Public Health BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)




Do you feel passionate about the health and wellbeing of communities? Public health is brimming with opportunities in the NHS, charities, local government and global non-profit organisations. Study our full-time Public Health degree in Chelmsford and build the skills you need to promote and protect people’s health. Get hands-on experience during community placements, and prepare for a career in healthcare.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Public health has never been more important or relevant as it is in today’s ageing and complex society, making it a wide-ranging and interesting career choice.

You might like to work as a public health practitioner, youth worker, drug and alcohol worker, public health information officer or analyst, health improvement practitioner, health protection practitioner, sexual health advisor, smoking cessation co-ordinator, community development or outreach worker, health communications officer or even go into health-related research.

The skills and knowledge you gain in our course will not only allow you to work in local government and the National Health Service, but also in education, private and consultancy roles and non-profit organisations in the UK or for international agencies like the World Health Organization or UNICEF.

Our course was designed in consultation with a variety of public health stakeholders, including Public Health England. You will be guided in the process of effectively mapping your public health knowledge and understanding to the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) competencies and UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (UKPHSKF). As you become a more accomplished reflective practitioner you’ll develop a portfolio of reflective case studies to show how you have applied what you have learned in real-life settings. As a graduate you can then build on this portfolio and use for future registration as a public health practitioner.

After additional study and completion of a relevant specialist training scheme you could one day become a public health specialist for the Government, NHS or armed forces.

You could also undertake one of our taught Masters courses, such as MSc Public Health, or a postgraduate research programme.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Optometry, Medical and Life Sciences
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Optometry, Medical Science and Life Sciences. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to the various scientific disciplines underpinning the life sciences. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered in order to support students’ other subjects and give them confidence in manipulating data. Students will be introduced to molecular and cellular biology, and how these fields are applied to real-world investigations. Students will also study the biology of micro and macro organisms, with reference to both human and animal structures. Students will be introduced to the core concepts of chemistry, with a particular focus on organic chemistry, and will also be given a grounding in the core principles of physics, applied to living organisms. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Maths for Scientists; Cellular Biology; Biology – Physiology; Chemistry; Physics for Life Sciences.

Year one, core modules

  • Human Systems and Disease
    In order to affect change as a future Public Health practitioner, it is essential to understand how the human body works. We’ll give you the basics in cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal systems and mental health. You’ll investigate how lifestyle choices can impact health, and how public health prevention programmes can reduce ill health. On completion, you’ll be able to connect anatomy and physiology with current public health challenges.
  • Practitioner in Public Health
    Begin your studies by gaining an overview of public health and understanding how it aligns itself to the medical and social sciences. You’ll jump right into understanding how community life might affect the health of the people living there. Drawing on current Public Health issues you’ll develop an understanding of the types of factors that can impact individual health such as social inequalities (access to education, resources and support). You’ll analyse your data using different software programmes and understand different sections of society and health differences. You’ll begin developing your skills as a public health practitioner, recording your journey via an e-portfolio to prepare you for your future career, and possible registration with the UK Public Health Registry.
  • Promoting Health and Wellbeing
    You’ll think about inequalities and risky and dangerous lifestyle factors, both in the UK and globally, which impact different sections of the population. As you begin to link the way behaviour, lifestyle and even policies and legislation can affect health, you’ll consider the public health efforts in addressing these though health promotion and programmes. You’ll learn about common behaviour change theories that are used to shape health promotion programmes and explore past and present health promotion approaches including mass media, social marketing and community development.
  • Understanding Epidemiology
    Consider how common measures of disease morbidity and mortality (such as prevalence and incidence rates) are used to monitor the health of populations. You’ll take this one step further by analysing the way in which this information, combined with basic demographic data, is used by local, national and international governments to identify public health priorities. This process will enable you to understand some of the challenges of using epidemiological data in a real life setting. You’ll investigate epidemiological concepts, such as determinants of disease, disease dynamics and prevention. You’ll be introduced to epidemiological study designs and download data from the World Health Organisation data repository on a specific health issue in a country of your choice. Using this data you’ll learn basic data analysis skills using Excel and SPSS.

Year two, core modules

  • Data Analysis in Public Health Research
    Building on your skills and experience from Year 1, you’ll use your knowledge in anatomy, research and data analysis to investigate real world public health issues. You’ll be given a live brief about a real world public health challenge and be expected to plan a creative research solution. Having first-hand experience of designing quantitative and qualitative research will allow you to have a greater understanding of the challenges involved in research, and help you hone your critical thinking skills and review of secondary sources.
  • Global Health and Sustainability
    You’ll examine current drivers of disease worldwide, which include issues such as vaccine hesitancy. You’ll learn about sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals, which form the basis of International Public Health Practice. You’ll be introduced to public health policy and learn what a sustainable public health policy should include. Finally, you’ll work in a group to produce a policy paper and recommendations based on the World Health Organisation, government and local authority recommendations for a given public health problem. Each group will generate a portion of the policy paper and these will be combined to produce a class policy. Working in a group will give you an opportunity to explore group dynamics and reflect on team dynamics. As these issues are complex and many aspects are intertwined, you’ll be encouraged to form your own opinions and reflect upon the complexity of these issues in debates, negotiations and formal written work.
  • Health Communication
    Educating people about their health has never been so important, but understanding how to do this, and how to understand and measure their behaviour change can be difficult. Using latest examples of campaigns from the UK and internationally, you’ll learn about and evaluate theories used in behaviour change and in health communication. Through the course, you’ll examine and evaluate different channels of health communication (such as digital communication, games and apps and more traditional forms like posters, video and radio). You’ll analyse past and present health promotion campaigns, and produce your own campaign targeted to different audiences.
  • Healthcare Systems
    You’ll learn about different healthcare systems and how to identify trends and review changes that represent population health status. You’ll explore different global locations to investigate how public health is funded, and some of the challenges faced in different parts of the world. You’ll also investigate how spending decisions are made for local, national, and international health priorities and targets, and how funding is allocated across these priorities.

Year three, core modules

  • Driving Change in Population Health
    You’ll investigate how public health is funded in different parts of the world, and some of the challenges faced in health and social care prioritisation. You’ll explore strategic assessment of community health needs in different populations, and how trends are monitored for health care improvements. You’ll investigate examples of public health problems within the community as well as how to drive change toward a long-term health improvement status. You’ll also examine how public health is financed, and how this informs decision making for public health.
  • Responsive Public Health Practitioner
    As you near the end of your course we’ll help you consolidate the skills and knowledge you’ve gained, such as holistic and evidence based practice, leadership and collaborative/joint working, and bring these together within your e-portfolio. You’ll explore strategies employed by Public Health Practitioners to engage individuals in behaviour change, such as Motivational Interviewing and reflective practice. We’ll support you to prepare for your Year 3 volunteer experience through development of your professional skills. Finally, we’ll support you in taking the next step in securing your career after university, improve your interview skills, organise your documentation, and prepare you for possible registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR).
  • Engagement in the Public Health Community
    Put theory into practice, and gain workplace experience, as you undertake a placement to build on your knowledge of the social, cultural, historical, ethical, political and economic issues that influence the health and wellbeing of people receiving public health interventions in different settings. You’ll choose your placement by thinking about what interests you the most and linking it into the area you’d like to enter once you graduate. Your Module Leader and allocated supervisor will provide training and support to prepare you for this venture. You’ll then reflect on your experience by creating a placement conference presentation and sharing your experiences to both assessors and students across the faculty.
  • Strategies to Enhance Health
    By identifying a community or population and demonstrating what their needs might be you’ll demonstrate your understanding of the interplay of social, psychological, environmental, policy and ethical issues that operate in each population. Start thinking about how ideas transform into reality, as you present your project idea in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format. Building on this, you’ll create a presentation to impress a mock investment panel and complete a grant application. Develop leadership and collaborative skills, working to a budget, and working in low resource, reactive or emergency settings.


To ensure you’re gaining relevant real life skills we’ll assess you through modern techniques, such as simulated scenarios and role plays, case studies based on field trips, multi-media projects and even a Dragon’s Den style panel. You’ll also be assessed by more traditional methods, including reports, essays, group work and portfolio work.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)



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