BSc/BSc (Hons) Public Health

This BSc/BSc (Hons) is the first and only undergraduate degree in public health on offer in Scotland. The course focuses on integrating public health theory and practice, providing you with the knowledge, skills and attributes  required to be an effective public health practitioner.

Why QMU?

  • You will undertake a course developed and delivered by public health academics with national and international teaching and public health experience. Academics that are able to link public health theory to their practice and can engage with their national and international networks, ensuring that the course is relevant to current practice.  
  • Work-based learning opportunities are situated within each year of the course, enabling you to gain practical experience that can support your employability.
  • Studying a curriculum mapped to public health competency frameworks enables you to collate evidence of your competence that you can demonstrate to employers and to professional accreditation bodies. 

On this course you will:

  • You will apply the theory of public health through work-based learning opportunities based within a range of public health organisations; enabling you to gain an in depth understanding of contemporary public health practice.
  • Gain an indepth understanding of the broader influences on health and health related behaviours. 
  • Gain public health skills through a range of placement opportunities. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role of public health practice locally, national and globally and the necessity for effective public health practitioners.

This course will support you in developing skills and knowledge to develop competent practice through themes such as, the political and social influences on health, inequalities of health and the role of public health in reducing inequities and improving health outcomes.

To support your employability the course has been 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, and the IUHPE Health Promotion Competency Framework. This mapping provides quality assurance that the course is informed by current public health knowledge and practice and prepares you for professional registration.

You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years.

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 a 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
  • The Principles and Practice of Public Health
  • Settings and Place based Health Improvement
  • Diversity, Identity and Wellbeing
  • Data Analysis for Public Health

Year Two

You will:

  • Focus on the community, undertaking your work –based learning in a community based organisation.
  • Alongside gaining experience of working with communities, explore public health theory and evidence based practice to work effectively with communities.
  • Gain an understanding of how to read and use data within public health and to understand how policies can support or hinder health.


• Health Communication
• Public Health Policy
• Developing a Spirit of Enquiry
• Service Improvement
• Health Issues in the Community
• External Placement

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.
  • Undertake your work-based learning at Public Health Scotland and related organisations.


  • External Placement
  • Understanding and Appraising the Evidence for Practice
  • Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Managing for Health
  • Health Entrepreneurship
  • Persuasive Communication

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.
  • 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.


  • External Placement
  • Honours Project
  • Sustainability and Public Health
  • Global Public Health and Social Policy

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.

Work-based learning

You will undertake work-based learning in each year.

Work-based learning facilitates the integration of theory and practice and provides you with evidence of practice that supports employability.

In Years Two to Four, you will be supported to find your own work-based learning from a pool of potential host organisations. 


The course could prepare 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.

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

Mature/Access: See our website at: www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications 

We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience.

Associate student places

Text required

Professional registration/ accreditation

This course has been mapped against the UK’s Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework the IUHPE Health Promotion Competency Framework and the Public Health Register’s (UKPHR) amended practitioner registration standards.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

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

Awarding body

QMU. For more information, please see ‘External Review’ section on the ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’ page.

View Open Day presentation

Please note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/23 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate)

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

Student Stories and Staff