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Jacqueline Crane
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Terri-Ann Fairclough
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MSc Health, Community and Development

HCD is suspended for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017

Why do so many health promotion programmes have disappointing results in both rich and poor countries?

Why do so many international development programmes fail to improve peoples' health and well-being?

What can be done to improve the outcomes of public health interventions?

How can medical services work more effectively with patients from disadvantaged communities?

How can members of marginalized communities act to improve their own health and well-being?

What types of support do socially excluded communities need to challenge the social circumstances that place their health at risk?

What are the pathways between community participation and health?

If you have an interest in questions of this nature, this may be the MSc for you.

In this 17min 26 secs video, Professor Cathy Campbell describes MSc Health, Community and Development

The poorest people in the world have the poorest health. Billions of pounds are spent on costly health and social development programmes that have little impact. Too many of these are imposed on communities in a top-down way by outside 'experts'. Our starting point in this MSc is that interventions succeed to the extent that they resonate with the needs, interests and world views of the communities they serve, and that effective community participation is a necessary precondition for success. We seek to develop understandings of how health and social development professionals can work in partnership with target communities to improve well-being, fight disease and build 'health-enabling' social environments.

Central themes include:

  • the role of community participation and small-scale collective action in public health and health promotion
  • the psycho-social processes underlying the impact of collective action on health
  • how social development approaches can lead not only to improved health, but also to transformatory social action
  • strategies for building the capacity of marginalized groups to respond more effectively to health challenges

The programme draws on sub-disciplines of community psychology, critical health psychology and social psychology. Where appropriate, attention is also given to the overlap between these areas and the fields of anthropology, development studies, public health, gender studies and social policy.

You will receive a high quality academic training, which equips you with analytical frameworks that deepen your understanding of the health-society interface – in ways that enable you to formulate strategies for action in specific social settings. You will also receive a sound training in research methodology which will enable you to conduct high quality empirical research.

Career opportunities

HCD graduates look for work in agencies / fields relating to the practice or conceptualisation of public health, social development or health promotion. These include NGOs; international development agencies; and government health, welfare and social development departments or ministries – in both developed and developing countries.

A minority of candidates continue with doctoral research in this field with a view to research or academic careers.

This programme will be of particular interest to people already employed in these areas who feel a need to deepen their understandings of the relationship between health, community and participation.

Programme Structure

The programme involves completing four course units, and a dissertation of no more than 10,000 words.

For information about the programme structure click here|

We make every effort to ensure that the courses are offered and available as described. However certain circumstances may occasionally make this impossible.  In such cases alternative option choices can be discussed with your Programme Director and Academic Advisor.


Students work closely with a supervisor in selecting a topic and in designing and carrying out an empirical piece of social psychological research, thereby giving students first hand experience of the research process.

Professor Catherine Campbell

"The high point of my professional life is my co-ordination of the Health, Community and Development Group. This is a vibrant and deeply committed group of academics and students from all over the world, involved in cutting edge teaching/learning, research and practice in the field of community participation for health."

Professor Cat|
hy Campbell|

Director of the Health, Community and Development programme
HCD Research Website| 
Underground Sociabilities Research