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Study Health Studies, why & how to study

Health Studies explores the framework of health and social care within our society. Read on to see if the subject area could be for you.

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  1. What’s Health Studies?

  2. What Health Studies degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Health Studies degree?

  4. What topics does a Health Studies degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Health Studies?

  7. What do Health Studies graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Health Studies graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Health Studies

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Health Studies?

A Health Studies degree looks at the structures of health and social care in the UK and beyond. During a course you learn all about related topics ranging from human physiology and psychology to health equality and law. It involves a lot of academic theory alongside practice-based learning, where you develop the skills for challenging issues that surround the wellbeing of society.

Questions that Health Studies asks include: Should healthcare be free to all? Do all sections of society receive fair health services? Where could policies improve to address social health inequalities better?

What Health Studies degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Health Studies include:

  • Health and Human Sciences BSc
  • Health and Social Care BA/BSc/MSci
  • Health Studies BSc
  • Public Health and Wellbeing BSc
  • Public Health BSc/BA
  • Sexual Health BSc

Degrees sometimes include an integrated foundation year or a professional placement year.

Dual honours options are often available, where you can combine the degree with another area of interest such as nutrition, business management, communication or sociology.

What do you need to get onto a Health Studies degree?

Entry requirements for a Health Studies degree at a university range from 88–160 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications below:

  • A Levels: AAB–CCD
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB–BBCC (Advanced Highers: AAB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 36–26

Good subjects to have studied include:

  • Applied science, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, maths, physics, psychology, PE or statistics
  • General studies and critical thinking A Levels may be excluded from offers

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience or shadowing roles such as a health promotion officer, housing officer, smoking cessation advisor, diabetes prevention worker
  • Volunteering with health-related charities to provide support or assist with health promotion
  • Further research on the career from professional bodies like the Faculty of Public Health, Royal Society for Public Health, or the Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE)

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science taken at A Level

What topics does a Health Studies degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Anthropological research methods in action
  • Data analysis for public health
  • Epidemiology and public health
  • Food: nutrition and malnutrition
  • Health protection, systems and emergencies
  • Illness: susceptibility and inequality
  • Infection: prevention and outbreaks
  • Interactions: environment and genes
  • Leadership, management and co-ordination in health and social care
  • Legal and ethical aspects of health and social care
  • Persuasive communication
  • Politics and advocacy in public health
  • Wellbeing: mental health and neurobiology

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module, and could include:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • A final-year dissertation or project

Why study Health Studies?

A degree in Health Studies shows you how to evaluate issues surrounding people’s health and wellbeing. You’ll gain a deep insight into the structures that underpin society, and discuss, debate and develop proactive solutions to promote equality. You’ll also gain a range of useful skills:

Career-specific skills:

  • Understanding the wider context of health and wellbeing, such as economic, political, cultural and social factors
  • Insights into health behaviours at different life stages and how to influence change at an individual, community and policy level
  • Design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of health promotion campaigns

Transferable skills:

  • Communication (written, verbal and audiovisual)
  • Community engagement across diverse groups
  • Data analysis and IT skills
  • Emotional literacy
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership and decision making
  • Social research methods
  • Working with multi-agency teams

What do Health Studies graduates earn?

Salaries will depend greatly on whether you are working in the NHS, for a local authority, or in the voluntary and community sector. A move into a senior role such as service lead or manager will boost your income.

For example, in the NHS the salary for a health improvement practitioner could range from £25,500 (NHS Band 5) to nearly £46,000 (NHS Band 7) as an advanced practitioner with several years of experience.

In local authorities, a health improvement coordinator could be paid £26,500–£32,000, while a programme manager could earn from £38,000–£44,000.

What jobs can you get as a Health Studies graduate?

Knowledge of the health and social care sectors opens the doors to a wealth of career opportunities. You can enter into roles within the NHS, charities, the civil service, social services and independent health and social care organisations. Many graduates choose to continue their studies and work in academia. Future careers could include:

  • Community development worker
  • Counsellor
  • Diabetes prevention champion
  • Drugs and alcohol support worker
  • Health and social care manager
  • Health promotion officer
  • Health researcher
  • Housing officer
  • Learning disability advocate
  • Lecturer
  • Mental health support worker
  • Minority ethnic health officer
  • Policy advisor
  • Project manager in a charity
  • Social prescriber
  • Social worker
  • Stop smoking advisor
  • Teenage pregnancy worker
  • Wellbeing officer

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Master’s qualifications, postgraduate certificates and diplomas are typical in areas such as public health or health care leadership. Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

  • Applied Health Research MPhil/PhD
  • Epidemiology and Public Health DM/MPhil/PhD
  • Health & Wellbeing MRes/PhD
  • Health Policy and Health Economics MPhil/PhD
  • Healthcare Operational Management MSc

Similar subjects to Health Studies

If you’re interested in health and wellbeing and society’s role in this, you could also consider:

Have any questions?

If you have questions about studying Health Studies, you can email our experts at We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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