Public Health BSc (Hons)

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



You can choose to study this course over four years, with a foundation year. If you choose this option, the first year of your study will be delivered by our partner, Cambridge Ruskin International College (CRIC) on our Cambridge campus. In years 2 to 4 you'll study with us in Chelmsford.


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

  • Introduction to Public Health (PH)
    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. Taking part in a guided community walk will allow you to see for yourself how health-related features are all around. Conversations with key members of the community, such as public health practitioners or community leaders, will also give you a direct insight into people’s lives. You’ll analyse your data using different software programmes and understand different sections of society and the health differences and reasons between them.
  • Professional Skills for PH: The Foundation
    Here, you’ll begin to think about how you’ll use your degree and other opportunities available within our University to develop your career into an exciting and successful pathway. You’ll examine different job opportunities available to public health professionals, and understand how they can influence the population’s health, while you become more familiar with frameworks from the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) and the UK Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (UKPHSKF). You’ll develop a UK Public Health Practitioner Portfolio which you’ll use throughout your time with us, and take right though to registration or interview.
  • Promoting Health and Wellbeing
    Drill down into how and why diseases start and progress in the body and how our systems react to these. 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.
  • Introduction to Population Health
    Consider how diseases affect different populations around the world and understand the way trends and diseases are measured, reported and monitored. You’ll take this one step further by observing the way in which this information is used by local, national and international governments while highlighting some of the challenges of using this data in a real life setting. As you begin to focus on particular trends, concepts and disease, you’ll produce a country case study that describes the population health priorities, how the information can be interpreted, how it compares to neighbouring countries and how you could address the challenges.

Year two, core modules

  • Global Health and Sustainability
    Explore how sustainability impacts aspects and outcomes of health, and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals, which form the basis of International Public Health Practice. Immerse yourself in the research as you take part in a simulated scenario where you’ll witness practical public health challenges, which could include outbreak of disease or managing an epidemic. 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.
  • Professional Skills for PH 2: Research and Evidence
    Focus on developing your research skills and explore how data collection occurs. Having first-hand experience of designing questions for quantitative and qualitative data will give you a greater understanding of the challenges of primary research, and also help with your critical thinking and review of secondary sources. You’ll explore different working practices in diverse public health settings while visiting a public health practice and then complete a structured case-study describing your experiences of research and types of data analysis use to inform this public health area.
  • 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. You’ll get hands on as we introduce you to one counselling technique (CBT, DBT, motivational interviewing or solution-focused brief therapy) to develop your own communication skills. You’ll then put these to the test during workshops and a simulated patient encounter and podcast based campaign.
  • Health Systems 1: Epidemiology and Health Economics
    Gain an insight into different healthcare systems and investigate how public health is funded and challenged in different parts of the world, by examining geography, government, economy, the country’s healthcare system facilities, workforce, technology, cost, quality, and access. You’ll learn how to identify relevant and valid sources of data, trends, review the demographic changes in population health and appreciate how data informs health decisions. You’ll also learn the application of epidemiology in public health by exploring the theories, learning the practical skills and undertaking case study exercises.

Year three, core modules

  • Projects to Enhance Health
    This module offers another opportunity to gain practical experience in real-life settings. By identifying a community or population and demonstrating what their needs might be you’ll show your understanding of the role of social, psychological, environmental, policy and ethical issues in health. You’ll then design a social project based in your research and start thinking about how ideas transform into reality, as you present your project idea in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format to impress a mock investment panel. One your graduate, your project proposal could also be used in your preparation for registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR).
  • Health Systems 2: Driving Change in Population Health
    Build on the sustainability knowledge that you gained in previous years and focus on how sustainable population health policy is made by exploring examples of public health problems within the community and making changes toward a long term improvement can take place. You’ll examine how public health is financed, and the strategic commissioning approach, to understand how this informs decision making and affects health priorities, targets, structure and resource allocation. You’ll then use your epidemiological data analysis skills by completing a review of a community using real data and software.
  • Community Experience
    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.
  • Professional Skills for PH 3: The Responsive Practitioner
    As you near then 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 portfolio. Finally, we’ll support you in taking the next step in securing your career after university, as you respond to a job advert, improve your interview skills, organise your documentation and prepare and map your portfolio onto the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) and the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).


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 2019/20 or 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

You 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


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

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

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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UCAScode: B912

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