Masters in Public Health in Nigeria: Overview & Details

Public health is undoubtedly a highly esteemed discipline and anyone can go into it, especially if you already have a bachelor’s degree in science or medical-related courses.  You also must have passion for research if you are to succeed in this course of study. The research is however not just laboratory-based, but also field-based.

Quite a number of institutions are offering this master’s degree program; almost all the universities in Nigeria offer the course.  However, each of these schools has its specific requirements.

There are lots of similarities in these requirements, but one or two things may be different. It is very important to consider these differences when registering with any particular school.

Learning objectives

As a master degree holder in public health, you are expected to be able to carry out the following and posses the flowing abilities:

  • Have ability to interpret and also analyze all forms of health data that you may come across
  • Be able to describe disease distribution and also be able to determine causative organisms. Also have ability to determine epidemiology and pathophysiology of diseases.
  • Ability to describe disabilities and death in any given human population.
  • Ability to evaluate any environmental factors that may be responsibility for health status of any given community
  • Possess ability to analyze, organize and administer policies related to health care organizations.
  • Ability to apply various health research concepts and methods related to social sciences, social justice and behavioral sciences towards identifying public health problems.
  • Ability to proffer required solutions to various health problems.


As hinted earlier, different Nigerian universities have different requirements that stand them out from others. If you have decided on any particular school, take time to find out what their requirements are.

If you only possess an HND degree on the other hand, you can still bring your dream of a master’s degree in public health to reality. How is this possible? All you have to do is to go for your PGD (Post Graduate Diploma. You can get admitted to study public health at master’s level with your PGD certificate.

Many of the Nigerian institutions will give you admission if you graduate with second class upper certificate. There are however some that do admit students having second class lower.

Some other schools on the other hand do admit students that graduate with 3rd class. Many other schools however prefer that a 3rd class graduate obtains a PGD certificate before he/she is admitted for master’s degree in public health. You need to consult with the particular institution to know what they demand for admission.

Most schools accept anyone having a bachelor’s degree in any science-related course. There are however some schools that demand the student to have biological degree before he/she can be admitted to study public health.

Research orientation

You must know that public health is a research oriented course and you must be research-conscious, as hinted earlier, in order to do well in this course of study. The course requires research into various fields of human endeavors, especially areas related to human diseases. Some of the popular research projects associated with public health degree are

  • Diarrhea project
  • Tuberculosis project
  • Injection safety
  • Health care waste management project
  • Maternal and newborn health projects
  • Children awareness project
  • Behavioral science projects
  • Demographic surveillance project and its relationship to health
  • Urban and rural reproductive health project
  • Family health project


Before you become a full-fledged master’s degree holder in public health, you will have to sit for certification examination conducted by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Success in this exam certifies you as a master’s degree holder in public health.

In order to qualify for the examination, you are expected to have up to 5 years of experience in Public Health related works. You will be examined on various areas, like Program Planning, Systems Thinking, Public Health Biology, Leadership, Diversity & Culture, Communication & Informatics, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Health Policy & Management, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences and Biostatistics.

Areas of application

What can you do with a master’s degree in public health? The information below will give you hints on how you can apply your degree.

The field is a broad one. You will have working opportunity in several fields of human endeavour. You can work for both government and private institutions.  You can work in a public health facility, a hospital or in a university.

Public health is not only associated with those who had degree in medicine or other medical related fields. Anyone can get involved in it. Even if you are a graduate of statistics, you can go for a master’s degree in public health.

With your certificate, you can work as a medical statistician, which is a very important aspect of public health. Truth is public health has no impact without proper statistical analysis and record keeping.

In actual fact, the core of public health is record keeping and statistics contributes a great deal to this.

Check out possible areas of application of your master’s degree in public health below:

  • Public Health Doctor
  • Tropical Disease Expert
  • HIV Specialist
  • Medical Director
  • Management Policy Advisor
  • Public Health Veterinarian
  • Public Health Lawyer
  • Public Health Dentist
  • Director Of Family Health
  • Public Health Engineer
  • Health Center Administrator
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Federal Or State Environmentalist
  • Director Of NGOs
  • Public Health Professor
  • Behavioral Scientist
  • Mental Health Researcher
  • Outcomes Researcher
  • Vaccine Researcher
  • Bioterrorism Researcher
  • Pharmacoepidemiologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Infection Preventionist
  • Legislative Policy Advisor
  • Biostatisticians
  • Environmental Health Emergency Response Expert
  • Nurse Educator
  • Academic Policy Advisor
  • Health Communication Specialist
  • Disease Ecologist
  • Health Promotions Program Coordinator
  • Nutritionist
  • Public Health Information Officer
  • Medical Writer
  • Public Health Consultant
  • Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
  • Emergency Preparedness Specialist
  • Consumer Safety Officer
  • Behavioral Health Program Coordinator
  • Health And Wellness Manager
  • Environmental Health Technician
  • Health Teacher
  • Public Health Planner
  • Disaster Preparedness Researcher
  • Community Health Worker
  • Reproductive Health Specialist
  • Medical Investigator
  • Public Health Journalist

Many of these fields of application are available in Nigeria, but there are some other ones that have more recognition abroad. This simply means your scope is not limited to Nigeria as a master’s degree holder in public health.