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Recruitment, employability and career development for international students undertaking the UWE MSc Public Health: Final report

Buunaaisie, Camillus; Manyara, Anthony; Annett, Hugh; Bird, Emma; Bray, Issy; Ige, Janet; Jones, Matthew; Orme, Judy; Pilkington, Paul; Evans, David


Camillus Buunaaisie

Anthony Manyara

Hugh Annett

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Emma Bird
Senior Lecturer in Public Health

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Issy Bray
Associate Professor in Public Health (Epidemiology)

Janet Ige
Senior Lecturer in Public Health

Judy Orme
Professor/Ins Director ISHE

David Evans
Professor in Health Services Research


Executive Summary
Over the last decade, the MSc Public Health at UWE has successfully recruited many international students. An issue for the university in promoting the benefits of the programme internationally is that there is a good career structure in UK public health for those from backgrounds other than medicine, but this is not necessarily the case for international students.
Aims and objectives
The aims were (1) to inform the career guidance we give our international MSc PH students to better enable them to pursue their individual careers and (2) to contribute to developing the Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group’s research on international public health workforce capacity development. To achieve these aims we had two more specific objectives: (1) to map the public health career development of UWE international MSc PH alumni and (2) to map the public health career structures, professional bodies and registration requirements of countries from which students are recruited.
This was a mixed methods research project based on an online survey, telephone and face-to-face semi-structured interviews and web-searching. Element 1 focused on the public health career experiences of our MSc international students over the last ten years. A purposive sample of 97 international alumni was emailed with a request to participate in the online survey. The survey included an option to consent for a further follow up interview. Element 2 involved mapping public health career structures, professional bodies and registration in countries from which international students attended over the last ten years. For each country, an internal search was conducted for national public health bodies, associations and registers, and key informants were contacted.
Forty-seven alumni responded and answered at least one question in the online survey. The majority of participants were employed by international organisations, academic institutions, and state agencies or were at different stages of PhD studies. Participants reported increased public health career experiences in public health research roles, public health leadership, and policy analysis and in planning, implementing and evaluating public health programmes. Participants had confidence in applying public health skills, especially research, critical thinking, academic writing as well as demonstrating public health leadership skills and the application of multidisciplinary approaches to address public health issues. Recommendations included provision of longer public health placements, optional courses on project management and advanced statistics, and continued internationalisation of the curriculum. Overall, alumni satisfaction was high in relation to the relevance and impact of the skills and knowledge they acquired during their MSc Public Health at UWE.
Discussion and conclusions
The results of this study were consistent with other studies of alumni of MSc Public Health programmes. The study has provided useful feedback on the UWE MSc Public Health programme and a number of helpful recommendations were made by alumni which will be addressed by the programme team. Implications for further research include studies of international employers’ perspectives on the value and limitations of the MSc Public Health and on public health registration


Buunaaisie, C., Manyara, A., Annett, H., Bird, E., Bray, I., Ige, J., …Evans, D. (2017). Recruitment, employability and career development for international students undertaking the UWE MSc Public Health: Final report

Report Type Project Report
Publication Date Aug 10, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2017
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781860435362
Keywords recruitment, employability, career development, international students, MSc Public Health
Public URL


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