Primary health care professionals, or family medicine professionals as they’re known in the US, are able to meet 80–90% of a patient’s health needs.1 Consequently, this field presents a huge opportunity for those who are passionate about making a difference to wider demographics and a greater percentage of the population.

Healthcare across the world faces major challenges from the increasing demands of ageing populations and the rise in non-communicable diseases. Strong and effective primary care is a major part of the solution. This Primary Health Care postgraduate programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to make a difference to primary health care in your community. By the end of the family medicine programme you will have gained the critical thinking skills you need to appraise evidence, develop solutions and achieve a clear vision of how best to improve primary care in a range of contexts.

By elevating primary care concepts, our Primary Health Care distance learning programme gives professionals looking to advance their career the ability to propose, develop and implement sustainable strategies to address rising rates of chronic illness and complex care in primary care across the world.

To broaden your experience, our interdisciplinary team of lecturers cover a range of current topics across international settings that face primary care today, including health inequalities, multi-morbidity, chronic disease, treatment burden, migrant health and the integration of care across systems. As part of your research project, you will also have an opportunity to explore new and innovative ideas or particular areas of interest, under academic supervision.

The online programme is delivered by staff from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing who are internationally recognised experts in the field of primary care and general practice. The faculty conducts world-leading and pioneering research into evaluating, developing and informing population health interventions such as the Scottish smoking ban and Scotland's alcohol strategy.

Taught by influential lecturers, with connections to the NHS and published articles in leading medical journals like The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, you’ll have access to the latest thinking in this field. Critically, this programme promotes sustainable health development goals set by the WHO and UN.


Our online Primary Health Care programme allows you to choose a route of study to match your interests or career goals. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of the online programme, you’ll benefit from sharing these interests and unique experiences with students from other healthcare programmes.

With core modules including epidemiology, evidence and statistics for primary care and international primary care principles and systems, the programme also offers optional courses on subjects including management of long-term conditions, understanding evidence for the real world and improving access to mental health care.

Graduates have the capacity to take a lead role in primary care, family practice and family medical development, whether in Scotland, the UK or internationally. Post-award opportunities include further study, leadership roles in primary care teams, secondment to positions within government, teaching positions and sitting on editorial boards of academic journals.


  • Develop a vision to improve primary care in your workplace setting
  • Gain an overview of the ‘big picture’ in relation to primary health care issues
  • Understand the principles and values of primary health care
  • Critically appraise evidence and apply a population approach to your work
  • Critique ideas and create new solutions


  • Duration: 2.5–6 years part-time (MSc), 2–4 years part-time (PgDip), 1–2 years part-time (PgCert). For details on full-time options request more information or speak to an admissions representative
  • Start dates: January, April and September
  • Entry requirements: Applicants should have an undergraduate degree (preferably a 2:1); exceptions may be made for those without a degree but extensive work experience in a related field must be demonstrated.
  • International students: applicants must have an IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band