Programme: MPH

Code Faculty Department
10256502 Faculty of Health Sciences Department: School of Health Systems and Public Health
Credits Duration NQF level
Minimum duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 190 NQF level:  09

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

1.            Relevant honours degree or relevant four-year bachelor’s degree and at least two years’ applicable practical (work) experience or relevant three-year bachelor’s degree and 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

  1. 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.
  1. Final examinations for the MPH
  1. 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.
  2. The first examination (PHM 871 Public health examination Part 1 871 ) will take place after completion of all the compulsory core modules with the exception of HMS 871 Scientific writing 871 ; and is a test of the ability to apply  basic knowledge in Public Health. This examination will consist of two papers, each three hours long. Paper II will cover material learned during the core modules HME 870 and BOS 870. Paper I will cover material learned during the remaining core modules with the exception of material learned during the Scientific writing 871 module (HMS 871). This examination will be externally moderated.
  3. The second examination will take place at the end of the MPH programme and covers the modules taken as part of a track.
  4. The minimum pass mark for PHM 871 and for PHM 872 is 50% for each examination. For PHM 871 there are two papers; Paper I and Paper II. A subminima for 40% is required for each of these two papers and the final mark is simple (unweighted) average marks for the two papers. For PHM 872 there will be one three hour paper. The pass mark is 50% . If a student is awarded a final mark between 40% and 49% for either PHM 871 or PHM 872 the student will be offered a supplementary examination 2-3 months later. If the supplementary examation is passed the student will be awarded a mark of 50% for the examination. For both PHM 871 and PHM 872  students will be permitted only two attempts  (excluding one supplementary examination per attempt for those who qualify for it/them. If a student fails either of the examination, either with or without a supplementary examinaton , the student will be required to rewrite it the next avaiable examination period. If a student fails for the second time, the student will be required to rewrite in the next available examination period. A student who fails for the second time may not continue with the MPH programme.

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

Research information


  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 as well as a simple (i.e. unweighted) average mark of at least 75% for the following modules:

  • all the required modules, excluding PHM 870 Learning in Public Health 870.
  • PHM 871 Public health examination Part 1 871
  • PHM 872 Public health examination Part 2 872

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: 80

ACM872, 874 and 875 are available only under exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Dean acting on the advice of the Chairperson of the SHSPH.

Core modules

Elective modules

Minimum credits: 100

Core modules

Elective modules

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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