The Master in Public Health

The Master's program Public Health imparts research methods, knowledge and skills in Public Health.

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

  • Authorities
  • Research facilities
  • Agencies and professional bodies
  • Institutions of self-government

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The Master's Program 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.
  • Applications must be received by 15 May of the respective year.
  • There are 40 places available.
  • The course languages are German and English.

What is Public Health?

Public Health, also called health sciences, deals in practice, research and teaching with the conditions for health and the coping with disease, as far as they are based on the natural, technical and social environment of humans.

Various factors influence the health situation of a population. The health system, the care structures, the financing of health services, political and social framework conditions and also the health behavior of the population play a decisive role. Public Health is an interdisciplinary subject that develops solutions for improving the health situation of society as a whole through scientific cooperation between various disciplines. The current tasks of Public Health are to combine health research, social medicine, health system and health care research as well as health-related technology assessment.

For Public Health, epidemiological methods are used to analyze the political and economic framework conditions of a population group at the population level in a health-related manner, to examine the systems of health care, to consider the interactions between people and their environment, to research the social structures and health-related behavior patterns of society, and to consider the implementation of medical findings in society as a whole.

Public Health has a health-promoting and disease-preventing orientation. The interactive cooperation of different disciplines offers starting points for their implementation. Human biology identifies and recognizes the diseases of our time. Quantitative disciplines such as epidemiology and statistics allow us to identify the spread of diseases in populations and risk groups beyond the individual. The social sciences offer insights into social, economic and political structures that influence the health status of population groups. Health-related behaviors and different lifestyles can be further explained by disciplines such as psychology. Educational sciences offer strategies to implement knowledge about health and public health concepts such as empowerment in different population groups.

Public Health is practice-oriented. It is part of the list of tasks of Public Health to work in real conditions and to influence and change them. This can be done by adopting management functions in the health care sector, participating at the political level or by researching, evaluating and disseminating health science concepts.

Structure of the study program

The course of studies consists of a basic and a core study, a project and a master thesis. Within the framework of the specialization there are options. For example, a 2.5 ECTS Summer School, a seminar from module 8 or a seminar from the Master of Science Epidemiology can replace a seminar from modules 5, 6, 7 or 8. Detailed information can also be found in the brochure "Study and Module Description".

Students complete the 10 modules of the study sections over a period of 2 years and spend an average of 20 hours a week on the study program through a combination of attendance times, preparation and follow-up times (Student Investment Time, SIT). Attendance times take place during the week in the winter semester from 2.30 p.m., so that half-day professional employment can be pursued parallel to the course of studies. In the summer semester, there is the possibility of taking individual optional modules from 9:00-13:00.

Some elective courses also take place in blocks or on weekends. The days of the week with compulsory attendance vary every semester, depending on the module attended. The two academic years each have 900 hours of SIT and do not include semester breaks in the conventional sense. If required, the standard study period of four semesters can be extended further. 

All courses have a seminar character and, in addition to imparting knowledge, are designed to promote interaction between students from different disciplines of origin. The course of studies has a methodical-scientific orientation.

The BSPH courses of study are university courses and are approved by the Faculty Council of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Medical Senate and the Senate Administration Berlin.

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.

Committees

There is an Admissions Committee and an Examination Committee for each program, which is responsible for selecting the applicants admitted to the program and for organizing and carrying out the tasks assigned to them by the examination regulations.
At the beginning of the semester, students elect student representatives who attend all committee meetings (e.g. admissions and examination board) as guests.