• Course Delivery
  • Total Credits
  • Tuition
  • Duration
    2.5 Years


Health care across the world faces major challenges due to the increasing demands of ageing populations and the rise in non-communicable diseases. Strong and effective primary care (also known as family medicine or community medicine) is a key part of the solution. This MSc Primary Health Care will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to make a difference to primary health care in the 21st century.

Our Primary Health Care programme will give you the skills you need to propose, develop and implement sustainable strategies that will help to address rising rates of chronic illness and complex care needs.

To give you as broad an experience as possible, our interdisciplinary team of lecturers cover health inequalities, multimorbidity, chronic disease, treatment burden and migrant health. Internationally renowned guest speakers also feature alongside the University of Glasgow staff.

Students come from a wide range of primary care, family, community, and internal medicine disciplines, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, podiatrists, managers and those working in health care and health policy. Thanks to the multidisciplinary nature of the programme, you will benefit from sharing your interests and experiences with students from other health care programmes.

By the end of the programme youll have all the skills you need to critically appraise evidence and apply a population approach to your work. As part of your project research, you will also have an opportunity to explore novel ideas or particular areas of interest, under academic supervision.


The overall aim of the programme is to help you identify and implement strategies to enhance quality in primary care. In particular, the programme aims to:

  • Equip health professionals and others with the intellectual and practical skills to apply a population approach to their work, whether that involves public health, general practice, primary care, nursing, health service management or other professions
  • Provide a grounding in the principles and values of primary care across different health care settings
  • Enable graduates to rigorously engage in and contribute to current debates around the future delivery and organisation of primary care
  • Prepare graduates for challenges facing health systems globally, including ageing populations and increasing multimorbidity, health inequalities and resource constraints

On successful completion of this programme, you will be able to:

  • Critically discuss and apply a population perspective to health and social issues
  • Synthesise and critique the definitions and measurements of health
  • Analyse and challenge the various determinants of health and assess how they impact on an individual, local and wider environment
  • Examine critically and in depth, drawing on policy and empirical evidence and illustrating from experience, how the multi-factorial aspects of health can be measured and possible solutions considered
  • Synthesise, critique and analyse how policies and decisions taken at government, health authority, practice and consultation levels impact on health outcomes
  • Contrast, compare and critically evaluate the use of different organisational approaches to primary healthcare, including patient and user perspectives, in relation to diverse and fluctuating populations
  • Critically discuss and evaluate the different methodological approaches to research in primary care


Graduates have the capacity to take a lead role in primary care, family practice and family medical development, whether in Scotland, the UK or internationally. Post-award opportunities include further study, leadership roles in primary care teams, secondment to positions within government, teaching positions and sitting on editorial boards of academic journals.


During this programme, you will be required to study 60 credits of compulsory courses, after which you will choose 60 credits of optional courses. You will also need to complete a research project, worth 60 credits in total. 

Throughout each course you will be assessed in a variety of ways which could include essays, discussions, blogs, online presentations, interactive quizzes, assignments or group work. Details of these assignments are found in your induction.

The duration of this programme is 2.5 years - 6 years taken on a part-time basis. For details on full-time options request more information to speak to an admissions representative.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student Contract

  • MED5439Epidemiology, Evidence and Statistics for Primary Care20 Credits

    Gain the epidemiological and statistical skills needed to appraise and interpret literature appropriate to primary care development, policy and research. Your learning will be reinforced by developing your practical skills to critically appraise research papers.

  • MED5440International Primary Care Principles and Systems20 Credits

    Learn the essential features of effective primary care systems in a range of health care settings, particularly in low, middle, and high-income countries. You’ll learn about the challenges facing primary care in the 21st century in terms of population change, rising multimorbidity, workforce challenges and resource constraints.

  • MED5443PProject60 Credits

    You must complete a project and dissertation based on a substantive piece of structured inquiry or research. This can take several forms but must be an independent piece of work that demonstrates an in depth critical understanding of the topic being explored.

  • MED5499Research Methods20 Credits

    An introduction to the principles and processes involved in designing and conducting research studies in health sciences using systematic reviews, qualitative, quantitative and health economics approaches. The course will prepare you to complete an in-depth research project.

  • MED5447Improving Access to Mental Health Care20 Credits

    Highlighting the scale of the treatment gap for mental health difficulties in low and middle-income countries. The course will also explore ways of making culturally appropriate, evidence-based treatments available to large numbers of individuals in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

  • MED5023Health Economics20 Credits

    Covering the fundamentals of health economics and the practical elements of economic evaluation that are integral to health technology assessment.

  • MED5275HTA Policy and Principles and Systems20 Credits

    Incorporating traditional lectures, seminar and tutorial sessions to provide you with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the policy and principles behind, and the techniques involved with, the process of health technology assessment.

  • MED5377HTA in a Global Context20 Credits

    An introduction to Health Technology Assessment (HTA) from a global perspective, covering HTA in different contexts, exploring geographical variation within high-income countries and looking in greater detail at how and why decision making in health care may differ in low and/or middle-income countries

  • MED5378Data Science20 Credits

    Delivers core components of identifying, combining and analysing routinely collected health data. The course covers aspects of information governance and disclosure control, and focus on data management, manipulation and advanced methods of data analysis. This course is aimed at health, social and clinical researchers who wish to learn techniques and skills to analyse linked health data.

  • MED5431Globalisation and Public Health20 Credits

    This course provides an analysis of globalisation and its impact on public health by examining the major health-related themes within the globalisation debate. Several major global health challenges and their overall impact on the global burden of disease will be studied.

  • MED5432Health Promotion: Principles and Practice20 Credits

    The principles, methods and theoretical approaches to health promotion and improvement will be presented and studied. The planning and evaluation of health promotion programmes at local, regional and national levels will serve as a particular focus.

  • MED5436Qualitative Research Methods20 Credits

    Explore the purpose and appropriate use of qualitative research methods in public health through recorded lectures and practical sessions. The course introduces basic orientations and epistemological research paradigms and related methodologies (including ethnography, action research and qualitative evidence synthesis), as well as methods for conducting and analysing qualitative data.

  • MED5437Understanding Evidence for the Real World20 Credits

    You will gain the necessary skills to find, appraise and understand a range of different study designs common in the health care research literature, to better appraise numerical data presented in the media, social media and the internet, and to better discuss concepts such as risk with patients and the public.

  • MED5438Cardiovascular Disease Management in Primary Care20 Credits

    Acquire an in-depth grounding in the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, risk assessment and management. You’ll gain an overview of current management of common cardiovascular conditions in primary care. The course will highlight key challenges for patient management and emerging research issues/findings.

  • MED5442Management of Long Term Conditions20 Credits

    Gain the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in and contribute to the current debate around the future care of people with physical and mental long-term conditions (LTCs). You will also be encouraged to explore strategies that will contribute to the management of long-term conditions.

  • MED5445Cultural, Social and Biological Determinants of Mental Health20 Credits

    Find out how the manifestation of mental health difficulties can vary across time and cultures. The course will also critically discuss attempts to identify biological mechanisms underlying mental health difficulties and the interplay that these mechanisms might have with social factors.

  • MED5449Mental Health Promotion across the Life-span20 Credits

    This course will explore ways in which mental health difficulties can manifest across the life-span. You will critically discuss ways in which awareness can be heightened and interventions adapted to promote mental health in particular age groups (e.g. mothers and babies, adolescents and older adults).

  • MED5587Themes in Global Mental Health20 Credits

    This course aims to enable students to develop an understanding of how mental health difficulties are classified and to develop an awareness of their epidemiology, and to introduce students to fundamental issues in Global Mental Health in particular concepts such as the treatment-gap will be explored. This course also aims to explore the concepts of: illness, disability and recovery, and aims to enable students to learn about the distinctions between different types of psychological therapy, the association between mental and physical health and will discuss the ways in which the burden of mental health difficulties are measured. Finally this course aims to enable students to critically discuss key publications related to Global Mental Health.

Admissions Requirements

To be accepted to this programme, you must have:

  1. Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in a healthcare or related discipline from a recognised institution. We will give individual consideration to applications with a lower degree classification or without a degree if the applicant has extensive work experience in Primary Care, Community Health, Public Health, Health Policy or another related field.
  2. If your first language is not English, you must have a valid IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band or an equivalent English language qualification. For more information visit our FAQs page, or contact your recruitment coordinator to discuss your credentials and English language requirements.

To apply to this programme:

You must apply online for this masters. As part of your online application, you need to submit the following:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s), if you have already completed your degree.
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained.
  • Official or certified English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s).
  • One reference letter on headed paper.
  • Evidence of your English language ability (if your first language is not English).
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (if detailed above).
  • Up to date Curriculum Vitae and a supporting statement.

Please check you meet the entry requirements for this programme before you begin your application.

You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload supporting documents, such as your final transcript or your language test.

Key Dates UK/EU

Application Deadline
Start Date
2 Sep 2020
21 Sep 2020

Key Dates International

Application Deadline
Start Date
2 Sep 2020
21 Sep 2020

Tuition & Fees

  • Home/EU: £15,000*
  • International: £15,000*

*Total cost, incremental payment schedule available. Fee information is subject to change and is for guidance only.

How much does this programme cost?
Part-time fees 1,667 per 20 credits

Fees for NHS-funded students:

939 per 20 credits (Total: 8,451)

Can I get help to fund my studies?
You may be eligible for help with the cost of the programme.

What it's like to study online

100% online for complete flexibility
Our part-time online programmes are ideal if you're working full-time or have family commitments.
Connect to campus from anywhere
All you need for our online programmes is a device with internet access.
Gain a global perspective
As an online student, you'll be part of an international community of academics and learners.
Learn from the experts
Our world-class teaching and research staff will help you realise your potential.
Interact with everyone
Community building and collaborative learning is a key focus of our online programmes.
Access a multitude of resources
Study using a range of materials, including recorded lectures, live seminars, videos, interactive quizzes, journal articles and ebooks.
Regular Assessments
During each course you will be assessed in a variety of ways which could include essays, discussions, blogs, online presentations, interactive quizzes, assignments or group work.

Want to learn more?