University of Chester

Programme Specification
Health Improvement and Wellbeing MSc
2014 - 2015

Master of Science

Health Improvement and Wellbeing

Health Improvement and Wellbeing

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses according to demand.

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1- 4 years

6 Years

Biannual - February - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

  • Knowledge and Skills Framework.
  • Essence of Care Benchmarks for Promoting Health.
  • Skills for Health (2007) Multi-disciplinary/Multi-agency/Multi-professional Public Health Skills and Career Framework.
  • QAA Benchmarks for Postgraduate Programmes.
  • National Occupational Standards for Public Health.

University of Chester

Postgraduate Programme Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st April 2008

  • The underlying philosophy of the programme is that of lifelong learning and enhancing inter-professional learning and working. It is envisaged that students undergoing the programme will become leaders with subject expertise in health improvement and wellbeing, and will be able to exercise higher levels of judgement and discretion.
  • To offer a flexible and dynamic programme that prepares students to develop subject expertise within their own working environment or professional area relevant to health improvement and wellbeing.
  • To promote opportunities for students to work in partnership with others through inter-professional education, and to enhance the provision and quality of care delivery within health improvement and wellbeing.
  • To enable students to consider the impact of the professional role on their organisation and working environment in the wider context of health improvement and wellbeing.
  • To facilitate the development of a range of students from diverse backgrounds and occupations through provision of contemporary theoretical underpinning, including key areas of competency relevant to health improvement and wellbeing.
  • To enable students to be proactive in recognising the need for change in the working environment, and to contribute, innovate and apply best evidence to promote research-based change and communicate conclusions clearly.
  • To enable students to be cognisant of the depth and breadth of health improvement and wellbeing, and to gain comprehensive higher level knowledge, expertise, judgement and problem solving skills.
  • To develop and promote skills of synthesis, together with critical, analytical and reflective thinking within academic and health & social care environments, to encourage development in others, and to promote an ethos of lifelong learning.

Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Systems approaches and the importance of collaboration and participationin their practice.
  • Key concepts, principles, theories and policies in health improvement and wellbeing specifically detailed in the module descriptor.
  • Uniqueness of their own rolein health improvement and wellbeing, and how this can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.
  • Evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the dissemination of information.
  • Application of the research process and relevance to their own scholarship.
  • Professional, legal and ethical issues.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • Demonstrating self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Accessing, analysing and processing information applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship and analysing the impact of social, political, cultural and economic factors in relation tohealth improvement and wellbeing.
  • Critical interpretation of local, national and global health policy.
  • Working autonomously when exercisinga range ofassessment skills to support health improvement and wellbeing.
  • Utilising higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional work and that of stakeholders from the student/service user/carer perspectives.
  • Demonstrating independent learning ability when working reflexively and autonomously.
  • Demonstrating originality when exercising innovative and creative thinking strategies.

Practical Skills

  • Exercising innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment,intervention and evaluation strategies to health improvement and wellbeing.
  • Communicating effectively with stakeholders and individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrating innovation andutilisation of change management strategies in the application of evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrating leadership within collaborative, inter-disciplinary working practices and partnerships in the development/delivery of health improvement and wellbeing strategies/initiatives.
  • Utilising presentation skills.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Change management.
  • Organisational analysis and development.
  • Research skills.
  • Information processing and retrieval.
  • Criticalappraisal.
  • Evidence-based decision making.
  • Leadership.
  • Inter-professional collaboration.
  • Partnership working.
  • Negotiation.

Transferable Professional Skills

  • Demonstrating self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicating effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Being competent in the use of information technology.
  • Working autonomously and collaboratively, and leading a team.
  • Demonstrating higher literacy, critical appraisaland numeracy skills.
  • Inter-professional collaboration and partnership working.

The MSc Health Improvement and Wellbeing programme is now available as a full or part time programme.  It has been designed to meet the changing roles and requirements of both students and employers from a wide range of health and social care backgrounds within the environment of community and public health.

It is anticipated that this programme will appeal to international students.

The programme content is designed for flexible inter-professional learning, to incorporate international, national and local policies and perspectives and to actively engage students in collaborative teaching and learning methods including e-learning.

Students will explore contemporary issues in order to become pro-active, influential and effective in the speciality of health improvement and wellbeing. 

The flexible structure will enable entry to the programme at an appropriate level and progression to a full Masters degree.  It is recognised that students may have already followed a specialised programme of study in the form of a postgraduate certificate or single modules relevant to their work prior to their interest in this programme therefore the programme will provide a framework into which postgradate certificates or single modules may be incorporated.

Students must complete 3 x 20 credit core modules including a choice between 2 option modules and three further 20 credit option modules from the menu of options available.

  • Health Improvement and Wellbeing (Core - 20 credits)
  • Epidemiology (OPTION - 20 credits) OR Inequalities in Health (OPTION - 20 credits)
  • Promoting Public Health (Core - 20 credits)
  • 3 x option modules (Options - 20 credits each)
  • Dissertation and research methods (Core - 60 credits)

The programme is designed to enable students to have maximum flexibility in their choice of modules tailored to meet the requirements of their work environment and profession.  Therefore up to 3 x 20 credit modules or a postgraduate certificate (60 credits) may be brought into the programme.  The modules must map appropriately to the programme standards and benchmarks

Owing to the focus of this MSc programme, only approved postgraduate certificates and option modules from a specified range will be available, as negotiated with the Programme Leader.  These programmes and modules must contain learning outcomes that meet specified competencies and benchmarks.  It is also possible to APEL against specific modules.

Option modules that may be selected:

Please note that all option modules are worth 20 credits.  These may be selected from the approved list of postgraduate certificate programmes and other free-standing modules.  At the time of registration and in association with the Programme Leader, combinations or clusters of modules approved for compatibility and timeliness of presentation will be selected.  (See list of modules in the following section).

Framework for MSc Health Improvement and Wellbeing, with exit awards of Postgraduate Certificate Health Improvement and Wellbeing, or Postgraduate Diploma Health Improvement and Wellbeing.


Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme:-

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7001 7 Youth Matters Policy and Planning 20 N/A
NM7002 7 Youth Matters in Action 20 N/A
NM7003 7 Youth Matters in Context 20 N/A
NM7004 7 Advanced Application of Infection Prevention and Control 20 Optional
NM7005 7 Infection Prevention and Control in Context 20 Optional
NM7006 7 Health Protection, Infection Prevention and Control 20 Optional
NM7008 7 Health and Social Care Commissioning 20 Optional
NM7009 7 Health Promotion and Occupational Health 20 N/A
NM7010 7 Management Strategies for Occupational Health 20 N/A
NM7011 7 The Working Environment 20 N/A
NM7012 7 Leadership Development and Change 20 Optional
NM7039 7 Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases 20 Optional
NM7040 7 Communicable Diseases 20 Optional
NM7041 7 Immunology and Immunisation 20 Optional
NM7055 7 Ethics and Health 20 N/A
NM7057 7 Inequalities in Health 20 Optional
NM7058 7 Principles of Epidemiology 20 Optional
NM7059 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
NM7062 7 Creativity and Innovation in Health and Social Care 20 Optional
NM7063 7 Foundations of Health Promotion 20 N/A
NM7065 7 HIV & AIDS 20 N/A
NM7066 7 Practising Health Promotion 20 N/A
NM7067 7 Drugs and Society 20 N/A
NM7068 7 Understanding Teenage Sexuality, Pregnancy and Parenting: Promoting Sexual Health in Young People 20 N/A
NM7069 7 Research 20 Optional
NM7074 7 Health Improvement and Wellbeing 20 Comp
NM7076 7 Contemporary Health Promotion 20 Optional
NM7084 7 Independent Study 20 Optional
NM7203 7 Inter-professional practice 20 Optional
NM7204 7 Advanced Community Practice 20 N/A
NM7205 7 Cognitive Behavioural Interventions 20 Optional
NM7206 7 Contemporary Issues in Acute Mental Health Inpatient Care 20 Optional
NM7207 7 Observing Diversity in Mental Health 20 Optional
NM7214 7 Safeguarding Children, Young People and their Families 20 N/A
NM7216 7 Reshaping Policy for Children, Young People and their Families 20 N/A
NM7801 7 Global Health Policy for Development 20 Optional
NM7803 7 Global Health in Context 20 Optional
NM7804 7 Dissertation and Research Methodology 60 Optional
NM7805 7 Health Economics 20 Optional
NM7806 7 Global Perspectives of Child and Maternal Health 20 Optional
NM7807 7 Global Mental Health 20 Optional
NM7808 7 Global Public Health Protection 20 Optional
NM7809 7 Promoting Public Health Practice 20 Comp
NM7810 7 The Environmental Determinants of Health 20 Optional
PH7015 7 Contemporary issues in public health 20 Optional
PH7017 7 Theories and principles of public health 20 Optional

Progression of awards
Students completingthe core module of Health Improvement and Wellbeing; Promoting Public Health (or equiovalent)and either Epidemiology or Inequalities in Health (Options) and can exit with the postgraduate certificate.
Students completing the above and three optionmodules, may exit with a postgraduate diploma.
On successful completion of the above and the integratedDissertation and Research Methodsmodule, students will exit with the MSc Health Improvement and Wellbeing.
Please note the following exception:
Normally students will undertake the Integrated Dissertation and ResearchMethods module. If students have already undertaken a separate Research modulethey must then undertake the Dissertation Module (not the integrated dissertation and research methods module).

A major modification to the programme(June 2011) allows students to choose a combined research and dissertation module. This will allow greater flexibility of module combinations in a specialised subject area and students may APEL a post graduate certificate into the programme if appropriate. However, students may wish to remain with the original combination of separate research and dissertation modules and will be considered on an individual basis Transfer of previously acquired credits and module approval
Up to 60 credits at level7 may be brought intothis MSc programme from approved postgraduate certificates or stand-alone modules.Students may exit with a Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Wellbeing only if no more than 20 credits are brought into the programme. The earliest point of exit for students entering the programme with two or more 20 credit modules is a postgraduate diploma. Please note that to meet approval, the modules must have been mapped against, for example, public health competencies, health promotion benchmarks, and other criteria.
Illustration of student journeys if undertaking Integrated Dissertation and Research Methods module or separate Research and Dissertation modules
Example 1: Student entering programme without previous Masters credits
Health Improvement and Wellbeing (CORE)

Promoting Public Health (CORE)

Epidemiology OR Inequalities in Health (OPTION)


OPTION 1 (see list)

OPTION 2 (see list)

OPTION 3 (see list)


Dissertation and Research Module (Integrated)


Example 2: Students entering programme with an approved Post Graduate Certificate or up to 3 approved 20 credit modules (or equivalent)

APEL or credit transfer
or up to 3 approved modules (EXCLUDING RESEARCH)
Health Improvement and Wellbeing (CORE)

Promoting Public Health (CORE)

Epidemiology OR Inequalities in Health (OPTION)


Dissertation and Research Module (Integrated)


Example 3: Students entering programme with up to 60 credits including a RESEARCH module

APEL or credit transfer
or up to 3 approved modules (INCLUDING RESEARCH)
Approved module//RESEARCH

Approved module/OPTION

Approved module/OPTION

Health Improvement and Wellbeing (CORE)

Promoting Public Health (CORE)

Epidemiology OR Inequalities in Health (OPTION)




*Please note:·
Some post graduate certificates may include a research module.
Some students may APEL or transfer credits from another programme in Chester and may have completed a separate research module.
All students will be assessed individually for suitability of modules previously undertaken

  • Applicants will normally hold a first degree (second class honours or above) or equivalent qualification.
  • Applicants without a first degree will be considered based on their potential to undertake academic study at Master's level.
  • All applicants must have a current and relevant workplace, or access to a relevant workplace during the period of study.
  • All students should provide evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level.
  • All applicants will be invited to attend an interview and induction day, where they will be provided with information regarding study at Masters level and further programme details.
  • At interview students will be offered appropriate programme guidance and development of a programme plan which will include, for example, anticipated module selections and a timescale for award. The MSc is aimed at a range of professionals who are engaged in promoting and managing health improvement and wellbeing.

Location within National Standards, Local Action: Health and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005/06 - 2007/08

The core and developmental standards as listed in Standards for Better Health (DH 2004) provide the foundation for this programme. These are specified within the following seven domains: safety; clinical and cost-effectiveness; governance; patient focus; accessible and responsive care; care environment and amenities; and public health.

Location within the framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (August 2008)

The fundamental premise of the FHEQ is that qualifications should be awarded on the basis of achievement of outcomes and attainment rather than years of study.  Qualification descriptors are key to this premise.  Qualification descriptors set out the generic outcomes and attributes expected for the award of individual qualifications.

The FHEQ as identified by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2008) is designed to provide and promote academic standards via benchmarking and specifications.

Masters degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  • Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student:
    To critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
    To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level,
    and will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
    1. The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
    2. Decision making in complex and unpredictable situations.
    3. The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Much of the study undertaken for Masters degrees will have been at, or informed by, the forefront of an academic or professional discipline.  Students will have shown originality in the application of knowledge, and they will understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research.  They will be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and they will show originality in tackling and solving problems.  They will have the qualities needed for employment in circumstances requiring sound judgement, personal responsibility and initiative in complex and unpredictable professional environments.

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the Framework and with the FHEQ qualifications descriptions at each level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at the appropriate level, and the amount of student effort required. The level characteristics as described by the QAA also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

Location within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) (DH 2004)

Although this programme does not directly assess practice, the theoretical underpinning can be mapped to the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework. Some adaptations have been made to account for the clinical bias within the framework.

Essence of Care: Benchmarks for Promoting Health and Well-being (June 2010) Updated spec. June 2013

The key elements will be mapped against the programme modules. 

Agreed person-centred outcome: People will be supported to make healthier choices for themselves and others.



Benchmark of best practice



People, carers and communities are enabled to find ways t9o maintain or improve their health and wellbeing via evry appropriate contact.




People, carers and communities are able to identify their health and wellbeing promotion needs.



People, carers and communities are involved in planning and actions concerning promotion of health and wellbeing.



Promotion of health and wellbeing is undertaken in partnership with others using a variety of experise and experiences.



People, carers and communities have access to information, services, support that meets their health and wellbeing needs and circumstances.



People, carers and communities and agencies influence and create environments that promote people's health and wellbeing.


Outcomes of promoting health and wellbeing

People, carers and communities have an improved, sustainable and good quality of health and wellbeing.

Skills for Health (2008) Multi-disciplinary/Multi-agency/Multi-professional Public Health Skills and Career Framework.

The Public Health Skills and Career Framework is a tool for describing the skills and knowledge needed across all groups, domains and levels of the public health workforce.  It was developed in response to the strong expressed need for a mechanism that facilitates collaboration and coherence across this diverse workforce, in order to maximise its collective contribution and underpin the influence of public health in the UK.  The Public Health Skills and Career Framework provides this by helping to ensure rigour and consistency in skills, competence and knowlege at all levels, regardless of professional background, and by enabling flexible public health career progression. 

The key elements will be mapped against the programme modules. 

Key elements: Provide information, resources, training and support for the wider workforce, to help people to make informed health choice; provide health information, motivation and support directly to help people make informed choices; involve, empower and mobilise local communities for health; translate policy into effective action, develop health programmes and services to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities in health; advocate for individuals, groups, communities.

Public health is divided into nine main areas of work. There are four core areas which anyone working in public health will need to have. There are five non-core areas (also called defined areas) which are the contexts within which individuals principally work/practise. These are shown below. 

Core areas

Non-core areas
 1.  Surveillance and assessment of the population's health and wellbeing.5.   Health improvement. 
 2.  Assessing the evidence of effectiveness of health, healthcare and health-related interventions, programmes and services.6.   Health protection. 
 3.  Policy and strategy development and implementation.7.   Public health intelligence.
 4.  Leadership and collaborative working for health and wellbeing.8.   Academic public health.
 9.   Health and social care quality.

National Occupational Standards for Public Health (2004)

The ten keys areas of public health practice:

  • Surveillance and assessment of the population's health and wellbeing.
  • Promoting and protecting the population's health and wellbeing.
  • Developing quality and risk management within an evaluative culture.
  • Collaborative working for health.
  • Developing health programmes and services and reducing inequalities.
  • Policy and strategy development and implementation.
  • Working with and for communities.
  • Strategic leadership for health.
  • Research and development.
  • Ethically managing self, people and resources.

Knowledge and understanding gained through small group work, discussion, interactive lectures, seminar presentations, project work, case discussions, tutorials, problem-based learning, action learning sets, experiential learning activities, audio-visual material, blended and e-learning, work-related activities, peer learning and self-directed learning.

Intellectual skills are developed through facilitative approaches during interactive lectures, seminar presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, problem-based learning, case studies, learning through practice, peer learning and self-directed learning.

Further opportunities to practise and develop these skills and competencies will be provided during interactive lectures, practice-related activities, seminar presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, problem-based learning, and peer and self-directed learning.

Experiential learning, tutorial and seminar work focusing on the student's learning context, and the challenges and skills presented therein, will be encouraged.

Information and communications technology, through the University intranet and other online resources, will be used in the delivery of most aspects of the programme, providing a framework for the provision of the course materials.

It is possible to undertake selected modules completely as online or 'e' learning.  In these circumstances students will be supported according to the demands of each module

The overall assessment strategy is to employ a variety of methods to fully assess students' knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills.

The MSc Health Improvement and Wellbeing uses the following methods of assessment:

Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills, including thinking and cognitive ability, are assessed through written assignments, examination, seminar presentation, individual case studies, competency self-assessment and a reflective account.

All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national standards.

All assessment methods are outlined within the module descriptors.

The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics (see below).

  • Reasoning:
    Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
  • Knowledge:
    Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
  • Theory/practice link:
    Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
  • Analysis:
    Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
  • Problem solving:
    Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, many of which are at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
  • Evaluating evidence and argument:
    Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
  • Communicating:
    Excellent communication skills which can reach a wider audience.

The above criteria demonstrating the notion of a postgraduate are fundamental to students' roles in health improvement and wellbeing, and to their future career pathway. It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the programme will utilise these criteria to become leaders and innovators in the area of health improvement and wellbeing. Students undertaking this programme may increase their employability where additional knowledge in health improvement and wellbeing is a desirable or an essential requirement. This may be applicable to many areas of potential employment within health, social, private and public sector organisations.

This programme will appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds and workplaces, such as: occupational health nurses; general practice nurses; school health advisors; day nursery co-ordinators; community nurses; police and prison officers; environmental health officers; midwives; paediatric nurses; allied health professionals; specialist staff already working in health improvement and wellbeing, health promotion, public health or health protection; nursing home staff and dental health practitioners.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Please note

A major modification to the programme (June 2011) will allow students to choose a combined research and dissertation module enabling a third option module to be taken.  This will allow greater flexibility of module combinations in a specialised subject area.  However, students may wish to remain with the original combination of separate research and dissertation modules.

NM7056 - Health Promotion in Public Health with be replaced by NM7809 Promoting Public Health from September 2011.

Additional information in respect of Frequency of Intake/starting month (Section 17):

Annual - September (Full time only)

Biannual - February and September (Part time)

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