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

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Health Sciences


A range of first year Health Sciences courses are offered to Year 12 and 13 students through the STAR programme. These courses are designed to provide a challenging and stimulating opportunity for secondary school students and a chance to experience the varied programmes offered at the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

Bachelor of Health Sciences

The Bachelor of Health Sciences is an undergraduate programme that is open to anyone interested in a career in health and public policy, public health, health management, health research and other non-clinical roles.

To enrol in the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme you will need to Apply to Enrol with the University Guide to enrolment.

The Bachelor of Health Sciences follows the University Academic Year with Semester One 2017 beginning Monday 20th February 2017.

Major Subjects

Students select their specialty from six majors, designed to provide graduates with specialised skills and knowledge. The Bachelor of Health Sciences brochure (PDF, 395KB)illustrates the core courses you must take for your degree, as well as a number of additional courses you can select to follow your interests and complete the degree requirements. Some courses will have prerequisites (courses you must complete first). For full details of the requirements for each major, see the Bachelor of Health Sciences brochure (PDF, 395KB).

  • Environmental Health
    You will develop an understanding of risk factors in the natural and built environment, underlying biological processes and the scientific methods used to investigate, monitor, and assess the effects of environmental hazards, such as pollution, unsafe food and infectious diseases on people's health and well being.
  • Health Education
    You will develop specific health education and pedagogical knowledge that is applicable in a diverse range of settings.
  • Māori and Indigenous Health

    You will acquire cultural competencies enabling you to use, apply and integrate Māori, bicultural and indigenous knowledge and practices in your chosen health or social services related career.

  • Psychology

    You will learn to apply psychological research and methods to:

    • the promotion and maintenance of health
    • the prevention and management of illness
    • the identification of psychological factors contributing to physical illness
    • the formulation of health policy. improvement of the health care system
    • the formulation of health policy.
  • Public Health

    You will develop knowledge and skills in science and health, experience in critical appraisal and scientific investigation, an understanding of values and ethics in health, and the ability to apply these to improving health and wellbeing through disease prevention, health promotion, and health service planning, delivery, and evaluation. By completing this major you will meet the knowledge components of the generic public health competencies and the health promotion competencies for New Zealand.

  • Society and Policy

    You will develop:

    • an understanding of the sociology of health
    • an understanding of policy issues in health technology and health delivery at the local, national and global levels,
    • qualitative and quantitative social science research methods skills.

Combinations of these majors can be completed as double majors.

Further information can be found in the Bachelor of Health Sciences brochure (PDF, 395KB) and on the Bachelor of Health Sciences page.

Career Paths

The BHSc at UC is ideal preparation for working  in a career in health and public policy, public health, health management, health research and other non-clinical roles. You will gain multidisciplinary skills and insights that are highly valued in the health workforce.
Health Sciences graduates work in settings such as district health boards, government ministries, local government, non-government organisations, Māori provider organisations, hospices, aged residential care, schools, primary care organisations, universities and polytechnics.

The health sector is one of New Zealand’s biggest employers with a wide range of career opportunities. In New Zealand’s increasingly diverse and aging society, health needs and health workforce career opportunities will continue to expand.

The PGDipHealSc, MHealSc and PhD (Health Sciences), will help those who already have clinical or other health related qualifications to extend their knowledge and skills to prepare for new career opportunities. These courses also provide an essential foundation for those seeking non-clinical health sector roles. 

For further career information, please go to What can I do with a degree in Health Sciences?