core modules

•     Track modules (compulsory and elective)

 •     Mini-dissertation


Track modules (compulsory and elective)

The following areas are available:

-     Biostatistics and epidemiology – Monitoring and evaluation

-     Disease control

-     Disease control – field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training programme

-     Environmental and occupational health

-     Environmental and occupational health – Occupational hygiene

-     Environmental and occupational health – Aerospace medicine

-     Health policy and management

-     Health promotion

Information regarding the content of each track is available on the website of the School of Health Systems and Public Health (

Admission requirements

A candidate for admission to the study for the Master's in Public Health must be in possession of:

- a four-year bachelor’s degree; plus at least two years’ applicable practical (work) experience; or

- an honours degree; or

- a three-year bachelor’s degree plus at least five years’ applicable practical (work) experience.


Additional requirements

Registration as a special student in the Faculty in order to pass a status examination

  1. Candidates will be required to first register as a special student in the Faculty, in order to pass in a status examination, in the following instances:
  • A three-year bachelor's degree with less than five years' applicable practical (work) experience; or
  • A four-year bachelor’s degree with less than two years’ applicable practical (work) experience; or
  • Any applicant in possession of an approved bachelor’s degree, who the School’s Selection Committee deems fit to register as a special student.

In accordance with the criteria of the Senate of the University, the applications for admission of all such candidates must, apart from any Faculty requirements, also be submitted to the University Senate for approval.
All candidates accepted for postgraduate study (MPH or the Postgraduate Diplomas) must be in possession of a National Senior Certificate with admission for degree purposes.

  1. Pass requirements for the status examination
  • At least 60% must be obtained in the status examination.
  • The status examination will be written in June.
  1. The application of a student who has passed the status examination must be submitted to the Senate of the University for approval. Successful students may then enrol for the degree programme in the following academic year.

Other selection criteria
(Each on a scale of one to five.)

  • Academic merit
  • National/International need for public health
  • Under-represented groups in public health
  • Public health related employment
  • Track record – e.g. employment, academic, community-building, etc.

Other programme-specific information

Please note: All MMed students must register for, and attend (TNM 800) Applied research methodology, satisfactorily.

Also consult General Regulations

Examinations and pass requirements

(i)      Examination of modules

  1. Each module has its individual (own) evaluation, which may consist of more than one mode of evaluation. To pass in a module, a student must obtain a minimum pass mark of 50%.
  2. If a student fails a module but obtains 40% to 49%, a second examination in the module in question must be written. The student must arrange with the lecturer who presents the module, in consul-tation with the Academic Programme Coordinator, in this regard.
  3. If a student fails a module but obtains a mark of less than 40%, the module must be repeated in full in the following year.
  4. If a core module is still not passed after two attempts, the student will not be allowed to continue with the MPH programme.
  5. A compulsory module in the student’s track can only be repeated once. If it is not passed after the second attempt, the student will be requested to change the track. If the student fails after two attempts in the second track, he or she will not be allowed to continue with the MPH programme.
  6. If an elective module is failed after two attempts, the student will have to select another elective module.

(ii)     Final examinations for the MPH

(aa)     Other than summarising the total of marks obtained for modules, the MPH has an additional evaluation of its coursework, consisting of two comprehensive examinations. The decision as to whether these examinations will be written or conducted orally, lies with the examiners.

(bb)     The first examination will take place after completion of all the compulsory core modules and covers basic knowledge in Public Health. This examination will consist of two papers, each two hours long. Paper I will cover material learned during the core modules HME 870, DEG 870 and BOS 870. Paper II will cover material learned during the remaining core modules with the exception of material learned during the Scientific writing 871 module (HMS 871).

(cc)      The second examination will take place at the end of the MPH programme and covers the modules taken as part of a track.

(dd)     The minimum pass mark for each examination is 50% and for the first core examination a subminimum of 40% is required for each of the two papers The final mark for the first core examination will be a simple average of the percentage marks obtained in each of the two constituent papers. If a student fails either of the examinations, he or she will be required to rewrite in the next examination period. If a student fails for the second time he/she may not continue with the MPH programme.

(iii)    Examination of mini-dissertation

The mini-dissertation must be passed independently with at least 50%.

Research information


(i)      The MPH degree consists of coursework (70%) and a research component (30%). The mini-dissertation contributes 60 credits (the equivalent of 600 notional hours of learning according to SAQA criteria).

(ii)     The expected outcome of the mini-dissertation is that the student will be able to identify and investigate health and health systems problems in a comprehensive manner, and that he or she will be able to (i.e. begin to) formulate appropriate interventions.

(iii)    The student’s research protocol is submitted for approval to the MPH track head, prior to submission to the Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Pass with distinction

The degree will be conferred with distinction on a student who has a final mark of at least 75% for the mini-dissertation and an average of at least 75% for the combination of coursework and examinations.

General information

Concurrent registration for two study programmes

  1. In accordance with the stipulations of the General Regulations, which is mutatis mutandis applicable in the case of postgraduate diploma study, the permission of the Dean is required for concurrent registration, subject to the regulations applicable to the fields of study in question and to any other stipulations the Dean may prescribe. Such a concession may be withdrawn by the Dean if the student does not perform satisfactorily – all assignments and coursework must be completed on time. Concurrent registration will not be accepted as a reason for poor performance or not meeting deadlines for both study programmes.
  2. In the case of registering concurrently for two study programmes in the School of Health Systems and Public Health and elsewhere, students must obtain the written consent of both the coordinator of their current programme and the coordinator of the second programme (or the track co-ordinator in the case of the MPH), and submit it with a substantiating letter to the School’s Academic Programme Committee, for recommendation by the Chairperson of the School, after which the application is submitted to the Dean for approval.
  3. The School of Health Systems and Public Health states that concurrent registration for two study programmes is a privilege and not a right.
  4. Concurrent registration must be applied for annually and is granted based on academic performance in the primary degree/diploma programme. If the current field of study is a master’s degree, then the second field of study can be a postgraduate diploma.
  5. If the current field of study is a postgraduate diploma, then the second field of study can be another postgraduate diploma.

Minimum credits: 65

Core modules

Minimum credits: 55

Core modules

  • Module content:

    The history and scope of public health. The importance of self-motivated "deep" learning as opposed to passive learning. Learning the value of group work. The use of the internet and the library to research areas of study. The writing of literature reviews and assignments, the avoidance of plagiarism. Improving English writing skills. Elements of human rights and public health ethics. Students will be given an assignment involving a short literature search and applied writing practice.

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The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of students to familiarise themselves well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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