Global Health, Law and Governance

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )





Decisions made at the global or international level, including those related to trade, aid, conflict and climate change, can have a profound impact on health at the national and local levels.

For example, when the International Monetary Fund, US government and Harvard-trained economists such as Jeffrey Sachs, encouraged former Soviet Union states to undertake a rapid transition to capitalism in the early-1990s, the subsequent economic “Shock Therapy” caused mass unemployment and seven million people died prematurely from so-called diseases of despair related to increased alcohol consumption.

Another example is the ten to twelve million people with HIV/AIDS who died unnecessarily because patent-holding pharmaceutical companies, with the support of US and European governments, used international law to obstruct the sale of low cost generic antiretroviral drugs to poor people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MSc in Global Health Law and Governance encourages students to critically analyse the manner in which global and international institutions, instruments, and policies influence public health. Students will examine the role of the World Health Organization, and other key global health actors. This includes: international organizations including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization; philanthropic actors such as the Gates Foundation; private companies including Big Pharma and Big Tobacco; and global health partnerships such as GAVI and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Students are taught from a multidisciplinary perspective by medical doctors, public health consultants, lawyers, economists, political scientists, sociologists, geographers, and anthropologists.

In the first semester, students take core modules that provide a thorough grounding in key concepts and research methods: Epidemiology and Statistics; Evidence, Policy and Global Health; Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Health; Health Systems, Policy and Practice.

In the second semester, students gain a more detailed understanding of global health law and governance. They take specialist modules in Global Health, Governance and Law, and Human Rights and Public Health. In addition, students choose elective modules that reflect their interests and write a dissertation on a subject chosen with the help of their supervisor. 

The programme will appeal to potential students with an interest and/or experience in the way politics, law and economics impacts on health at the global, national and local level. This includes healthcare practitioners, civil servants, lawyers, social and political scientists, and NGO workers, amongst others.

We integrate different types of teaching delivery including small group seminars and participation in public health conferences, so students will develop debating and discussion skills, and have plenty of contact with academics. Over the year, students will develop skills and knowledge that will help them to pursue a career related to global health and international development. This includes working in health and public policy at local, national, or international level, as well as in governmental and international bodies and NGOs. Our students have gone on to further postgraduate research both with the Global Public Health Unit at QMUL and other universities.

The MSc in Global Health Law and Governance is led by Dr Jonathan Kennedy. It forms part of a wider programme of study in critical global health within the Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry that is directed by Professor David McCoy, and taught by a multidisciplinary team of clinical and non-clinical academics from the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health.

Why study your MSc in Global Health Law and Governance at Queen Mary?

This programme is a collaboration between the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Law. The School of Medicine and Dentistry is comprised of two world renowned teaching hospitals, St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London, which have made, and continue to make, an outstanding contribution to modern medicine. We were one of the top six in the UK for medicine in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise. The school was ranked 3rd in the UK and 1st in London by the Guardian University Guide 2018 subject league tables. The School of Law at Queen Mary is ranked 3rd in the UK and 1st in London by the Guardian University Guide 2018 subject league tables.

The Global Public Health Unit combines the local and the global in a stimulating and challenging research and teaching environment. We have strong links to the NHS, local authorities, numerous third-sector organisations in east London, policymakers in the UK, and leading international figures in global health. The unit collaborates with other universities and organisations from around the world to aid research, teaching, policy development, and community engagement, and we encourage students to get involved in both our local and international work.


Key academics

Dr Megan Clinch

Dr Clinch is a lecturer in medicine and society. She has a background in social anthropology and has researched at the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, the Faculty of Social Science at the Open University, and the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She explores how different forms of investigation, experimentality, evidence, and evaluation are understood and managed in the development of public health interventions. This research contributes to her broad interest in the politics of evidence in contentious practice situations and the emergence of interdisciplinary research as a means of managing them. Megan teaches medical anthropology, medical sociology and qualitative research methods at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Dr Miran Epstein

Dr Epstein is a reader in medical ethics. His research covers transplant ethics, end-of-life ethics, and human research ethics. His particular interest is the history of biomedical ethics, on which he is currently writing a book. He is a member of The Transplantation Society (TTS) and a London-based NHS research ethics committee.

Dr Valentina Gallo

Dr Valentina Gallo is a neuroepidemiologist with both clinical neurological qualifications and epidemiological background. She graduated in medicine in 2000 at ‘la Sapienza’ University of Rome, where she also obtained her clinical qualification as neurologist in 2005. She attended the MSc in Demography and Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2003-04. Before joining QMUL, Valentina worked as research associate in the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and as clinical lecturer in epidemiology at LSHTM, working on the health effect of perfluorinated compound exposure. Valentina is currently investigating risk factors for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a form of motor neurone disease) and Parkinson’s disease; and has interests in environmental, molecular, and social epidemiology.

Dr Andrew Harmer

Dr Harmer is a lecturer in Global Health Policy with in the Global Public Health unit. Andrew has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Southampton , and has taught at the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  Andrew's main areas of current research are a theoretical investigations into global health and power, and developing metrics for measuring the health effects of climate change.

Dr Jonathan Kennedy

Jonathan’s research uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods – including in-depth interviews, comparative historical methods and statistical analysis – in a question-driven process. Broadly speaking, his research can be divided into two substantive strands. The first introduces methods and theories from political economy and political sociology to analyze the political, social and economic determinants of public health. The second seeks to understand violent political conflict between the state and marginal communities in a manner that takes into account the dynamic relationship between individual actions, political opportunity structures, and socioeconomic structures. Jonathan’s published research concentrates on South Asia, but he is interested in developing and transitional countries more generally. He is currently working on a project that uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative data to investigate the political determinants of polio and specifically the relationship between Islamist insurgency and polio in countries including Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Ms Sally Kerry

Sally Kerry is a reader in medical statistics and senior statistician in the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit. She previously worked at St George’s, University of London where she developed an interest in pragmatic trials in primary care and cluster randomised trials. She is particularly interested in making statistical ideas accessible to health researchers and has written a number of papers about cluster randomised trials in the BMJ. She has co-authored two books, ‘Presenting medical statistics from proposal to publication’ with Janet Peacock and ‘A practical guide to cluster randomised trials’ with Sandra Eldridge.

Dr Elias Kondilis

Dr Kondilis is a senior lecturer in health systems. He has been involved in research on healthcare privatization policies, quality evaluation and regulation of private for-profit healthcare providers. His research now focuses on the impact of economic crisis on population health and healthcare reform in Europe. Previously he held research and teaching positions at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

Professor David McCoy

Programme Director

Professor David McCoy is a senior clinical lecturer at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Queen Mary University, London and head of Public Health Intelligence for Inner North West London.

David graduated from Southampton University medical school and worked as a clinician in the UK for two and a half years. He then spent ten years in South Africa, first working in a rural government hospital in South Africa for two and half years, and subsequently in the field of public health and health systems development. He was policy research fellow at the Child Health Unit of the University of Cape Town, and then worked for Health Systems Trust, a non-government organisation established to support the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa’s health care system. On returning to the UK, he completed his formal training in public health medicine. He then worked as a research fellow at University College London, followed by a stint as Director of Public Health in Hammersmith and Fulham. He has an M.Phil in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Cape Town and a doctorate from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Doreen Montag

MSc Coordinator

Dr. Montag is a lecturer in Non-Clinical Global Public Health with almost 20 years of experience among indigenous and non-indigenous people in rural and urban areas of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon. She received her DPhil in Anthropology from Oxford University. Her doctoral research, which was funded by the Radcliff-Brown Trust of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the Bamborough Fund, the Linacre Trust Fund and the Peter Lienhardt Memorial Fund from the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University, is an ethnography of fever in the Peruvian Amazon. It focuses on how historical factors, embodied biopolitics, current environmental degradation and increase in emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases impacts upon urban Shipibo-Konibo people’s experiences of fever.

Dr Daniel Wang

Daniel Wang is a Lecturer in Health and Human Rights. Before joining the School of Law at Queen Mary he was a LSE Post-doctoral Fellow (2012-2013) and taught at the University of Sao Paulo and at the Brazilian National School of Public Administration. Wang’s research interest include Human Rights Law; Medical Law and Constitutional Law. Dr Wang teaches the module Human Rights and Public Health for the Global Health programmes.


The Learning Resource centre has 200 networked PCs and is open to students round the clock, there are dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.

You will also have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource.

You will have access to a range of specialist facilities including: medical libraries located at the Royal London and St Bart's hospitals and at the main College campus at Mile End.


MSc Global Health, Law and Governance is available for study for one year full-time, or two years part-time.

In the first semester, modules develop the key concepts and research methods and analysis. These present you with relevant methodological issues and challenges while providing interdisciplinary foundations. In the second semester, you gain a more detailed understanding of areas relevant to your interests through specialist and elective modules.

Core modules

  • Epidemiology and Statistics
  • Evidence, Policy and Global Health
  • Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Health
  • Health Systems, Policy and Practice
  • Dissertation

Specialist modules

  • Global Health Governance and Law
  • Human Rights and Public Health

Optional modules

  • Governance of Migration, Displacement and Healthcare
  • Gender, Sexuality and Health
  • Anthropology and Global Health
  • Health Systems Theory, Policy and Political Economy
  • Ecological Global Health
  • Globalisation and Contemporary Medical Ethics
  • Understanding and Managing Human Resources for Global Health
  • Researching Global Health and Biomedicine- Geneva Field Class
  • Economics of Development
  • Human Resource Management in the Public Services

Our core modules are studied in the first semester only, from the third week of September to mid December.

Optional and specialist modules are studied in the second semester only, from the second week of January to the end of March.


Undertaking an MSc programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly. Each module you study is worth 15 credits. University guidelines suggest that for every 15 credits, a student will need to study for 150 hours. You will usually have one 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar per module, per week. You should expect to be on campus at least 3 days a week.


Our part-time study options mean you can complete this MSc over two years. This MSc programme consist of four core modules, two specialist modules and two optional modules and finally a dissertation, worth a total of 180 credits.

A part time student is required to take two of the core module worth 15 credits in semester one of the first year. In the second semester of the first year a part time student will take two specialist modules of 15 credits. The first year teaching is completed by early April, and final assessments submitted by the end of May.

In the second year a part time student will take the other two core modules worth 15 credits in semester one, and in the second semester they would take a further two optional modules worth 15 credits. In the second year a part time student would research and write their 10,000-12,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. This is usually submitted in August.

University guidelines suggest that for every 15 credits, a student will need to study for 150 hours. This is worth considering when thinking about studying part time. You will usually have one 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar per module, per week.

Distance Learning

This programme is not currently available as distance learning, although we hope to make this available in the future. Contact us for further information.


Entry requirements

You will normally need at least a 2.1 honours degree or GPA 3.2/4.0 or GPA 3.4/5.0 or international equivalent in a relevant subject, such as medicine, the health sciences, nursing or the social sciences. Applicants with a 2.2 honours degree with relevant experience within the field are welcomed to apply. We also welcome applications from those who have studied a less directly related subject at undergraduate level, but who can demonstrate interest and motivation in this area.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

Find out more about our English language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Assessment takes a number of different forms including coursework essays, assignments and presentations, and examinations. Students must achieve an overall pass in the taught element in order to progress to their dissertation, which must also be passed for a degree to be awarded.


You will also be assessed on a supervised 15,000-word dissertation.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,050
Part time £4,600

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £16,100
Part time £8,100

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717


QMUL Student Zoe Ballantyne awarded internship at the World Health Organization

Thursday 1 October 2015

Zoe Ballantyne is a student on the MSc Global Health, Law and Governance programme. As part of her studies, she took the module ‘Global Politics of Health’ offered at the School of Politics and International Relations. She is currently an Intern at the World Health Organization:WHO. Here she explains more about her experience.

What motivated you to apply for an internship at WHO?

I was interested in getting exposure to policy level work in a global organisation. The content of my Masters programme along with my medical background seemed to lead me in the direction of WHO, and the time was right to put my investment into my studies into some kind of real world experience.

Tell us about your role and what you do.

I am one of three interns currently in the HPU. I am working on one of the thematic areas for the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion which will take place towards the end of next year. The first few weeks involved lots of reading to understand the subject of health literacy, and since then I have put together an abstract for a presentation at another conference next year. I am working on developing a questionnaire through which to assess countries’ activities in the area health literacy, and a complimentary literature review. Hopefully the work will contribute towards a background paper for the 9th GCHP.

What have you enjoyed most?

I have a real interest in the subject area of my work, and developing my knowledge and expertise on the subject is really enjoyable. I also feel very fortunate to be experiencing the life and culture of the WHO HQ and meeting other interns and experts here.

How has the Global Politics of Health module helped?

At times I have felt out of my depth with the change from practice and academic study to such a high policy environment. I am 100% certain that this would have been much more of a problem had I not taken this module, as it provided a fantastic breadth and depth of knowledge exchange in an engaging and therefore memorable way. It was especially useful in terms of providing critical analysis of the role and position of the WHO in the context of Global Politics and Governance for Health.

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