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Institute for Global Health

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MSc GHD Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for the MSc Global Health and Development (GHD)

Applying for the MSc

How competitive is entry onto the programme?

Our academic entry requirements are competitive in order to attract highly capable and motivated students. If you fulfil the academic requirements and show interest and motivation in Global Health, you are in the right track for a successful application. We make offers on an on-going basis, and although the application deadline is late July, we reserve the right to stop accepting application at any point if the programme is full.

How long does it take to receive a reply after submitting my application?

You can normally expect an answer within four weeks from the day your application is complete, including reference letters. 

Do I need the English test results before applying?

Not necessarily. If you have not fulfilled the English language requirement at the time of submitting your application, we may still offer you a place in the programme conditional of you fulfilling the English language requirement by June of the year that you start.  In this case you will receive a CONDITIONAL offer letter.

However an application showing a good English level is a stronger application and has more chances to succeed. Find in this link the English tests approved by UCL

Where can I find the equivalent of an English 2:1 in my country?

Go to the graduate student prospectus for global health and development

In the" application and entry" tab there is a search box where you can find the equivalent of a 2:1 in your country.

I don't have a credit card. How can I pay for the application?

If you do not have a debit or credit card and are unable to find someone to make the payment on your behalf, do not submit an online application as it will not be processed. Online applications processing fee is £90.

Download a paper application here, then post it to us. Please note that the application fee will increase to £115 and you will be required to make the payment via banker's draft. UCL will not accept payment via any other method and your application will not be processed until this sum has cleared in our account. 

I am a 4th year Medical student. Can I intercalate with an MSc in Global Health and Development?

Intercalation may be possible provided applicants have an undergraduate degree (2:1 minimum or equivalent) in a relevant subject.  It is not possible to apply based on having completed three or four years of a medical degree programme.

After receiving an offer

Accepting offers

We recommend students to accept the offer within four weeks of hearing the good news from UCL admissions. Candidates who have not accepted their offer will not be allowed to start the programme.

CAS Numbers

Overseas students will need an UNCONDITIONAL offer letter, and will also need to have firmly accepted the offer in order to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which is necessary when applying for a Tier 4 visa. CAS numbers are sent to candidates by UCL admissions around three months before the start of the course.

Accommodation and housing

Overseas students are given preference at UCL accommodation. You need an unconditional offer letter in hand and to send an application for accommodation by the 30th of June in order to be considered for UCL Halls. Your choice will depend on your weekly budget, your personal needs and preferences. Every year we have students happily living in Langton close (UCL Hall) which is in walking distance to the Institute.

Outside UCL, we recommend the International Student House.

More information about housing and accommodation will be sent to all candidates in the summer via our Virtual Learning Environment.

About the programme

Difference between UCL MSc Global Health and Development and other Global Health programmes at other universities

One of the main differences between our MSc programme and others is the strong cross-disciplinary approach of UCL to researching and teaching global health issues. Our MSc offers more than 30 optional modules taught by academics from ten different UCL departments as well as by a range of professionals and practitioners in Global Health. We have tried to go a bit beyond the usual "public health" paradigm of statistics/epidemiology, public health and health economics to show students how politics, broader economics, anthropology, philosophy and other disciplines are needed to inform global health learning today.

Differences between public health and global health

Public health tends to be concerned with issues that directly affect the health of a particular community or country, for example smoking in the UK or malaria in Tanzania. Global health, on the other hand, is concerned with issues that affect health directly but also indirectly (e.g. the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on health systems around the world), and than can also transcend national boundaries (e.g. climate change). Global health therefore broadens both the intellectual scope and geographical focus of public health. It also involves a commitment to health equity for all, across nations, rather than simply in one's own country or in a group of countries.

The differences between public health and global health are still being discussed today however. You might enjoy reading Koplan et al. (2009) and Fried et al (2010) to learn more about these debates. 

Modular/Flexible Students

UK students can study modular flexible (2-5 years).  If you are a modular flexible student there is a lot of flexibility to complete the programme, which consist of 180 UCL credits. You will still be required to take four core module (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and the MSc dissertation (60 credits).

· You can take as many or as few modules as you wish in any academic year, and you will only pay for the number of credits that you take each year. 

· There is no minimum or maximum number of modules that you need to take per year as long as you complete the 180 credits within five years. We recommend that you take "Concepts and Controversies in Global Health" in your first year. The dissertation can only be submitted in your final year.

· Each module is worth 150 hours (about 30 contact hours, plus time for reading and assessment preparation), which equals to 15 UCL credits.

· Optional Modules are either: long  (three hours per week over 10 weeks) or short (three weeks, with face to face teaching in the first two weeks on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and the third week is for self-study) 

Average contact hours per week

Each module has an average 30 contact hours. 

In Term 1, all four core modules are taught over five weeks and each module meets 1 and 1/2 to two days per week. 

In Terms 2 and 3, modules are offered in two formats: long (three hours per week over 10 weeks) or short (three weeks, with face to face teaching in the first two weeks on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and the third week is for self-study).

How many days per week are students required to attend classes?

This will depend on whether you are full-time or part-time student.

Here is a synopsis of each module's structure in each term:

Term 1:

Concepts and Controversies in Global Health: 1 and 1/2 days per week in the first five weeks of Term.

Research Methods and Evidence for Global Health: 2 days per week in the first five weeks of Term.

Power and Politics in Global Health: 1 and 1/2 days per week for five weeks during the second half of Term. 

Health Systems in a Global Context: 1 and 1/2 days per week for five weeks during the second half of Term. 

Term 2 and 3:

Long modules meet three hours per week during 10 weeks

Short modules meet three days per week during two weeks.

Is the programme taught in the evening or during the day? 

Classes only take place during business hours. We do not offer evening classes.

Academic Timetable

Click here for the UCL term calendar

Please not that the MSc may sometimes schedule classes outside time term. We publish the MSc modules timetable for the upcoming academic year in June-July. Please check our website then for the timetable. 

I understand this is an intensive programme. Will I have time to work part-time or volunteer?

There is always time for studying, working or volunteering, as well as for having fun, socialising and networking. It all depends on how well organised you are and how challenging you find the programme.  Many of our full-time students do volunteer or work small jobs and they perform well in the classroom. Others find the programme challenging and prefer to focus on their studies. We encourage students to pursue extra-curricular activities and we allow the time in the timetable for you to do so.  UCL has over 200 different clubs and societies through UCLU where you can get involved. 

Will I be allowed to work at all as an overseas student?

Overseas students should check with the UK border agency about working in the UK, and the terms and conditions of their visa. Additional guidance can be found with the Home Office. 

What career options do I have with this MSc?

Our students embark on a range of careers within the broad field of global health. These include working in policy institutions (governmental and non-governmental), research institutions, humanitarian agencies, and in health management. Check our testimonials section to find out about the kinds of jobs and organisations that our past graduates are working in.

We also have a Linkedin group for current students and alumni where we post jobs vacancies, and internships on a regular basis.

Since 2013/2014 we host a careers day for careers within global health.

UCL also has a careers office and runs its own job fairs, as do other colleges within the University of London. London is one of the world's hubs for global health and development programmes and research, and many of your instructors have had professional careers outside academia, so feel free to ask them for advice.