Imperial launches its first public health online degree


Child being vaccinated

Imperial's School of Public Health has been at the forefront of developing health policy, tackling global challenges such as polio

The Global Master of Public Health, developed alongside Coursera, is Imperial's first fully-online degree in the health field.

The degree, first announced in March 2018, has been developed by Imperial's public health experts, working with online education provider Coursera. Successful applicants joining the course in September 2019 can expect a world-leading educational experience, featuring ample opportunity to interact with an extensive community of researchers and teachers.

Students will join a network of public health experts, encouraging collaboration between professionals both during their studies and after graduation.

Imperial's collaborator on the degree, online education platform Coursera, has partnered with 160 of the world’s top universities and industry leaders, and is inspiring 30 million registered learners around the world to achieve their career, educational, and personal goals.

Building a public health community

Delivering effective public health is one of the biggest challenges facing governments around the world. Imperial's School of Public Health advocates evidence-based measures to combat poor health outcomes related to factors as diverse as poverty, lifestyle, the environment, and inequality.

Professor Helen Ward, from the School of Public Health, is part of the team tasked with developing the new course. Professor Ward said: "While life expectancy has increased in recent decades across most parts of the world, this should not blind us to the major challenges in global health. We face growing epidemics of long term conditions such as diabetes and obesity, the emergence and re-emergence of some serious infectious diseases, and developing health impacts of climate change, environmental hazards and inequality.

“Public health tools exist to mitigate many of these threats, but there are far too few people with the expertise to use these to best effect across the world.

“Imperial is confident that our new degree will help train a cadre of public health leaders to meet these needs. Learners will be able to take individual specialisations or apply to do a fully online Master of Public Health degree from one of the top schools of public health in the world. We are looking forward to welcoming successful applicants into our growing network and working together for better health.”

Transformational teaching

The degree forms part of a radical, evidence-based plan to transform teaching at the UK’s most international and innovative university. By investing significantly in education the College is empowering students to solve challenges facing the world today and in the future. This ambition applies not only to students on campuses in London, but also those taking part in innovative forms of online learning.

Gideon Shimshon, Director of Imperial's Digital Learning Hub, said: "Imperial advocates ‘big thinking’ in a rapidly changing world - we see no reason why a high quality education cannot be delivered on a global scale. This is a ground-breaking approach. We know there is the demand and we know we have the expertise to meet it.

"As Imperial goes from strength to strength in the field of digital learning, expect to see more innovative courses launched for distance learners encompassing a wide variety of subjects."

Imperial's mission to transform health and wellbeing

Digital education is not the only area in which the College is revolutionising its approach to public health.

Earlier this year, Imperial launched a £100m fundraising campaign to support the development of a new School of Public Health at the White City Campus, which will pioneer new approaches to society’s most pressing healthcare challenges across four key areas: World HealthFood and NutritionCommunity Health and Policy, and Children’s Health and Wellbeing.    

Get involved

Whether you’ve already had extensive experience in the public health field or you’re longing to build a high-impact career, this course will help shape you into a leader in the field. Students at the School of Public Health come from paths in medicine, health policy, academic research, and more. However, there is one common thread: the calling to help make the world healthier and safer for all.

If you are interested in enrolling on the course, you can find out more on the Coursera website. The first cohort of students will begin the course in September 2019.

A free-of-charge MOOC called 'Statistics for Public Health' also launches today, and provides an introduction to some of the content featured in the full degree.


Murray MacKay

Murray MacKay
Communications Division


Viruses, Vaccines, Public-health, Malaria, Infectious-diseases, Strategy-educational-experience, School-of-Public-Health, Lung-disease, Education, Global-health, Tuberculosis, Health-policy, HIV/AIDS, Neglected-tropical-diseases, Global-challenges-Health-and-wellbeing, International, Liver-disease
See more tags