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Global Health: Society, Culture and Behaviour

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Global Health: Society, Culture and Behaviour


The closing date for applications to start this course in September 2023 has now passed. Find out more

Course options

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,100

International/EU fees**: £19,500

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,100

International / EU fees**: £19,500

View this course

The course

Global Health: Society, Culture and Behaviour (MA)

The Global Health masters curriculum addresses existing and emerging health challenges of the modern age and offers two pathways, a social-science focused MA as well as a data, natural and physical sciences focused MSc as an exit route. Both will equip you with sound knowledge and understanding to navigate to a career that will intersect with healthy environments and healthy people and shape our shared future.

Study Global Health: Society, Culture and Behaviour MA at Royal Holloway and you will examine how culture, behaviour and governance, as well as environmental economic factors impact human and environmental health, affecting us all. Global health is an area that has come into even sharper focus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has made more visible the need to understand the cultural and behavioural drivers of human and environmental health. Shaping the health of populations across our one world society has never been more important, calling for specialists with the knowledge and skills to build cooperation, innovate and influence change across boundaries.

This course will develop your ability to look beyond the immediate cause of ill-health to the underlying socioeconomic and environmental determinants. It connects knowledge to global health-related challenges and solutions. These solutions will be based around creative and flexible thinking and your interdisciplinary education will include experiential learning and placement-based trial and error experiences, alone and in teams, including interdisciplinary settings. 

The Department of Health Studies is a hub for world-leading research, knowledge exchange and public engagement and you will be taught by international research leaders across a broad range of topics, with options to acquire real-world experience through projects and placements as part of an embedded approach to developing your employability and transferable skills.

You will benefit from individual attention, stimulating teaching to inspire and challenge you, and the flexibility to explore your own interests.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Term 1 and 2
  • Key skills and research methodology for global health
  • Key concepts in global health: (un)healthy space of the Anthropocene
  • Global Health Systems
  • Food security and basic human needs
  • Sustainability of the Environment
  • From examining global patterns in food production, global agricultural policy and the impact of business and economics, our students will gain a rounded view of food security in the 21st century. Students will then focus on scientific developments in food production including seed science, novel crops, plant breeding, genomics and agri-tech including robots, AI, machine learning and use of drones within agriculture.(30 credits)

  • Advanced skills: science communication, presentation and writing
  • Human rights and research ethics
  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


Term 3
  • Global Health Dissertation

A programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and independent learning, both online and in-person, will include a strong presence from visiting lecturers and guests from professions and the Global South, combined with practical experience and peer-group learning. You will be encouraged to work together in small teams from the beginning of the course to plan joint projects and to develop as both an individual, as a team researcher and as a project manager.

Throughout your studies you will develop career-focused skills such as preparing and presenting verbal and written briefings, visualising results, summarising key findings, project planning, advocacy and tactics for communicating with the public, media and policymakers.

The course has a project element which will involve students undertaking primary data collection outside of the classroom, when our team-oriented approaches will ensure that those for whom such activities are challenging, due to mobility or other physical challenges, family commitments or working patterns are not excluded.  Secondary data analysis and desk-based research will be equally valued and will provide opportunities to hone skills that are valued by employers.

Your final research project in term 3 will be an opportunity to conduct independent research, supervised by experts from Royal Holloway and our international partners. This will be written up in the style of a scientific paper, policy brief or business plan, with the potential to be published in an academic journal or by an internationally renowned think tank. You will present your findings at a conference with other students and supervisors at the end of the course. 

We invite students from a wide range of social science and humanities backgrounds, from relevant careers or with related volunteering experience to be considered, whether they are coming from an undergraduate degree or returning to education following a career or other time out.

Eligible backgrounds include Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Geography, Health Science, Psychology, History, Political Science, Epidemiology, Genetics, Medicine and Healthcare, Development Studies, Urban Studies, Land Economy, Management and Conservation Studies and Environmental Science. Applicants coming back to education from a career should have at least 5 years’ work experience or volunteering experience in a related field. Students from other backgrounds should contact the course leader to discuss.

Applicants coming straight from undergraduate studies will be expected to possess, or be expecting to attain, a UK 2:2 (Honours) degree or international equivalent in subjects listed above.  Applicants coming back to education from a career, volunteering experience or other time out, should have at least 5 years’ work experience in a related field. Applicants with experience in other subjects, such as biology, agricultural science, biology, earth sciences or ecology, should contact the Course Lead to be considered, especially if they can demonstrate relevant training and/or professional vocational experience.

International & EU requirements

This exciting new masters has been designed to equip a new generation of global health practitioners with the skills to address social science and environmental challenges locally and globally.

A masters in Global Health develops a wide range of employability skills. They include:

  • Communication skills: through writing essays, project and laboratory reports, and the final dissertation, as well as modules on communicating science to the public, media and policymakers.
  • Presentation skills: from your participation in field trips, to presenting your ideas at seminars and tutorial groups, responding to questions and framing questions.
  • Analytical skills: developed through your engagement with a range of materials including scientific evidence, government reports, and academic literature and media sources.
  • Research skills: interpreting and locating sources from books to field environments around the UK and further afield, and using appropriate methodologies whether it is interviewing, data analytics or measuring biodiversity.
  • Time management skills: organising your studies, working under pressing and fulfilling work-related commitments as part of your masters course.
  • Team working: developed during field trips and collaborative projects
  • Worldly experience: as a student of global health, you will gain extensive experience of different cultures and environments.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £10,100

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £19,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us during the academic year 2023/24, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 30% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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