Bachelor of Public Health


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

  • Explore diverse areas such as health promotion, health law and ethics, human biology, epidemiology, as well as global, national and Aboriginal health issues.
  • Develop skills in planning, managing and evaluating health care policy, projects, programs and services.
  • Create an industry-standard portfolio of work that you can present to future employers.
  • Learn from academics who come with many years of experience in public health and the health sector.
  • Study course content that has been specifically mapped to align with the Foundation Competencies for Public Health Graduates in Australia.


Study a 100% online public health degree designed specifically for online learning. With University of South Australia Online you can take full control over your study, access support seven days a week, plan your study to fit around your life, view learning resources 24/7, and log into the interactive online environment anywhere, any time and on any device.

This degree goes beyond the treatment of individuals and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of populations. Public health encompasses areas as wide-ranging as a chronic disease, the science of ageing, mental health, disaster response, refugee health, injury prevention, and tobacco control.

Your course content is informed by current evidence and leading-edge research in the field. Our curriculum has been designed to align with the Australian Public Health Competency Framework to ensure you graduate with highly sought-after knowledge and skills in the industry.

You’ll explore social and environmental factors that lead to illness or poor health in order to prevent disease, prolong life and improve the health and wellbeing of populations and communities. Along with addressing determinants of poor health, you’ll cultivate the skills to promote and maintain health and wellbeing in populations over a person’s lifespan.

Graduates will enter the workforce with the skills to plan, implement, evaluate and monitor public health functions and activities in a variety of settings. Your public health degree opens up a wide range of employment opportunities within grass-roots community agencies, all levels of government, as well as international aid organisations such as the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNIAID and the Red Cross.

What you'll learn

Courses within your first year will develop your foundational knowledge in core areas of public health practice. Your second year focuses on applying your knowledge to simulated real-world scenarios and case studies. In your final year, you’ll gain critical employment skills to develop your career as a leading-edge public health practitioner.

Your public health degree applies a multidisciplinary approach, exploring areas such as health promotion, health law and ethics, human biology, epidemiology, as well as Aboriginal, national and global health issues. Throughout your degree, you’ll learn about policy development, data analysis and reporting, media and advocacy, public events, and community-based education and interventions, and how these strategies can be used to improve the health of populations.

Practical, real-world learning is at the heart of your degree. As a student, you’re encouraged to think just as a public health practitioner would. You’ll evaluate current health services, programs or policies and develop recommendations that take into account Australia’s policy environment and political landscape. In your research project, you’ll also use epidemiological data to investigate how the environment impacts health and specific population groups.

Degree structure

Please note, courses may not be displayed in order of study.

First year

  • Critical Approaches to Online Learning
  • Introduction to Public Health Practice and Research
  • Foundations of Human Biology 1
  • Health Systems and Services
  • Foundations of Human Biology 2
  • Contemporary Aboriginal Issues
  • First Peoples' Health
  • Research Methods for Public Health

Second year

  • Marketing for Health and Wellbeing
  • Evaluation of Public Health Practices
  • Health Promotion
  • Sociological Perspectives in Public Health
  • Health Law, Ethics and Policy
  • Building Healthy Public Policy
  • Aboriginal Public Health Practice and Research
  • Fundamentals of Disease Control

Third year

  • Epidemiological Principles and Methods
  • Project Management for Health and Wellness
  • Science and Politics of Preventive Health
  • Public Health Practice Project 1
  • Public Health and Wellbeing Practice
  • Public Health Practice Project 2
  • Elective x2

Why a Bachelor of Public Health

As a public health practitioner, you have the potential to truly make a difference to the world around you. From vaccines that prevent disease, laws that reduce the impacts of tobacco and drug use and prenatal services for babies and parents – the impact of public health is far-reaching.

The teaching and learning activities and assessments in your degree have been designed to emulate activities public health practitioners are required to perform in their jobs on a regular basis. Your assessments will contribute to an industry-standard portfolio of work that you can present to future employers.

You’ll be taught by passionate academics and researchers who have decades of experience in public health. We’ve also consulted industry representatives to ensure our course curriculum embeds the skills employers in the public health sector look for.

As a graduate, you’ll meet the six areas of practice outlined in the national competency framework, which has been produced by the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions of Australia (CAPHIA). These competencies are a minimum prerequisite that can be expected of any Australian public health graduate in the industry. These areas include:

  • Health Monitoring and Surveillance
  • Disease Prevention and Control
  • Health Protection
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Policy, Planning and Management
  • Evidence-based Professional Population Health Practice

Your career

Careers in health are on the rise. In fact, the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan is a $1.3 billion investment aimed at driving a new era of better health care, as well as fueling jobs and growth in new firms and industries through research*.

Public Health practitioners can work in the following areas of public health practice within the health sector in Australia and overseas:

Roles include:

  • Public health research officer: source, analyse and report on research data and information to inform public health policies or health promotion programs; collaborate with other researchers to develop research methods and interview techniques; possess extensive knowledge of local population and health trends; contribute to the delivery of research planning, policy, reporting and quality management processes in an organisation.
  • Health promotion officer: plan and develop policies, strategies and projects that promote health at a local, regional or national level; develop the health awareness of individuals, groups and organisations; run community training courses and workshops; write and produce leaflets, posters, videos and brochures to aid health promotion in different environments; and ensure work is underpinned by up-to-date knowledge of health promotion theory.
  • Epidemiologist / Data analyst: research, monitor and analyse infectious diseases; collect and analyse health data using a variety of statistical software; educate policymakers, healthcare workers and the community to contain or prevent disease outbreaks.
  • Wellness and lifestyle coordinator: design, evaluate and execute lifestyle programs; contribute to the social and emotional life of populations; establish relationships and networks to promote a healthier life.
  • Community development officer: deliver innovative programs and community engagement plans; identify and leverage funding opportunities; develop consultation activities; engage with stakeholders to deliver activities aimed at improving community health outcomes.
  • Women’s health officer: address the social, political and environmental causes of gender inequities impacting the health and wellbeing of women through research and advocacy for systemic change; deliver training and education programs on women’s health issues and gender awareness; raise awareness of health and wellbeing issues experienced by women.
  • Aboriginal health officer: deliver high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services in urban, regional, rural and remote locations across Australia; develop tailored educational resources and training for community organisations and non-Aboriginal organisations; advocate for culturally respectful and needs-based approaches to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Clinical trials coordinator: conduct and implement clinical trials through a site set up, ongoing liaison and data monitoring for quality control, project management and monitoring of participants.
  • Public health manager: maintain healthcare standards, manage finances, coordinate treatment programs, and provide an efficient healthcare operation; responsible for human resources within a healthcare system and marketing and promotion of new treatments and healthcare policies to the public.

*Australian Government Department of Health 2018.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS total [6.5]
  • IELTS reading [6.5]
  • IELTS writing [6.5]
  • IELTS speaking [6.5]
  • IELTS listening [6.5]

IT Requirements

As a general rule of thumb, any desktop or laptop computer purchased in the past three years should be capable of meeting your online learning needs. While mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones will be able to access most of your online course content, there are likely to be elements of most courses where we recommend you use a desktop or laptop computer. Your computer should be able to:

  • Run a modern browser (Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 24, Safari 5, or Chrome 32 or later versions).
  • Run Java and in some cases Flash (devices running on Apple's iOS operating system, such as iPads, iPhones, do not run Flash).
  • Run programs to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Use a web camera and headset (or ear pods with microphone).
  • Some University of South Australia Online degrees require an online exam. The online exam software – Remote Proctor Now – has specific capability requirements. Please refer to the system requirements prior to conducting your exam to ensure your computer is compatible.

Access free IT software and resources

As a University of South Australia Online student, you'll:

  • Get free access to the full Office 365 ProPlus suite, which includes full versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access and Lync software. Install the full suite on up to five different devices (PC and Mac compatible).
  • Get 1Tb of personal storage that syncs with your PC or mobile device through OneDrive - it's like an extra hard drive that allows you to open any of your files from any of your devices, whenever you need them.
  • Get free access to - Access more than 5000 video courses on a broad range of topics such as the Microsoft Office suite, time management and study skills, health and wellbeing, communication and presentation skills, photography, film making and designing your own games or mobile apps.
  • Be able to connect with others using Skype for Business, Yammer and the Outlook Web App.

There are some degrees that have specialised software requirements. We've made this software available to students to access for free - you'll be able to download and install any of the required programs on your own device anywhere and anytime.

How to apply

The application process is easy – just follow these simple steps:

1. Submit an online enquiry

If you're ready to apply, the first step is to fill out and submit our online enquiry form. Here you'll be asked a series of questions to see if you're eligible. Following your online enquiry, one of our Degree Advisers will contact you at your preferred time to discuss the application process.

2. Speak to a Degree Adviser and start your application

If you're eligible, you'll receive an email outlining the entry requirements and the relevant documentation you need in order to be considered.

In order to verify your academic qualifications, you'll need to upload relevant documents like your official parchment, certificates or transcripts. If you have work experience, you will need to upload your CV as well as any other documents like work references, professional recognition or accreditation or your training certification.

Your email will contain information on the specific documents you need to provide as well as a link to begin your application. You'll be asked to create an account and set your own password.

3. Complete your application and send through your documents

In order to proceed with your conditional offer, you’ll need to complete your application and provide the required evidence of your previous study or work experience.

CRICOS Provider No. 00121B

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

The University of South Australia’s 100% online degrees give you full control and flexibility over your study choices. With more than 25 years of experience providing online and distance education, yo ... Read More

The University of South Australia’s 100% online degrees give you full control and flexibility over your study choices. With more than 25 years of experience providing online and distance education, you can be confident you’re gaining a high-quality university qualification from a globally-recognised institution. Read less