Master in Public Health (MSP)

M_Salut Publica_en

This master offers two registration fee grants worth 2,000 € for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Assistència Sanitària offers all students taking a master's degree or a postgraduate course in the field of health at any Catalan university a scholarship programme covering 50% of the registration fee (with a maximum amount of 1,000 €). More information (in Spanish).


Interuniversity Master's degree offered by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) [coordinator] and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)


The primary objective of the master's programme in Public Health is to enable students to understand health and disease processes and their determinants from the point of view of the population and to address health issues by means of collective interventions to promote, protect and restore health.

Barcelona's master's programme in Public Health was launched in 1989. Since 2006, it has been an interuniversity programme offered jointly by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Today, it aspires to international excellence in the training of public health professionals.

  • Leaflet of the master's degree in Public Health PDF document
  • Syllabus of the master's degree in Public Health PDF document


The programme's overall objective is for students to acquire the necessary skills to tackle health issues and their determinants from the point of view of the population and to promote and restore people's health by means of collective actions and the provision of services to protect and promote health.

These general skills include the ability to carry out the following public health activities:
  • Identify the health needs of the population.
  • Develop health policies and social responses to maintain, protect and promote health.
  • Ensure the provision of healthcare services.
  • Acquire the basic knowledge required to conduct epidemiological and public health research.

Who is it for?

The master's programme in Public Health is aimed at professionals and holders of a university degree or diploma - especially in the life sciences (medicine, nursing, biology, veterinary medicine, etc.), environmental sciences, statistics, economics, sociology, chemistry or pharmacy, among others - seeking to obtain the necessary knowledge and training to work in any area of public health.


Students may choose between two course types - professional and research -both of which entail the same course load (120 credits in two academic years).

In the first year, students must take the core subjects, the compulsory subjects for their chosen specialization, and part of the specialization module (optional subjects for the programme). In the second year, they must complete their master's degree final project (thesis), the professional internship, two compulsory subjects and the remainder of the specialization module (optional subjects or credits from external programmes).


To earn the master's degree in Public Health, students must successfully complete a total of 120 credits: 76 credits' worth of theoretical subjects and 44 credit's worth of practical ones.

  • Theoretical subjects: The programme includes two compulsory modules that are common to both tracks: M1. Core disciplines in public health (18 credits) and M2. Core methods in public health (24 credits). Each track also has an additional 12-credit compulsory module: M3. Professional or M4. Research. Finally, the programme contains a module consisting of optional subjects and seminars (M5. Specialization), from amongst which students must successfully complete at least 12 credits the first year and 10 credits the second.
  • Practical subjects: These subjects are compulsory for all students on the programme and are offered at collaborating institutions in the field of public health.They include two types of activities: an internship (M6. Practicum, 14 credits) and a research paper, which must be presented and publicly defended and which will be assessed by a panel of experts (M7. Master's degree final project, 30 credits).


The internship lasts two and a half months and is worth 14 credits. It is carried out at the main public health centres and services of the local health system. It is compulsory for all students, regardless of their chosen track, and it is unpaid.



ASPB          Departament Salut       Diputacio BCN 

Agència de Salut Pública        Departament de Salut              Diputació de Barcelona
de Barcelona

CSC        CREAL            IDIAP                        

Consorci de Salut i                         Centre de Recerca  en              Institut d'Investigació en         
Social de Catalunya                        Epidemologia Ambiental           Atenció Primària Jordi Gol


Institut Català d'Oncologia

Master's Degree Final Project

The generic objective of the master's degree final project is the completion of a thesis, which accounts for a significant portion of the programme's curricular course load (30 credits and 750 hours of study). The main objective is the acquisition of practical experience with the methods of study in the field of public health.

The master's programme in Public Health collaborates with the most important public health institutions in the area to allow students to carry out their projects in a suitable environment. These institutions include, among others, the Catalan Ministry of Health, the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB), the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), the Catalan Agency for Health Technology and Research Assessment (AATRM), the Catalan Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), the Catalan Healthcare and Social Services Consortium (CSC), the Catalan Institute of Health Studies (IES), the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), the Jordi Gol Institute for Primary Care Research (IDIAP Jordi Gol), and the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB). The institutions undertake to host students for eight months, on a part-time basis, and to provide them with the necessary resources and a tutor to supervise them.

Knowledge, skills and competences acquired

Knowledge of:

  • The population's health needs.
  • Information systems for health management and health policy.
  • The scientific research process in the field of public health.
  • The features of the health services and the organization of the health system.
  • Health determinants and their impact.

Methodological competencies:

  • The ability to develop plans to analyze community health.
  • The ability to act in health emergencies.
  • The ability to develop working hypotheses and design and perform experiments and observational studies.
  • The ability to develop programmes for managing and assessing healthcare services.
  • The ability to conduct health inspections and audits and to develop guides and protocols.
  • The ability to prepare and present results.
  • The ability to apply the group work dynamic.

Career prospects

  • Public health specialists in national, regional and local government bodies.
  • Specialists in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food and environmental companies.
  • Public and private health and social services managers: hospitals, primary care, social welfare, etc.
  • Researchers in public health, preventive medicine, clinical medicine and the environment.

The master's programme in Public Health also qualifies students to continue on to doctoral studies in the field.

Scholarships and grants

  • Pompeu Fabra University offers two grants covering part of the programme's tuition fee.
  • Students may also apply for grants offered directly by the collaborating institutions, among which special attention should be called to the Barcelona Public Health Agency and the Catalan Healthcare and Social Services Consortium. These grants cover between 50% and 100% of the price of the tuition fee and require students to carry out their master's degree final project at the awarding institution.
  • The programme is also accepting applications for the Manel Nebot grant, which covers the full tuition fee for the master's programme.
  • For information on other available financial aid for master's programmes, see