Public Health BSc

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

At the end of the programme you will have the skills to identify the risks that affect different people, in different places, at different stages of their lives. You will also have the knowledge of how to reduce these risks and improve people’s health.

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 to the public’s health are many and varied. 

Public health works to help us stay healthy and protect us from threats to our health, such as obesity, infectious disease, tobacco, 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 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 studying 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.

In the second year you will study topics such as how to improve the health of communities and the ethical and legal implications of these actions, global health, how economics and politics influence health and how to critically review evidence.

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.

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;

  • Study at one of the UK’s leading Russell Group universities where you will benefit from research-led, evidence-based innovative teaching methods
  • Our lecturers teach public health on a range of undergraduate courses as well as a popular postgraduate Master in Public Health programme
  • We offer a range of other high profile undergraduate courses, such as Medicine, Social Policy, Environmental Science and Spatial Planning, meaning you will experience the inter-professional learning key to this profession
  • We have a strong global health research focus with extensive links in countries such as China, Nigeria and Iran
  • Birmingham is one of the fastest growing and greenest cities in the UK. It is also home to vibrant cosmopolitan communities, making Birmingham the ideal place to study the challenges and opportunities in public health


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 2018. 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 2018/19 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £9,250
  • International: £20,280

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2018, 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 or above which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject at grade B 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 5 GCSEs at grade C or above which must include English, Mathematics and a Science subject at grade B 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.

The course is brought to life through the use of research-led, evidence-based innovative teaching methods. We teach you the skills you will need in your career through active learning, for example by running communicable disease outbreak exercises.

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. 

In the UK alone, there are tens of thousands of professionals working as public health practitioners and hundreds of thousands whose work impacts on the heath of others. Graduates could end up working :

  • In the public sector (e.g. NHS, urban planning, politics, and education)
  • In the private sector (e.g. healthcare insurance, business)
  • In the third sector (e.g. charities, advocacy)
  • Overseas (e.g. World Health Organization, non-government organisations)

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.