Social Epidemiology MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Inequalities in health relating to poverty, deprivation or other social characteristics are major themes in research and policy debates in both developed and developing countries. This unique MSc at UCL is designed to respond to the need for trained health professionals, researchers, and policymakers in the field of social epidemiology.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. Applicants must be confident using computers and show evidence of numeracy e.g. O level/GCSE Mathematics or Statistics (or overseas equivalent), or a module with a good mark in their degree.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Through the MSc Social Epidemiology programme you will gain knowledge of the various approaches to social epidemiology, develop relevant skills in study design and statistical analysis, and explore the link between social environment and health, alongside a broad perspective on the social determinants of health and an ability to advocate research and policy measures in the field.

Who this course is for

The programme equips high achieving graduates from a broad range of disciplines from social sciences, medicine, and biology to statistics, as well as health professionals, with the skills necessary to contribute to the understanding and working to alleviate the burden of ill health caused by poverty, inequalities and deprivation.

This course is for graduates who are:

  • passionate about making a positive change in the world
  • enthusiastic to understand and debate health inequalities
  • interested to develop skills in health data analysis and interpretation
  • excited to join a diverse student cohort

What this course will give you

The MSc Social Epidemiology programme is run by the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, which has an outstanding reputation for its research and teaching. This is a research-led and innovative degree, with many active researchers delivering teaching in their respective fields.
On this programme you will have the opportunity to:

  • develop in-depth knowledge of theories, concepts and evidence pertaining to social epidemiology, life course epidemiology, and social determinants of health
  • gain skills to critique and interpret evidence
  • understand how evidence translates into practice, and independently conduct research in the field of health inequalities

UCL is among the world's top ten universities (QS World University Rankings 2024) with a reputation for high-quality research. Located in the heart of London, it is a stimulating and exciting environment in which to study.

  • UCL is rated No.1 for research power and impact in medicine, health and life sciences (REF 2021)
  • UCL is ranked 6th in the world for public health (ShanghaiRanking's 2023 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects)
  • UCL is ranked 9th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2024)

UCL can bring the full power of a multi-faculty university to bear on discussions of population health, involving academics from the wide range of disciplines necessary to tackle some of the most difficult issues in public health.

The foundation of your career

You will have the opportunity to gain key skills needed to understand the debates around health inequalities, developing in-depth knowledge of the theories, concepts, and evidence pertaining to social epidemiology, life course epidemiology, and the wider social determinants of health, as well as the statistical skills necessary to analyse data and contribute to the conversation.

MSc Social Epidemiology alumni join a growing global network of graduates from the programme. The UCL alumni network provides the chance for students to engage and interact throughout the academic year in a number of networking and social events held around the globe.


The next generation of social epidemiologists, public health policymakers, and PhD students/researchers will find this an innovative 12-month programme.

Whether in your local community, nationally, or on the world stage, you'll be able to consider careers in governmental departments, the NHS, non-governmental organisations, charities, insurance companies, health data companies, universities, and research institutions. Some graduates continue their training as PhD students.

As well as developing specialist knowledge, you'll also gain highly valued transferable skills that you can apply in many other careers, including:

  • preparing and delivering oral presentations
  • scientific writing
  • effective teamwork
  • critical appraisal of evidence
  • statistical analysis of large datasets
  • grant proposal writing
  • time management


The Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care offers four on-campus MSc programmes and a fully online MPH programme encompassing a wide range of topics. Our students come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, from the UK and overseas providing great networking opportunities within and across programmes. Each programme holds social events during the year to enable networking between students. Students have the opportunity to join the newly formed Population Health Sciences Student Society, two of the founding members of which were from the MSc in Population Health. During the year, online, hybrid, and in-person seminars are hosted by the research departments. These cover a variety of topics and provide an opportunity to hear from national and international experts and to network with attendees and speakers. 

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, problem-solving exercises, discussions, and supervised practical work. Students are encouraged to develop research and presentation skills.

Assessment is through a variety of methods, including coursework, essays, unseen examinations, oral presentations, data analysis and grant proposal exercises. Students will also produce a research dissertation.

Each 15-credit taught module equates to around 150 learning hours. This includes the time you spend in taught sessions, independent study, group work, and assessment. This time is spread out over the whole period of the module (compulsory modules run for either 10 weeks or 3-4 weeks).


You will take a total of 120 credits in taught modules (seven compulsory and one optional module). You will also complete a dissertation project (60 credits). Work on the dissertation begins in term 2 and is completed and submitted in early September.

You will take a total of 120 credits in taught modules (seven compulsory and one optional module) over two years. A dissertation project (60 credits) is to be completed in the second year with submission in early September of the second year.

You will take a total of 120 credits in taught modules (seven compulsory and one optional module) over two to five years. A 60-credit dissertation project is to be completed. The dissertation would usually be started in the third or fourth year, in case of any delays because the five-year period of study cannot be extended. Flexible students can take as many or as few modules as they would like in any given year.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Social Epidemiology.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,700 £6,350
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400 £17,200

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The MSc in Social Epidemiology offers a one-year Michael Marmot studentship for full-time, part-time and modular flexible students who enrol of the programme. The studentship will consist of £2,500 towards tuition fees. The recipient will be expected to secure the remaining part of their tuition fees and to cover their living costs. To be eligible the student will need to have received an unconditional offer for this programme.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Social Epidemiology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social Epidemiology at UCL
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Due to the high number of applications we received in recent years, we may need to close to applications before the formal application deadline. We strongly encourage applicants to apply early.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.