The World Health Organization (WHO) defines public health as "the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts of society." While doctors and other practitioners in the clinical healthcare system focus primarily on diagnosing and treating an individual, public health looks at the health of communities to try and prevent people from falling ill in the first place.*
Multidisciplinary in nature, public health incorporates epidemiology, biostatistics, health promotion, quantitative and qualitative research methods, health policy and health services management. This study area examines how to identify, understand, prevent and contain disease in populations, as well as identify and address the social determinants of population health inequities.
This study area is delivered by UNSW's School of Population Health - a leader in academic excellence, global impact and social engagement. Our dynamic, international community of staff, alumni, practitioners and students are working together to enhance population health and healthcare systems.
Our teaching is strongly influenced by our research. Our staff bring expertise from multiple disciplines and have experience across local, national and global settings. Our students benefit from research and collaboration opportunities at our internationally recognised research centres and institutes. Our programs are designed to be relevant to the workplace, with many opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to practice.
The PLuS Alliance is a partnership between three leading research universities – Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW. This partnership was designed to solve global challenges and increase access to world-class higher education in high-need areas. Through the PLuS Alliance, you can take online courses with Arizona State University, giving you the opportunity to expand your professional network and bring a global perspective to your education.
A qualification in public health provides a pathway into public health education, research and service. You could pursue a career in government departments, ministries of health, public health networks, local area health services, universities, research institutes, international health policy and funding institutions, non-governmental agencies, mental health services and Indigenous health organisations.
There's strong demand in Australia and internationally for professionals with specialised interdisciplinary skills in public health. Our graduates occupy key positions in health departments, population health units, universities and non-government organisations in Australia and around the world.
You can study public health in the following postgraduate coursework programs:
Our suite of postgraduate public health programs can be tailored to your needs and interests. In our master's degree, you can choose to study a broad program of public health study or select a focused public health specialisation. We offer nine specialisations in areas where we have extensive expertise, including Aboriginal Health & Wellbeing, Epidemiology, Health Economic Evaluation, Health Promotion, Infectious Diseases Control, International Health, Primary Health Care, Public Security and Social Research.
The Master of Public Health (Extension) includes a research component, which consists of additional research methodology courses and/or an advanced research project. Opportunities are available to progress from a coursework master’s degree that includes a research component to enrolment in a PhD.
You can combine your Master of Public Health with the master’s programs in health leadership and management, global health or infectious diseases intelligence. Studying two programs concurrently enhances your career prospects and gives you the opportunity to combine knowledge and skills from two related disciplines.
Complete two master's degrees with a research focus. This option includes an extension component where you’ll complete additional electives including a research project or a research methodology course.
Research is a fundamental part of our work at the School of Population Health, through which we address a number of key local, national and global public health issues. The School has a vibrant, thriving research culture and is a pipeline for research development from research students to post-doctoral researchers and senior research leaders, making us one of the leading research schools in Australia.
Our School offers excellent research programs to public health and health service researchers aimed at beginner, intermediate and experienced levels. Options are available for research-only degrees or combined coursework and research. We offer:
The Indigenous Entry Scheme redresses the imbalance of access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to population health programs.