Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health for 2024

Why study a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health?

The urgent need for a well-skilled and trained Public Health workforce has been influenced by the current and constantly increasing health system and human resource challenges in the healthcare sector.

The principal aim of the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PGDip (Health)) offered at IIE MSA is to provide students with a contextualised platform for acquiring, strengthening and deepening their knowledge to effectively contribute to improving our public health service delivery systems. The programme will guide students around current thinking, practice and research in the areas of global and local public health.

On completion of the programme, students will have gained the basic but necessary knowledge and insights into the theory and practice of Public Health. Graduates will acquire knowledge and skills in the fields of Epidemiology, Population Health, Managing Health Systems, Policy and Leadership, Health Systems Research, HIV and co-morbidities as well as planning, monitoring and evaluation of the impact of public health programmes.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health allows students to apply their newly gained knowledge to their own workplaces and often result in promotion opportunities.


Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Career Opportunities

Qualified graduates might enhance their existing careers, but might also be employed by national and international organisations or government arms working in the field of Public Health. Other career opportunities might include employment by non-governmental organisations, health care facilities and multilateral donor organisations, etc.

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Programme Information

Mode of Delivery
The Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health is designed for the working professional and uses flexible teaching methods. These include compulsory face-to-face contact sessions (five Saturday sessions per module), online resources and interactions supported by our Learning Management System, and varied assessments that help you demonstrate your learning in practice.

Formative and summative type assessment of the modules will be conducted. Continuous assessment and participation in classroom and online forum discussions will be important. There will be no formal exam as part of final module assessment.  An external examiner will be appointed for every module. The teaching staff will at all times enforce strict submission deadlines for all assignments. IIE MSA assessment policies and guidelines will apply.

Site of Delivery
The PGDip (Public Health) is offered at the IIE MSA campus in Ruimsig, Johannesburg.

Minimum Admission Requirements
An appropriate HEQSF Level 7 Bachelor’s degree; OR
An appropriate Advanced Diploma; OR
An equivalent NQF Level 7 qualification

The qualification must include public health, medical or nursing-related modules at the 3rd-year level, or the applicant must have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in a public health related field.

International Students
A SAQA Evaluation Certificate with NQF L7 equivalence in an appropriate field of public health, medical or nursing-related modules.

Please note, requirements for entry to this qualification are correct at the time of publication. However, these may change.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health is awarded by the IIE


How to Apply

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Duration

2 Years: Part-time

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Accreditation

Accredited by the CHE. Registration: NQF Level 8, SAQA ID 101502

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Programme Code


Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Intake

First Semester (February)

Each module runs for ten (10) weeks and begins with a scheduled contact session on campus followed by further continuous study and assignment submissions via the Learning Management System (LMS). Contact sessions will occur on Saturdays.

Application Closing Date

IIE MSA must receive your application at least two weeks before the start of the intake.

Discuss your study options with a Student Advisor

+27 11 950 4000

Programme Coordinator

Dr Jackie Witthuhn
+27 11 950 4454

Contact us

011 950 4009

From outside South Africa

+27 11 950 4009

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  1. Illustrate the effective practice of public health principles.
  2. Apply policy, ethical, legal, epidemiological and theoretical frameworks to public health problems. 
  3. Suggest and motivate improvements to health program performance. 
  4. Propose methods to address policy, legal and human rights issues affecting marginalised populations and/or vulnerable communities. 
  5. Identify and analyse factors that affect the health and wellness of communities. 
  6. Plan and evaluate innovative health policies and programs aimed at the promotion and optimisation of the community health and welfare. 

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Programme Outline

A minimum of 120 credits is required to obtain the qualification.

The programme structure consists of 8 modules and the qualification is at a NQF level 8.

Epidemiology in Public Health

This module introduces students to epidemiology skills vital to locate, critique the usefulness and quality of, and summarise evidence to provide them with a solid foundation for an evidence-based approach to optimising health and well-being at a population level. Students are guided through skills in searching for and locating evidence. They are introduced to different research methodologies and ways of analysing data to understand various research paradigms. This information is used to critique the available literature. Students will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis; basic descriptive statistics; measurement concepts; and synthesis and reporting of data.

Population Health and Development

This module contributes to the achievement of the overall outcomes for the postgraduate diploma by introducing students to the complexities of population dynamics, the health of the populations and the relationships between population health and the overall development of a society. Students will gain knowledge and develop competencies in the following areas: determinants of health; health as human capital; basic demography and population studies; indicators of development; association between health and development; impact of population dynamics on socio-economic development; and the impact of health policies on poverty reduction and socio-economic development. 

Managing Health Systems

This module focuses on introducing the student to the business side of the healthcare industry and will assist in strengthening the capacity of the Healthcare Practitioner or Public Health Practitioner (from low and middle income countries), to assist in the performance and management of health systems.  The module aims to build an understanding of political, social, economic, ethical, cultural and technical factors that shape health and health systems. The module will cover an overview of the six building blocks of health systems.  Students need to reflect on the implications of health systems, including strengths and weaknesses. Students need to consider the principles and goals of health systems and then compare health systems.

Health Policy, Management, Leadership and Governance

This module contributes to the realisation of the outcomes for the postgraduate diploma by introducing the development framework from which the health policy, leadership, governance and management components stem. Students gain and develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: Applying strategic, analytical and professional knowledge and skills necessary for policy implementation; understanding the implementation of policy in complex institutional and regulatory environments; and applying leadership, governance and management skills to problem-solve issues in the health care sector. Topics covered include: development and its effects on the public health system, the health system’s mandate and the Public Health Specialist’s role, public health and the leadership qualities needed to affect it, governance elements present or missing in the health system’s environment and management elements present or missing in the health system’s environment.

Health Systems Research

This module focuses on the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation which studies the social factors, financial systems, health technologies, personal behaviours and organizational structures and processes which affect access to health care, quality and cost of health care and ultimately population health and wellbeing. The module covers contemporary topics such as: purpose and scope of Health System Research (HSR), HSR domain and dimensions, setting priorities in HSR, getting research into policy and practice, HSR capacity development in developing countries, designing and conducting Health System Research projects and HSR as a management tool and Managing HSR. Students gain and develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: getting research into health policy and practice, using HSR as a management tool and using evidence to strengthen health systems. Students will in addition appreciate the contribution of HSR to development in particular the equity dimension of development.

Principles and Practices of Public Health and Health Promotion

This module focuses on the theory and practice of Public Health and Health Promotion covering a wide range of contemporary topics such as: social, behavioural and cultural constructs affecting health; demographic and epidemiological perspectives; the core functions of Public Health including health promotion, disease prevention and disease surveillance; health inequalities; Public Health policy, communication and advocacy and the legal and ethical considerations of Public Health. It further examines the Public Health approach to improving health and explores strategies for community capacity building to prepare for and respond to ongoing health problems as well as, health emergency and crisis situations.

HIV/AIDS and the Sustainable Development Agenda

In this module students gain and develop knowledge and skills in identifying appropriate interventions on how to stop the spread of HIV and reduce mortality from AIDS. Students gain a thorough understanding of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and how the global health community will end AIDS by the year 2030. The module will cover contemporary topics such as: epidemiology of HIV; HIV national responses; rights based approach to HIV prevention, treatment care and support and the sustainable development goals; policy and legal issues affecting people living with HIV (PLHIV). Students will gain knowledge and skills in addressing the challenges of equitable access to HIV /AIDS and other health interventions and how to think outside the box in order to address these challenges.

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Health and HIV/AIDS

This module focuses on health programme planning and evaluation. Students are introduced to monitoring and evaluation concepts and practices of health and HIV and AIDS programmes including: improving and institutionalising the collection of health related data as well as analysis of programme impact. Topics covered include methodological considerations, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, indicators for monitoring and evaluating Public Health care services, monitoring and evaluating national HIV/AIDS prevention programmes among HIV key populations. Monitoring and evaluating national HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support programmes, data sources, use and quality of district health information systems, analysis, reporting and dissemination, and continuous health care quality improvement are also briefly covered.  Students gain and develop knowledge and skills in monitoring as well as evaluation of national health programmes including HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support action plans.