MSc degree requirements

The intent of the MSc program in Public Health Sciences is to provide students with interdisciplinary training, including in health promotion, disease prevention, public health biology, and health informatics. The program also seeks to provide students with fundamental knowledge and research capabilities in public health and health systems. To obtain the MSc degree, students must complete the required coursework, participate in the graduate seminars, and complete and defend a master’s thesis.

A list of all courses is available on the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar. The course offerings for each term are available in the Schedule of Classes.

For long-term course planning, please consult your supervisor or the graduate coordinator because some courses are not offered on a regular basis, even if shown in the graduate handbook, and some courses may be cancelled on short notice for a variety of reasons.

The MSc program involves in-person course instruction. Students applying to the program should plan to reside in Waterloo for the entire duration of their studies. Some students may be permitted to conduct their thesis research off campus, following completion of their coursework. Please note, permission to conduct thesis research off campus falls within the complete discretion of students’ MSc thesis supervisors. Applicants to the MSc program are strongly encouraged to secure a supervisor prior to applying to the program, and to discuss research residency requirements with the supervisor well in advance of beginning the program. It is not possible to pursue the MSc program entirely remotely or online.

Collaborative MSc program with water specialization

The collaborative MSc program with Water Specialization provides students registered in any department or school in the Faculty of Health with an interdisciplinary platform upon which to develop a broad understanding of issues related to water. The program affords the opportunity to cross departmental/school boundaries and access courses and resources, including thesis committee members, who can add different perspectives to penetrating research problems. The program prepares students for careers in academic institutions as well as in the private sector and related non-university settings such as hospitals, research, and policy institutes.

Students must fulfill the minimum requirements of the MSc in Public Health Sciences. In addition, students will enroll in WATER 601: Integrated Water Management and WATER 602: Integrated Water Management Project. For further information, see Public Health Sciences - MSc (Water) at Waterloo.

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Selected topics and independent studies (HLTH 620/720)

These are typically single enrolment courses that students will complete with their own supervisor or another faculty member in the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS). Topics can vary and are usually chosen to supplement the student’s proposed thesis topic.

The HLTH 620/HLTH 720 Selected Topics Proposal Form is available on LEARN in the SPHS Research Grad Community Group and must be approved by the associate director, graduate studies before the course can be created on Quest and the student permitted to enrol. From time to time, students will seek permission to have these courses replace required or elective courses. Approval of these requests’ rests with the associate director, graduate studies and students can expect denials if the material covered in HLTH 620/720 differs substantially from the required or elective course in question.

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Practicum (HLTH 641/741) description and guidelines

Graded as Credit/No Credit

A practicum is a supervised field or lab experience designed to enhance research and analytical skills (either quantitative or qualitative). The practicum must have an 'application' or hands-on focus. Please see the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for descriptions of the practicum opportunities available for MSc and PhD students. Please note that a designated practicum instructor and coordinator will need to approve your practicum before you can enrol.

A contract must be completed by the student, in conjunction with the proposed field supervisor, outlining the nature of the project, describing the specific tasks the student will be responsible for (or involved in), specifying the timeline and meeting/supervision schedule, and finally, describing the final product (and due date) to be produced for assessment purposes. The student and field supervisor(s) must sign this form, which will then require the approval of the student’s practicum instructor. Be prepared to produce multiple drafts of this contract; clarifications are frequently required prior to approval. Make sure the specifics are agreeable to all parties (approval in principle) before getting signatures. Ethics approval through UWaterloo or a sponsoring organization for the project in question may be required depending on the nature of the practicum.

A copy of the Practicum Proposal and Contract is available from the SPHS practicum coordinator, Ashley King.

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