What is public health? | Programme outline | Courses | How to apply

What is public health?

For many, the term 'public health' primarily brings to mind the practice of public health, which has the overall purpose of preventing disease and promoting health. This ambition was also behind the establishment of public health as an academic discipline. For public health practice and public health research alike, there are tensions between a medical model that focuses on individual risk factors for disease as well as medical treatments, and a social model that emphasises the role of societal structures and living conditions. 

At the Department of Public Health Sciences, we jointly consider these models in our multidisciplinary approach to public health. Our research - and education - is nevertheless firmly rooted in the social sciences and insights from, for example, sociology and psychology regarding the complex interplay between social structures and individuals. 

Outline of the programme

The programme offers two tracks; Societal perspectives on public health, and Individual perspectives on public health. The courses within blocks A-D and F are the same for both tracks, whereas block E differs depending on the track.
Education plan for PHSIP

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.

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.

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

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.


Block A: Introduction to theory and method  
An introduction to public health sciences 7.5 credits
Research methodology 7.5 credits
Block B: Public health: Distributions and explanations  
Social inequalities in health 7.5 credits
Embodiment of the social world 7.5 credits
Block C: Qualitative and quantitative analytical methods  
Qualitative data sampling, materials, and collection 2.5 credits
Coding and analysing qualitative materials 2.5 credits
Analysing qualitative text and visual data materials 2.5 credits
Management and description of quantitative data 2.5 credits
Basic statistical analysis 2.5 credits
Statistical data modelling 2.5 credits
Block D: Development of (poor) health across life  
Early life conditions, health development, and child public health 7.5 credits
Life-course perspectives on ageing and health* 7.5 credits
Block E: Societal perspectives on public health
Block E: Individual perspectives on public health
Population development and social change** 
Psychological perspectives on health
7.5 credits
Health and policy in the welfare state
Stress, recovery, and health***
7.5 credits
Global health in a changing world 
Prevention, intervention, and health promotion
7.5 credits
Block F: Practical work in public health sciences  
Individual in-depth course in public health sciences
Traineeship in public health sciences
7.5 credits
Master thesis in public health sciences 30.0 credits

* Given in collaboration with Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, within the main field of public health sciences
** Given by the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, within the main field of demography
*** Given in collaboration with the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, within the main field of public health sciences

Interested in applying?

Next round

The next round of the programme starts in the autumn of 2020.

Entry requirements

A degree comprising at least 180 credits, including an independent thesis comprising at least 15 credits, as well as English proficiency equivalent to English Course B or English 6.

Application deadline

January 15th, 2020 (all applicants), application period starts on October 16th, 2019. Applications must be submitted through www.universityadmissions.se (English) or www.antagning.se (Swedish).

CV form

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 (63 Kb) . The CV form is available here during the application period.

Tuition fee

Applies to citizens from outside EU, EES or Switzerland.  First payment: 60 750 SEK. The complete course/programme: 243 000 SEK.