PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE

Improving the health of the population

Introduction

This programme is only offered in Danish.

The Master’s degree programme in public health science develops students’ knowledge of political, social and economic approaches to improving the health of the population in general and of particular population groups. You develop your theoretical and methodological skills, and work more independently than on your Bachelor’s degree programme. By doing an internship as part of your studies, spending time studying abroad and through your elective subjects, you can tailor your Master’s degree programme to suit your exact interests and career plans.

A future working with society, citizens and health

With a Master’s degree in public health science, you can work with public health in areas such as analysis, development, planning, project management, consultancy and education, or you can pursue a career in research by doing a PhD degree. You can work for the regional and local authorities, for universities, research institutions, government ministries and agencies. You can also work for consultancy firms, in the pharmaceutical and food industries and for market research companies.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Master's Degree Programme in Public Health Science requires:

  • Completed Bachelor's degree programme in public health science

or

  • Completed Bachelor's degree programme at university level within social science and/or health science, including sport science. Applicants must have documented specific educational activities from courses within each of the subject areas below, corresponding to university level of a minimum of 5 ECTS for each subject and a minimum of 60 ECTS overall: health and disease, public administration, health promotion and prevention, sociology, basic statistical methods, basic epidemiology, documented practical experience of using a statistical software package as well as qualitative methods including documented practical experience with using computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. An individual assessment of each applicant's documented qualifications will be conducted.
    Public Health

Legal right of admission

Please note that students with a Bachelor's degree in public health science from Aarhus University have a legal right of admission to the Master's Degree Programme in Public Health Science immediately following the completion of their Bachelor's degree programme. This legal right of admission requires that the application is received by Aarhus University within the appropriate deadline.

Restricted admission

Fifty-five students can be admitted to the degree programme annually. This figure is guiding only and subject to change by the university. Students are admitted once a year for commencement of studies on 1 September.

If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of places offered, the applicants will be prioritised in descending order based on the average mark awarded for their qualifying course of study.

1. For applicants who have completed their qualifying course of study at the time of handing in the application and who have a certificate stating the average mark calculated, this average mark will be used.

2. In the case of applicants who have not completed the entire basis for admission, at the time of handing in the application, Aarhus University will calculate a weighted average for the disciplines which have been completed at the time of handing in the application and which are included in the basis for admission, taking into account all graded assessments from the Bachelor's degree programme.

3. For applicants who have completed the entire basis for admission at the time of handing in the application, but where there is no average mark for the basis for admission (for example because it includes supplementary disciplines), Aarhus University will calculate a weighted average based on the following guidelines:

1. If you have completed a Bachelor's degree programme, all graded assessments from the degree programme will always be included in the calculation of the average mark based on their ECTS value.

2. If supplementary disciplines are included in the basis for admission, these will be included in the calculation of the average mark based on their ECTS value in the case of graded assessments.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree programme in public health science is a two-year programme (four semesters). In the degree programme diagram, you can click on the different courses to read the course descriptions.

The Master's thesis is written during the fourth semester.

 

 

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations, you can find more detailed information about the individual subjects. You can also see how the degree programme is structured, and the requirements you must meet as a student on the programme, including types of examinations and exam requirements.

Student life

A typical week on the Master’s degree programme in public health science

Monday:
Kl. 09-12 Working in study groups
Kl. 13-15 Lecture: Complex public health interventions

Tuesday:
Kl. 08-12 Lecture: Complex public health interventions
Kl. 12-16 Working in study groups

Wednesday:
Kl. 08-10 Preparing for lecture
Kl. 10-13 Lecture: Health pedagogy and communication
Kl. 13-17 Working in study groups

Thursday:
Kl. 09-11 Preparing for classroom instruction
Kl. 11-15 Classroom instruction: Complex public health interventions

Friday:
Kl. 10-16: Working in study groups

 

Public health science seminars

At the public health science seminars, students work in groups and discuss selected topics. The seminars are characterised by a greater sense of equality between teachers and students than with the compulsory subjects. At the seminars, students are introduced to new scientific discoveries, as well as learning to produce new knowledge themselves.

Work placement project

The work placement project provides you with insights into life in the workplace and the different tasks and assignments which are particularly relevant for your Master’s degree programme in public health science. It is a chance to test your knowledge, skills and competencies in job situations and positions similar to those you are likely fill after graduation.

The SIFFOS society

As a student of public health science, you will encounter the SIFFOS society (Danish abbreviation of Sickening Interest in Public Health). The society organises social events like Friday bars, large parties and bingo. SIFFOS also has a committee that arranges study trips, excursions and lectures.

Free coffee

In Building 1150, which is where students of public health science go for their lectures and other forms of instruction, the students have their own lounge. The student lounge – with its sofas and free coffee – is a place to relax and meet up with your fellow students for a chat during breaks.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

 With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.

 

The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.

Career

With a Master’s degree in public health science, you are qualified to undertake a variety of jobs and functions in connection with health planning and health administration. You can work in areas such as:

  • Public health concepts and perceptions
  • Public health and illness
  • Social conditions and mechanisms
  • Health promotion, prevention and rehabilitation
  • Environmental impacts and health
  • Health systems, healthcare policies and health economics
  • Epidemiological designs, concepts and models
  • Planning, execution and evaluation of interventions, health planning and health administration.

 

Meet graduates at work

Mette Lindholm Eriksen
Country Team Operator/Research Assistant at the University of Southern Denmark, Department of Public Health – research unit of Epidemiology.

Job content

I work for the SHARE project (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe). SHARE is a representative, longitudinal study looking into how 50+-year-old Europeans live and age. The SHARE project collects data about people’s health, socio-economic status, social networks and use of healthcare services. We follow people as they age and experience the different stages of life, the possibilities as well as any health-related and financial challenges.

I am Country Team Operator for Denmark SHARE. We are responsible for Denmark’s participation in the SHARE project, while the main responsibility for the health-related elements of the SHARE questionnaire also rests with us. My job involves, among other things, the further development of health questions and objective measurements of health, the preparation and use of collected Danish data for statistical analyses, and the validation of the collected Danish data against Danish databases such as the Danish Register of Medicinal Products Statistics and the Danish National Patient Registry. In addition, I liaise with the other country teams in Europe. I also teach basic epidemiology and biostatistics in Odense.

Public health science and my job

I use the skills I acquired during my studies every day. The inter-disciplinarity of the programme taught me the importance of taking a multifaceted approach to my work, and to work with and understand people from many different backgrounds.

Studying epidemiology and biostatistics has been particularly useful for me in my daily work. The programme in public health science is unique in that it is a broadly based programme of interdisciplinary courses, while at the same time allowing students to specialise. For me, this means that I’m able to relatively quickly find and acquire any new knowledge which is needed to handle tasks or address questions of a more peripheral nature to my normal duties.

Line Zinckernagel
Research Assistant, Centre for Intervention Research in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark.

Job content

At the Centre for Intervention Research, we conduct research into which health promotion and disease prevention interventions work for which people and under which conditions. I’m working on a project (Trivsel, Fællesskab & Faglighed) which is trying to establish whether interventions that seek to create a sense of community reduce drop-out rates and reduce substance abuse among first-year students on vocational education and training programmes.

Following a development phase, the project is now being implemented and undergoing a process and impact evaluation. I’m involved in the impact evaluation in the form of a large-scale questionnaire-based survey among approx. 6,000 students at ten technical colleges.

More specifically, I’m involved in designing the questionnaires and recruiting respondents. I’m also responsible for planning data collection and collecting the data in a way which ensures a high response rate, and I’m responsible for establishing and maintaining good working relations with the colleges. Other tasks include data processing and reporting.

Public health science and my job

The people involved in my project and those working at the National Institute of Public Health generally come from very different academic traditions, and we apply both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Here, anthropologists, doctors, statisticians and public health science graduates all work together. The interdisciplinarity of the public health science programme means that we can act as bridge-builders between the many academic traditions, knowing and understanding as we do the lingo of the various disciplines.

In my daily work, the competencies I acquired on the methodological courses in epidemiology, statistics, qualitative methods and questionnaire design are particularly useful. For example when designing an interview guide or a questionnaire.

Rune Schmidt
Project Coordinator, Danish Committee for Health Education, Copenhagen

Job content

As a project coordinator, my duties are many and extremely varied. My primary area of responsibility is the management, development and operation of Ung Dialog. Ung Dialog is a young-to-younger project seeking to provide primary and lower secondary school children with knowledge about smoking, partying and alcohol and sex. My work involves developing materials and methods which can help promote healthy behaviour among young people based on existing knowledge.

My work also involves recruiting and training volunteers and students, quality assurance and supervision. In addition, I undertake a wide range of other duties such as evaluations and courses for health professionals as well as spending time reading scientific articles.

Public health science and my job

Interdisciplinarity and an understanding of different approaches to health problematics are key elements of the programme which I use virtually every day. In my view, being able to draw on both psychological and sociological models when tackling various issues and problems is clearly an advantage, as is being able to critically appraise epidemiological and statistical data.

Moreover, some of the most important skills which I have taken with me from my time at university, and which I can apply directly to virtually all work situations, are the strong methodological skills and systematics which you acquire through a number of subjects – sometimes without even realising it.

Stine Nielsen
Infectious disease epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. RKI is the German equivalent of Statens Serum Institut in Denmark.

Job content

I work for the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, which is responsible for monitoring infectious diseases in Germany. My focus area is the monitoring of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. In the past year, one of my primary tasks has been conducting a survey of the risk factors for venereal diseases among female prostitutes in Germany. The practical work has included designing questionnaires, analysing data from 1,500 respondents and close communication with, in particular, doctors and social workers involved in offering free advisory services to prostitutes in Germany and in testing and treating them. My job also includes writing reports and articles and giving presentations at conferences.

As an infectious disease epidemiologist, my job is to step in in connection with major outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as for example the outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) in 2009 and the large outbreak of life-threatening E. coli bacteria (EHEC) in Germany in 2011. The early stages of an outbreak are characterised by intensive data collection. In connection with the H1N1 and EHEC outbreaks, I conducted interviews with selected patients and was part of a crisis team answering questions from politicians, laboratories and worried citizens.

Public health science and my job

The greatest thing about the programme in public health science is that it is so interdisciplinary. You learn to approach health problematics from different angles, and it gives you an understanding of what other people are talking about. The knowledge which I gained about data collection and analysis has also been extremely useful.

Another key point is the knowledge you acquire about, for example, epidemiological and statistical methods.