Health Sciences - College of Education, Health and Human Development - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

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Master of Health Sciences (Environment and Health)

Environment and Health scene Our environment, ranging from air and water pollution, to poor housing and abusive or high-risk social environments, through changing climates, impact our health and well-being. This is a major concern in Health and health care, and is reflected as well in New Zealand’s Health and Disability Strategy.  Beyond the more traditional roles of health practitioners and public health specialists, a broad range of career opportunities now exist for those with advanced training at the interface between the environmental and health disciplines. An increasing number of positions and opportunities are now available in industry, local government, community agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and a range of government ministries and services. We have designed the Environment and Health endorsement to meet this need. In this endorsement, we will educate students in environmental health from an evidence-base, so that they can find employment or provide leadership in Environmental Health within NZ and internationally. 

The Master of Health Sciences (Environment and Health) [MHealSc(Environment and Health)] is a 240-point, research focused degree. This degree will appeal to those interested in developing research skills in the health sector. Student research examines a range of significant issues in health sciences with the aim of contributing to the evidence leading to improved health and well-being.

The Master of Health Sciences consists of two parts, usually completed within two years by full-time students. In Part 1, students follow the endorsed specialisation programme. Students will be asked to critically reflect, to link theory to policy and practice in their coursework during the first year (Part 1), and to develop a research question focused on Environment and Health.

Following on from the coursework in Part 1, the thesis research (Part 2) is generally completed by an original investigation relevant to Environment and Health, which may be conducted locally, within New Zealand, or overseas, with the support of supervisors specifically selected to support your topic. A full year of research is recommended although other options may be available in certain circumstances. 

A recent masters thesis was completed by Sabine Leech: Effectiveness of Internet-based and Mobile Phone Based Interventions to Achieve Smoking Cessation Among Adolescent and Adult Smokers; A meta analysis.

If you are a current health practitioner in New Zealand you may be entitled to Health Workforce NZ Funding. Please contact your local DHB for application details.

You can start in either February (Semester 1) or July (Semester 2). This degree normally takes 4 semesters full time or 8 semesters part time. 

For specific information about courses, when you get to the general course page, please click on the red link for the course occurrence.

The table below is a suggested pathway for this programme. Please note there are further optional courses available from Schedule B to the Regulations for the Master of Health Sciences. Please check course availability.


Part 1
Semester 1

Part 1
Semester 2

Part 2
Year 2

Required course
180 pts

HLTH460 Critical Appraisal in Health Research
(30 pts)
(meets the research methods requirements)

HLTH403 Environmental Health
(30 pts)
    HLTH690 MHealSc Thesis
(120 pts)
60 pts from the schedule or GEOG401 or other approved courses
(One per semester)

GEOG401 Well-Being, Community and Place
(30 pts)

HLTH402 Health Information Management 
(30 pts)

HLTH401 Health and Health Systems
(30 pts)

HLTH407 Bioethics
(30 pts)


HLTH430 Motivating Behaviour Change I
(30 pts)

HLTH409 Health and Culture
(30 pts)


HLTH463 Whanau and Community Health
(30 pts)

HLTH467 Mental Health and Addictions
(30 pts)


HLTH464 Research Approaches for Health
(30 pts)

HLTH468 Acute and Long Term Health Care
(30 pts)


HLTH469 Health Issues in the Community
(30 pts)

  HLTH472 Quantitative Methods in Health Research (Introductions to Psychometric Theory and Administration)
(15 pts)
  HLTH408 (C) Qualitative Health Methodologies (Special Topic: Independent Study)
(15 pts)

In Part 1 part-time students would usually complete one or two courses per semester to total 30 points. Full-time students would usually complete two to four courses per semester to total 60 points.

Part 2 may be completed part-time with prior approval.

Please refer to individual course webpages for further details regarding course dates, workshops and other attendance requirements.