Health, exercise, diet, nutrition ...the dangers of smoking, obesity, work-based stress, binge-drinking and sexually transmitted diseases and more recently swine flu, all feature prominently every day in newspapers, magazines, in news programmes, and increasingly also in politics.
The government's recently published priorities for the public health of the nation focus on finding ways to give people information, help and support for improving their own health and for tackling the financial, social and employment-related problems caused by ill-health, poverty and inequality. The new approach to public health is more one of disease prevention than of medical intervention, which means that new strategies are being put in place for delivering health and community services, for promoting personal health and environmental, social, community and economic regeneration.
If you are interested in public and personal health issues, the prevention of ill-health, the control of illness and disease, the impact of lifestyles and behaviour and the health of communities and populations, a Public Health BA or BSc degree could be a relevant choice. Courses are available as single, joint or combined honours subjects.
Example areas of study
The following is a list of example topic areas which Public Health single honours courses are likely to include. It is intended as a guide but it is important to check the specific content with the institutions themselves before you submit your application.
- Health and communities
- Evidence-based practice
- Health assessment and measurement
- Health needs analysis
- Public health
- Environment and health
- Beach safety management
- Clinical science
- Health education and health promotion
- Health and social policies
- Medical sociology
- Human form and function
- Inequality and social exclusion
- Community and inter-agency working in public health
- Drugs and drug use in society
- Nutrition, health and exercise
- Event safety and security
- Sexuality and health
- Exercise and health
- Domestic violence
- Mental health and psychology for health
- Health economics and resource management
- Health management and social care
- Epidemiology and the management of disease
- Research methods
- Child and adolescent mental health development
- Health promotion
The government's new approach to public health is leading to a growth in opportunities for graduates to work in non-clinical careers, for example in primary healthcare groups and trusts, local authorities, community and voluntary agencies, health information research, health education and promotion, health policy evaluation and audit. Health trainers, accredited by the National Health Service, are expected to be working in communities, and especially with deprived groups, to help people find relevant information, support and services for their health-related needs.
What do I need to get on a course?
HNDs, foundation degrees and undergraduate degrees are available in public health which means the entry requirements differ greatly. The lower grades/points listed below indicate the requirements for HNDs and foundation degrees and the higher for degrees. The list is intended as a guide and it is important to check the specific entry requirements with the institutions themselves.
- UCAS Tariff: 60 - 140 points for HNDs/Foundation Degrees. 160 - 280 for degrees
- A-level: D - CD for HNDs/Foundation Degrees. CC - BBC for degrees
- BTEC National Diploma: relevant subject
For your application or interview, evidence of the following could be useful:
- Work experience or work shadowing in a health or community setting
- Some knowledge of healthcare issues in your local community, for example housing and overcrowding, drug abuse or closure of public swimming pools
- Further information on public health is available from The Department of Health, The Faculty of Public Health, The Royal Society for Public Health and The UK Public Health Association
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk