Master Of Philosophy Degree In Public Health

About the Programme

Aligned with the Pan-African mandate of Africa University, the overall vision of the Department of Health Sciences is to become the department of choice for applicants wishing to be trained in any health care profession nationally, regionally and internationally. The relentless burden of diseases is increasingly recognized as one of the major impediments to the prosperity and development of African nations.
Based on original policy-shaping health research by students and faculty as its core training, the MPhil programme is aimed to stimulate generations of self-driven African scientists that solve African health problems. Furthermore, the MPhil programme will boost Department of Health Sciences and Africa University visibility, not only through original research output but the seeding of graduands that will subsequently embark on even higher profile doctoral research studies.
The MPhil programme will mould early leadership professionals with the basic qualities for innovative research and also competing for funding. The MPhil programme will be instrumental in lying the foundation for more diversified Faculty resource base through research grants from the MPhil programme itself or more substantially the ensuing doctoral research candidates.

Duration of Programme

The duration of the Master of Philosophy programmes shall normally be:

  • Full-time: 1.5 - 3 years

  • Part-time: 3 - 5 years


The MPhil programme in health sciences is designed to cultivate rigorous research for addressing the health needs of African nations and beyond. Thus any health care professionals wishing to be trained in practically grounded impact research will have the opportunity to enroll in the diverse fields of Health Sciences.

Target Group

The MPhil Health Sciences graduate research student programme is designed for all healthcare professionals who wish to undertake high impact health research and education, and especially those wishing to prepare for onward training to doctoral level. The FHS MPhil programme is especially suitable for nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, laboratory scientists, public health officers and biomedical scientists.

MPhil Requirements

  1. The MPhil degrees is a graduate degree carried out primarily through supervised research. A student will be entitled and strongly encouraged to take audit coursework available in existing postgraduate programmes in order to enhance their research studies. Cross-cutting courses on research will be particularly encouraged, especially Research Methodology, Basic Epidemiology, Advanced Epidemiology and Biostatistics. They will also be entitled to attend any other available courses in their specific field of interest.

  2. Studies may be pursued on a full-time or on a part-time basis.

  3. Fields of study for research are Medical Parasitology, Medical Mycology, Medical Virology, Haematology, Medical Microbiology,

  4. Applied Molecular Biology, Vector Biology, Public Health, Biomedical and other Health Sciences.

  5. All prospective graduate students shall be expected to demonstrate proficiency in English in order to pursue their studies at Africa University.

  6. All MPhil candidates will be encouraged to embark on significant research of quality that can open the way for to more advanced scope or depth of investigation and apply for upgrading to DPhil studies.

Entry Requirements

Depending on prevailing availability of suitable supervising experts, applicants may be considered who hold a:

  1. BSc Honours degree in Medical Laboratory Science (BMLS), Nursing (BSN), or Health Service Management (BHSM), Biomedical Sciences or equivalent Honours degree in the First or Second class division;

  2. BSc Honours Medical Laboratory Science, BSN, BHSM, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent Honours degree with a minimum pass grade, provided performance in the intended subject of study was B grade average or above, and the candidate has satisfied the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) through recommendation from the Faculty that the candidate has exhibited academic potential by conducting fieldwork, subsequent research experience and (or) additional training in the academic discipline of the intended Masters’ degree.

  3. General BSc Medical Laboratory Science/Biomedical Sciences or equivalent degree provided that a grade of B or above was attained in the intended subject of study and the candidate has minimum one year industrial or research-related experience;

  4. Upon recommendation to the GSC by the Dean, a candidate whose degree is considered deficient may be required to take one or more relevant undergraduate courses in addition to the minimum graduate requirements.

Programme structure

The following programme of study shall be applied, as stipulated in the Africa University Graduate Studies guidelines.

  • The Programme of Study shall consist of scheduled research and written thesis chapters under the guidance of the student’s Advisory Committee

  • The Advisory Committee shall comprise two academic Faculty members appointed by the Dean, one of whom must have a doctorate

  • The ultimate MPhil thesis should in the range of 20000 – 40000 words

  • A student shall not normally be permitted to break the continuity of studies, although a student may be allowed to suspend registration for a maximum period of one year upon recommendation from the Faculty Board to the GSC, which will make the final decision

  • A student shall not normally be allowed to change from full-time to part-time or vice-versa without express consent of the Faculty Board

  • A student who fails to complete the thesis within the specified period may apply for an extension of registration period to the GSC through the Dean.


  • A Student shall be supervised by the Advisory Committee

  • The student shall be expected to work with their Advisory Committee to complete the degree

  • The thesis shall be marked by the Advisory Committee members and an External Examiner, appointed by the Vice Chancellor upon recommendation from the Dean

  • The Advisory Committee shall submit semester reports of the student’s progress to the GSC through the Dean

  • The Dean shall present the reports, including comments from the GSC, to Senate


  • At least twice per semester, the student shall hold scheduled meetings with the Advisory Committee to monitor and assess progress towards the completion of the thesis

  • The Advisory Committee, through the Dean, shall submit semester reports to the GSC on progress towards completion of the thesis

  • The Dean shall present reports, including comments from the GSC, to Senate

  • Assessment of the final thesis shall be as described below (Section 7.8) and as detailed in the University Prospectus

MPhil Thesis

Thesis Proposal
  1. MPhil students shall submit and defend a thesis proposal before their Advisory Committee in a Thesis Proposal Defense Examination
  2. The Thesis Proposal Defense Examination shall comprise two sections: the written proposal; and an oral defense of the written proposal
  3. The Thesis Proposal Defense Examination shall be graded by two members of the Advisory Committee
  4. A student shall be required to attain a minimum average of 60 percent mark to pass a Thesis Defense Examination
  5. A student who is successful in the Thesis Proposal Examination shall proceed to thesis research
  6. A student who is not successful in defending the thesis the first time shall be accorded a second opportunity to do so. Failure at the second attempt shall lead to discontinuation from the programme.

Career and Job Opportunities

The MPhil programme not only capacitates existing health care professionals serving African communities but will graduate original thinkers and self-driven leadership professionals that can compete for grants and are suitable for a wide range of research posts in academia, industry and research institutes.