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Public Health undergraduate study

Public Health focuses on preventing disease and promoting the health of the population through the organised efforts of society. This differentiates it from the practice of personal healthcare, as it involves collective action across sectors and disciplines, with a focus on populations and communities. It has a strong focus on health equity, and reducing ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities in health.

Why study Public Health?

Public Health practitioners work in a range of areas in the wider health sector including in government and non-government organisations. Front line practitioners include policy analysts, health promoters, community health workers and staff working in environmental protection. A number of Public Health major graduates will decide to pursue post-graduate qualifications such as the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (DPH) and Master of Public Health (MPH), and further careers in public health research.

Public Health teaches you:

  • An understanding of the importance of health equity and a human rights based approach to health.
  • A commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, and reducing health inequalities for Māori.
  • The importance of reducing health inequities for Pacific and other ethnic groups, as well as reducing inequities in other population groups e.g. age-related inequities.
  • Epidemiology, the science of population health.
  • A sound knowledge of the determinants of health in communities.
  • Health promotion, and disease prevention strategies, with a focus on preventable chronic diseases and infections.
  • An insight into health policy and the structure of health services, their quality, safety, and resource allocation and the economics of decision-making and prioritisation.
  • Environmental health, both locally and globally, including the effects of climate change.
  • Disease prevention strategies, screening, and surveillance.

More information about Public Health undergraduate study

Read the page for the Programme Requirements.

Email: bhealsc@otago.ac.nz