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The Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program imparts skills in research methods as well as advanced knowledge in the key public health domains.

Our graduates work as researchers, lecturers or coordinators in responsible positions:

  • Public or governmental agencies
  • Research facilities
  • Associations and non-governmental organisations

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The Master's Program in Public Health

Note: From the winter semester 2020/21 onwards, no new students will be admitted to the Master's programme in Public Health.

  • The Master's program Public Health is aimed at graduates with a first university degree qualifying for a profession and qualified professional experience.
  • The professional’s Master of Public Health is offered in modular form, comprises 60 credit points (ECTS) according to the European Credit Transfer System and is methodologically and scientifically oriented: 20 ECTS for the four compulsory modules of the basic study course, 20 ECTS for the four optional modules of the core study course, and 20 ECTS for the independent scientific work, which consists of a project thesis, a written master's thesis and its oral defense. A total of 10 modules must be completed.
  • The course of studies is completed part-time over four semesters. The course of studies can be arranged flexibly according to your needs. The program begins annually in mid-October and is subject to a fee (€10,200).
  • The academic degree "Master of Public Health" (MPH) is awarded.
  • The course languages are German and English.

Structure of the program

The program consists of four core modules, four adanced level electives, a research project and ensuing master thesis. Some of the core modules are taught in English. The advanced level modules are often taught in German. There are a variety of courses to chose from in the advanced level electives. The intensive short courses offered by the IPH as well as courses from the MSc. in Epidemiology can also be selected as electives. Further details can be found in the brochure "Studiengangs und Modulbeschreibung".

Students complete the required 10 modules (60 ECTS) for the program over a period of 2 years and spend an average of 20 hours per week either in class or reviewing course work (Student Investment Time, SIT). Attendance times are usually on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 2.30 p.m. to 7pm, so that students are able to work in the mornings.

Some elective courses take place in blocks or on weekends. The two academic years each have 900 hours of SIT and do not include semester breaks in the conventional sense. If needed, the program can be extended beyond the four semesters without penalty. 

All courses are lectures or seminars and, in addition to imparting knowledge, are designed to promote interaction between students. The course content has a methodical-scientific orientation.

Basic Modules

The Master of Public Health contains four basic modules of 5 ECTS each, which impart important core competencies in Public Health. The basic modules are a prerequisite for participation in advanced specialization modules. Modules 2, 3 and 4 are taught in English.

Module 1: Fundamentals of Health Sciences

Social science theories and concepts for public health, determinants of health and disease, disease burden of populations, public health-relevant disease patterns and their care in the various disease stages. Aims and structure of health care systems exemplarily illustrated by the German system, system triangle population - cost unit - service provider; insurance protection and resource procurement.

Module 2: Epidemiology I

Principles of epidemiological research, epidemiological working methods (descriptive, analytical, experimental), criteria of causality, measures, epidemiological study types, introduction to sources of error and strategies to control confounding in epidemiological studies.

Module 3: Biostatistics I

Descriptive statistics, estimators, confidence intervals, probability calculation, discrete and continuous distributions, statistical testing and test theory, basics of context analysis: correlation and regression analysis, analysis of variance, sampling, case number estimation, methods and techniques of data presentation. Introduction to data processing with appropriate software.

Module 4: Fundamentals of Public Health Research

Quantitative and qualitative research methods in the social sciences and public health. Phases of the research process, development of quantitative and qualitative questions, conceptualization and operationalization, quantitative and qualitative survey instruments and study designs, sampling and field phase, ethics and data protection, data management in quantitative and qualitative studies, data quality, presentation and exploitation of results.

Advanced Modules

The Master of Public Health comprises four advanced modules of 5 ECTS each. The contents of the focus modules impart further competencies in specialized fields of Public Health. One of the four advanced modules, comprising 5 ECTS, is designed as a compulsory elective and can be completed at other universities or abroad in consultation with the study course coordination office.

Module 5: Advanced Public Health Methods
A selection of lectures/seminars to deepen methodological knowledge on evaluation, quality assurance, evidence-based and economic efficiency of interventions and health care structures:
•    Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)
•    Statistical analysis with SPSS

Module 6: Health care and systems
The module provides in-depth knowledge of health care and the health system, including structures, processes and actors at the micro, meso, and macro levels:
•    Health care research
•    Health promotion and prevention

Module 7: Determinants of Health
The module conveys knowledge about social and environmental determinants in the health sciences and the ethical, social and health policy implications of public health decisions:
•    Environment, health and sustainability
•    Social epidemiology

Module 8: Free choice from the BSPH course offerings
Through the free design of the "compulsory elective" module, students should be given the opportunity to develop their own health science interests by attending selected courses in a targeted manner to the extent of 5 ECTS. The events of the BSPH as well as public health-relevant Master offers of other institutions (e.g. Swiss School of Public Health, University Bielefeld, University Munich, University Mainz, etc.) are available. Modules taken at other institutions must be recognized by the admission and examination board of the BSPH.
•    Tuberculosis in Eastern Europe (also module 6/7)
•    Health reporting (also module 5/6/7)
•    Health monitoring (also module 5/7)
•    Modules from the MSE

Project and Master’s Thesis

The Master's thesis is an integral part of the Master of Public Health and takes the form of an independent scientific thesis. It is split up into a work project, which takes place after the basic modules. After the focus phase, the research project registered with the Admissions and Examination Committee is prepared as a written Master's thesis. The oral defense of the Master's thesis forms the final course of study. During the project and Master’s thesis, students are supervised by representatives of the project institution and the study program. In the two modules, 20 ECTS credits are earned.

Module 9: Work Project
The work project deepens the theoretical knowledge gained in the previous modules by applying it to a practical research project. It enables students to get to know their future professional fields through cooperation with scientific and practical institutions in the Berlin and Brandenburg health sectors. As an introduction to the project work a Jour Fixe takes place, in which project providers offer their facilities and potential research topics for selection. The project work offers space and time to fathom the research project for the master thesis without obligation.

Module 10: Master thesis
In the written master thesis, the practical research projects of the project work are to be further implemented and elaborated. Using health scientific research methods, a research question is to be worked on, combined with the theoretical background, analyzed and independently documented. The topic of the Master's thesis will be defended orally at the end of the course.