Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing MSc

Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing MSc

School of Community Health and Midwifery


Post- graduate




Online Only

Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    The course is delivered part-time and normally takes 3 years to complete. Students can opt to take the course more slowly, over 4-5 years if they wish.

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    eLearning, Part-time

  • Campus:

    Online Only

  • Start Date:

    Most students begin in September but there are opportunities to begin in January. Please contact the course leader to discuss a January start because it will have some impact upon the flow of the modules and the time required to complete the course.

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

This unique master’s course, from one of the UK's largest universities, has been directly tailored to address the urgent need to confront sustainability issues related to health, wellbeing and healthcare provision. Delivery is via e-learning with live interactive sessions, so that study can be undertaken entirely from your own home.

Sustainability, health and wellbeing are global issues. Every nation is facing grand challenges and many of these have a shared foundation. Climate change is broadly recognised as the biggest global health threat. Together with other factors such as an increasingly aging population, multimorbidity, disability, microbial resistance, depleting resources and issues related to wide scale health and wealth inequality, the challenges facing global health are substantial.

This course seeks to explore the shared global challenges, as well as those being specific to individual regions, and hence be applicable to public health and healthcare personnel around the world. It has been designed to meet the needs of those holding strategic positions within organisations as well as individual public health and healthcare workers who wish learn more about how to enhance sustainability, health and wellbeing.



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Entry Requirements

The standard entry requirements are:

  • A recognised UK honours degree of 2.2 or above, or its equivalent.
  • English language and writing skills at GCSE English (Grade C or above) or IELTS 6.5.
  • Each applicant will be interviewed and applications considered on their own merits.
  • Mature applicants with non-degree level qualifications and appropriate experience will be considered.

We acknowledge that some applicants may hold non-standard qualifications and therefore applications from all candidates will be considered on their merits and in the light of the nature and scope of the programme.

Informal enquiries are welcomed. Please do ask if you are unsure about whether you meet the entry requirements


Programme at a Glance

Year 1

3 core modules (compulsory)

MY4201 Health and Wellbeing (20 credits)
MY4202 Principles of Sustainability (20 credits)
NU4025 Introduction to Postgraduate Research (20 credits)


Year 2

1 core double module

MY4000 Connecting Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing (40 credits)

Plus 1 option single module* (20 credits each) Choice from:

NU4086 Applying Methods in Health Research
HP4006 Research, Ethics and Governance
PG4114 Healthy and Sustainable Settings: Theory, Policy and Practice
MW4036 Organisational Leadership and Management
XS4031 International Food law
HP4007 Student Initiated Module

Year 3

1 core double module

PG4115 Applied Health Project

Plus 1 option single module with same choices as above for Year 2*.

*The availability of the option modules may vary depending on student numbers and staff availability.

Further Information

Modules In Brief

The course is divided into a number of modules, 5 of which are worth 20 credits each and two are double modules worth 40 credits, making a total of 180 credits. Students usually study three modules in year one and one double and one single module in years two and three. The first year modules are all core modules and must be taken, whereas in the second year there is one compulsory double module (Connecting sustainability, health and wellbeing) and one option single module. In the final year students undertake a double project/dissertation module and a further option single module.

MY4001 Health and Wellbeing (core)
This module will provide opportunities for examination of both the theoretical and practical implications of different conceptualisations of health and wellbeing. Through the process of critical reflection, students will challenge and analyse personal assumptions about health and wellbeing, and be encouraged to develop new and integrated conceptualisations within the context of contemporary thinking and debate.

MY4002 Principles of Sustainability (core)
This module will provide opportunities for examination of the broad-ranging, underpinning principles of sustainability. Students will explore a range of issues pertaining to sustainability and sustainable development that provide an overarching view of the multifaceted and complex nature of sustainability.

NU4025 Introduction to Postgraduate Research (core)
The module presents a broad overview of the principles of research beginning with ethical, epistemological and theoretical perspectives, and moving through qualitative and quantitative research designs, analysis and synthesis. Students will focus on the evidence relevant to one particular topic in their speciality, exploring the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of this evidence and the impact of research design on knowledge generated.

MY4000 Connecting Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing (core)
Students will explore the connections between sustainability, health and wellbeing, and examine ways in which sustainability principles and values can be applied effectively within the context of public health and health and social care. This will entail the synthesis of information from a broad range of disciplines and the critical analysis of multiple perspectives (e.g. environmental, economic, social, political, cultural, ethical). Students will also evaluate the practical implications of adopting co-ordinated and integrated approaches at different levels, from individual and organisational through to national and global.

PG4115 Applied Health Project (core)
To enable students to complete an empirical or literature based investigation in a topic relevant to their course. Students may test a hypothesis, explore a research question or solve a problem. They will be expected to design and conduct their own investigation and analysis, use appropriate methodologies, conceptual frameworks and analytical skills. The topic may involve the practical application of knowledge, skills and analysis to an issue within their own practice. The choice of topic will depend on access to appropriate resources and information and on department research themes and staff interests and expertise.

NU4086 Applying Methods in Health Research (optional)
This module aims to build upon knowledge and skills obtained in NU4025 (Introduction to Postgraduate Research) to focus in an in- depth manner on methods specifically used in health and health service research. Through examination of the practical application of research methods in this field it aims to support students in the development of the necessary skills for undertaking an independent piece of qualitative or quantitative research.

HP4006 Research, Ethics and Governance (optional)
This module aims to facilitate progression from theory to practice in research within a clear ethical framework. It acts as a bridging module between the theoretical study of research and governance to the conduct of an approved empirical research project.
It aims to familiarise students with meta-ethical theories and practical ethical issues surrounding different forms of research and with the principles of research governance. It will help students develop a real research proposal and to analyse potential ethical challenges in their research.

PG4114 Healthy and Sustainable Settings: Theory, Policy and Practice (optional)
This module aims to enable students to develop a critical, analytical and integrative understanding of theory, policy and practice related to healthy and sustainable settings.

MW4036 Organisational Leadership and Management (optional)
This module aims to develop practitioners as leaders and or managers who are able to think critically, strategically and able to facilitate change and influence policy. It is also suitable for non UK students as it is not directly focused on the National Health Service within the UK.

XS4031 International Food law (optional)
This module aims to review the role of government/non-government bodies in relation to food legislation internationally and identify the implications for manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

HP4007 Student Initiated Module (optional)
To give an opportunity to students to extend their knowledge and analytical skills around a topic of their own choosing and to further develop their capacity to work independently.

The entire course is delivered via e-learning and students are never required to attend the university hence the course is open to people from all over the world. As a graduate, you can of course attend for the graduation ceremony (in full gowns) if desired.

E-learning means that you can study from home as long as you have the necessary equipment and a good speed broadband. The university website hosts an area that is dedicated to the MSc course where all materials are posted. Teaching materials for each session are posted on this web area together with links for readings and other interesting sites. The university subscribes to a substantial number of online academic databases, e-books and online journals. This means you can use the resources of the university to support your learning without ever actually coming to Preston.

Students are asked to work through the notes and materials each week, contribute to online discussions (like a chat room) and then meet for approximately one hour each week using video conferencing to meet with tutors and other students. This live discussion may be weekly or on alternate weeks but that will vary through the year. We offer a choice of times for the online sessions to ensure accessibility wherever you are.

The academic year runs from September to May.

Equipment needed

The most vital requirement is a high speed broadband connection that allows you to join the live tutorials as well as downloading some large documents.

Some students find it strange at first to be studying in this way, but soon get used to the technology and interacting with materials and fellow students online.

In addition you will need:

  • Regular access to your computer
  • A standard web cam
  • A headset with headphones and microphone
Skills needed

As this is a master's course you will be required to think at a high analytical level. You will be expected to immerse yourself in topics that may be outside your normal experience such as philosophy, social sciences, research and reflective practice.

All topics are delivered in English so a high level of spoken and written English is essential.

Some students have joined the course with little experience of working with computers and we know that they struggle in the first semester whilst trying to familiarise themselves with the technology. If this is the case for you then you may consider a short course in IT before starting the course. The main skills needed are:

  • email
  • word processing
  • navigating websites
  • downloading documents
  • online video conferencing (like Skype)

Your induction onto the course will include an introduction to researching using online databases, books and journals. You also have the back-up of the university’s IT support team.

For further information about the course and informal enquiries please contact the course leader, Hazel Partington

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (all residences)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

Industry Links

Healthy & Sustainable Settings Unit, UCLan

Professor Mark Dooris is the head of this Unit, established in 2001 and their work directly informs this course.

The Healthy & Sustainable Settings Unit aims to support the holistic and integrated development of healthy settings – acknowledging that “health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love” (WHO, 1986) and that many health challenges are interrelated and can be best tackled through comprehensive, integrated programmes in the contexts and places where people live their lives. Bridging research, policy and practice, the unit has a global reputation and is concerned to facilitate ecological approaches to health and wellbeing within and across a diversity of organisational and geographical settings – and to increase understanding of ‘what works and why’ in different contexts.

The unit’s work is informed by:

  • a focus on salutogenesis – going beyond illness to explore the creation of wellbeing and foster potentials that enable individuals and populations to flourish
  • a willingness to engage with and embrace complexity
  • a concern to work with and manage change in whole systems
  • a commitment to social justice, equity, participation and empowerment
  • the imperative of connecting health and sustainable development – appreciating that human health is dependent on and closely interwoven with the health of the planet.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Teaching team

Tutors are qualified to teach in higher education and hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (or equivalent). They are also Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. The core team of tutors are those listed below but there is additional input from specialists in the university on specific topics as needed. For example, in the module, MY4002 Principles of Sustainability, some key lectures are delivered by experts from across the university on particular sustainability-related topics such as tourism, food and waste management.

Hazel Partington is the course leader for MSc Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing and module leader for MY4001 Health and Wellbeing, MW4036 Organisational Leadership and Management, and teaches on NU4025 Introduction to Post Graduate Research and NU4086 Applying Methods in Health Research amongst other modules. Hazel has a background of over 20 years in health care practice and has also provided education consultancy for CAM registering organisations. Her interest in practitioner development and education inspired Hazel’s research for her Professional Doctorate exploring professional identity and the potential of online learning to foster transformative learning experiences. Hazel is an active qualitative researcher in Practitioner Education and Development and Future Directions in Complementary Health Research.

Mark Dooris is Professor in Health and Sustainability and Director of the Healthy & Sustainable Settings Unit, which is the first and only unit of its kind in the UK. Mark has acted as expert advisor for development of this course and he is module leader for the key 2nd year double module MY4000 Connecting Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing, as well as the option module PG4114 Healthy and Sustainable Settings. He and his team are engaged in research, evaluation, teaching, training, network development and programme delivery. They currently co-ordinate the UK Healthy Universities Network; lead a pan-regional prison health and wellbeing programme within the North West of England; and are partners in a North West Sustainable Food Research Collaboration. From 2011-2014, he was responsible for the establishment and co-ordination of the UK Healthy Cities Network and management of the operational delivery of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health in Prisons. Mark is a member of the National Sustainable Food Cities Network Expert Group, was a member of the evaluation team for Phases III and IV of WHO’s European Healthy Cities Programme and has undertaken consultancy work relating to Healthy Cities, community participation and sustainable development. Mark is particularly interested in collaborating across disciplines and institutions to carry out action-focused research and development exploring the connections and interfaces between health, sustainability and community wellbeing. This concerns the linkages between nature, green space and health; and a focus on resilience and transition – recognising that climate change, resource depletion and environmental degradation are not only economic and ecological threats, but also potentially the biggest public health challenges facing us in the early 21st century.

Jean Duckworth is the course leader for another e-learning course, MSc Transforming Integrated Health and Social Care and for this course she is module leader for MY4002 Principles of Sustainability, HP4006 Research, Ethics and Governance and HP4007 Student Initiated Module. Jean has a background in law, medical ethics and homeopathy and currently teaches across a number of modules including research, ethics and leadership modules. For her PhD Jean used phenomenological methodology to investigate the philosophy and practice of midwife homeopaths. Jean is also involved in a range of external activities associated with the legal and ethical conduct of practitioners and researchers

Michelle Baybutt - Michelle has a keen interest and experience of research and knowledge transfer in the areas of prisoner health, prisons as settings for health and public health in prison and wider criminal justice fields. Michelle’s doctoral research focused on female prisoners’ experiences of the Grow Your Way to Personal Success horticultural project at H.M.P. Styal in Cheshire. This research was concerned to explore the impacts of nature on physical, mental and social health and well-being; anti-social behaviour and social inclusion; and citizenship skills. It revealed how working with nature impacts positively on the health and social well-being of women in prison, thus enabling a transformational development of pro-social identity for effective resettlement, socialisation and increased citizenship through meaningful work, education and training. She is a member of the Healthy & Sustainable Settings Unit.

Work Experience and Opportunities

It is anticipated that people will have a variety of reasons for wishing to undertake this course of study. Some may work within the health and social care sectors and be taking this course to help them with implementation of sustainability principles in the work place.

Others may be more interested in research and may wish to pursue further studies through PhD. It is possible for students, after successful completion of this course, to apply for the Professional Doctorate in Health (PrD), which confers the title Dr on completion of extended original research on their chosen topic.

The optional modules allow for the differing needs of individuals to be met through differing pathways. For example, a person wishing to pursue a career in research may opt for two additional modules in research, whereas a person who has, or is aiming for, a position of responsibility within an organisation or community may benefit from the optional modules in Leadership and Healthy and Sustainable Settings.

All students are counselled about their choice of optional modules.