Public Health BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)


September 2018


If you're passionate about helping to promote and protect people's health, our degree course is for you. You’ll have opportunities to develop practical and professional skills, engage with employers, interpret and report upon data, and get hands-on experience with a work placement.

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Full description


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Public health has never been more important or relevant as it is in today’s ageing and complex society, making it a wide-ranging and interesting career choice.

You might like to work as a public health practitioner, youth worker, drug and alcohol worker, public health information officer or analyst, health improvement practitioner, health protection practitioner, sexual health advisor, smoking cessation co-ordinator, community development or outreach worker, health communications officer or even go into health-related research.

The skills and knowledge you gain in our course will not only allow you to work in local government and the National Health Service, but also in education, private and consultancy roles and non-profit organisations in the UK or for international agencies like the World Health Organization or UNICEF.

Our course was designed in consultation with a variety of public health stakeholders, including Public Health England. You will be guided in the process of effectively mapping your public health knowledge and understanding to the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) competencies and UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (UKPHSKF). As you become a more accomplished reflective practitioner you’ll develop a portfolio of reflective case studies to show how you have applied what you have learned in real-life settings. As a graduate you can then build on this portfolio and use for future registration as a public health practitioner.

After additional study and completion of a relevant specialist training scheme you could one day become a public health specialist for the Government, NHS or armed forces.

You could also undertake one of our taught Masters courses, such as MSc Public Health, or a postgraduate research programme.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Public Health (PH)
    Begin your studies by gaining an overview of public health and understanding how it aligns itself to the medical and social sciences. You’ll jump right into understanding how community life might affect the health of the people living there. Taking part in a guided community walk will allow you to see for yourself how health-related features are all around. Conversations with key members of the community, such as public health practitioners or community leaders, will also give you a direct insight into people’s lives. You’ll analyse your data using different software programmes and understand different sections of society and the health differences and reasons between them.
  • Professional Skills for PH: The Foundation
    Here, you’ll begin to think about how you’ll use your degree and other opportunities available within our University to develop your career into an exciting and successful pathway. You’ll examine different job opportunities available to public health professionals, and understand how they can influence the population’s health, while you become more familiar with frameworks from the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) and the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (UKPHSKF). You’ll develop a UK Public Health Practitioner Portfolio which you’ll use throughout your time with us, and take right though to registration or interview.
  • Promoting Health and Wellbeing
    Drill down into how and why diseases start and progress in the body and how our systems react to these. You’ll think about inequalities and risky and dangerous lifestyle factors, both in the UK and globally, which impact different sections of the population. As you begin to link the way behaviour, lifestyle and even policies and legislation can affect health, you’ll consider the public health efforts in addressing these though health promotion and programmes.
  • Introduction to Population Health
    Consider how diseases affect different populations around the world and understand the way trends and diseases are measured, reported and monitored. You’ll take this one step further by observing the way in which this information is used by local, national and international governments while highlighting some of the challenges of using this data in a real life setting. As you begin to focus on particular trends, concepts and disease, you’ll produce a country case study that describes the population health priorities, how the information can be interpreted, how it compares to neighbouring countries and how you could address the challenges.

Year two, core modules

  • Global Health and Sustainability
    Explore how sustainability impacts aspects and outcomes of health, and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals, which form the basis of International Public Health Practice. Immerse yourself in the research as you take part in a simulated scenario where you’ll witness practical public health challenges, which could include outbreak of disease or managing an epidemic. Finally, you’ll work in a group to produce a policy paper and recommendations based on the World Health Organisation, government and local authority recommendations for a given public health problem.
  • Professional Skills for PH 2: Research and Evidence
    Focus on developing your research skills and explore how data collection occurs. Having first-hand experience of designing questions for quantitative and qualitative data will give you a greater understanding of the challenges of primary research, and also help with your critical thinking and review of secondary sources. You’ll explore different working practices in diverse public health settings while visiting a public health practice and then complete a structured case-study describing your experiences of research and types of data analysis use to inform this public health area.
  • Health Communication
    Educating people about their health has never been so important, but understanding how to do this, and how to understand and measure their behaviour change can be difficult. Using latest examples of campaigns from the UK and internationally, you’ll learn about and evaluate theories used in behaviour change and in health communication. You’ll get hands on as we introduce you to one counselling technique (CBT, DBT, motivational interviewing or solution-focused brief therapy) to develop your own communication skills. You’ll then put these to the test during workshops and a simulated patient encounter and podcast based campaign.
  • Health Systems 1: Epidemiology and Health Economics
    Gain an insight into different healthcare systems and investigate how public health is funded and challenged in different parts of the world, by examining geography, government, economy, the country’s healthcare system facilities, workforce, technology, cost, quality, and access. You’ll learn how to identify relevant and valid sources of data, trends, review the demographic changes in population health and appreciate how data informs health decisions. You’ll also learn the application of epidemiology in public health by exploring the theories, learning the practical skills and undertaking case study exercises.

Year three, core modules

  • Projects to Enhance Health
    This module offers another opportunity to gain practical experience in real-life settings. By identifying a community or population and demonstrating what their needs might be you’ll show your understanding of the role of social, psychological, environmental, policy and ethical issues in health. You’ll then design a social project based in your research and start thinking about how ideas transform into reality, as you present your project idea in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format to impress a mock investment panel. One your graduate, your project proposal could also be used in your preparation for registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR).
  • Health Systems 2: Driving Change in Population Health
    Build on the sustainability knowledge that you gained in previous years and focus on how sustainable population health policy is made by exploring examples of public health problems within the community and making changes toward a long term improvement can take place. You’ll examine how public health is financed, and the strategic commissioning approach, to understand how this informs decision making and affects health priorities, targets, structure and resource allocation. You’ll then use your epidemiological data analysis skills by completing a review of a community using real data and software.
  • Community Experience
    Put theory into practice, and gain workplace experience, as you undertake a placement to build on your knowledge of the social, cultural, historical, ethical, political and economic issues that influence the health and wellbeing of people receiving public health interventions in different settings. You’ll choose your placement by thinking about what interests you the most and linking it into the area you’d like to enter once you graduate. Your Module Leader and allocated supervisor will provide training and support to prepare you for this venture. You’ll then reflect on your experience by creating a placement conference presentation and sharing your experiences to both assessors and students across the faculty.
  • Professional Skills for PH 3: The Responsive Practitioner
    As you near then end of your course we’ll help you consolidate the skills and knowledge you’ve gained, such as holistic and evidence based practice, leadership and collaborative/joint working, and bring these together within your portfolio. Finally, we’ll support you in taking the next step in securing your career after university, as you respond to a job advert, improve your interview skills, organise your documentation and prepare and map your portfolio onto the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) and the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).


To ensure you’re gaining relevant real life skills we’ll assess you through modern techniques, such as simulated scenarios and role plays, case studies based on field trips, multi-media projects and even a Dragon’s Den style panel. You’ll also be assessed by more traditional methods, including reports, essays, group work and portfolio work.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Medical Science, opened in 2014, is founded on the strong international reputation of our flagship Postgraduate Medical Institute. Based on our riverside campus in Chelmsford and Young Street campus in Cambridge, we deliver innovative and clinically relevant teaching and research across two departments:

  • Allied Health
  • Medical Science and Public Health

Thanks to our close relationships with the major clinical-care providers in the east of England, there are significant opportunities for collaboration and student placements across a variety of clinical sites.

We offer exciting opportunities for research and education in the allied health professions. We also translate science and epidemiology into health education and primary care, and deliver taught Master’s programmes to qualified medics. We have a flourishing community of PhD and MD(Res) students across all of our research fields.

Our advanced learning facilities include state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratories and simulation suites, which mirror real-life clinical situations. We also have a fantastic, modern library and a wide range of science labs and ICT suites.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


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Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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