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Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE)

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 PGDip (Health) allows students to apply their newly gained knowledge to their own workplaces and often result in promotion opportunities.

The outcomes for this qualification were identified as critical to drive a student’s success. Students who have successfully completed the programme will be able to:

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

What is this Postgraduate Diploma accreditation status?

The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PGDIP PH) is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as a 120-credit qualification on level 8 (SAQA ID: 101502).

Who is the Postgraduate Diploma aimed at?

The provision of sufficient health services is fundamental to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations to be achieved by the year 2030. SDG 3 pertains to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. Furthermore, the HIV epidemic which has affected Sub-Saharan Africa more than any other region has continued to drain human and institutional capacities that fuel sustainable development. Curbing the spread of HIV infection and reducing its impact on human development remains a priority for Sub Saharan Africa and South Africa in particular.

The typical learners in this qualification will be able to demonstrate intellectual vitality, demonstrate leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions. Qualified learners may take jobs with national and international organisations or government that work towards strengthening the overall health and wellbeing of the population. These include the Departments of Health in various countries, the United Nations, local and international non-governmental organisations, and bi-and multilateral donors and foundations.

What entry requirements will I need to study this Postgraduate Diploma?

Minimum Admission Requirements


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


A SAQA Evaluation Certificate with NQF L7 equivalence in an appropriate field

Senate Discretionary AdmissionRecognition of Prior Learning (RPL)Where candidates do not satisfy the formal admission requirements for this qualification, The IIE may consider an admission application in terms of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer, Recognition of Prior Learning and Qualification Completion Policy (IIE010).

How is this Postgraduate Diploma structured at The IIE MSA?

The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PGDIP PH) is a one-year qualification. It is designed for the working professional and uses flexible teaching methods. These include compulsory face-to-face contact sessions (three Saturday sessions per module), extensive online learning using the Learning Management System (LMS), case studies and projects to apply learning to practice.

Please note that in line with academic practice, The IIE’s curriculum is reviewed annually thus changes may occur in module structure and sequence in order to ensure that the qualification remains relevant. The exit level outcomes of the programme do not change. Registered students receive an updated programme curriculum on an annual basis.

What about timetables?

Students are expected to be available throughout the day on Saturdays scheduled for class. Students may also be required to write assessments or submit coursework or assignments outside of normal class-time. Students must understand that timetables remain subject to change throughout the teaching period.

What must I pass in order to graduate with this Postgraduate Diploma?

In order to be awarded this qualification, you must have achieved a minimum final year mark of fifty percent (50%) for each module of the programme; and have met all the Work Integrated Learning requirements, where applicable.

How long do I have to complete this qualification?

Students have a maximum of 2 years to complete this qualification.

With what qualification will I graduate?

You will graduate with The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PGDIP PH).

Career opportunities: what career areas can I pursue once I have completed this Postgraduate Diploma?

As well as providing career opportunities in health promotion and policy and public health sciences, the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PGDIP PH) provides a pathway to postgraduate clinical programmes and higher research degrees.

Would it be possible to study further and obtain a postgraduate qualification once I have completed The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health?

The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) at level 8 – the same level as other equivalent Postgraduate Diplomas at both private and public South African institutes of higher education. The opportunity to apply for a postgraduate certificate/diploma or Master’s degree at any South African university or higher education institution exists subject to meeting their specific programme entrance criteria.

It is important to remember that your academic results remain a key factor when applying for further studies.

Call the IIE MSA campus to discuss your career options with one of our Student Advisors. Tel: +27 11 950 4009 or email

PGDIP PH 2020 V1 02 October 2019

Disclaimer: Please note that this fact sheet is accurate at the time of publication. The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) reserves the right to alter any of the content prior to commencement of registration due to changes in regulation, policy, market requirements or any other valid reason.

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British Accreditation Council

The IIE is not only accredited in South Africa but its dedication to providing quality education also led to it being accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) in 2014. The British Accreditation Council is an independent authority in the United Kingdom that accredits private providers globally, including Greece, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. In 2017 The IIE had its accreditation status confirmed by the BAC as an Independent Higher Education Institution confirming our confidence in the international comparability of our standards.

“South African students need to know, when they select a private higher education institution, that the standards offered are equivalent to those of a public University. Our students get this from our extensive local accreditation and registration. The students also benefit from knowing that we meet international standards too. The IIE is accredited as an Independent Higher Education Institution by the British Accreditation Council. Locally and internationally we have demonstrated the quality of what we offer,” said Dr Coughlan, Director, The Independent Institute of Education. “The IIE MSA students can be confident that their IIE learning experience meets international best practice standards.”