Public Health BSc

Public Health is about creating a fairer, healthier and happier world.  It is about understanding the threats faced to health both locally and globally, and learning how to ensure communities thrive.  

The BSc Public Health programme at Birmingham has been specifically designed to provide students with the academic skills and passion required for a career focused on improving the health and well-being of whole populations.

The programme will equip you with the tools to identify the risks that affect different people, in different places, at different stages of their lives. Depending on many modifiable factors, such as the air we breathe, the food we eat, the work we do, the places we live, and the health services we use, the challenges and risks to the public’s health are many and varied. You will gain the knowledge of how to reduce these risks and improve people’s health whilst dealing with highly relevant, real-life issues on a local and global level including obesity, infectious disease, climate change and poor sanitation.

As well as preparing you to be a public health professional, the analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills you gain will be highly valued in, and transferable to, a wide range of other health and non-health career options.

Public Health Discovery Day at the University of Birmingham. 1 November 2018. Register your place now at Eventbrite and learn more about this exciting subject.

You will benefit from studying and learning from expert researchers and practitioners within a leading Russell Group University.

The BSc Public Health programme launches with its first cohort in September 2019.

Public health draws from a wide variety of subject areas. Its multi-disciplinary nature will help you to develop a range of transferrable skills across the three-year programme.

In the first year you will be introduced to the discipline of Public Health and key concepts. You will study topics such as global challenges, epidemiology, physical and mental health, health protection, the wider determinants of health and how the environment can impact on our health. You will gain an understanding of global health challenges and develop the skills and knowledge to enable you to approach public health problems critically and systematically. 

In the second year you will build on the practical skills required to tackle public health issues, using case studies and acquiring a greater understanding of the research process, advancing your ability to work with data and teaching you the method and skills related to evidence based practice.  You will build on your knowledge of global health issues such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS and climate change. We also encourage our students to think about social justice and inequality within the world we live. You will gain a grounding in ethics and law within the context of public health.

The third and final year brings together your knowledge and experience gained during the previous years to focus on you as a public health professional. You will fine tune your communication, leadership and management skills whilst completing a dissertation. You may choose to work with a public health department for your dissertation to address a real-life issue they are facing which may provide a useful career springboard.

Why study this course

The BSc Public Health course at Birmingham is committed to equipping you with the key skills and knowledge required in this ever growing field. The course offers the following benefits;

  • You will be studying at one of the UK's leading Russell Group universities, where you will benefit from research-led, evidence-based innovative teaching methods. 
  • You will be based in the Birmingham Medical School building, home to healthcare students from Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Biomedical Science and have access to range a facilities including the Barnes Library, the Doug Ellis Learning Hub, the Wolfson Common Room and the Med Café.
  • You will benefit from the University’s strong global health research focus, and we will draw on the knowledge of public health experts around the world through interactive teaching sessions.
  • Birmingham, as a large, multicultural city, is ideally situated to study the challenges and opportunities in public health. You will also have the benefit of the large hospitals on our doorstep, including the Queen Elizabeth and Women's Hospitals that you may visit to better understand public health issues such as maternal health. 
  • You will be surrounded by lecturers and students studying every aspect of public health from Medicine and Social Policy to Environmental Science and Spatial Planning, meaning you will be uniquely placed to benefit from all the expertise available on campus. 


Year 1 Semester 1 – Introduction to Public Health

Three compulsory 20-credit modules:

  1. Introduction to Public Health and Global Challenges
  2. Introduction to Public Health Research
  3. Physical and Mental Health 

Year 1 Semester 2 – Determinants of Health

Three compulsory 20-credit modules:

  1. The Built and Natural Environment
  2. Individual, Cultural and Social Determinants of Health
  3. Health Protection

Year 2 Semester 1 – Applied Public Health

Three compulsory 20-credit modules:

  1. Health Improvement
  2. Global Health
  3. Public Health Ethics and Law

Year 2 Semester 2 – Further Public Health

Three compulsory 20-credit modules:

  1. The Economics and Politics of Public Health
  2. Public Health Research Skills
  3. Healthcare Public Health 

Year 3 Semester 1 and 2 - The Public Health Practitioner

Three compulsory 20-credit modules and a 60-credit dissertation:

  1. Public Health Research in Practice
  2. Public Health Leadership
  3. Public Health Communication
  4. Dissertation       

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: £21,180

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.  

Additional costs

When you apply for the course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies.


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University or other sources.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:

Additional information:

Required subjects and grades:

A levels: One of your A-levels must be a science subject. Science subjects considered include: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Maths, PE/Sports Studies, Psychology, Physics, Statistics, Geology (other qualifications are considered – please contact the Admissions Tutor for advice on whether your combination of qualifications will meet the entry requirements).

GCSEs: All applicants must meet in full the GCSE entry requirements of five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject at grade B/6 or above.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32 points

Extended/BTEC Diploma: Extended/BTEC Diploma (Health and Social Care or Science) at D*D*D*

Access to Higher Education:  45 credits at Level 3 distinction (Health or Science)

All applicants must meet in full the GCSE entry requirements of five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject at grade B/6 or above.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: A minimum of 32 points overall

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university’s Standard English language requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. 

Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

We foster an educational environment where students are provided the time and space for intellectual growth, development, free-range thinking, and discovery. We run an interactive course where we encourage students to learn in a variety of ways that will mirror their future careers – working in teams, interacting with a variety of stakeholders, developing communication and influencing skills, and becoming an independent learner.

As well as learning the theory you will be learning the practice of public health, learning from public health practitioners who are dealing with the issues affecting communities globally. In addition to professionals, you will meet patients and members of the public. Visits to public health teams will be incorporated into your modules and you will be encouraged to volunteer, for example at hospitals, assisting in patient groups in order to build an understanding of public health issues from patients’ perspectives.  

Teaching staff for this course

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

Assessment methods

During modules there are formative assessments (which are unmarked and used to monitoring learning), which ensure students and staff are aware of progress throughout the course and not just when there are marked assessments. Each module will also be assessed by at least one marked summative assessment (to evaluate learning at the end of a module). Summative assessments may be  examinations (for example  unseen, open-book,  oral examination or multiple choice test) and/or other forms of assessment (such as essay assignment, presentation, group project, independent project, production of a documentary, service based [e.g. briefing paper, newspaper article], problem solving exercise or a computer-based exercise).

Our BSc Public Health programme will shape the change agents of the future who will work to ensure the population experiences substantial and ongoing improvements in health. 

Students will have excellent career opportunities, with Public Health professionals playing an important role in many organisations including:

  • National bodies such as the Department of Health
  • NHS general practices and hospitals
  • Councils
  • The private sector
  • Healthcare insurance
  • Charities
  • World Health Organization

There are clear progression routes for Public Health professionals such as through specialist training schemes.

The multi-disciplinary nature of the course will provide students with highly transferrable skills for whatever career they wish to pursue. Students will graduate being confident in data analysis and statistics, writing and communication and understanding ethical and legal issues. The ability to grasp the nature of complex, real-life public health issues affecting our communities both locally and globally will be an attractive quality for any potential employer.

Top 10 reasons to work in Public Health

  • Improving health - depending on your role, you could be improving health at the community (local authority), national (Department of Health) or global level (WHO).  
  • Broad reaching impact - while doctors impact on the health of their patients, you will be able to take pride knowing that your efforts are impacting on populations as a whole.
  • Multi-disciplined - public health draws from more disciplines that any other branch of medicine. Environmental science, political policy, management, medicine, biostatistics, and sociology are all areas that you'll work in.
  • Help with prevention - rather than dealing with the symptoms of living in today's society, public health professionals look at changing the determinants of health so that the population remains healthy.
  • Leadership opportunities - in many cases public health professionals become leaders in a particular field or a particular organisation. The leadership opportunities are rewarding and abundant.
  • Enjoyable - whether it is working with children in the community or changing health systems, this is an enjoyable career that is generally loved by those working in it.
  • Broad applications - fields like medicine, veterinary, dental, and even social work all have a need for public health skills.
  • Change the wider public health economy - working with GPs to improve immunisation uptake is a good example of how public health professionals work to improve the health of the population.
  • Challenging - the challenges inherent in the public health field ensure that those working in this field are constantly able to find motivation and unlikely to ever feel bored.
  • Educational opportunities - many public health professionals take roles in universities and colleges, teaching the next generation of professionals as well as undertaking public health research.
  • Constantly changing - the public health spectrum changes constantly as the world at large changes.  It is a shifting career and one that will never run the risk of being 'the same old same old'. 

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Medical School has societies specifically for students based here - MedSoc, an overarching society open to all Medicine, Nursing and Biomedical Science students, and PharmSoc, which is open to Pharmacy students. Both are student-run societies that offer a wide range of activities to get involved in from sports, amateur dramatics and music to charities, volunteering and academic support.

The City of Birmingham

You will be based on a leafy campus in the suburbs of a vibrant, modern city. With over a million residents, Birmingham is home to the UK's largest financial and creative centres outside London and it has a thriving business community. After London, Birmingham is the highest ranking city for quality of life in the UK (Mercer's Quality of Living Survey 2012). There is something for everyone in Birmingham and you are sure to receive a warm welcome in one of the most culturally diverse cities in Britain.


Whether you are looking for university accommodation or a rented property in the private sector, our accommodation services team, 'Living', can help you find the right place.

University accommodation for undergraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.