Click here for the Programme Brochure


Please note that we review applications on a rolling basis and aim to make early conditional offers of acceptance to strong applicants as soon as possible. In 2024, we will review South African and international applications on the following dates: 31 May, 31 July, 31 October. Applicants should receive feedback within 8 weeks of those deadlines. We encourage those who would be applying for bursaries and visas to apply for the earlier deadlines.


Please note that applications to the General Public Health track are not accepted from new students (you must already be registered in the MPH programme to apply to change to this track). Please apply only to one of the other six tracks (Health Economics, Social & Behavioural Sciences, Environmental Health, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Health Systems or Global Surgery).

Please also note that from 2025 the Community Eye Health track has been changed to the Global Surgery track (you can still focus on Community Eye Health from within the Global Surgery track if you choose electives appropriately). If you have any challenges registering for the Global Surgery track (e.g. you apply before the name changes on the online system), it is fine to select Community Eye Health (just indicate your interest in Global Surgery in your covering letter).

Potential candidates for the UCT MPH include:

  • Health researchers, including clinical researchers
  • Health sector managers and clinical professionals responsible for running health programmes or services, for whom a public health perspective is important in their work;
  • University graduates in Medicine and in the Allied Health Sciences, wanting to broaden their skills and fill roles beyond professional boundaries, or to develop research skills;
  • Non-health science graduates, e.g. from the social, management or environmental sciences, who want an entry point into health sector work or to strengthen their work in their own disciplines.

The minimum requirements for entry into the UCT MPH programme are:

  • A four-year Bachelors degree (either a four-year degree, or a three-year Bachelors plus Honours year), or equivalent
  • Evidence of adequate quantitative skills
  • Evidence of adequate written and verbal communication skills, including proficiency in English
  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in public health research or practice

These are the minimum entry requirements, and meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission. Places in the programme are limited, and admissions are competitive: each year we receive many more applications from eligible candidates that we can admit. Applicants may strengthen their applications by demonstrating academic excellence, strong skills in quantitative reasoning and/or critical thinking, and strong experience in public health research or practice.

Please note that during our admissions process we place special emphasis on diversity, both in terms of geography and disciplinary backgrounds.

Diversity of geography: approximately 50-60% of our students are South African citizens or permanent residents. Applications from suitable candidates from other parts of sub-Saharan Africa are strongly encouraged, and we also reserve places for students from other low- and middle-income countries. A limited number of places are available for students from Europe and North America.

Diversity of background: Public Health is fundamentally multidisciplinary, and we seek to admit individuals with interests in public health who come from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds. For example, over the last few years we have had students enter the programme with prior academic training in:

  • health sciences (including: clinical medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language, veterinary medicine),
  • social sciences (including: psychology, sociology, anthropology, social work, gender studies, political studies),
  • humanities (philosophy, history, religious studies),
  • economics,
  • sciences (biology, environmental science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, computer sciences),
  • education,
  • law/legal studies,
  • engineering (electrical, civil, mechanical),
  • journalism

Each of these fields has the potential to make important contributions to improving population health, and this disciplinary diversity is an important feature of the MPH programme and Public Health at UCT more generally.

Additional information on postgraduate studies at UCT can be found via the Postgraduate Prospectus and the Postgraduate Hub. Click here for more information. You may also be interested to review general information for prospective students considering applying to UCT - on the main UCT webpage ( see the "Applying to UCT" tab for information on the application process and fees.

Applications to the UCT MPH programme are through the University's general application system. The deadline for MPH applications for South African citizens and permanent residents is generally before 30 September, and the deadline for all other applicants is before 31 July.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered and we recommend submitting your application before these deadlines.

To apply to UCT please apply online by going to and clicking on the "Apply online" link. Apply for the programme of study in which you are interested. Your application will be referred to the relevant department who may be in touch with you regarding further application requirements.

If you are interested in applying to the MPH programme and have any questions regarding the programme or your application, please contact the programme administrator and/or programme convenor.