A Guide to Public Health Courses

Public health is the branch of health and medicine that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of both big and small communities. You will be able to develop your understanding of public health, and how change can affect the wider community.


An undergraduate degree in public health will give you a foundation of knowledge around the area. You will study modules on population, health promotion, health protection, public health engagement, and gender, sexuality and health. These modules will allow you to improve your knowledge and skills.

Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical sessions. You may be required to take part in a work placement as part of your degree.


Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated. Common specialisations include:

  • Health Policy
  • Global Health and the Environment
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Epidemiology
  • Enabling Behavioural Change

If your degree requires you to write a dissertation in the final year, this will give you the opportunity to further research a favoured area of public health.

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. Different countries have different accreditation systems. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or a Master of Public Health (MPH).

Depending on the work you choose to pursue, you may need to gain additional academic or professional certification or accreditation. Your institution will be able to provide you with more information about this.

Studying Public Health at University

You can study Public Health at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.

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Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree in public health will take three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.

Once you have successfully completed your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or a PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for a public health degree will depend on your institution of choice. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others will rely on your previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their public health programmes.

  • UK – 6.0 IELTS
  • US – 3.5 GPA

Funding Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Career Options

As a public health graduate, you will be able to find work in a variety of industries. With your skills and knowledge, you will be an asset to roles both directly related and unrelated to public health. You might choose to work for a governing body in the area, for example Public Health England. You could become a public health practitioner, a teacher, an epidemiologist, or work within a charitable organisation.

If you choose to work in a field not directly related to public health, you will be able to use your wide range of transferable skills. The skills you gain during your degree could include problem solving, project management, idea development, and effective communication skills.

Top Courses in Public Health

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