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Study Community Health Care at Otago

Work alongside people living in the community to support their health and well-being.

Community Health Care focuses on providing the skills and knowledge required to work in our changing healthcare system and support individuals to live healthy lives.

The major is multidisciplinary, encompassing biological, sociological, cultural, psychological, and developmental perspectives.

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Why study Community Health Care?

Career opportunities

As a BHealSc graduate majoring in Community Health Care, you will have a sound multidisciplinary understanding of health, well-being, and the health system. You will be well equipped to gain employment in a variety of community roles within primary and secondary healthcare settings, policy and managerial roles, or in health and disability services.

This is especially important as future healthcare services will be increasingly based in the community.

Graduates will have the expertise to work with a diverse range of individuals and communities across the healthcare sector to improve health outcomes for all.

Student profile – April Oakley

BHealSc student April OakleyUnhappy with her original decision to study for a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, April Oakley met with a course adviser who introduced her to the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc).

“Health across the life course, disability studies, global health, Pacific and Māori health – it seemed like a happy balance between STEM subjects and the social sciences.

“Yes, we have lectures, but half the time we are having a class kōrero, discussing ideas, concepts and solutions with the lecturer. My lecturer once told me that while we learn from them, they are forever learning from us too.

“All of their content fills the gap they see in the health system right now. Everything is relevant, everything is applicable. We're not reading an old textbook; we're discussing the latest health reform, the newest report the government has released, and talking to people on the front line of our health system.”

April is unsure what the future holds, but says, “I know that whatever it is, I will be working with my community to enable everyone to live healthier lives”.

Community Health Care at Otago

Be part of the change in our health care system

“Everything is relevant, everything is applicable. We're not reading an old textbook; we're discussing the latest health reform, the newest report the government has released, and talking to people on the front line of our health system.”

— April Oakley
BHealSc Student

Learn culturally responsive and integrated health approaches to navigate the way forward in our changing healthcare system.

Our interactive learning opportunities enable students to connect with people and service organisations in community healthcare settings by:

  • Learning about health and well-being from multiple disciplines and perspectives, including hauora Māori, in order to develop an understanding of health at a broader level
  • Focusing on health and well-being, disability, human development and common health problems
  • Becoming knowledgeable about the social and health system context in order to assist people, their whānau, and communities to navigate the health system effectively

Specifically, you will learn about:

  • Social and cultural contexts and explore ways to reduce inequity
  • How to communicate and act in an ethical, professional and compassionate way with a diverse range of individuals and communities, with a particular emphasis on understanding Māori and Pacific values
  • Human health and well-being across the lifespan
  • Health conditions and treatments
  • Disability
  • Assessment and care co-ordination
  • Bioethical principles underpinning health care

Build skills to make a difference

New approaches to health care are required as we face important health challenges.

These include:

  • An increase in the number of older adults and people living with multiple long-term conditions and disabilities
  • Limited health resources and greater demand for services
  • Environmental and social change and the accompanying effects on health

With these challenges comes an increasing need to develop innovative solutions and approaches to healthcare.

The Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc) majoring in Community Health Care is a three-year degree for those who want to be an integral part of these new approaches.

This career-focused qualification focuses on the skills required to work with patients, populations, and communities to promote health and ensure patients are accessing and receiving the most appropriate care.


Community Health Care as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


EDUC 105 Disability Studies: An Introduction



CMHC 201*  Human Health Across the Lifespan

CMHC 211 Disability and Health I

*Prerequisites for CMHC 201 also include HUBS 191, 192




CMHC 301 Applied Aspects of Human Health

CMHC 311 Disability and Health II



Total 90

CMHC papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
CMHC201 2024 Human Health Across the Lifespan 18 Semester 1
CMHC211 2024 Enabling Wellness and Ability I 18 Semester 2
CMHC301 2024 Applied Aspects of Human Health 18 Semester 2
CMHC311 2024 Enabling Wellness and Ability II 18 Semester 1

More information

Contact us

Contact your local schools' liaison officer if you're currently at secondary shool.

Or contact the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc) team:

Tel +64 3 479 7202

Studying at Otago

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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