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Public Health - BSc/BSc (Hons)

Would you like to work raising awareness of the issues that affect health and wellbeing across the lifespan and to protect future generations? Or would you like to influence society to address the underlying factors that cause ill-health and disease? If so, this BSc/BSc (Hons) in Public Health course could be your route to a satisfying career positively impacting people’s lives in our communities and contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of society. What could be more rewarding than that?

Public health is about preventing disease, improving health and prolonging life. This, the first and only undergraduate degree in public health on offer in Scotland, provides you with the knowledge and skills required for a career in this diverse field. It opens up career opportunities in health promotion, health development and public health, enabling you to work in local community organisations, NHS, government and health-focused charities.

The course is mapped against professional competency frameworks to ensure it is informed by current public health knowledge and practice while preparing students for professional registration. You will study a range of modules and work-based learning in each year of the course will prove invaluable to your learning. 

International Union for Health Promotion Education accreditation badge

Studying Public Health at QMU

Why QMU?

  • Unique course developed at a time when public health is of utmost importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role of public health practice locally, national and globally and the need for effective public health practitioners. This new course is developed and delivered by public health academics with extensive academic and practical experience, who are able to link theory to practice.
  • Professional accreditation/registration: The course is an International Union for Health Promotion Education (IUHPE) Accredited Health Promotion Course, accredited by this global organisation provides quality assurance of the health promotion curriculum. Accreditation enables students to become an IUHPE Registered Health Promotion Practitioner and have access to a wide range of resources.
  • Professional mapping prepares you to become a knowledgeable and effective practitioner: The course is mapped against professional competency frameworks, namely the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework, the UK Public Health Register’s (UKPHR) amended practitioner registration standards.

Public Health - BSc/BSc (Hons): The course in brief

Public Health Scotland defines public health as follows: Public health is about improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighbourhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world. To do this, public health seeks to engage everyone to play their part. It is through the organised efforts of our society that we can give everyone the best chance to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives. Whereas traditional healthcare systems focus on treating individuals, public health plays a key role in preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health and wellbeing."

On this course you will:

  • gain the skills and knowledge required to become a competent public health practitioner, enabling you to protect and promote the health of people at the community and population levels;
  • learn about the political and social influences on health, inequalities of health, and the role of public health in reducing inequities and improving health outcomes; and
  • participate in work-based learning in each year of the course, enabling you to gain practical hand-on experience that boosts your employability.

How will I be taught?


You can opt to study full-time for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined in the following modules section.

You can also opt to study part-time for an honours degree over eight years and an ordinary degree over six years. You will complete a range of modules each year. The module pattern outlined below is that for the full-time route. For more information on the module pattern for the part-time route, please contact Karen Hicks, Programme Leader at:

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will be taught via face to face and online lectures, seminars and workshops. Outside of these timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning through self- directed study. You will be assessed by a variety of assessments including essays, written reports, presentations and group work.

Placement/work-based learning

Work-based learning facilitates the integration of theory and practice and provides you with evidence of practice that supports your employability. You will undertake work-based learning within each year of the course. In Year One you will undertake an internal work-based learning experience at QMU, using a Healthy University lens to support the health and wellbeing of the University. In Years Two, Three and Four you will undertake external work-based learning opportunities within a range of statutory and community based organisations. You will be supported to find your own work-based learning opportunity from a pool of potential host organisations.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.

For more information, please also visit ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

What will I learn each year?

Year One

You will:

  • be introduced to public health theory and practice, providing you with the foundational knowledge you require for the course;
  • be supported to develop your academic skills and start to integrate public health theory and practice;
  • explore health improvement within the context of different settings and you will gain an understanding of how diversity, communication and inequality relate to health;
  • carry out an internal work-based learning experience that enables you to explore and reflect upon public health practice within the context of the university.


  • Finding your Academic Voice
  • Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Public Health
  • Applying Public Health Principles to Practice
  • Settings and Place Based Health Improvement
  • The Sociological Imagination, Diversity and Inequality
  • Health Communication

Year Two

You will:

  • focus on the community, undertaking your work –based learning in a community based organisation;
  • be supported to work effectively with communities, through gaining knowledge of public health theory and evidence based practice; and
  • gain an understanding of how to read and use data within public health and to understand how policies can support or hinder health.


  • Developing a Spirit of Enquiry
  • Introduction to Epidemiology in Public Health
  • Public Health Policy
  • Public Health Management
  • Community Health
  • Year Two Work-based Learning

Year Three

You will:

  • be provided with further work-based learning and advanced knowledge, understanding and skills that support effective public health practice;
  • continue to develop your academic and research skills while also developing analytical, service improvement and entrepreneurial skills that support the development of effective public health initiatives and services; and
  • undertake your work-based learning at Public Health Scotland and related organisations.


  • Understanding and Appraising the Evidence for Practice
  • Public Health Service Improvement
  • Data Analysis for Public Health
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Year Three Work-based learning

Year Four

You will:

  • analyse the complexity of public health practice within a global context and will critically reflect upon emerging public health challenges, the implications for practice and the future of public health;
  • undertake an extensive work-place learning opportunity at an organisation that you identify; and
  • undertake an Honours Project that enables you to use critical enquiry and to demonstrate you skills to planning, implementing and evaluating a small-scale project.


  • Public Health Futures
  • Contemporary Issues in Global Health and Social Policy
  • Applying Skills of Critical Enquiry (project)
  • Year Four Work-based learning

NB The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2023) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2024. Please check back here for any updates.

Career opportunities

Developing competence within the diverse discipline of public health prepares you for a range of roles including, but not limited to health promoter, community health worker, public health analyst, trainer, public health practitioner or population health advisor.

Here we provide links with more information about working in public health:

NHS and public health careers

Working in NHS Public Health

NHS Public Health Careers

Careers in public health Scotland

Public Health Scotland Careers 

My world of work- Meet the Expert, Public Health Scotland

Public Health Scotland's Virtual Meet the Expert Information

Public Health Scotland's Virtual Meet the Expert Video

Plan It Plus

Learning resources Public Health Scotland

The Public Health Scotland Virtual Learning Environment 


Public Health - BSc/BSc (Hons): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard - BBCC, Minimum - BCCC

A Level: CCD

Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required subjects: A science subject and a social science subject are preferred at Higher/A Level or equivalent. English required and Maths preferred at Nat 5/GCSE. We can also accept National 5 Application of Maths or Lifeskills at the same grade.

Direct entry: Not currently available.

Mature/Access: We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience.Visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page for more information. 

Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.

Other requirements

A satisfactory criminal records check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, an occupational health check and personal indemnity insurance (normally through membership of the professional body) are required.

Other costs

The cost of the PVG check (£18 or £59 depending on the level of clearance required*) and the professional indemnity insurance are the responsibility of the student. Currently the cost of the health check is funded by the Scottish Government for Scottish students only and other students are responsible for this cost. This is however subject to change should the Scottish Government change their funding policy.

*Please note that the cost is subject to change. 

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).

Awarding body


BSc/BSc (Hons) Public Health course presentation

You can find out more about this course by viewing the BSc/BSc (Hons) Public Health course presentation

Find out more about studying Public Health

What is Public Health? (video from Public Health Wessex Training Group)


Course Overview

On campus
3 or 4 years full-time OR 6 or 8 years part-time
Start Date
September 2024
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Subject Area
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level

Read our Public Health Blog

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