Macquarie University’s new Master of Public Health has some key features that are attracting high numbers of students.

This year, Macquarie University enrolled its first students in its new Master of Public Health degree. The course was established as a key part of the restructure that created the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science in 2015.

“I think one of the strengths of the course design is that we were able to start from the ground up,” said Professor Janaki Amin, Head of the Department of Health Systems and Population and an internationally recognised expert in infectious disease epidemiology, clinical trials and biostatistics.

“This meant that we could take the best from a field that has a solid history in Australia, add the specific strengths that we have at Macquarie University and Hospital, and ensure that our students are ready to meet the needs of the modern public health workforce.”

The degree is very adaptive, equipping students with the advanced knowledge and skills needed for 21st-century public health practice. Over two years, it offers an outstanding foundation in public health theory and practice through a broad range of units.

All students are required to understand research findings and study design, with the degree a pathway to PhD studies for those wanting to pursue this career path.

“Most of our MPH students will go on to practice public health, so a focus on practice throughout the degree has been something we have built into the course,” said Professor Amin.

“We have embedded this by having leading practitioners in the field delivering expert lectures. We try to bring public health to life, so that students understand the context of their learning and see how theory is applied.”

Besides tapping into campus-wide expertise in areas such as business leadership, law and ethics, and environmental and social sciences, the course also sees professionals from NSW Health, North Sydney Local Area Healthcare Services and Medicins Sans Frontier teach into the program.

One of the unique features of the degree is its focus on health systems, arising out of a partnership with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI).

AIHI relocated to Macquarie University Health Sciences Centre two years ago and is the nation’s leading research consortium tackling the big issue of health care delivery within Australia’s health care system.

AIHI has the largest concentration of researchers and grant funding in the field of health services research in the nation. It looks at health informatics, health systems and safety, and healthcare resilience and implementation.

“This is a key point of difference that Macquarie University offers,” said Professor Amin. “So Professor Geoffrey Braithwaite, for example, teaches into the foundation units and also delivers a unit on health systems later on in the course.

“For students to learn directly from one of Australia’s leading health systems academics and advocates is an extraordinary opportunity.”

The MPH course currently has 30 students, with a proportion of those part-time. Teaching is delivered face-to-face, mostly between 6 and 8pm, and online to allow those who work to enrol.

Recognition of Prior Learning is available to those with appropriate health degree and/or work experience in a health field.

“The MPH degree responds to what students want and, more importantly, to what the profession and the workforce require in contemporary Australia,” said Professor Amin.

“And we are constantly looking at new units, with areas such as chronic disease, infectious disease and health economics on the horizon.

“It’s just a great opportunity for career enhancement or change – and to have a broad impact on the lives of individuals and the wellbeing of communities.”


“Public health has a massive role to play in a clinical environment,” says Professor Janaki Amin, Head of the Department of Health Systems and Population at Macquarie University.

“For example, ongoing concerns of microbial drug resistance and hospital acquired infections stand to be well addressed through innovative public health approaches.

“We’d be delighted to see Master of Public Health students in the Hospital as part of their course requirements, and for them to develop and implement projects that directly benefit the Hospital and patients.

“The Hospital is a live health care system on our doorstep, and is a great opportunity to link theory and practice in public health.”

Up to five Dean’s Public Health Scholarships will be on offer for staff from Macquarie University Hospital and Clinics or Macquarie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The $2000 scholarships are for commencement in 2018 and are for the first year of the course.

An information evening will be held later in the year.

Details will be posted on the Master of Public Health website.