5 questions that usually don’t get answered: HPP edition

These are the top questions I have received from prospective students about the Health Promotion and Prevention program. Whether you are a student preparing to start classes at KI in September or are wanting to apply to KI in the future, I hope this gives you further insight into what to expect from the program.

How is the HPP stream different from the Epidemiology stream?  

The Masters in Public Health Sciences consists of two streams: Epidemiology and Health Promotion and Prevention. According to the KI website, “The track in Public Health Epidemiology has a further focus on applied epidemiology in order to develop the skills to describe, analyse and reflect upon a variety of public health issues and to critically review epidemiological studies. For the track in Health Promotion and Prevention, the emphasis lies on applying methods for health promotion and preventive actions in order to develop skills in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating health interventions at both individual and structural levels”. The two streams are very similar in that they have the same program structure and that the majority of courses overlap with a general focus on developing student’s knowledge and skills in epidemiological methods of studying the distribution of health. However, the HPP stream breaks off for a few courses (i.e. Introduction to Planning and Program Development) that prepare students to critically apply skills learnt in the joint classes to “real-world” health promotion and preventative intervention. Additionally, the two streams will diverge in semester 4 for the final degree project/thesis. In the HPP stream, your thesis can be quantitative or qualitative and can focus on a wide range of topics anywhere from the design and implementation process of health promotion interventions to the evaluation of a public health intervention. In total 25 credits (in classes) + 30 credits (thesis) = 55 credits out of 120 credits that will be focused on Health Promotion and Prevention. 

Do we have a practicum? 

We do not have a practicum, however, our last semester of studies is entirely devoted to the final degree project (thesis). We are allowed to find our own placement to conduct the thesis which can be with a research department at a university, an organization, company, etc. and either at KI or other institutions around the world. Additionally, we are given the opportunity to formulate our own research study (as long as it is approved by the program leaders) which provides the freedom to research an area of public health that you are passionate about.

What sorts of jobs do people work in after? 

This varies quite a bit and the program’s primary goal is teaching us the fundamental skills that can be applied to any component of public health. Some students want to bring this public health knowledge back into clinical healthcare, work in health policy, epidemiological research or work for NGOs within areas of advocacy or program development and implementation. Other students continue their educational journey by completing a PhD. An invaluable aspect of this program is that it does not limit students to one career path, but rather it provides you with the competence to integrate the knowledge and skills you develop within any area of public health and career you pursue.

What do we learn that will be useful for our future job?

This is a common question I have received from prospective students, but it is a challenging one to answer. Areas of interests and future careers in public health vary greatly among students, so personal ideas of what is considered relevant knowledge and applicable skills will differ. However, this program is focused on teaching students the fundamental skills of public health and how it is related to research. This means our classes focus on areas pertaining to the theoretical groundings of research, epidemiological study of determinants of health, and developing research skills like questionnaire design, interviewing, ethical considerations, identifying bias, etc. We have numerous courses related to biostatistics including coding and analysis, which are skills we now use in all our courses. 

These skills, although not always the most exciting to learn, are vital to any job in public health. At any level of public health – research, epidemiology, public health interventions, policy implementation, etc. – these are skills you need in order to contribute to the advancement of informed, evidence-based decisions and continuity of existing knowledge. 

Do we have time to have a part-time job? 

Every person is different in how they manage workload or identify work-life balance, so there is no concrete answer to this. Our program is full-time and is set up to represent a 40-hour workweek. However, the 40 hours account for the total time spent on school-related work which typically factors in both in-class lectures as well as time dedicated in the schedule to individual reading, assignments, examinations, group work, etc. 

Therefore, there may be several evenings during the week and/or weekends off that would allow you to take on a job. It is important to consider when planning your work schedule that the schedule is slightly different across all courses and changes around every 5 weeks. Getting a part-time job in Sweden can be quite challenging without the Swedish language, but students have been able to get jobs at cafes, stores, delivery services or found employment at KI, like being a digital ambassador or as a research assistant. 

If you are a prospective student, I hope this answered some of your top questions and feel free to contact me if you have any more questions lauren.elizabeth.wiebe@stud.ki.se

Thanks for reading!


*Cover photo by Charlotte Myers

Lauren Wiebe- Health Promotion and Prevention

Lauren Wiebe- Health Promotion and Prevention

Hi! I am Lauren, I was born and raised in Canada, and you probably will hear me talking about how much I love Canada, especially the mountains. I am the blogger for the Master's Public Health Sciences Health Promotion and Prevention stream and I am excited to share my experiences with you!


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