What is public health?

If you’re interested in working with world-leading practitioners to drive better health outcomes on a local and global level, a career in public health might be the perfect opportunity for you. 

At UNSW, we refer to the profession more broadly as population health. This includes public and global health, infectious diseases, and health leadership and management. Our programs prepare you to work collaboratively with industry, government and other health professionals to create a more equitable world by uplifting population health.

Working in a population health-related field is perfect for people who are passionate about positively influencing the health outcomes of their community. You’ll be a curious, open-minded learner who’s not afraid to challenge existing systems and look for unique ways to deliver values-based healthcare to shape a better future. 

With a public health degree, you might consult for a large global health organisation or work with government agencies to deliver national health initiatives. 

Introducing the School of Population Health 

At UNSW School of Population Health, we’re proudly leading the way in educating the next generation of health professionals. Led by a team of world-class practitioners and academics, we’re working to drive positive change across various public health contexts. 

Our vision is to transform and uplift people’s health in Australia and around the world. Our faculty brings experience from multiple disciplines in local and international settings. These diverse perspectives allow us to examine health systems, outcomes and policies with a focus on equity, diversity and social justice.

#28 globally for public health research

Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2023

Most employable graduates

AFR Top100 Future Leaders Awards 2020-2023

Leading university for research

UNSW receive the 3rd highest grant funding in Australia

Why study public health at UNSW?

UNSW School of Population Health is at the forefront of research and transformation. Our programs drive real-world impact where students work to solve complex local and global health system challenges. You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, research projects and placements. And you’ll do it all under the guidance of experienced practitioners from diverse health backgrounds who value equity and innovation.

At UNSW, we encourage you to tailor your studies around your interests and aspirations. You can choose any combination of our four study areas to complete two masters degrees in less than two years and add an extension component to dive into postgraduate research.

Our vision is to transform and uplift people’s health in Australia and around the world. Our faculty brings experience from multiple disciplines in local and international settings. These diverse perspectives allow us to examine health systems, outcomes and policies with a focus on equity, diversity and social justice.

Two master's degrees in less than two years

At UNSW, you can combine two study areas within the School of Population Health and graduate with two master's degrees in two years or less.

Real-world impact beyond the classroom

Join an innovative, research-led school that directly impacts health and healthcare outcomes in Australia and beyond.

Build connections and experience from day one

Take advantage of UNSW’s global network of health organisations and gain real-world experience through an internship or work placement.

Take your research to the next level

You’ll have the opportunity to extend your degree to complete a research project, which can open the door for a future PhD.

Our study areas

Promoting health for all before illness strikes.

What you’ll study: Public Health focuses on disease prevention and health promotion within local and global communities. Topics include epidemiology, biostatistics and health policy. You’ll learn how to identify, prevent and contain disease, and understand the social and economic factors that contribute to health inequality. 

Who it’s suited to: People who care about improving the overall health of communities, addressing health inequalities between social and cultural groups and proactively preventing the spread of disease.

Public health jobs: 

  • Local area health services
  • Government agencies, such as the Ministry of Health
  • Integrated healthcare services
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Non-government health organisations
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Drive positive change at the root of our healthcare systems.

What you’ll study: Health Leadership & Management is about examining the principles and policies that underpin health systems. You’ll develop advanced analytical and decision-making skills and develop your expertise in clinical governance, risk management and integrated healthcare. 

Who it’s suited to: Future leaders who want to break into a management role within the health profession or those already working in the field who want to fast-track their career progression. 

Health Leadership & Management jobs:

  • C-suite health services roles
  • Government and non-government policy
  • Medical communications and program management
  • Healthcare consulting
  • Health economics
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Examine public health, disease control and health equity from a global perspective.

What you’ll study: Combining epidemiology, data, policy and medical service design, Global Health provides an international perspective on the health of populations. You’ll build multidisciplinary skills across a range of public health contexts, while exploring the social, political and economic factors that influence health within and between nations. 

Who it’s suited to: Curious, passionate learners seeking a career without borders. Perfect for students looking to specialise and healthcare professionals looking to accelerate their career progression and unlock global opportunities. 

Global Health jobs:

  • UN-based health organisations
  • International aid agencies
  • Government departments and ministries of health
  • Global public health networks
  • Universities and research institutes
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Understand how to identify, prevent and manage the spread of infectious diseases.

What you’ll study: Infectious Disease Intelligence is critical to population health. This study area focuses on infectious disease surveillance and intelligence. You’ll learn how to investigate outbreaks, analyse outbreak response plans and develop strategies for prevention. 

Who’s it suited to: Fast-thinking decision-makers who want to play a leading role in controlling infectious diseases and health emergencies across a range of contexts and settings.

Infectious Diseases Intelligence jobs:

  • International aid, military and first responder organisations
  • Government ministries and departments of health
  • Health education and advocacy
  • International health organisations
  • Universities and research institutes
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Explore our double master's degrees

At UNSW, you can complete a double degree in record time. Combine your interests and give yourself a competitive edge in the job market by tackling two master's degrees in just 1.7 years.

  • Explore your passion for improving public health outcomes while developing the leadership skills to drive change across health systems, services and policies.

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

  • Develop a robust understanding of the elements that underpin health systems and examine health initiatives, outcomes and policy from a global perspective. 

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

  • Work alongside practitioners and academics to develop solutions to real-world health challenges, focusing on infectious disease prevention and control.

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

  • Build transferable skills and leverage UNSW’s global network to lead the charge in uplifting health outcomes for populations around the world.

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

  • Develop critical thinking, analytical and leadership skills to play a vital role in preventing and managing the spread of infectious diseases.  

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

  • Build a robust skill set to tackle contemporary global health challenges, spanning disease intelligence, health policy and outbreak management.

    Duration: 1.7 years full-time

Interested in an undergraduate degree?

UNSW's Bachelor of International Public Health will teach you how to tackle global health challenges. This unique degree goes beyond the individual, to address global health concerns including ageing populations, unhealthy lifestyles, communicable disease outbreaks and the health impacts of climate change.

Our partners 

Our ability to deliver world-class medical education and significant healthcare breakthroughs couldn't be achieved without the strength of our affiliated medical research institutes. Explore our UNSW Medicine & Health partnerships and how they contribute to improving health outcomes in Australia and beyond.


Public health jobs in Australia and beyond

Studying a public health degree can lead you down all kinds of career paths. You might join a government agency and travel across Australia promoting health initiatives through national campaigns. Or, you could work as a consultant for large hospitals and health organisations to uplift their public health programs. Your expertise may even be called on during global health emergencies, where you’ll help shape responses to health crises. 

You’ll also have the option to continue your research after graduation. Adding a postgraduate research component to your masters is a great stepping stone to a future PhD. Many of our postgraduate students receive funding and scholarships to support their research. 

Here are some areas and industries your population health career might take you:

  • Local area health services

  • Government agencies, such as the Ministry of Health

  • Integrated healthcare services

  • C-suite health service roles

  • Government health policy

  • Medical communications and program management

  • UN-based health organisations and NGOs

  • International aid and first responder organisations

  • Health education and advocacy

  • Universities and research institutions

"My MPH has already assisted me in my career, allowing me to quickly make the transition from research and disability sector work into a Health Promotion position with NSW Health. Day to day, my MPH has given me the solid theoretical foundation upon which to build my career in population health, as well as an eagerness to use all available resources to full advantage."

Arlita Willman 

UNSW Master of Public Health alum | Operations Manager, Health Promotion at Northern Sydney Local Health District.


Interested in a career in Public Health?

If you're considering studying Public Health and UNSW our enquiries team is here to provide more information and assist you with any questions you have.