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Master's programme in public health sciences: societal perspectives

Do you want to know more about what influences people's health?

Public health sciences encompass many different perspectives. Our courses on public health and its determinants are firmly rooted in the social sciences.

If you study with us, you will learn about the distribution of (poor) health across different groups in society; what it looks like today but also what it looked like in the past.

You will learn more about social and societal structures and how these, through the interplay with individual characteristics, may influence people's habits and living conditions. We go deeper into the ways in which health and disease develop throughout the life course, from childhood to old age.

You will also get to know more about how public health policy and practice has developed over time, at both the regional and global levels, as well as gain insights into different measures taken to prevent disease and promote health.

Societal perspectives on public health

The Master's programme in Public Health Sciences offers two tracks during the third term. The track presented on this page, "Societal perspectives on public health", includes courses that reflect sociological and demographic topics such as population development, social change, welfare states, social and public health policy, as well as global health.

You will find information on the track "Individual perspectives on health" here: Master's programme in Public Health Sciences: Individual perspectives

The subject of public health sciences is the perfect choice for those wanting a social science education in order to work with, for example, investigations and preventive measures in municipalities and regions, strategic public health work in governmental agencies and the private sector, issues related to health and health care, as well as international aid.

  • Programme overview

    The programme overview described below applies to students admitted to the programme in year 2020 and in year 2021.

    A seminar series runs throughout the programme, with the purpose of enhancing the theoretical and methodological knowledge within public health sciences, strengthening abilities to apply this knowledge to solve complex problems, issues, and situations, as well as offering the opportunity to identify and reflect on the need for own knowledge and competence development.

    All courses are mandatory and offered by the Department of Public Health Sciences unless otherwise specified. All courses are at the advanced level and conducted in English.

    Our "Master's programme in public health sciences: Societal and individual perspectives" (PHSIP) offers two tracks; Societal perspectives on public health (PHSIP-PSOC, and Individual perspectives on public health (PHSIP-PIND). The courses within blocks A-D and F are the same for both tracks, whereas block E differs depending on the track.

    Year 1

    Each term is divided into four periods (1A, 1B, 2C, 2D)

    Block A: Introduction to theory and method

    Autumn 1A: An introduction to public health sciences (PH01A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Sol Juarez and Helena Honkaniemi
    Autumn 1B: Research methodology (PH02A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Anders Ledberg and Jukka Törrönen 

    Block B: Public health: Distributions and explanations

    Autumn 2C: Social inequalities in health (PH03A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Jonas Landberg and Tomas Hemmingsson

    Autumn 2D: Embodiment of the social world (PH04A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Bitte Modin   

    Block C: Qualitative and quantitative analytical methods

    Spring 1A:
    Qualitative data sampling, materials, and collection (PH05A0) 2.5 credits
    Coding and analysing qualitative materials (PH06A0) 2.5 credits
    Analysing qualitative text and visual data materials (PH07A0) 2.5 credits
    Course managers: Jessica Storbjörk and Jukka Törrönen   
    Spring 1B:
    Management and description of quantitative data (PH08A0) 2.5 credits
    Basic statistical analysis (PH09A0) 2.5 credits
    Statistical data modelling (PH10A0) 2.5 credits
    Course managers: Anders Ledberg and Ylva B Almquist

    Block D: Development of (poor) health across life

    Spring 2C: Early life conditions, health development, and child public health (PH11A0) 7.5 credits
    Course manager: Ilona Koupil   
    Spring 2D:
    Life-course perspectives on ageing and health* (PH12A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Jonas Wastesson and Malin Ericsson

    * Given in collaboration with Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, within the main field of public health sciences

    Year 2

    Block E: Societal perspectives on public health

    Autumn 1A: Population development and social change** (SO7101) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Eleonora Mussino and Gunnar Andersson   
    Autumn 1B: Health and policy in the welfare state (PH14A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Jessica Storbjörk   
    Autumn 2C: Global health in a changing world (PH15A0) 7.5 credits
    Course managers: Andrea Dunlavy and Karl Gauffin  

    Block F: Practical work in public health sciences  

    Autumn 2D:
    Individual in-depth course in public health sciences (PH19A0) (PH19A0) 7.5 credits
    Traineeship in public health sciences (PH20A0) (PH20A0) 7.5 credits
    Course manager: Peter Larm

    Spring 1A-2D:
    Master thesis in public health sciences (PH21A0) 30.0 credits
    Course managers: Ylva B Almquist and Sol Juarez

    ** Given by the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, within the main field of demography

  • How to apply

    Applications must be submitted through (English) or (Swedish).

    Required supporting documentation

    CV form required

    You will need to fill in a CV form to to assist our assessment. The form should be uploaded together with the application: CV form (65 Kb) (Word docx-file).

  • Career opportunities

    After completion of the programme, you will obtain a Master of Science in Public Health Sciences.

    As a public health scientist, you can work with municipalities, regions, governmental agencies, organisations, and companies, both in Sweden and internationally.

    The programme will prepare for postgraduate education and also provide qualification to work with e.g. investigations and policy measures at the national, regional, and local levels, practical public health work within governmental agencies and in the private sector, as well as issues relating to health care international aid.

  • Contact

    If you have questions concerning the Master's programme in Public Health Sciences, please send an email to:

    Director of Studies, Basic and advanced levels / Coordinator, master's programme:

    Study councellor: